Recipe Corner: Spring Strawberry Avocado Salad
Apr07

Recipe Corner: Spring Strawberry Avocado Salad

I’m pretty sure I’ve posted a recipe here before. I realize it has nothing to do with games, but one of my other hobbies is cooking and it brings me great joy, possibly even more than video games. When I’m stressed out or sad or bored, there are few things better at lifting my spirits than a day of calm, meditative cooking.

So anyway, it’s strawberry season here in North America, and that means it’s time for my favorite salad ever. I easily eat this 3 days a week while it’s in season, and I never get tired of it. It takes a bit of elbow grease to prepare, but it actually gets better with time and can be made a few hours before serving.

Spring Strawberry Avocado Salad
Serves 1 as a meal, 2 as a side

Strawberry Avocado Salad

Ingredients
1 pint of strawberries
1 Haas avocado (on the firm end of ripeness)
1/4 of a red onion
2-4 hot peppers (I use fresno peppers)
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1 lime, juiced
2 tablespoons of sugar
a sprinkling of salt
an optional sprinkling of crushed red pepper flakes if you like SPICY

Preparation

Chop everything! I usually do the strawberries in large bite sizes and everything else in equal smaller size.

Juice the lime over the chopped stuff. Add the sugar and salt and stir it all together.

That’s it! Let it sit in the fridge for at least 20 minutes before serving so the flavors have a chance to mingle. Stir again before serving.

This salad is amazing with seafood like salmon or prawns, or pork cutlets.

How to Create and Use a Claim Flag in Landmark
Apr05

How to Create and Use a Claim Flag in Landmark

** This information is correct as of the Closed Beta in April 2014 **

There are currently no tutorials in the Closed Beta stage of Landmark, and while that makes sense from a development perspective it’s also kind of confusing for new players. So behold: step by step instructions on how to create your first claim flag as a newbie in Landmark.

Stage One: Crafting a Copper Pick

Landmark copper pick recipe

1. Claim flags require “Tier 2″ materials, so first we have to upgrade your pick. Run out into the wilderness and look for rust colored patches on the ground, usually around mountains or foothills. Start digging by hitting “1” on your keyboard to activate your Stone Pick and then pressing and holding the left mouse button over some copper. Copper patches will not only give you Copper Ore (obvs) but also the random rare drop Elemental Copper. Mine until you get 1000 Copper Ore and 10 Elemental Copper. (Hit “i” on your keyboard and then click on the materials tab to see your inventory.)

2. Tree chopping time! Find some trees. Hit “2” on your keyboard to activate your Stone Axe and then press and hold the left mouse button over a tree. Chop it down all the way. Keep going until you have 25 pieces of “Heartwood”, a random rare drop from all trees.

3. Next you need a desert biome. If you spawned in one to begin with (do you see a lot of sand?) then skip to the next step. Otherwise, head back to the portal where you started (hit “m” to see the map). Click on the floaty blue stone in the center of the portal, and select Dune. You are now on the Dune island!

4. Run around a look for a patch on the ground that is bright orange — something similar but much brighter than copper’s rust color. That is Agate, and you need 20 of them.

5. Head back to the portal and click on the Forge crafting station.

6. Craft all of your Copper Ore into Copper Ingots.

7. Craft a Copper Pick and equip it. Hooray, Stage One complete!

Stage Two: Crafting a Claim Flag

Landmark Claim Flag Recipe

1. Go click on the blue stone in the middle of the Portal and select any zone that says “(Tier 2)” after the name.

2. Mine iron — it’s in locations similar to copper, but has a dark blue tint. You need 7 Elemental Iron, which is a random rare drop like Elemental Copper.

3. Mine Aquamarine. It looks like a very bright blue version of Iron. You need 10 Aquamarine.

4. Head back to the portal, and click on the mill crafting station. Craft a claim flag. Easy cakes, Stage Two complete!

Stage Three: Using your Claim Flag

Landmark House Claim

Whoever built this is way better at Landmark than I am.

1. This is the step that can take a while: find a place you like. Take your time, travel to all of the islands (any Tier) and see what kinds of biomes there are. Look at the map and make sure you have “Display available claims” checked at the top. Any area with a red overlay is not available.

2. Once you are standing in a spot you like, right click on the Claim Flag in your inventory. Landmark will ask you to click on a map where you’d like your claim flag. If the square outline is blue, you’re good to click!

3. Congratulations, land owner! Now pay up! Hit “u” on your keyboard right away. This is where you pay for your claim. The price as of writing this is 300 copper ore per day, and you can bank up to 5 days of copper (1500). If you don’t pay your 300 copper ore you’ll lose your claim. The first day is paid for you.

Friday Five: favorite MMO boss fights
Apr04

Friday Five: favorite MMO boss fights

I’ve been kind of psyching myself out of posting lately by thinking that whatever topic I have in mind is “not serious enough” or “ugh, enough about WoW already Liore”. I mean, that is clearly silly because at the end of the day it’s my blog and I’ll write if I want to, and honestly I don’t think any of you delightful readers care that much, but there you have it.

So anyway, here is a lovely fluffy post for Friday about five of my favorite boss fights in MMOs! Listed in no particular order.

(That’s right, no talk of the Warlords of Draenor alpha notes that came out yesterday evening. I haven’t even read them, to be honest. I just have a hard time being too concerned about changes 6-8 months before a game launches, plus I enjoy being a little ignorant about WoW things now. I will smell the flowers once they bloom, and until then I ain’t gonna worry about it.)

Archimonde – WoW
As will quickly become apparent, two things I love in my boss fights are movement and teamwork, and the Archimonde fight had both in spades. Players had to avoid Doomfires, and be ready to click their tears when they got shot up into the sky by Air Burst (wheee!). It’s also a fight where a single person’s death can wipe the raid (even more than usual), so coordination was critical. And even beyond all that, the setting was cinematic and Archimonde himself was satisfyingly gigantic.

volan

Volan – RIFT
Despite my misgivings about the Storm Legion expansion in general, I have to give props to Trion for this showpiece of an encounter. Volan is technically a world boss, although he’s associated with a regular daily event. He is huge — like, really really huge — and spawns by bursting out of the side of a mountain. Often there would be 80+ players in the fight using jump pads to leap through the air, or manning giant cannons, or occasionally even jumping on Volan’s head. I would love to see more MMOs invest in cinematic world bosses!

Sartharion with 3 dragons – WoW
The cool thing about the Sartharion encounter was that you could adjust the difficulty by killing up to 3 of her henchdragons before engaging. Choosing to engage her without killing any was known as Sarth 3D, and it was in its day one of the most difficult fights ever in WoW. There were multiple tanks, and clouds of whelps, and portals to spirit worlds, and occasionally even gigantic waves of lava that everyone had to dodge. This fight required crazy amounts of coordination, felt amazing to complete, and rewarded a rare dragon mount.

Soa, The Infernal One – SWTOR
My time raiding in SWTOR was brief, but this fight stood out for one big reason: jumping. After phase 1, the floor of the room you were in collapsed and the raid had to simultaneously fight robot minions AND slowly hop down to the underfloor by jumping on debris that was stuck to the walls. Unfortunately the fight was frequently buggy back in the day, but when it worked it was really great.

mimiron

Mimiron Hard Mode – WoW
This fight, my friends, is my favorite fight ever in an MMO. It is amazing, right from the very moment you push the giant red Do Not Push button to start the fight. There is fire — oh, so much fire — and organized cooldowns and multiple tanks and robots. There is Mimiron himself, taunting the raid in a very sassy fashion. And did I mention the fire? This fight is all movement and controlled chaos and it is never, ever not fun.

Making Gold in WoW: 2014 so far
Apr03

Making Gold in WoW: 2014 so far

As I’ve mentioned before one of the things I love to do in MMOs is use the auction house to make my fortune. There are a few reasons for this — I genuinely enjoy activities that might require spreadsheets, and as someone who budgets fiercely in real life I like being a shopaholic in my games.

At the same time, I’m kind of lazy. Daily quests are a total drag, and farming seems like a lot of effort for little return. I don’t have the time or dedication to play the undercut game 8 times a day on super volatile markets. Instead I have focused my efforts on two things: flipping transmog gear and selling top shelf glyphs.

(Nothing I say below will be surprising for experienced gold makers!)

Flipping Transmog Gear

Transmog gear is a huge market. Huuuuuuge. It seems like most players don’t keep tabs on AH price history (probably not surprising) and will happily post all the green items in their bag for a couple of gold a piece.

Now, dear reader, I will impart upon you the one thing that will let you generate hundreds if not thousands of gold every day. Are you ready? Get a pen! …. It’s this link, only for your own server and faction. Buy cheap things, flip at average market price. That’s it!

Tips: Transmog is all about cosmetics, so don’t buy deals that you can’t see, like necklaces and trinkets. Also I don’t buy level 90 epics even if they’re on the deal page because the market history is just too unstable for that kind of investment.

Tip #2: The more a pair of pants looks like a thong, the more someone will pay for them.

Results: When there is good stuff to snap up, you will make the big bucks. Unfortunately some days everyone has priced their stuff correctly (jerks!) so your inventory levels will vary.

Top Shelf Glyphs

Players can make gold by the wheelbarrow load by dominating the bulk glyph business, but that requires a considerable amount of time and effort. Instead, I prefer to just focus on the biggest and most profitable glyphs. Every time I use the auction house I do a quick scan for cheap herbs (usually less than 50% of the average market price according to TSM) and mail them off to my monk.

Then every few days I log her on and turn all herbs into dust and all dust into inks. I use TSM to identify glyphs where I will make at least 50 gold over crafting cost, and queue up one of each. Craft, mail to my AH bot, done.

Results: My glypher is only level 60 and so doesn’t know many of the high level recipes yet, but I still make roughly 500 gold a day from this.

The overall result of the above two gold-making methods is about 8-10 hours of effort each month for 30,000 gold.

Shopping!

Of course the best part of making fake game money is spending it, baby! Back in January I bought a Onyx Panther and it has quickly become the mount I use the most. There’s just something really pleasing in a tactile way about it — I’m not sure if it’s the way it moves or responsiveness, but the mount feels fun to ride.

picture from WoWHead

picture from WoWHead

After that I saved my gold for three months to buy a certain someone a Grand Expedition Yak for their birthday. If you haven’t had the opportunity to see one up close yet (they are sold by a Grummle vendor for 106,000 gold), it’s a pretty amazing mount. It comes with nice graphical touches like a parasol and a lucky cat statue, along with a reforger and a vendor NPC who can be thrown off in favor of carrying around two friends. The vendor even sells Tomes of the Clear Mind for a few silver a piece, which is much better than the 8-10g you’d spend on the AH.

I may get one myself in the future, but right now I’m focused on building back up the coffers and throwing gold at levelling up engineering and inscription on alts.

Cat Context 48: The Games That Influenced Us
Apr02

Cat Context 48: The Games That Influenced Us

cat-context-vertical

This week Liore, Arolaide, and Ellyndrial sit down to talk about the games that influenced us as gamers and as people.

From the first games we ever played to the ones we played for hours, from games we learned on our own or played with loved ones, it’s undeniable that games have shaped our lives. Each of us talk about five games on our own influential list, from consoles titles to a certain MMO.

Also, what we’ve been playing lately, including The Binding of Isaac, Spelunky, and more adventures with Orangelady in SWTOR.

Like to watch? This podcast has a livestreamed video version:

If you enjoyed this podcast, please “Like” or “Favorite” it in your media consumption method of choice! It makes us feel nice.

* The article on TAGN that inspired this episode.
* Free Music Archive page for our theme, in THE crowd by The Years

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