ESCANDALO!

AIEEEEEE!

I’ve been saying ESCANDALO! a lot in my life recently, at things that aren’t even scandalous (“I need to go to the shop! ESCANDALO!”) and it’s honestly quite enjoyable. I’m living life like a villain in a Mexican telenovela, only without pointing a gun at people or tipping wheelchairs over.

And now, a list of the important things:

  1. The Outer Worlds is very, very good. I’ve not played MUCH of it yet, I’m still faffing around Edgewater, but I am thoroughly enjoying it so far. Need to get a sniper rifle though.
  2. I’m on S9 E13 of RDPR, and I really hope Sasha Velour wins.
  3. IT’S LEVELLING TIME. That anniversary battleground is *chef kiss* for speed levelling, and *fart noise* for your confidence levels because god DAMN the Alliance never fucking wins.
  4. If, back before E Honda was released in Street Fighter V, you had come up to me and said “hey Panda Steve, I know you absolutely hated playing as or against E Honda in 4, but you will actively ENJOY playing as him in 5” I would have slapped your face and cursed your family. Yet here we are, he’s in the game and it makes me HAPPY because he’s so fun to play.
  5. HUNDRED HAND SLAP!

  6. What’s that, you want my ID? THIS FACE IS MY ID, MOTHERFUCKER.
  7. The Christmas songs have begun playing at work, and it makes me grimace, because it’s the BAD Christmas CD, the Michael Buble one, not the cool compilation with Wham, Boney M, Mariah et al. Make it stop, MAKE IT STOP.
  8. That’s it.

No really, that’s it.

I’ve Been a Naughty Boy

So I’m currently on day 4 of a 7 day Twitter ban because I had the absolute temerity to say that transphobes are awful and should be bitten by horseflies, which was reported as apparently inciting violence or something. I mean good luck to anyone who wants to try and corral a load of horseflies to do their bidding but I think they’re gonna be bitten as much as their intended target.

Plus, it just looks like Twitter is taking the side of the TERFs and not trans people and that’s just a bad look, yes it is.

MOBILE GAMING

So if you follow me on Twitter, you see that I occasionally post stuff about Final Fantasy Brave Exvius, which is a mobile game I have been playing every day for 3 years, but recently I have also started playing Gems of War, which is a match 3 puzzle game with “combat” elements and whatnot, and it all started because of that one world quest in Nazjatar, which made me go “I wanna play more of this type of stuff!” and now look at me, living my dream.

And yes, there is a panda character you can have on your team, and no he’s not combat ready yet, BUT HE WILL BE. PANDAS FOREVER!

COUGHS AND SNEEZES SPREAD DISEASES

I’m so sorry body, I never appreciated you properly when you were healthy and well, and now that I am ill (it’s typical man flu stuff, don’t worry) I see the error of my ways and I promise when I return to health, I will treat you better, with the love and respect you deserve!

lol as if, bring on the cake!

PUMPKIN SPICE SEASON, BITCHES

I have had many PSL this joyous spooky season, and so I feel comfortable giving you a ranking of them.

  1. Coffee #1! Do you want cinnamon on top? Why yes I do and don’t stop shaking. I wanna be circa 2012 in this bitch, with my own cinnamon challenge.
  2. Starbucks! I actually had a PSL from there days before they were officially released, as I have a Starbucks Card, and Starbucks Card holders got exclusive early access to the PSL so get on my level, trashbag.
  3. Costa! Except they call it “bonfire spice” but it’s basically the same thing, just call it as it is ffs.
  4. The PSL my bf got me from his office coffee shop that one time! He works for the Welsh Government, and they have an outsourced canteen and coffee shop, and the latter has seasonal drinks, so he got one at the end of his work day and carried it home on the train for me because he is wonderful and I love and appreciate him endlessly.
  5. Greggs! Seriously I saw her pump like 6 squirts of PS into my PSL and it STILL tasted faintly like someone whispered cinnamon into a cup of coffee.

Hey, just sell them all year round please. Also, Tim Hortons you need to get IN on this, holy hell. I’m spending so much money on places that are not you right now because you just don’t do a PSL. I want a PSL with timbits! You’d be number one easy!

THAT WOW LIFE

Still enjoying retail WoW. Still messing around with Porcelaine. She’s not max level yet, but she IS Heritage Armour level!

Panda Steve, Bazel Buster

So there I was, wantonly poking my lance at a Radobaan (phrasing?), when there was a sudden change. I heard it before I saw it; the usual theme tune that plays when you engage a monster in the Rotten Vale was different. More bombastic, more dramatic, more reminiscent of… World War 2? And then they dropped; large black scales began to litter the floor, and down he came, crashing upon us!

Yes, Bazelgeuse is the bane of my existence in Monster Hunter World, and yet I can’t help but have a respect for him. He’s strategic! He flies in the air and blankets the ground with explosive scales, then sets them off, hoping to catch you in the blast! He engages you when you’re in combat already with something else, thus distracted enough to be an easier target! So pragmatic! But he’s not a coward either; he’s more than willing to stand his ground in a fight, and he wins every time (barring Deviljho, though even then he inflicts significant damage, enough to consider it more a draw than anything).

Well, every time, until now. For I, Panda Steve, have slain my first Bazelgeuse and turned his remains into a gunlance!

Look at it! It even looks like Bazelgeuse himself, my lord and saviour, my dearly beloved, my triumph and my tragedy.

Classic?

Yeah I gave Classic WoW a go, and I just couldn’t be bothered. The lack of Pandaren was an obvious turn-off (how did I even survive before Mists? I just don’t know), and in the end, it was the feeling that it was all very unnecessary that did it for me. You may praise the Classic community for being, well, a community, but what’s stopping you from doing that in Retail as well? What is stopping you from talking to people in Retail, addressing the groups you get in, greeting people, generally being nice to others?

I’ll tell you what’s stopping you. YOU ARE. Because you’re a bit of a dick, let’s be honest, and while your rose-tinted glasses are fetching and SO FASHION, eventually they will come off and you’ll remember that everything is awful.

What’s that rock?

Hey, was this scale always h-

SHORTS WEATHER

It’s mid-September and I am still mooching around in shorts and t-shirts. This is despite the fact that, even now, a month after my holiday, my legs still look like I’ve been stubbing cigarettes out on them, courtesy of all the French insects that bit me incessantly.

Insect repellent spray did NOT work. Attracted more, if anything. I found that lighting several citronella tea lights and arraying them about myself vaguely in the shape of a pentagram that I sat in the middle of was the best course of action. Terribly impractical though, and did necessitate sitting on the floor, and who wants to do that when there’s a perfectly adequate sofa nearby?

Anyway insects can go fuck themselves.

BAZEL

Darling It’s Better Down Where It’s Wetter

TAKE IT FROM MEEEEEEEEEE

So we’ve been traipsing around Nazjatar and Mechagon since the end of June now, helping fish people, jumping on jellyfish, camping for rare spawns that drop mounts, and other general shenanigans, but what have we learned so far?

TIMELESS ISLE-STYLE CONTENT IS FUN!

The last main content patch of Mists of Pandaria brought the Timeless Isle for us to play with, and honestly if we hadn’t had to spend half a million years there it might have been remembered slightly more fondly. Yet, that was possibly one of the best pieces of content (in a patch that brought us a brilliant raid and the flex raiding mode) in one of the best expansions to date. Freeform, exploratory content, with places to go, things to collect, rares to kill and methods of gearing up not just yourself but alts too. The closest we’ve had to that since is Mechagon and Nazjatar. Argus and Tanaan Jungle were lacking that special something (I think it might be “colours other than fel green”) but these two zones we have now are just so fun to roam around in!

PLATFORMING SUCKS

I hated it in Spires of Arak. I hated it when the Kirin Tor tried to make a game of it. I hate it now in northern Nazjatar. Sorry little jellyfish, but you’re gonna have to fucking stay up there.

PUZZLES DO NOT SUCK

Wow what a wise tweet from a wise man, everyone should go follow him like right now or something.

RAIDING IS FUN

The Eternal Palace is, so far, a bloody fantastic raid. Okay, the Blackwater Behemoth is a bit of a boring dud, and Za’qul is a horribly complicated (but fun!) mess of a fight, but honestly it’s one of the best raids they’ve released! The sound effect for Dribbling Ichor on the Orgozoa fight is absolutely horrifying though. Makes me feel all odd and not in a good way.

Best boss: Lady Ashvane, mainly because it’s satisfying to finally bring her down after she’s plagued us all expansion.
Worst boss: Blackwater Behemoth, because YAWN.
Fishiest boss: Azshara, obvs.
Deja vu boss: Radiance of Azshara. Didn’t we kill you in Legion? Go away!

ROGUES LOOK COOL

Look at how Fujikomine throws those dice! Watch her only get one buff, and the worst possible one!

MM, THE WAY TO GO

Having been a warlock for part of the expansion, I changed mains to my hunter, and I was MM for a while, until having to dance around Bwonsamdi broke my poor little brain and I went BM because EVERYTHING CAST WHEN MOVE. Now I feel comfortable going back to MM in Azshara’s house, and I’m having a whale of a time.

Thanks to having 2 on-use trinkets AND an Azerite ability, I have like 10 buttons I need to press on a regular basis too.

1, 2, 3 and 4 are main rotational abilities, 5 is my Azerite ability, 6 is a trinket, 7 and A4 are defensives, R is my AoE, M5 is a once per fight dealio, A1 and A2 are cooldowns, A3 is another trinket and M4 makes me fly backwards. I use all of these quite a lot.

And they said MM was a 2 button spec. Damn.

DARK IRON DWARVES LOOK HELLA COOL

Fuckin’ look at her!

To All The Teams I Managed Before

I’ve been playing Football Manager 2019 a lot recently, because I love a game that’s basically a spreadsheet and databases!

I’ve been playing this sort of game for over 20 years now, all the way back to the Championship Manager 3 days, and I remember quite a lot of the teams I played as! I’d often do random choice and let the game decide where I go and what I do, and curiously this led to me following the IRL versions of the teams too, to see if they replicate the success (or failures!) that I had when in the hot seat!

So with that in mind, here’s some of the teams I’ve managed before:

Rochdale (England, currently League One)

Back in the Champ Man 3 days, this was the first team I took control of. A friend and I were doing a 2 player game, and they picked Torquay, while I picked a random Third Division team so I could be in the same league as them, which ended up being Rochdale (though looking up the 98/99 season, it could have potentially been Brighton or Cardiff, present day Premier League teams!). I was 13 at the time, and my statistical know-how and tactical mind was not fully developed, and we both ended up getting our respective teams relegated. Huzzah!

Also horrified to learn that because of a sponsorship deal, the Rochdale stadium Spotland is not named Spotland anymore, but the Crown Oil Arena. Yuck!

Arsenal (England, currently Premier League)

LMA Manager was the first console-based football manager game I played, back on the PS One, and I wanted to take control of a team that was already a powerhouse because I was a glory-seeking arsehole. In a topsy-turvy simulated world, one of the seasons I finished top, but Manchester United, often my biggest rival, ended up finishing 16th, because all their good players just got poached by me, Liverpool and (weirdly) QPR.

Odense Boldklub (Denmark, currently Superliga)

This one I played on Football Manager Handheld on the PSP, and again was a consequence of the random selection feature. Odense were the perennial mid table team, in a league dominated by FC Copenhagen, and Brøndby IF. In the 14 seasons I played as them, we won 13 league titles in a row, the Danish Cup 11 times, and never progressed beyond the Champions League group stages. Also FCK and BIF started to become mid table teams themselves, as Odense, Nordsjælland and Midtjylland vied for superiority!

I do like to check up on them every so often, because of my success as them in the game, and I’m always pleased to see them keep on keeping on. especially when I see this:

SUCK IT, MIDTJYLLAND.

Newcastle Jets (Australia, currently A-League)

Did you know that Australia, despite being in the continent of Oceania, do not play continental football with other Oceanic leagues, but in the Asian leagues? This is because the Australian Football Association grew frustrated with FIFA’s reluctance to give Oceania an automatic qualifier spot for the World Cup (the winner of the Oceanic World Cup qualifiers win A CHANCE TO QUALIFY for the World Cup by playing one of the lower placed teams from a different continent) which damages their qualification hopes, so they applied to join the Asian Confederation, as that was geographically close by, and had at least 4 automatic qualifying spots (technically they have 4.5, with the .5 being a possibility from the aforementioned intercontinental match between lower placed teams; North America, South America and Oceania also have x.5 qualifying spots, but Oceania has 0.5 meaning it’s the only football-playing continent that could theoretically not have a representative at the World Cup Finals), and the other Oceanic teams welcomed this as it gave more of them a chance to qualify for the World Cup themselves, because Australia were too dominant down there.

Anyway, a random selection picked the Newcastle Jets for me one time, and I did fairly well as them. Won 1 title, got absolutely smashed in the Asian Champions League by the Japanese and South Korean teams, faded into mid-table obscurity.

FC St Pauli (Germany, currently Bundesliga 2)

Now this one was not a random pick. I first learned about FC St. Pauli a few years ago, when a football magazine I read (Four Four Two) did a feature on them and their fanbase. It’s a club that is very specifically associated with left wing politics, and both club and fans are staunchly anti homophobia, anti fascist, anti-racist. They’re more well known and supported around the world than even most Bundesliga teams!

At the time of the rise of decidedly right-wing hooliganism among Hamburger SV fans in the 70’s and 80’s, left-wingers from the city (including former HSV fans!) flocked to St. Pauli (the other Hamburg-based team) to oppose them. St Pauli was the part of Hamburg that had a large proportion of punk residents, it had the country’s largest red light district, it was where the entertainment was found, and soon the area and the football club became so interconnected that you can’t really separate the two!

They are of course not the only left-wing football club, but they are probably the most famous of all of them.


Anyway they’re my most recent game in FM19, and we’ve won 10 in a row so we’re doing pretty well.

Salisbury City FC (England, currently A DIFFERENT TEAM!)

Before I moved to Cardiff, Salisbury, home of a nice cathedral and also Novichok, was my local team. They were also riding quite high in the football ladder, sitting in the then Vanarama Premier. Unpaid debts then led to their expulsion from the National League, but they reformed the following season as Salisbury FC (dropping City from the name), and they now play in the Evo-Stik Southern League Premier Division South, which is a heck of a mouthful.

Anyway, when I took control of them, we made it all the way to the Championship, where I kept getting cockblocked in my attempts to reach the Premier League every season in the playoffs by the two Welsh teams, who spent the majority of their time alternating between getting promoted then relegated each season, and thusly kept beating me in the playoffs EVERY DAMN SEASON.

Fuck you Cardiff and Swansea.

Bolton Wanderers (England, currently League One)

Yeah we got relegated again in real life.

Do you know why I support Bolton Wanderers, despite hailing from Wiltshire and never having been to Bolton? It’s because I’m a dick. You see, years ago I went to school. as did most children, and one of my friends was a Blackburn Rovers fan. He mentioned that he considered Bolton to be their main rivals, and so I, as a Junior Troll Dickhead In Training, decided that I would support them out of (friendly!) spite. Possibly the earliest form of “MAD BANTZ!” I’ve ever participated in.

Anyway, that banter support ended up turning into genuine support as even when I moved away to Cornwall, I was still interested in how Bolton were doing, and I would cheer for them without it being in spite of someone else, and that’s how I accidentally became a football fan.

I mean I liked football before that anyway, but I just liked the spectacle of it all, I had never supported a specific team up until that point.

In FM19 Bolton news though, I am doing very well, though we have just dipped into the red financially, so maybe Fake Bolton will share the same fate as Real Bolton? Fuckin’ hope not!

ALTER MANN

Last month I turned 33, which in gay years means I’m basically this old:

You sort of hit that the moment you turn 20 though (seriously at the age of 21, way back when, I was asked “don’t you think you’re too old to go gay clubbing now?” by a friend and honestly I’ve never felt more offended), and every year adds a new wrinkle. 33 has brought with it the concern that I will throw my back out every time I sneeze (which I have done twice in the last week and am currently suffering from today. Hayfever was an annoyance in my youth; today flowers are liable to kill me) and grey hairs that I have finally LOCATED and will be DYEING to COVER them UP at the earliest CONVENIENCE.

I’m also trying to convince the boyfriend that when he picks up his glasses from Asda Opticians, he should ask for “my new spectacles” and put the stress on a different syllable every time he says it.

specTAcles!

But this blog isn’t about me griping (actually it can be, it’s my blog and I can write whatever I like), it’s about VIDEO GAMES and let me tell you I have played some VIDEO GAMES recently.

World of Warcraft!

  • Officially ahead of the curve! Bring it on Azshara, you tentacle witch!
  • Speaking of tentacles, Fuhai still has the gift of N’Zoth, because he is our master and he will bring deliverance to all.
  • YRR N’LYETH, SHUUL ANAGG!
  • *clears throat*
  • Honestly I’ve been logging in for raids and little else recently. I still love the game, but I’ve been dipping my toe into other games too recently, like…

Disgaea 5 Complete!

I’ve owned it for two weeks and I’ve sunk so much time into it. I had it on the PS4, traded it in after I finished the story and some of the postgame, and really regretted it because I missed out on SO much stuff. It’s a wonderful game because you can take characters that have stats like this at the start of the game:

And through the use of levelling, stat boosts, subclass mastering and whatnot, give them stats that look more like this:

Yes, those stats are in the TENS OF MILLIONS, and I’m not even halfway to the stat cap (99,999,999 for everything bar HP which can go to 99,999,999,999! NINETY NINE BILLION!). Disgaea takes grinding as a concept and dials it up to 11. You level up characters, you level up your items, you get stronger and stronger and stronger until you overcome the ultimate challenge, Baal (who is the ultimate challenge in like every Disgaea game so this is not a spoiler).

Disgaea 5, of course, turns the Baal fight up to 11 too by not just pitting you against a single Baal, but MULTIPLE of him. It’s ridiculous and I love it. It’s a far cry from Disgaea 1 where he was “just” level 4000 and there was “just” one of him.

Football Manager 2019!

Bolton Wanderers in real life have had a disastrous season, given that they had to forfeit their last game because their playing staff went on strike due to going unpaid for months, the administrators have been called in, the ownership saga is full of messy drama, and they start next season in League One with -12 points. Fantastic!

Bolton Wanderers in Football Manager 2019, as managed by me, are top of the Championship, are in good financial health, and our next game is in the Carabao Cup vs Chelsea, which I will totally not save scum until I get a victory, honest.

Oops my fingers slipped and pressed ALT+F4, sorry about that.

Gosh, these last two games have basically been spreadsheets in colourful formats haven’t they? But what can I say, I love number-crunching games!

Tweedle-Doo North, Tweedle-Doo South

What did the pumpkin say out his halloween mouth?

Druids: Turns out they’re not so shite

So hey, I’m playing World of Warcraft, and as you know it’s patch 8.1.5 and that brought with it some trolls or whatever, but also CHUNKY BOYS.

And in strange news, all it took for me to like druids was for me to not have to be an elf or go through the Gilneas start zone, who knew? Also it needed a chunky boy who, in the wise words of one of my guildies, “looks like they rushed out of a European sex dungeon” which did make me laugh.

So yes. Still playing the hunter, still stubbornly marksman spec, even in the face of a fight like Rastakhan where there’s so many big balls running around the place that the movement would be REALLY helpful. Typical I go from an immobile turret to a class that’s the exact opposite, but then pick the spec that still needs to stand still all the time.

(not my image, it’s from https://www.instagram.com/p/BtJ3NJ8BOFB/) (I was just showing you the MAD BALLS OF DEATH)

But the druid? Actually rather fun. Feral, to me, plays like an assassination rogue, with the combo points and the bleeds and the building and finishing, whereas balance (where I’ve spent most of my time as I can glyph it so my fabulous transmog is visible to the world) plays like a cross between shadow priest/affliction warlock (maintain dots!) and, idk, mage or something (throw out magic stuffs!). I’ve not played as guardian or restoration because I value my sanity and calm, tranquil moods. Seriously, for all the reputation healers have as kind, loving, nurturing types, I don’t half feel ABSOLUTE BURNING RAGE when I play one and people keep messing around.

GET OUT OF THE FUCKING FIRE, GODDAMN

In non WoW-related stuff, I’m curious about the announcement that Dwarf Fortress is coming to Steam, and I’m contemplating playing the original (with a graphics set that makes it pleasing to my eyes) a little bit in the meantime, to see if I can get to grips with it. I hear it’s very imposing to learn, which seems like a laugh. Also that you’re basically doomed to fail from the get go, and it’s just an exercise to see how long you can put off your glorious (or shameful!) failure. Sounds like my kinda jam!

mmm, impenetrable

Anyway, it’s back to the level grind. I’m level 67, I need to get a wiggle on.

We cannot wait for the day we get to make our transmog be only a pair of pants