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.

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.

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.

Things to be grateful for 4/26 – 5/1

So, last week was pretty low key. That in itself is something to be grateful for given the circumstances. We’re still in one of the worst outbreak areas of COVID-19 in the world and no one in my family has gotten sick yet, thankfully. I’m a little concerned about how things are going to go with that. We’ve been having warmer weather so more people are congregating and other States are relaxing restrictions already even though they’re still on the upswing of the outbreak.

Some highlights for this week:

  • After many months, our cast iron skillet is finally developing a significant non-stick layer. We’ve baked chicken in the skillet with good results and also made filet mignon (stovetop + oven) that turned out amazing.
  • The filet mignon. We hadn’t had any since last year.
  • Got a lot of work done on last year’s taxes. I should be done with them by this weekend.
  • Got to actually binge watch a series for the first time in a few years. We found a show called “Into the Night” on Netflix that was really good. It has a lot of edge of your seat suspense that kept us reaching for the “Next Episode” button.
  • We finally found out when our stimulus deposit will hit our account.

Sitting at home all the time, I’m not doing a lot that’s exciting. I was thinking the other day that I haven’t posted anything to Instagram in a while because I haven’t been out to see anything that I felt was worth posting. But I’ve been using the time to read more, study foreign languages more, and to try to finish video games that I bought years ago and never got through.

For example, I’m about 60% of the way through “Grand Theft Auto V”. I bought the game about 7 years ago, got about 37% of the way through it and never finished it. I’m having a lot of fun watching Michael and Trevor’s bromance unfold.

Things to be grateful for 4/19 – 4/25

Dapper relaxing on the table

1. Our cats are still happy and healthy.

April 21st, 2020 tornado warning alert for the Bronx, New York City

2. We did not get wrecked by a tornado on Tuesday.

IRS “Get My Payment” tool success message

3. We finally stopped getting the “Payment Status Not Available” error and were able to enter our direct deposit information with the IRS for the stimulus deposits.

4. I talked to our ISP and got an upgrade from 100 Mbs to 300 Mbs and we’re paying $20 less a month than before. The price is locked in for two years. I’m not even sure what to do with all of that bandwidth. It might be my imagination, but streamed shows on Netflix seem to be clearer.

5. We have our health. Based on symptoms posted online, we think we probably had mild cases of COVID-19 in February. We were both experiencing the same weird symptoms at the same time, like both having weird lower back pain, muscle aches, fatigue, etc. Our social circle includes someone who had recently traveled to Hubei Province in China. I guess things could have been a lot worse for us. We’re still doing fine, though, even though we know quite a few people who aren’t.

6. I rediscovered and am having fun with some PS4 games I haven’t played in about 6 years. I never even finished GTA V and I haven’t finished the cop story in Need For Speed Rivals.

7. I’ve been seeing a lot online about mental health issues during this crisis. I was thinking about that a few days ago, wondering how being stuck inside is complicating the usual rise in mental health problems during the winter months. It’s already so gray, cold, and depressing outside and now we can’t even go outside. It felt great to just open the windows yesterday and I’m enjoying walking around in crowds in GTA V. LOL. Anyway, staying strong mentally.

Ordinary men hate solitude. But the master makes use of it, embracing his aloneness, realizing he is one with the whole universe.

Lao Tzu

My First FarmVille Card

A $10 FarmVille card.

Oh yes, I’m serious.  I didn’t buy this.  It was given to me as a gift.  I did certainly use it though.

You see, I’m in Georgia right now visiting relatives and I’m staying at my aunt’s house.  My mother, aunt and aunt’s mother are all FarmVille addicts.  After a few nights of laying around just surfing the net as usual, I got caught up in their constant chatter about the game.  I used to play FarmVille, over a year ago, but gave up on it as too boring.

There have apparently been some big changes since then, including bakeries, wineries and spas, as well as cooperative crop growing with benefits, all of which have done nothing but make the game far more social, and in a way, more obligatory.  It locks people in and makes them feel like they’re required to keep playing for their friends’ sakes.  It makes good sense, from a business perspective.  It snagged my attention because I used to really enjoy crafting (weird, but I did) in MMOs like UO, DAoC, FFXI and WoW.  Before I knew it I was loading up the game to see what they were talking about.

While I was overseas I heard a lot about how FarmVille was taking off, and how people were dropping real cash on FarmVille items via these cards.  I laughed it off, but now here I am with FarmVille running in full swing and 110 Farm Cash (about 20 real dollars) worth the virtual currency loaded into the thing.  Granted, I haven’t put any of my own money into it…yet.  My mom and aunt seem to think of it as an investment towards their further enjoyment of the game, but I’m probably going to be hard pressed not to grab one of these off a shelf myself sometime in the near future, after checking to make sure no one is looking first of course.

It’s oddly addictive, and yet pleasantly casual with no massive demands on my time.  Well, not too much anyway.  And what’s even more odd is that more real cash has gone into my game during the last week than I ever put out for any mainstream MMO monthly subscription.  Zynga really does have a cash cow on its hands here.

Now, whether I continue to keep up with FarmVille after I get back to NYC and start working again is up for debate, but for now… I have to go check on my grapes.