Fishing in MMOs

My favorite part of most of the MMOs that I’ve played was fishing. A lot of people would probably find it boring, but I thought it was a great way to relax. Later, I even listened to audiobooks while watching for the line to bob. It was a great way to remain focused on the present moment and what I was listening to. Or, sometimes I would just enjoy the ambient music in the game.

Somewhere, in Final Fantasy IX

I first fished in Final Fantasy XI. A Japanese player named Tsubakichi “adopted” me and gave me a fishing rod and bait and taught me to cook bait to use for fishing. My first fishing hole was a small pond in Ronfaure, I think it was called, outside Sandoria.

Something about the quietness of it is calming, especially if the zone you’re in has great ambient music, followed by a small thrill when you get a catch, wondering what RNG decided to put on your line.

Evening Star 08/06/2015 01:40:30

I also did a lot of fishing in FFXIV prior to Heavensward. I even had the special fishing rods and stuff from achievements. I think I lost track of fishing because I got caught up in the level grind that was part of the expansion. I think the fact that there were so many daily grinds in the game that there was no time to do anything fun was what caused me to stop wanting to play the game. Well, that and real life commitments. It’s harder to keep up with level and gear grinds when you have other responsibilities.

I suppose that’s the bigger issue, and I kind of wish there was an MMO where if you wanted to be a fisher main, or crafter main, you could actually do that without having to level up a combat job as well. With FFXIV, you have to level up a combat job and progress through certain parts of the main story so that you can do gathering or crafting jobs in relevant zones. It’s a bit of a drag if that’s not what you’re interested in.

It has been over a decade since I played Ultima Online, but from what I remember, the game didn’t have levels in the way that modern MMOs do, and it was entirely possible to just run around gathering stuff all the time. Maybe that’s looking back through rose colored glasses. I don’t know, but I just wish I could find a game that suited my interests again.

Dark Age of Camelot – The Trials of Atlantis, Bard Class character
I don’t even remember what that spell was, but I remember always thinking it was super cool.

Most combat jobs in MMOs are boring anyway. The last time I really enjoyed a combat class was in Dark Age of Camelot. I played a Bard. The implementation of the Bard as a mesmerizer, stunner, and stat regenerator, along with actual music being played was amazing. It just somehow really suited my tastes and capabilities.

I’m playing Fallout 76 now and there isn’t any fishing in the game. I’m not sure that I’d want to go fishing in Appalachia, though. Who knows what irradiated monstrosities I’d dredge up.

Somewhere in a post-nuclear holocaust, irradiated Appalachia

Getting Fallout 76 to work on Kubuntu 21.04

Look at that terrible FPS

Ok. I managed to get #Fallout76 working on Kubuntu 21.04. My laptop has an Nvidia GTX 970M, so the performance was abysmal, but at least I know it can be done.

I had to install Glorious Eggroll Proton 6-16-GE-1, Nvidia driver 418.211.00, and then rename some files. I had some issues getting Kubuntu to recognize the Nvidia drivers (they weren’t showing up in driver manager) and after a few attempts to manually install drivers using the CLI, I somehow broke the Nvidia drivers entirely and most of what should be showing in nvidia-settings was missing. When I went to driver manager, all of the options, which were previously grayed out, were available, so I picked one and partway through it told me that there was an error and gave me a CLI command to run to manually configure the nvidia drivers. Something like sudo dpkg –config -a, but I don’t recall for sure.

During that process, Konsole popped up a screen that guided me through creating a new UEFI password that required a reboot. After that, I thought I was set but Fallout 76 was still booting to a black screen. I was able to get Fallout 4 to boot, but not Fallout 76.

Apparently, even with Nvidia set to performance only mode, which should have the laptop using the Nvidia card all the time, Fallout 76 was trying to use the #Intel drivers and leaving me with a black screen on launch.

So, I had to do the following to stop Fallout 76 from using the Intel drivers:

sudo mv /usr/share/vulkan/icd.d/intel_icd.x86_64.json /usr/share/vulkan/icd.d/intel_icd.x86_64.json.disabled

sudo mv /usr/share/vulkan/icd.d/intel_icd.i686.json /usr/share/vulkan/icd.d/intel_icd.i686.json.disabled

Source for Intel driver fix above: Proton Github Valve Software Moderator kisak-valve

I guess I’ll have to switch those back before trying to put the laptop back into #Nvidia on-demand or Intel power saving mode.

Now I just have to think about whether there’s anything else stopping me from installing #Kubuntu or some other version of #Linux on my desktop and dumping Windows entirely.

Also, after messing around with this for a few days, I’ve realized that I don’t even really like #KDE. It’s kind of annoying, even if it probably is the best option for my laptop.

If you accidentally deleted your Fallout76 account by unlinking…

Then there’s a really simple way to fix it.

Two weeks ago, I realized that I had two Bethesda accounts. My Steam account was linked to one and my Xbox account was linked to another. I needed to consolidate them so that I could switch from playing Fallout 76 on Xbox for PC to Steam. The Xbox app turned into an extra layer of aggravation that I just didn’t need, both because of how it hides the game files from GeForce Experience and because trying to get the game files to update was always a hassle.

Somehow, the Bethesda rep unlinked my Xbox account instead of my Steam account, causing my Fallout 76 game progress, character, etc. to just disappear into the ether. I was pretty upset about the lost time and financial investment and wound up having a back-and-forth conversation with Bethesda reps that lasted a few days.

Long story short, restoring the account information was as simple as re-linking my Xbox account back to the same Bethesda account. Then, everything worked like usual.

I was able to get my Steam account unlinked from the other account and added to the same account as the Xbox account and essentially transfer my game progress and characters from Xbox Game Pass for PC to Steam.

So, problem solved! I can go back to eradicating the Scorched plague.

“Blessed are the children for they will inherit a scorched earth.”

Bethesda accidentally deleted my Fallout 76 account

Update: I was able to fix the problem and regain access to my character and progress. Here’s how.

I had a conversation with #Bethesda Support about unlinking my Xbox Live account and ended the conversation with telling them directly not to do it because they told me it would result in loss of characters/progress/etc. in #Fallout76.


I asked them to unlink my Steam account from a secondary Bethesda account instead so I could transfer that over. (The ultimate point being that I would start playing Fallout 76 through Steam instead of Windows Store).


Can you guess which account they unlinked anyway?


Almost 150 hours of time invested. $130 of Fallout 1st, extra atoms, character, items, progression, all gone. Just like that.


If they don’t restore it, I guess I’m done playing Fallout 76. I’m not reinvesting all of that time. I don’t have that kind of time to waste redoing the same things.

“Goblin Slayer” anime

Goblin Slayer about to slay some goblins.

This was an excellent anime adaptation of the #manga. I was really surprised that they didn’t tone down the violence much, and I’m really looking forward to watching “Goblin’s Crown”.

The vibe of this anime really reminds me of #Claymore, but it’s not as serious and has less depth, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes it’s fun to watch characters who are predictable.

I’m going to rewatch Claymore soon and see if it’s as good as I remember.

Solving no audio after loading into a Fallout 76 game

I have a set of Bose QC25 headphones that I converted into Bluetooth headphones by attaching a Btunes adapter. This worked fine on my laptop, but when I started using a new desktop I ran into an issue where, after clicking through the start menu, the audio would cut out shortly after loading into the game. I solved this in two steps.

First, I started looking at the settings and did some searching around online and I thought the problem might be that the device only had 1 channel 16 bit output available. I couldn’t change it because the option was grayed out, so I figured it had something to do with the drivers. After reinstalling Windows, I never did go back and reinstall all of the drivers that came with my motherboard because I no longer had the installation disc and everything seemed to be working ok.

So, I went to the MSI website and downloaded the latest Realtek Universal HD driver for my motherboard, the MSI Mag B550m Mortar. Once installed, the headphones registered as two separate devices. One was a stereo output and the other was a “hands free” device that registered as an output and an input. I figured this was the microphone input.

I disabled the device registering as “hands free” input and also set Windows to “do nothing” (not lower the volume) when a “chat” was detected. Then, I tried to run Fallout 76 again, but I still had the issue with the audio cutting out. Even worse, the game started to hang and wouldn’t close properly. This clued me in that the issue was probably related to the microphone, so I started the game again and checked the audio settings. I turned off push to talk and started flipping through the chat settings (area, team, etc.) to see if there was an “off” option, but there wasn’t. However, for about 2 seconds after changing the chat mode the game audio would come back.

I looked at the Windows taskbar while the game was running and noticed a microphone icon in the bottom right. Fallout 76 was accessing the microphone even though I had disabled the only microphone device available. This was probably why the game was hanging and crashing on shutdown. I tapped the Windows key to open Windows Search and typed “microphone” and selected the option for “microphone privacy settings”. I went down the list and flipped Fallout 76 to “off”.

The next time I started the game, the problem was solved. There’s just some weird conflict between Fallout 76 and the Bluetooth adapter on my headphones, I guess.

Short answer:

  1. Make sure you have the most up to date Realtek Universal HD Driver from your motherboard manufacturer’s website installed
  2. Revoke Fallout 76’s microphone access in the “Microphone privacy settings” menu

Now that the audio issue is fixed, the next time I have a chance to play, I’ll actually be able to play.

Sunday Cycling

People enjoying the day at Bethesda Fountain in Central Park, New York City

It’s been quite a while since I’ve gone out riding on my bicycle. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, we basically resolved to stay home as much as possible, like most people did, I imagine. After a few months, we managed to get an indoor stationary bicycle, but it just isn’t the same experience as going out and riding around other people.

Check out my activity on Strava: https://strava.app.link/7kNEokWlhjb

Yesterday, I literally knocked the dust off of my bicycle, pulled the bike rack out of the trunk of our SUV, and went down to Central Park. My wife went with me, but she’s more of a jogger than a cyclist, and she wanted to go for a run. She’s got a few marathons under her belt, which is pretty cool, so she ran and I rode, and we met up later to get take out for dinner.

Riding around the park, I saw that there were people everywhere. It’s still not as crowded as it used to be, mostly I think because there aren’t as many tourists around. But, there were a lot of joggers, casual and serious cyclists, walkers, sunbathers, and sight seers.

People boating in The Central Park Lake

When I was done with my ride, I spent some time by Bethesda Fountain. There was a woman giving an opera performance in the covered area below the roadway. By the fountain there was a public dance class. There were artists painting pictures of the scenery and some painting pictures of people for money.

It was really nice to see the city coming back to life again. Central Park was really depressing during the pandemic the few times we went because it was so empty. It felt dead. I didn’t even mind the smell of the horses as I rode around the southern loop of West Dr. and Center Dr.

Trying out Fallout 76

(Somewhat) fresh out the Vault.

I got burned out playing Destiny 2. I hit the wall when they had the power weapons requirement as part of the last Iron Banner quest. It forces people to abandon the game mode and fight over a power weapon ammo spawn that happens once every few minutes instead, 3-4 times a match, tops. It just stopped being fun.

A few days later I noticed that they had auto completed that step in the questline for all players, but by that point I had already stopped to consider whether I was even having fun with Destiny 2 anymore and the answer was no, not really.

I used to love Destiny 2 for the PvP, but now there are so many hackers in PvP matches now that the game mode just isn’t worth playing anymore. It’s ironic that you can’t play Destiny 2 on Linux because of their anti-cheat implementation when that implementation doesn’t catch or prevent any cheating. They seem to rely heavily on user reports, but I’ve never even received a response to a report, so I doubt that it’s effective.

I guess I could do the non-PvP content, but it gets repetitive. The Glykon is interesting, but it’s just too much in one go. If I could load back into it where I left off it would have been better, but the first time through took a few hours and subsequent runs are also a little time intensive considering that you can’t step away and finish it up later.

Also, there really isn’t a core story backbone with Destiny 2 that you can fall back on. There’s no solid lore or narrative. The way the game has been managed with content vaulting and being able to do multiple expansion storylines at the same time, there’s no clear sense of progression through a narrative. At least with most MMOs, you’re experiencing a coherent storyline so even when the content gets a little stale you have something to think about and look forward to, but that doesn’t exist with Destiny 2, so I started looking at other games.

I really love the Elder Scrolls and I really love The Elder Scrolls online, or at least the idea of it, but I hate the combat system. It seems to be completely depending on stacking damage over time attacks and it doesn’t seem well put together. So, as much as I want to play it, I just can’t. I want to enjoy a fight, not sit and watch timers to make sure I’ve reapplied skills. Instead, I figured I’d try another franchise by Bethesda: Fallout, and in particular, Fallout 76, the online multiplayer game.

It just so happens that it’s available on Xbox Game Pass so I can play it for “free”. So far, I’m really enjoying the game’s aesthetic. I love post-apocalyptic shows and stories, so post-nuclear Red Scare America is a wonderful world to explore. The items in the game all have a weird 50s / 60s look.

The learning curve is pretty steep, and I feel like there could be more explanation for certain game mechanics like the hunger/thirst system, C.A.M.P. building, and how setting up your Perk cards works, but I’m figuring things out as I go along.

I’m hoping that when I finish the storyline there will be plenty of engaging things to do still and there are a lot of menu items and modes that suggest that will be the case, but I don’t want to ruin the game for myself looking up strategy guides, min/max builds, etc., so I’m just going to play through it and see where it goes.

I’m not even sure what that is supposed to be. Some sort of mutant dolphin?

Google Stadia test run with Destiny 2

At this point, the challenges of finding gaming hardware is pretty common knowledge, whether it be consoles or graphics cards. Last year, people were having issues finding the Nintendo Switch in stock. Now, you can’t find an Xbox Series X or PS5 to save your life. A graphics card either. At least, not at MSRP. There are plenty being sold for 3-4x the price on reseller sites, which is obscene.

Anyway, I didn’t realize how bad things were but I figured I’d make the best of the situation and give Stadia a whirl. It streams games to your computer screen, TV, or phone, and it’s supposed to be high quality so I thought it might be a nice alternative. Maybe even something to stick with when hardware shortages end, even.

Signing up for Stadia was pretty quick. Since it’s a Google product I just ran through a few screens linking my Google account to my Stadia account, chose what to share and what not to share on the platform (games/achievements/online status/etc), linked my Bungie account and Stadia account, hit play on Destiny 2 and there I was.

A few quick things I noticed are:

  • The video quality is surprisingly poor. My GeForce 970M renders the graphics better.
  • The controls are better than I expected but I can feel the latency drag.
  • I couldn’t access in-game chat in Destiny 2 or see anyone on my Clan Roster except for one guy, so I’m thinking there’s a weird hang-up where Clan interaction is platform specific. I still had my Clan banner and received Clan bonuses, though.
  • The actual Stadia interface and enabling a livestream are not difficult to use, but the menus aren’t very intuitive either.
  • Stadia will work in Microsoft Edge, but it doesn’t perform well.
  • When you open Stadia in Chrome, look for a + icon in the address bar. You can turn the website into a web app and pin it to your taskbar.

Here are two videos I created of Destiny 2 gameplay on Stadia:

Stadia gameplay footage of a Vanguard Strike called The Shadow Keep
Completing a public event on Europa

Connection

Connection speeds are pretty important with something like Stadia. I have a 300/30 connection with low latency. We regularly watch 4k on a 53″ UHD TV with no problems. So, I can’t imagine that negatively impacted my experience.

Summary

Long story short, I can’t see myself paying for games with missing functionality (like the in-game chat) that I probably already own on Steam to stream them at lower quality than my laptop can produce. I don’t actually need to game on my phone that badly.

With a $9.99 per month fee for Pro, which doesn’t seem to offer anything worthwhile at this point (the free monthly games are all low quality except maybe Hitman and a Tomb Raider title), I can’t see keeping Stadia past the free trial. I’m not really clear on the pricing, but some games are tagged “Pro”, so it makes me think I have to pay for the sub and still pay for the game and if I cancel my sub I lose the game?

For Stadia to be worthwhile, the library of available games would have to be bigger. For the subscription to work, it would have to be like Netflix. Bump up the price a bit and allow people to play what they want as much as they want. Right now, if you catch games on sale on Steam you can build your library at a reasonable price and not have to worry about the technical issues that can come with streaming games.

Stadia right now feels like something you would use in an emergency if your regular gaming system broke and you needed some time to get new parts or a new console.

Making Bread at Home

I guess we’re late to the party on this one since making bread at home was popular last year, but we decided to get an automatic bread maker to use at home. I guess it makes more sense now since there aren’t huge flour shortages. I’d have been pretty disappointed if we bought a bread maker but couldn’t get flour.

The machine arrived yesterday and I decided to use it right away. I was too excited to wait so I was up late making bread. Or rather, watching the machine make bread. It’s bizarrely easy. I was worried about the results because of some of the reviews on the product page but I had zero issues even with using oat milk instead of cow milk. I think people were just using poor quality flour or yeast and expecting miracles.

A freshly baked 1-lb loaf of “basic white bread” made using the Cuisinart CBK110P1 automatic bread maker

The texture of the bread is thick like “artisan” bread you buy from the deli/bakery in the grocery store and not spongey like pre-packed bread in the bread aisle. It was thick, heavy, and slightly chewy. On the medium setting, the crust was firm without being hard on the teeth. I’m not sure I’d want to use the darker setting.

Most importantly, it tasted good. It tasted real. The basic white bread loaf seems like it would be best with butter, jam, or dipped in soup. I’m going to give the sandwich bread recipe a try.

This machine will also just knead and manage the rising of the dough for you so all you have to worry about is shaping and baking. It will even make pizza dough and pretzels.

I’ve wanted to make my own bread and do more baking. This takes the hard work out of it and lets me just have fun while making clean, better quality bread at home.

The only thing I found really odd is that today the product page is missing from Amazon. I wonder why? It’s still listed on Cuisinart’s own site.