Time to Loot Journal: July 2019

Looking back over the past month I’m left wondering… What happened? Where did the time go and what did I do? It seems like a lifetime ago that the health scare raised its head, and yet it was only a handful of weeks. The endoscopy is the end of this week and all going well will put this concern to rest.

Other unrelated sickness in the household has meant I’ve spent a week working from home, which I think lent itself to time blurring with the removal of a regular cadence of work and back, work and back to mark out the days.

Oh! Blaugust is coming though! Over the latter part of July I’ve been in a sort of warm-up exercise mode for it, posting if not every day then every other. It isn’t too late to sign up and jump into the Discord though. :)

Blog this Month

Published 18 posts this month. Up 8 from last. Second most posts in a month since I started Time to Loot (with first place going to February). My Blaugust goal is to hit a post all 31 days though.

I think I can do it — but we’ll see.

Life often has a way of sneaking up and inappropriately pinching your behind when you’re not looking after all. Someone should tell Life it’s 2019 and we don’t stand for that sort of carry on any more.

As for totals? This will make for 98 published posts. Almost broke 100 a month ahead of prediction! I have to say, quite chuffed with getting this far.

Most Viewed Posts

  1. Transport Fever: Things I Wish I Knew When I Started
  2. Heart of Rage: Tips for The Monitor
  3. Blaugust 2019 is Coming!
  4. Starting The Horrible Hundred
  5. Humble Monthly: July 2019

I was right! The Heart of Rage post at last falls out of top spot. That was a pretty impressive run for it though I suppose. But now the Transport Fever starter guide has taken over with almost 4x the views this month than HoR.

Games this Month

RankGameHours% Gaming TimeChange
1Final Fantasy XIV29.938.5%↑2
2Lost Ark29.838.3%New
3Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey4.55.8%Returning
4Stellaris4.15.3%New
5Warframe2.83.6%New
6Astroneer2.53.2%New
7Devil May Cry 51.82.3%Returning
8Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice0.91.1%New
9Celeste0.81.1%New
10Parkasaurus0.70.9%New

July saw a total of 77.7 gaming hours, down 2.9 hours from June.

And in an almost complete flip from last month where the total active hours were way down from watching shows on devices other than the main desktop, this month saw an unprecedented high of 317.2 total active hours. This is up 141.1 hours over last month.

Much of the increase to total active hours comes from spending a little over a week working from home, plus some return to this device as a TV/Movie watching device.

For July, this means gaming made up 24.4% of the active hours, down 21.2% from last month.

Final Fantasy XIV

Talk about juuuuust eking it out for top spot. Less than 6 minutes difference between it and Lost Ark.

Final Fantasy will certainly still hold strong next month. But whether it will be #1 or #2 is anyone’s guess at this stage.

I’m still looking down the barrel of the vast majority of The Horrible Hundred to complete. But I’ll get there. I’ve just been horribly distracted by Lost Ark, and it’s all Mailvaltar’s fault. Don’t look at me like that, it is! ;)

Lost Ark

Perhaps rather cruelly, I first found out about Lost Ark some 4 or 5 years ago.

I’ve finally got a chance to dive in and try most of the base classes. And Oh my God, where has this game been my entire life?

The blend of MMORPG and ARPG is just so perfect. I’ve leveled two of the Warrior classes — Berserker and Warlord to nearly 30, and with a friend just joining decided to take a look at Bard alongside them.

Easy contender for top spot next month, but as I called out in the sneak peek — it’s by no means certain. Technically you cannot play this outside of Korea, so my account could be terminated at any point. It is going to be difficult in the extreme though to keep my mindset as one of testing and experimenting rather than dedicated though.

Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey

The last episode of the Fate of Atlantis DLC dropped this month, spurring me back into AC’s rendition of Greece where the myths are real.

I’ve started my way into chapter 2 of the First Blade DLC.

I’ve almost finished annihilating the Order of the Storm — Chapter 2’s addition to the Persian Cult — but I’m endeavouring to hunt a few final clues before the final engagement of the chapter. It is my hope that I can save this person rather than slaughter them. I don’t know if it’s possible, but it has been elsewhere in the story. So… Here’s to hoping!

The Others

Quite a hodgepodge here, as is my way. :)

Stellaris made a bit of a surprise return visit in the form of a 4 player game set in a small galaxy size, so that we could test out the recently released Ancient Relics Story pack which added archaeological dig sites that you could have your scientists work on.

Warframe saw a little bit of a revisit too after Tennocon. I still have much to do here, as even in this return I didn’t set foot onto Venus/Fortuna. I think I’m holding out for The New War and Empyrean to download into our hot little waiting hands.

Although I did discover today that there has been a little more added to the story of space mother (aka Natah)! It came alongside the Jupiter / Gas City revamp, and it is apparently quite telling of things to come in the New War story. I may not be able to resist doing that soon.

The rest on the list also make some degree of sense for me I suppose, but if you quirked a brow at Parkasaurus… Well. It’s a tycoon game for a start. I do also love those after all. But mostly, I have an 8-year old boy who still adores Dinosaurs. So this thing was about the best thing ever. For… *looks* …A bit under an hour. ;D

Finding your Motivation to Blog

Blaugust 2019 is almost upon us! The Annual Blogging event to welcome brand new blogger blood into the fold and revitalise the old with a month of focused posting. You can still sign-up to participate and jump into the Blaugust Discord!

If you’re considering starting a blog — and you want it to last more than the average of 100 days — then I think it important to discover your motivation. Not because there are necessarily any right or wrong answers. But rather so that when the going gets tough you have something a little more concrete to pull out and examine — and hopefully — see you through the other side.

It’s OK to start on a whim and discover your motivation though. Or to start with one motivation and discover another.

That’s essentially what I did with Time to Loot. I thought I’d returned for the reason of covering a singular title that had somehow busted through my armor of jaded cynicism and turned my hype dial to 11.

Anthem: It’s a bit over 6 months on now. Maybe time for a re-review? … Nah. Let’s give it a year.

I’d initially registered a very Anthem specific domain. But even if we had found Anthem to be everything we hoped for — going with such a specific name would have been a mistake. And also? Anthem would have been my ‘what’, and not a longer term motivation or ‘why’.

Incidentally, Belghast has a whole post on finding a blog name and blog purpose (from a content type perspective) now. But that is a bit of a different discussion from the one I want to follow.

Namely:

The Content You Cover Isn’t Your Motivation

Or at least, for most of us it won’t be. If you’re blogging about environmental issues or for political activism, then it might be. But for those of us covering gaming, general geekery or even writing and the like — the content we cover is just a vehicle.

Our ‘why’ might be to improve our own writing. Or to document a learning journey. Or in the cases of social issues and similar — perhaps the ‘why’ is to inform and affect change.

My own motivation I didn’t discover until I’d been back at blogging for a month or so.

First — the elephant in the room: I’d be a giant pants on fire liar if for a moment I tried to claim I didn’t want to build a readership. Of course I do. But I feel pretty strongly that this needs to be a background reason and not the primary driver.

For me discovering my motivation was akin to an epiphany. I’ve been on the internet a long time, and have been playing games for the vast majority of it. I have memories of amazing events going back to Asheron’s Call, or heck — even perhaps playing as a clan in QuakeWorld: Team Fortress.

But that history is nebulous and undocumented.

There are people I have lost touch with that I valued a great deal but are now lost forever to me.

I don’t want to look back in 10, 15, 20 years from now and feel the same pain, having made the same mistakes as I have over the last 20 or so. That’s my motivation. That, I think, is the key difference between this blogging effort and my past efforts.

I can’t predict the games or content I will cover, but I can be confident in my motivation and desire to keep a record of it to live on throughout.

So that’s mine. It might be yours as well. It might not be. There’s nothing wrong with having a dream of one day being able to monetise your blog and have it supplement or even replace your income. There’s nothing wrong with simply wanting to become internet-famous, either. But will that see you through the tough times of getting started when it feels like such goals are a million miles away?

If there’s one takeaway from this:

Your motivation for doing this crazy blogging thing is a ‘Why’ not your ‘What’.

Your content can change. You should pretty much count on it changing.

Ask any long term blogger and most of them will tell you their blog has been repurposed or reimagined to some extent over the years it has been alive.

This isn’t to say your ‘Why’ can or never will change, over the long term we tend to shift and change as people after all. But they’re not the same and understanding your why, is something I firmly believe to be required to create a blog that lasts.

Exploring The Intro to the Magician and Gunner Classes of Lost Ark

The Berserker set a very high bar of fun with meaty, impactful blows mixed with a certain brutal grace. Pirouetting through the air or between enemies on the ground. Was it even going to be possible for another class to live up to this?

Early indications? Possibly not. You see, I’d toyed around with the other two Warrior subclasses — Warlord (think a tank/guardian type, with a gunlance) and Destroyer (giiiiiant hammer) before I’d settled on Berserker in the testing facility.

The Warlord felt a bit clunky. I could see the potential, but as you might imagine wielding a giant shield with an even larger gunlance, this guy wasn’t going anywhere in a hurry. Destroyer seemed to be in a similar boat, but I’d seen some video hinting at a few acrobatically inclined skills later down the line.

But I couldn’t test any of the tripod-system modifiers or skills above level 10. A fact that had slipped my mind in the 15-20 hours of play that followed.

We’ll return to this later.

Magician

Well, the zone is pretty enough.

Magician leads the way into Arcana, Summoner or Bard. Summoner and Bard were both classes I was keen to try, so it was next on my list to try.

I… was pretty quickly disappointed. There were highlights to be sure. Summoning a water elemental right in front of me which spat a torrent of water, pushing enemies back and creating some space was pretty nifty.

Teldrassil?? Nope. But wow. Even the music was similar.

But the spells for the most part felt a bit finicky and underpowered compared to the brute strength of the Berserker I was used to.

I played it through to the testing chamber and quite enjoyed the Magician’s introductory story. Funnily enough, The Arcana — i.e., the one I initially had no real interest in — seemed like it might be the most fun to me. It was a highly mobile assassin-mage feeling class. You threw cards like a magical Gambit and had a lot of options for casting on the go.

I didn’t lock in a choice though. Not yet. And as it turns out, that was probably for the best.1 Early impressions are deceiving, as I’ve since found out.

Gunner

Indiana Jones meets Steampunk is the best way to describe the introductory story for the Gunner. Annnd I loved it. The class itself (in base form) is incredibly nimble too, which I am discovering much to my surprise is a trait I value in this sort of ARPG/Brawler hybrid game.

Now, the ‘base form’ qualifier was important. The Gunner is a class of extremes you see. If you go Blaster you get a transforming heavy weapon that can fire anything from… well, fire through to homing missiles. But it’s heavy. And it shows. No hoppity-skippity dash moves for you. Get caught letting loose when a boss turns its ire to the ground you stand on — you might be about to have a bad day.

Devil Hunter and Hawkeye though can both move around very well. Hawkeye can even go invisible for short periods of time. Hawkeye is like your more typical bow Ranger, albeit with a pretty serious tech upgrade. Devil Hunter uses a range of guns from dual pistol, to shotgun to sniper rifle. And you can cycle between them and their unique skill bars.

Even with just the level 10 skills and no tripod-modifiers, I was having a blast with this set. And as with the Magician, the class I thought I would like the least — Blaster — was the one I enjoyed the most. The lack of mobility didn’t worry me despite finding I’m like it more generally.

What about the Fighter?

I did actually start the Fighter’s storyline as well! But I haven’t finished it yet. The fighter can become one of four classes: Battle Master, Infighter, Soul Master or Lancer. I kinda wanna play all of them.

I’ll talk more about the Fighter later, but starting out it feels very much like a Diablo 3 style Monk, and the story line sees you trying to work through demonic possession of a rival house. There is a lot of martial arts throughout as well, and the environments (as you can see above) look fantastic.

I’ll leave this one here though in order to wrap this up.

What I Learnt Today

You know the old saying, ‘Don’t judge a book by its cover?’

Yeah.

The same sort of applies here. I really should have known this from my own experience with the Berserker. While I already enjoyed the ‘base’ level 10 experience of it, it really started to shine with access to the Tripod system and ranking skills up to work in new and interesting ways.

But as I mentioned way back near the beginning of the post — I hadn’t really consciously connected that to the experience I was having with the starter classes. And I might’ve missed this entirely for longer if I hadn’t rolled a Warlord to play alongside a friend who joined me today.

The Warlord gets a number of skill options at rank 1 of the tripod system which *hugely* change how it plays. I went from stationary as a rock to charging about the battlefield very quickly, adding a dash to the start of a number of base abilities. Although for the main attack this meant sacrificing the other option at Tier 1 of turning from a straight-line attack into a 360 degree sweep.

I ended up swapping back and forth between that one a bit actually, depending on where I was and what I was doing. Open world content seemed to go better with the wide AoE attack. In dungeons I really wanted that forward dash with only the cone attack in order to help better position out of boss attacks.

When I started to throw in a leap ability, and the power to call thunder from the Heaven’s like Thor himself… Just… Wow.

So what I learned is that I really need to go back and revisit the Magician classes with this in mind. I suspect that their abilities will similarly grow without too much effort!

Procrastination by ‘Research’

Blaugust 2019 is almost upon us! The Annual Blogging event to welcome brand new blogger blood into the fold and revitalise the old with a month of focused posting. You can still sign-up to participate and jump into the Blaugust Discord!

And so Blaugust Preparation week begins.1 Over this week the Mentors will be offering advice and tips for the official kick-off, August 1st. Now, I am not a mentor but I might still throw in the odd tidbit from the perspective one who has recently gotten started themselves.

First, a story.

Some years ago I had it in my head to give writing an honest to God, full-fledged fantasy novel a shot. Still riding the high of a successful NaNoWriMo with a bit over 50k words already in the bag. I had even adjusted my sleep schedule to allow for dedicated time in the morning before work. I was pretty serious about it.

So serious, that I had to know everything about it. E v e r y t h i n g. I followed numerous writing blogs. Podcasts. I had a particular penchant for blogs by publishing agents too actually, now that I think about it.

Even gaming time fell off a cliff, as every waking moment was doing some form of research on the art and craft of writing and getting published.

But you know what I wasn’t doing?

Writing.

Not a single word. Blog form, novel form, editing? Not a jot.

Over the years I’ve had the odd similar experience although nothing quite that extreme. Recently I wanted to learn how to digitally paint. Having Alli do some work for me had inspired me to dust off the ol’ Wacom again. I spent a day or two looking through Youtube tutorials before recognising the pattern of procrastination in the name of ‘research’ emerging again.

Research is a valuable tool, but don’t beat your passion to death with it.

Which is to say, looking into your subject and learning from those who have gone before can be a valuable use of time. But it needs to be balanced with actual doing. Don’t allow yourself to get caught in a state of inaction.

The desire to get it ‘right’ out of the gate is understandable, but also debilitating.

Blogger or WordPress? WordPress.com or .org? What about Medium? Here’s a truth for you. It doesn’t matter. There are many hugely successful blogs on all blog platforms, free and paid.

Just go to WordPress.com and get started!

You don’t need to be perfect out of the gate. You don’t need to know everything before you start. Tags vs. Categories? Who cares. There’s nothing here that you can’t fix later when you know better. And don’t even get started on SEO.

Just write. Write how you want, about what you want. Do.

Nothing else matters if you don’t. And I think that’s the most important thing to remember. Use research as a means to improve what you’re doing, not as a way to avoid doing it.

There is nothing to be gained in understanding how to write the perfect agent query letter if you have nothing to query. There is nothing to be gained in knowing how to optimise for SEO like a boss if you don’t have a blog with single post yet.

Worse yet, carry it on for too long and you could kill your passion before you even give it a chance to breathe.

Sneak Peak at Lost Ark

Mailvaltar recently reminded me that Lost Ark was a thing. If you’re unfamiliar, it’s a Korean made MMOARPG. Wait- no, don’t run! This one actually looks pretty good. The scope of the game is mindblowing and it has a solid core set of gameplay mechanics backing it all up.

Turn on captions and auto-translate to English. (And then have a good giggle at Google’s best efforts at real time translation throughout.)

If you can imagine your Final Fantasy XIV, or WoW, flipped around to an isometric perspective. Then given something between an ARPG and a brawler’s combat system. Put in just a splash of Monster Hunter. And also a very anime-esque story over the top of the whole thing, you’ll be partway there.

If you’re anything like Mailvaltar and I, this will have you chomping at the bit to get in right now. For others almost every element of that will be a turn off. If you’re in the ‘right now’ camp and you don’t happen to live in Korea, I probably owe you a bit of an apology. You can’t. And the western release while confirmed now, doesn’t really have an attached timeline.

But Wait, Where’s the ‘Sneak Peek’ then?

OK, perhaps “can’t” was a bit strong. Because you certainly can. But it’s not exactly low effort. Or risk. To even embark on the journey of getting in you have to be aware you could lose access again at any time and be OK with that. This makes me somewhat wary of investing a lot of time at endgame right now, but to test it out and get an early look at how it’s shaping up?

Hell. Yes.

I’m happy to share how if anyone is interested!

My Warrior

My Warrior (later to be spec’d Berserker) starting out life as a slave.

Every base class (currently there are four, with two more on the way) has its own introductory story. The Warrior gets a pretty rough deal starting out as a fighting pit slave with no weapons or armor and everyone expecting him to be dead ere too long.

Thankfully, this is not a foe.

Fortunately, it isn’t too long before you stop needing to punch things and get to wield an excessively large sword. Already by this point I’m extremely impressed with the mix of weighty impact and fluidity the combat has. Your skills are hotkey based, and are targeted in the direction of your mouse cursor (for the most part).

Chaining from one skill to the next, juggling your opponents simply didn’t get old. And learning how best to weave in new skills as they were learned to best extend the stun effect out. Working out their wind-up times and when to dash through an enemy before attacking again… Just so very satisfying.

Although he is a foe.

And this was all before level 10 and selection of your actual class.

You see, every base class has three or four sub-classes which are what you will actually play as from the end of introductory sequence on.

What I really appreciated is that the game gives you the opportunity to test the three sub-classes out before you are asked to commit. You can spawn in normal or boss monsters and then have fairly free reign over testing a decent number of skills to get a feel for things.

Because once you commit, that is it. These aren’t specialisations that you jump between at will, this defines who your character is.

My Berserker

Journeyed a long way since my cell.

I kept wanting to test out other classes, but not being able to tear myself away. At 10 I thought. Then 15. Surely at 20. I’ve at last managed to convince myself to log out at around level 23. Level 50 is the cap but there is a ridiculous amount of stuff to do beyond that.

I was thankful in the extreme that the first mount is given fairly early on, I was level 14 when I got to pick my horse. Thankful because the world is huge. HUGE. And actually I should say the continent I’m on is huge. Eventually you will get a boat and access to entire new continents and island adventures.

These guys just wanted to see the whole world burn. In a feverish fit of plague.

I think (but don’t quote me yet) that you level to 50 entirely on the first continent and then unlock your boat.

Already I have seen quite an array of terrain though. Frosty wastelands (although that was in my Warrior’s backstory), verdant farmland, swampy marshes, dingy caves, ancient ruins, salt flats. And I’m barely into the second major region of the first continent.

None of this would matter though if the gameplay wasn’t fun, and as I think I’ve alluded to — it is. There is skill in execution of your combos for sure, but the build diversity also seems fairly strong.

Skills

My sword now has eyes. Is it alive? Unsure. I haven’t started hearing it’s voice in my head yet, at least.

When you level past 10 you are awarded skill points. Generally 5, but some levels seem to award more, and some quests can also award them.

You can rank your skills up and each rank does the basics of increasing damage, knockback, stun or other base effects sure. But at certain thresholds it unlocks a new tier of the ‘tripod’ system. So called because there are three tiers of three options for each skill, that can layer on top of one another to create fairly dramatic differences in how the skills execute.

Your selection within the tripod system can be changed on the fly, unlike your overall specialisation. So you do get the ability to adapt your build to the content you happen to be doing.

I haven’t been able to unlock the third tier of anything yet, but I have added extra duration to how long I can hold Whirlwind (vanilla tier 1 option) and then at Tier 2 added 40% additional range which also acts as a higher crit and damage zone. If I can keep enemies in that new outer reach of Whirlwind they take significantly more damage.

Dungeons

Pretty much every zone you run through winds up with a dungeon. You can go in on Normal or Hard mode, alone or as a party of up to four. You can solo Hard if you wish to, and in fact I would recommend it over Normal.

There was nothing… wrong with these dungeons. But they weren’t anything to write home about either. I had heard much fuss made about the cinematic dungeons of Lost Ark so was expecting a fair bit more.

Turns out those end of area dungeons are not the cinematic ones. The first of those comes around level 20-ish and they live up to the hype. Well. So far, with a sample of one they do.

I had almost given up on attempting to queue for dungeons too before this one. The end of area ones are being only infrequently run at the moment (should be a different story with a fresh Western release). But this one the queue pop was instant, and the run ever more enjoyable for having people along.

As is fairly standard fare for ARPGs, the dungeon difficulty scales for each person you include. There is no holy trinity to worry about (although Tanks (Warlords) and Healers (Bards) do exist if you’re that way inclined) so the queue times are never going to be waiting around for a specific type to decide to join.

Our run was in fact three Berserkers and a Warlord. xD

And this is pretty much where I left things off to come put this post together! When I jump back in I kind of want to try out a caster class (Summoner or Bard, most likely). But I may end up just jumping back on Berserker and rolling further into the game. :)

Poll Results Split the Internet

Well, one does. The other is near universal. Also, I haven’t seen so much as a raised voice yet. Also also, the sample size here is extremely small. Take with a large helping of salt accordingly. So generally? Hyperbole all around in that headline.

Moving on. Let’s start with the easy one first.

Infinite Scroll vs. Pagination

If you’re unfamiliar with Infinite Scroll — think Facebook. Or Twitter. Or Google Image search. When you are scrolling through posts or items, you never have to hit ‘next page’. As you near the end of the currently loaded items, it will automatically load another set for you to continue with.

Pagination on the other hand you must actively click to progress to a new set of items.

There are instances of some news sites using ‘Infinite Scroll’ to load entire new articles as you reach the end of whatever article you’re currently reading. The intent being to increase a user’s time on site. Many find it irritating though, and God forbid you ever actually want to come back to an article loaded this way at some point in the future.

This poll though was specifically in the context of a blog’s main post index, or archive. Not while already reading a specific post.

The sample size was small (n=14) but the responses fairly one-sided within that. The main audience of respondents are themselves bloggers but were asked to answer from the perspective of consumers of content on other blogs.

Sampled primarily in MMO/Gaming blogger community Jul 2019. (n=14)

So what can we tell from this? Mainly that within this particular niche of the game blogging landscape, most do not appreciate the Infinite Scroll feature. But equally, no-one is going to call you a dunderhead or stop reading your blog over it if you want to enable it.

Also? Potentially fewer people use an off-site mechanism for reading blog posts than I suspected!

Full Posts vs. Excerpts

This one was much closer, as you’ll see. The poll again asked respondents to consider things from the perspective of a blog reader and whether or not they liked to see full posts on the main archive/index.

The argument for excerpts runs that by seeing multiple posts easily, it’s more likely that something will grab their attention to read. That it makes it easier as someone new to a blog to quickly get a feel for the type of content and how much it might interest them. Others noted a changing preference based on typical post length. Longer posts leaning them toward preferring excerpts, while a shorter typical post length was OK to display in full.

This poll had a sample size of n=16 through marginally larger reach. Excerpts had an early and strong lead, but in the end?

Sampled primarily in MMO/Gaming blogger community Jul 2019. (n=16)
(Note: If you were following along with the original strawpoll for this and wondering about the shift here — I had incorrectly voted for ‘Full posts’ rather than ‘Excerpts’.)

Amongst respondents who actually use a blog’s website for consumption of the content? Dead tie.

Do as you will! Decide for yourself! Although having said that, if your posts tend toward the lengthy end of things — perhaps give excerpts a stronger consideration.

Otherwise, what theme do you like? What looks more aesthetically appealing to you? Are you OK with the load time that comes with full post loading?

So What Will I Do?

Infinite Scroll will be kept off and I’ll be sticking to excerpts for now.

I was using full post display prior to the recent redesign.1 My reasoning being that most readers land directly into a post anyway, where this question becomes moot and for those that don’t land straight into a post scanning for what they’re after in the archive should be quicker and easier with excerpts on.

It doesn’t hurt that the page load time according to GTMetrix has come down from just north of 5 seconds to around 3 seconds. That’s with displaying way more post entries per page, too!

Blog Redesign, Polls and even Facebook

Blog Redesign

Depending on how you typically view Time to Loot, you may or may not be aware of a rather significant change in appearance since yesterday. Not just appearance, but function too. The archives now show excerpts with thumbnails rather than entire posts. Posts have hero images. I even flirted with the idea of infinite scroll for the index, but have since turned that off again. For now.

I was running the Genesis Framework and Magazine child-theme, a pair I bought access to waaaaaay back in the day for my old blogging efforts. There is a great deal to love about the Genesis Framework, some parts I’m already missing even — but even the newly released themes seem so… outdated.

Both are screenshots the main index page. But before entire posts were displayed, now using an excerpt display.
There are some differences shown in the ‘old’ from what was actually present though. e.g., the Social icons didn’t wrap (there was one less! More on that soon), and I had a ‘Featured Posts’ carousel.

I’m possibly far from done, but I’ve setup my new theme (OceanWP if you’re wondering) enough that I’m happy with it for the time being. It has been something of a revelation how many more components and areas of configuration it adds to the WordPress ‘customiser’ compared to the old Genesis themes though. To change typographic elements before I had to find their reference in the CSS files and edit by hand. Now it’s all menu driven!

I’ve been researching Divi and Elementor rather extensively. I’m talking multiple 2-3 hour videos of tutorials to see how things are constructed and end results. Answer so far? Inconclusive. Elementor does have a free basic version which is pretty powerful for pages, but adjusting how blog archives and posts work is locked into the Pro edition.

Both of them are more aimed at complete site design rather than ‘just’ a blog, so they’re very likely overkill for what I want… But… I haven’t quite shaken the desire to grab them entirely yet. ;)

Polls! As a Blog Reader…

…Do you like ‘Infinite Scrolling‘? How about Excerpts vs. Full Posts? Or do you not care how a blog presents on the web, because you use WP Reader, Feedly or some other off-site solution?

Those are the questions I pose, and I would love your input! Click through below to add your voice to the poll.

I’ll give this a few days or so then share the results for everyone. :)

Suddenly a Wild Facebook Appears

…I don’t yet know if it will be super effective.

I’m not expecting too much though, as I don’t plan on expending a lot of effort on it. I created the page, and linked the blog to it to auto-crosspost, but that’s it.

I’m also still a little uneasy that the page belongs to my actual Facebook account, being honest. But we’ll see how it goes. Twitter will still absolutely be my preferred social communication channel, and I could stand to be more active there as it is. ;)

If you’re curious though, the Facebook page is here!1.

I’ve followed a few other blogs that I could spot with Facebook pages, but I know I’ve missed people.

Probably a great many people. So let me know! :)

Current Games of Interest: July 2019

This one’s a little odd. Usually I have another game I’m adding when I do these posts. Not so this time. But I’ve been giving my games list on the sidebar the side-eye for a while. It is very much not accurate. Beyond even the point of thinking a game there might just hold out that little longer for a return.

Nope, they’re jumping straight into the ‘removed’ bucket this time!

Changes to the Game List

Added

  • None!

Remaining

  • Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey
  • Final Fantasy XIV

Nearly Removed

  • None!

Removed

  • Nioh
  • Transport Fever

Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey saw the last chapter of its second DLC release just this past week, so I’ve spent a little extra time getting acquainted again. I still have the final two chapters of the first DLC to play through too, so there is a bit of life left in this one yet! :D

Otherwise, with Final Fantasy XIV taking more of my gaming time again it isn’t too surprising that other things are dropping out. Although that is only a part reason.

In the last journal I talked about how Nioh had been put on hold earlier in the month to allow my eldest son to catch-up so we could play it together co-op. Welp; that never happened. I could carry on with it singleplayer, but the momentum has been broken.

Then all the way back in the May Journal I noted that I would likely put a premature end to the Chasing Truck Fever series. I allowed for the possibility of carrying on with it in a more typical post format. But uh, clearly that didn’t happen.

So away they go!