Quick Look – The Eternal Cylinder Beta

I can only assume the reason I hadn’t heard about The Eternal Cylinder until the day before yesterday is because it looks to be yet another Epic store exclusive title. I’m still in a weird space with the Epic Game Store; I don’t mind picking up their freebies, and I’d consider buying a game from them if I could purchase it at the Humble Store, since I already trust them with my payment information. However, it’d have to really be something I just couldn’t wait to play, because it’s rare I play anything during the first year it’s out anyway.

Still, when I received a beta invite for The Eternal Cylinder, I had no qualms about activating it and downloading it to try out. Not only is it absolutely gorgeous, if you’re into that alien, vaguely creepy vibe, it ticks off a whole lot of my favorite boxes. Exploration and puzzle solving, avoiding predators instead of engaging in combat, and gathering items to enable your creatures to evolve.

There’s a distinct post-apocalyptic vibe here – the game starts when you hatch, and you’re immediately running from a giant rolling cylinder that’s crushing absolutely everything in its path. You’re so small, and it’s so big, and it is honestly a terrifying enemy, and one you can’t do anything but run away from. I definitely ran into some issues early on with not understanding what the game was asking me to do, resulting in getting squashed beneath that giant rolling doom, but once I overcame that hurdle, I was absolutely fascinated with the world I found myself in.

The directions were fine, but my reading comprehension was lacking a bit.

I liked the way that the game teaches you how to play it by making you play, but I also felt a little rushed, trying desperately to find the next thing and just keep moving. Which I suppose is the best way to survive, when you’re a small creature who doesn’t understand their world and can’t fight back. Some of the creatures will eat you if they catch you, but it’s also not terribly difficult to avoid them either. You will find other Trebhum to add to your little family, and you can change between them as necessary to have different active evolutions. There are also places where you can upgrade your group, assuming you’ve been hunting down the required materials to do so.

I spent about an hour and a half in game, and I suspect that wasn’t even halfway through the teaching areas. The current beta runs through March 25th, and I’d like to take another dive into it, this time, taking things a lot slower and exploring more of the environment instead of just pushing through to the next story point. I’m definitely going to keep my eye on this one – I’m not sure how well the conceit will hold up over a lengthy game, but so far, it’s really enjoyable, and moreover, it’s got a damn interesting concept. What is the cylinder? What is happening to this world? And what can a little Trebhum, just hatched, be able to do about it all?

Nerd Girl Goals – March 2021 (#WayForwardMarch)

GAMING

Play to Satisfaction

For me, saying “Play to Satisfaction” gives me explicit permission to drop a game that’s not working for me, but also to grind away for nerd points if I’m really loving something. I’m trying to make it a policy for myself that I will always play to satisfaction – no more, no less.

Subscription MMO – World of Warcraft (Retail)

Sure, we might see 9.0.5 before the month is over, but I’m going in to March with the attitude that it’s ok if I basically want to raid log for the month. While I’m not quite ready to throw in the towel, I’ve been struggling the find the fun for a bit, and in order to get back to a place where I’m enjoying most of my playtime, I need to break the habit of doing chores for very little reward. It’s been formally announced now that unlocking Shadowlands flying on one character will unlock it for the entire account, so I plan to keep up with Krikket’s renown, and stop worrying so much about my other characters.

I’m not really all that great at playing MMOs casually, but I’d like to give it a whirl for a little bit.

Community Game-Along – #WayForwardMarch

I had every intention of skipping this month – I’m not at all familiar with WayForward Games, and a quick glance didn’t show me anything I was overly interested in. However, I did a search through my Steam library, and realized that I picked up a copy of Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse somewhere, and I decided I’d at least put an hour or two into it. Plenty of games have surprised me in the past; maybe this one will as well!

Subscription Game Service – XBox GamePass for PC

I probably won’t get around to re-subbing and playing The Medium again this month, but I figure if I keep carrying the goal forward until I do get around to it, at least I won’t forget! However, since the March Humble Choice is going to feature Control as one of its headliners, I’ll end up playing my own copy of that one – I just can’t even begin to guess when.

Other Games

I think that leaves me with the most potential time for this category of any month in recent memory, and in typical fashion, I expect I’m going to over-schedule and under-deliver. The weather is starting to break here, and there’s quite a bit of real life stuff I’ve put off waiting for the snow to melt away, so I may not have quite as much time as I think I will for gaming.

I briefly alluded to this is my February In Review post, but I’ve started a not-so-small challenge project. I’m going to try to get gold medals on all the Chef-for-Hire levels on Cook, Serve, Delicious! 2. I had assumed there would be an achievement for this, but I checked it out and … there isn’t. There is, however, an achievement for getting gold on all levels on a single restaurant, and then one for 6 and 15 different ones, so I’ll have some checkpoints built in.

I had also fully intended to participate in #LoveYourBacklog month last month, but I never did get around to it. However, I’d like to jump into #MaybeInMarch and re-install Bastion, which has been in my Steam library since December of 2011. I’ve started it a couple of time, but I don’t feel like I’ve ever given it a fair shake. It’s a fairly short game – HowLongToBeat says it takes about 6 hours to finish the main story, so it’s not like it’s a huge undertaking. I’ve heard nothing but good things about this game; I’m not sure why it hasn’t managed to hold my attention.

I expect I’ll be able to finish up the main story of Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth this month as well. I mostly play for a bit before bed each night, but I have also played a little in docked mode on the living room TV. I actually think I like handheld mode better! I’ve already finished the first 15 chapters, and even if I do need to take some grinding time to level things up, finishing up the last five this month feels very doable.

Finally, the Magic: Legends open beta is scheduled to start on March 23. I’ve been interested in this one since it was announced, and I am very much looking forward to trying it out later this month.

And who knows, I may find myself unable to resist the siren song of Valheim – it feels like absolutely everyone is playing it, and I am definitely intrigued, although I fear it’ll prove too difficult to really be much fun for me.

In Review – February 2021

The World of Warcraft burn-out phase has begun in earnest; I’m down around 80 hours from last month, and it likely would have been more if I hadn’t spent a whole lot of time and energy leveling a healer for our alt raid. This past weekend, I did a few Mythic zeros with her, and since then, I’ve sort of forced myself to take a step back. It wasn’t an issue with the time I was spending (time is one of the few things I have plenty of), but the fact that I wasn’t enjoying much of it.

I have gotten far too comfortable with letting that be the structure in my life, and I would have been content to carry on that way for a bit longer, but it’s a lot harder to justify when I find myself dreading doing my virtual chores. This is the crux of my love-hate relationships with MMOs in general – when they’re fun, they’re really fun, and I really enjoy spending virtual time with friends. However, they’re built to make players feel a sense of obligation and a fear of falling behind, and I know I’m particularly susceptible to those influences, so I have to check in with myself often to make sure I’m doing something I want to do, and not something I feel like I have to do.

As a result, the tail end of February ended up being somewhat of a wasted week, because I couldn’t figure out what I wanted to do if I wasn’t playing World of Warcraft all the time. I still had our progression raid night, and I popped on a couple of times for very short periods, hoping to find a balance that will let me do the things I actually enjoy without feeling tethered to the game.

For #DatingSiMonth, I played Best Friend Forever and Kitty Powers’ Matchmaker, and I think I can confidently say that I’m just not mad for dating sims, and I think I’ve given them a fair shake at this point. Does that mean I’ll never play another? Probably not. They can be a fun little diversion (and I’m definitely more likely to seek out ones with some management or strategy elements, rather than pure visual novels), but romance stories aren’t really my bag in any form – I don’t read romance novels and I can’t think of more than a handful of rom-com movies I’ve really enjoyed. When #VNNovember rolls around, I’ll definitely be looking to play something a little bit darker.


Probably the thing that threw my month further off-plan than anything else was my acquisition of a Nintendo Switch. It was something I’d been toying with picking up for quite a while now, as I wasn’t sure it was something I would get enough use out of to make it worth the investment.

Well, on that point, I was absolutely wrong. My main concern was that I have absolutely zero Nintendo nostalgia – and first party Nintendo games are really the biggest pro to the Switch. I’ve dabbled in Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and I’m playing Animal Crossing: New Horizons super casually.

However, I’ve been playing Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth for over 30 hours over the past couple of weeks, and for me, this was pretty much the perfect game to get me comfortable with the system. I mostly don’t know what I’m doing, and the game isn’t great at explaining things. I was well into chapter 10 before I blundered into how to actually use all that equipment I’d been picking up. I am just now starting to get to Digimon battles that are challenging enough that I actually need to plan ahead and make sure I have the right ‘mons for the job. This probably means I’m just shy of the point that I’m going to go have to grind some levels somewhere, since I’ve been Digivolving my little friends pretty much willy nilly, but I’m pretty sure I’m okay with that.

And if I understand correctly, this is only the first part – once I beat the main story, there’s a second, DLC-style story. No regrets at all on dropping $30 on this one.

I’ve started checking DekuDeals a couple of times a day, and am very slowly building up a Switch library, mostly made up of things I am interested in, but unlikely to play on PC for one reason or another. I have grabbed a couple things that I already have in my Steam library (Cattails seems to be well suited for handheld play, and I’ve always meant to get back into Crashlands), but the console tax and my desire to pick mostly replayable titles is keeping me from going too crazy.


Otherwise, I pretty much just dabbled this month. Even the Steam Game Festival didn’t inspire me to check out a bunch of new things – obviously at this point, I am spoiled for choice, and I’m really feeling a bit overwhelmed when it comes to what I want to play next. I picked a couple new games, the first of which (Best Friend Forever), I bought knowing that I’d play right away. However, I did spend an hour or so with Dysmantle – I enjoyed it less than I expected to, but not enough less to return it. Since it’s an Early Access title, I am optimistic that some of the rough edges will get smoothed out with time. But if I’m being honest, I kind of regret grabbing that title instead of the Valheim, which seems to be the survival game that everyone is playing right now.

I’ve also started playing Cook, Serve, Delicious 2 again – from scratch, because I know I’m going to need to rebuild the muscle memory to do well at it. This will be at least my third restart, and I’d really like to work towards getting all the gold medals in the Chef for Hire restaurants this time around. If it becomes frustrating rather than satisfyingly challenging, I’ll likely drop it again, but it’s a goal to work towards that feels achievable.

Game Over – Best Friend Forever – #DatingSiMonth

Put dogs in something, and I’m going to at least be interested, if not immediately grabbing my wallet. So despite not being a huge fan of dating sims in general, I knew from the minute I first heard about Best Friend Forever, I’d need to give it a playthrough eventually. I played the demo during one of the Steam Game Festivals last summer, but I only got around to actually picking up the game a couple weeks ago.

Now, I read reviews before diving in, but logically, I would think that adding management aspects to a dating sim would increase the length. Not so here. A full play through took me just under two hours, and really, there wasn’t much I could have done differently to pad out that time. This is fine if you’re the type of person who replays dating sims multiple times to romance all the available characters, or to hunt for any bits of story the first play through might have denied you.

Unfortunately for me, picking a different dog to adopt holds more interest for me than pursuing a different romance route, and the dog choice is mostly cosmetic. The character I chose to date for my play through was the only one who felt right – in part due to my personal tastes, and in part, because there are only six characters to choose from! While I think it’s absolutely fantastic that you can choose your gender, and it doesn’t lock you out of any of the romance paths, none of the other characters really appealed to me, even if I were to disregard gender. It sounds like I’m complaining, and ok, I am, a little bit, but I was absolutely satisfied with the story route I chose. It was a great romance! There just … isn’t much left for me after playing the game through once.

For anyone hoping for deep management mechanics, you won’t find those here. Training your dog is simple, as is caring for them, once you figure out how the fiddly bits work. The interactable events during story blocks are a neat addition, but it really does amount to a bit of flavor. Now, it’s a flavor I like a lot, but there isn’t a whole lot of strategy going on here unless you’re chasing achievements or have your heart set on your new pooch graduating at the absolute top of his or her class. I’m sure it’s possible to fail puppy parenting classes, but I think you’d have to work a whole lot harder at that than you do at succeeding.

At first, you might think that motivation points are going to feel restrictive, but that wasn’t my experience – of course, I wasn’t feeling out different romanceable characters, so someone else might find it unpleasant not to be able to pursue every possible encounter. I appreciated that I needed to make choices, although the ability to spend time with everyone every week certainly would have increased the play time, but I think that would really be detrimental to the pacing.

My only other gripe would be the plot point you’re hit with after the second major event; I’m not sure what I was expecting as far as resolution for it, but it felt kind of cheap to toss in a moment of “bad things just happen sometimes” if it wasn’t a mystery that would end up being solved.

Best Friend Forever isn’t a perfect game, but it was a nice way to spend an evening. I likely won’t return to it unless it gets significant upgrades or DLC, so I’m glad I waited for a discount to pick it up. If you like dogs, dating sims, and a mostly light, fun story, I don’t know there’s much else out there that quite scratches this itch.

World of Warcraft – The Difference a Week Can Make

I have been procrastinating doing any more leveling in World of Warcraft because I am finding plenty to do with four characters at max level, and I just really haven’t been excited about the leveling process. However, after finding myself in a position to need to be a healer for our alt raid, and my only viable choice being my druid, which I’m really not enjoying, I set myself a challenge.

When I sent that tweet, my paladin was just shy of 51, having made the trek through the Maw intro, but otherwise, just hanging out in Oribos waiting for her turn. Since she was also pretty neglected through all of Battle for Azeroth, I enlisted some help from my husband to get her into some Shadowlands starting crafted gear, turned on Threads of Fate, and made my way out into the Shadowlands to melee DPS my way through a bunch of quests and bonus objectives.

Now, I played a lot that day, and for the next two, but I managed to hit 60 with her on Friday night, at which point I ran a solo-raid on the auction house for some crafted blues, and got ready to start the Covenant Campaign quest line slog and do a truly excessive amount of world quests.

I took Saturday off from the project, due to the aforementioned alt raid and just really needing a break. But now, one week later, I feel like I’m in pretty good shape.

I haven’t done much at all in the way of dungeons, but I’ve managed to heal my way through four Layer 8 Torghasts, and have a 210 legendary for my holy spec to show for that work. My convenant renown is at 18, which means a lot of catch up happened, but I’m holding onto my weekly renown quests until after I go on a mythic world tour later this week. My hope is that I’ll end up with enough renown to max out my covenant gear in any slots I don’t fill out doing Mythic Zeros and LFR. The one place I’m feeling really behind is in Conduits, but I’m optimistic that plowing through a whole bunch of dungeons will help with that as well.

Now, to be fair, for most folks, I do not recommend doing what I just did. It was definitely more hours tied to the game than I like to dedicate outside of the first week of a new expansion. That said, I was honestly surprised how fast everything is coming together – if someone needed to change mains in a hurry, it’s still a significant effort, but it’s not as bad as it has been in previous expansions. I expect my paladin’s item level will be comparable with my other alts before the next reset, and I’m far more comfortable with the style of healing she offers as compared to the druid.

Of course, this has set back the rest of my plans a bit – I still want to play through at least one more title for #DatingSiMonth, and I’ve been sneaking some late night gaming sessions with my new Nintendo Switch, but I definitely put a hard pause on my other hobbies during this period, including most of the blogosphere and social media time. It was a lot, but man, what a difference a week can make.

Game Over – Kitty Powers’ Matchmaker – #DatingSiMonth

It’s not too often that I spend over ten hours with a game that I have such mixed feelings about, but Kitty Powers’ Matchmaker was equal parts compelling and irritating, but I just kept going back to it. I won’t even get into all the things that – at least in my opinion – it gets totally wrong about dating. I really want to mostly look at it from a complete play-feel perspective.

Although I chose this to play for #DatingSiMonth, I was expecting it to be more of a management game, and in that, at least, I wasn’t disappointed. The management aspects were a little more complex than I think they strictly needed to be, but I suppose if you consider the fact that human compatibility is super complicated, it makes sense. Each person who walked into the dating agency was one of ten different “types”, with a job, three interests, three preferences (for gender, hair, and eye color), and had a set of five traits (each one selected from a pair of opposite traits), as well as an affluence level, guilty pleasure, and bad habit. Of course, the game didn’t throw all of this at you at once – thank goodness – but by the end, there was a lot to juggle, and despite having unlocked the entirety of the little black book, it often felt like there wasn’t a good match to be found.

I think that would have all been fine, though, except for the fact that a lot of the determination of whether or not you were ultimately successful was in the hands of luck. Quite a few of the mini-games were infinitely game-able (I admit to using my phone’s calculator to determine tip percentage a few times), but some were just plain random, even if you knew what result you wanted – and oftentimes, I had no idea what I should be crossing my fingers to hope for. One of the mini-games you might encounter on a date required you to guess if the next card drawn would be higher or lower – something I would have found irritating even if it wasn’t tied to an event about flatulence. I’m sure some folks would find it funny, but for me, it managed to be both frustrating and uncomfortable.

It took me just under 11 hours to go from the employee ID on the left to the one on the right, and although my level steadily increased, my reputation was all over the place as I failed to make good matches, sometimes due to my own questionable judgement, but more often because a mini-game went wrong, or the Love Handle wouldn’t give me the topics I wanted my clients to discuss. Several times, I was unsure if I made a mistake or if the tip given to me about horoscope compatibility was misleading – many times I was pretty sure I had made a good match, astrologically speaking, but that wasn’t at all how it played out.

To be fair, I didn’t really deep dive into all the available systems – I mostly chose to ignore the gifting mechanic, and I didn’t do too much with client makeovers. I did unlock all the agency upgrades for those mechanics, but they weren’t all that alluring, and cost money I preferred to use on more upgrades. I did not manage to unlock all the available restaurants while leveling, but other than requiring nicer restaurants for more affluent clients and satisfaction taking a hit if you sent the same couple on a second date to the same place, there really didn’t seem to be a whole lot of point to it.

I did enjoy the fact that, after matching a couple successfully, you’d get a letter from a previous client letting you know how it all worked out, but for me, it was mostly flavor, not really adding any new information to what I already knew about the clients when I paired them off. Sometimes I got lucky, and a match that shouldn’t have worked did, but when they later broke up, I took a small rep hit (although far less of one than I took when I was unable to match a client and they took their business elsewhere).

There is a new game plus mode, once you finish the campaign and complete the final challenge. You’re sent off to start a new agency, but you keep all your unlocks and your reputation. In fact, you’re going to see many of the same faces in your little black book, despite the conceit that you’ve set up shop in a new town. For me, there’s no real reason to keep on – I feel like I’ve seen the majority of the game had to offer on my first play through, and this isn’t one that’s going to inspire achievement hunting.

Overall, I enjoyed my time with Kitty Powers’ Matchmaker more than I did with the game I chose to play for last years #DatingSiMonth, but it also wasn’t enough to make me a fan of the genre. In fact, I definitely preferred the strategy and management aspects to the paper-thin story, but I definitely would have gotten more out of it if I was into the tone & humor of the game as well.

Nerd Girl Goals – February 2021

GAMING

Play to Satisfaction

For me, saying “Play to Satisfaction” gives me explicit permission to drop a game that’s not working for me, but also to grind away for nerd points if I’m really loving something. I’m trying to make it a policy for myself that I will always play to satisfaction – no more, no less.

Subscription MMO – World of Warcraft Retail

I expect that this will be an even slower month for World of Warcraft – I haven’t been all that into leveling more characters, and there’s less and less in Shadowlands I feel like I have to do. I’d like to keep up with renown on all four characters, and continue raiding Castle Nathria normal. I’ll work on anima collection when the world quests are worthwhile, and I’d like to keep cleaning up unfinished stuff from old expacs. It still sounds like a lot, but since I’m pretty much in a holding pattern outside of raid progression until the 9.1 patch, if I manage my time well, I could probably spend about 1/3 less time on WoW this month as I did last month and not feel like I’m missing out on anything.

I am also excited to check out BlizzConline, which takes place from February 19th and 20th, which will hopefully give us some insight into what comes next for Shadowlands.

Community Game Along – #DatingSiMonth

I picked up Kitty Powers: Matchmaker during the Steam Winter Sale with the intent of playing it this month for #DatingSiMonth. I’m not a huge fan of dating sims as a genre, but I love the idea of combining them with a management game, so I think I’ll enjoy this one.

I’ve also selected a couple “back up” games for the month from my library – Speed Dating for Ghosts, and Hustle Cat, in case either I don’t find myself enjoying my first choice, or I burn through it quickly and am looking for more!

Subscription Game Service – XBox Game Pass for PC

With the amount of MMO time I’ve been putting in, I haven’t paid much attention to the subscription gaming services in a few months. However, the end of January saw a couple of additions to XBox Game Pass for PC that I’m very much interested in, but probably wouldn’t actually buy. This month, I’m looking at trying out The Medium and Control, but honestly, I’ll be happy if I get around to one or the other. I’d be giddy if I manage to squeeze in both during the same month.

Other Games

I’m still struggling quite a bit with the controls on Hardspace: Shipbreaker, so I’d like to spend a few more hours with it this month until moving around starts to feel natural. I have no idea when to expect the next major patch, seeing as one just came out, but I’d like to be able to dive right into story mode when it does.

Looking over this now, there’s a lot here, and as per usual, I know I won’t get around to half of it. However, I do game a lot more during the winter months, when other hobbies seem so much less appealing, so maybe I’ll surprise myself.

In Review – January 2021

Another month gone by, and again, it was dominated by World of Warcraft. That said, I played a bit less than I did in December. I had predicted that my time would likely increase a bit as I spent time on alts and old content, but what I found in actuality was that when I didn’t have firm plans for my play time, I tended to wander off and play something else, or indulge in other hobbies. I’ve completed all four convenant campaign stories on the four characters I leveled initially, and I’m finding that I’m not really feeling a sense of urgency about catching up my other characters. I’m enjoying Shadowlands enough that I’m expecting I’ll keep subbing throughout (unless something changes majorly to detract from the fun I’m having), so I figure I have at least another 18 months to level alts. No reason at all to rush.


I manage to complete three different games during #PuzzleGameMonth for the Community Game-Along, although I did go completely off-script from what I had planned. I did try out Outer Wilds, but the combination of feeling like I just wasn’t getting the concept and the fact that I’m a goddamn awful spaceship pirate left me looking for something else, although I do expect I’ll revisit it at some point in the future.

Short games seemed to work best for me, as all three that I completed all took me around two hours to complete. Other puzzle games I dabbled in this month included Animated Puzzles, Peggle Nights, Munin, Simply Puzzles: Codewords, and Doodle God, but I wouldn’t say I made any significant progress in any of them.


I also added a couple of new games to the library which were impulse purchases, but in a surprising turn of events, they were impulse purchases which I proceeded to install and play!

The last time I had peeked at Amazing Cultivation Simulator, English wasn’t a supported language, and despite the fact that the game otherwise looked right up my alley, I figured not being able to read any of the text was going to be a deal-breaker. However, when the game launched version 1.0 last November, it came with English language support, so when I spotted it on sale, I knew I wanted to pick it up. Sure, I don’t need another massive time suck colony management game (especially since I haven’t even looked at Rimworld in around two years), but I just found the whole concept and art style so appealing. So far, I’ve only spent about half an hour with it, slowly making my way through its robust series of tutorials, but I imagine at some point in the not-so-distant future, this game will take a good chunk out of my gaming time.

My other impulse pick-up was Hardspace: Shipbreaker, which has fantastic reviews, despite still being in Early Access. I’d been keeping an eye out for a new low-commitment chill game, and breaking down derilict space ships to pay off massive amounts of crushing debt is actually fitting the bill. I am taking advantage of the easy mode while I get comfortable with the 3D movement and figuring out how everything fits together, but not being limited by shift length and oxygen drain really does make this game almost meditative. It’s something I will definitely poke at here and there until the release of the first chapter of story mode coming in the next major update, at which time I’ll likely shelve it until full release.


It’s been quite a while at this point since I was investing so much of my time into a single game over a period of months – even when I was playing ESO regularly, I wasn’t dedicating half this much raw play time. It has definitely made an impact on how much other stuff I’ve had time to play around with, but really, it mostly has gotten rid of the hours I was spending trying to figure out what I wanted to be doing.

I won’t lie – pandemic life has gotten really old, even for someone who is as introverted as I am, and mostly happy to stay home. Mostly, I feel like I’ve missed having a schedule, and MMO-life has brought a little bit of that back with scheduled guild events and weekly chore lists. It’s comforting having something that manages to be both new and familiar all at once.

World of Warcraft – Anima Conductor Treasures – Ranked by Covenant

I feel like most of the major pros and cons of the different convenants have been discussed to death, but I haven’t seen much talk about the Anima Conductors overall, and the treasures unlocked by the first level anima conductor in particular. Sure, even a terrible treasure is still treasure, but after having done all four covenant’s treasures many times, I’m prepared to rank them, from worst to best.

Number Four – Necrolords

As far as Anima Conductor treasures are concerned, Necrolords comes in dead last – and it’s not even close. The treasure is located in the House of the Chosen, which is full of hostile mobs. However, just getting there isn’t enough – it’s a Runebound Chest, so you have to clear all around it so you can deactivate the three runes before you can open it. This is the one treasure I don’t bother with most days – it takes far more time than it’s worth.

Number Three – Kyrian

This one is pretty awful as well, but the most awful part (having to fight your way through a mob-dense area to get there) is made better once you unlock the second tier of your Transport Network, which provides a portal exactly where you need to be. However, like all things Kyrian, you need to prove your worth by ringing a bell, which will silence you and slow your movement speed, and then maneuvering through moving patches of bad on the floor. Touching that blue ick will bring you back to the beginning and stun you for a second, so this can get frustrating. The debuff lasts for two minutes, which is plenty of time to get to the treasure itself, but limits you from just changing your mind and leaving. I quickly learned that if I ring the bell in ghost wolf, I get to stay that way, so the movement debuff is less noticable, but overall, the Kyrian treasure is pretty irritating.

Number Two – Night Fae

The Night Fae treasure is a Large Lunarlight Pod, which you may have encountered elsewhere in the zone. This one is right next to the flight path at Glitterfall Basin, and you won’t run into any hostile critters while looking for the Lunarlight Buds you need to light up to unlock it. Sure, it takes a minute or two to find them all, since they’re not always in exactly the same place, but with it being close to a flightpath and in a safe space, the worst you can say is that it’s a little tedious. As an added bonus, once you have the second level of the Queen’s Conservatory, this is a fairly regular source of catalysts, which is a nice bonus.

Number One – Venthyr

There’s a lot of things that are irritating and confounding about Revendreth, but thankfully, the Anima Conductor treasure is as easy as they come. Like the one in Ardenweld, it’s right near a flight path, and there are no hostiles between where you land and where you need to go. Once you click the tombstone, you just need to walk up the ghostly stones to the ghostly treasure chest. You do receive a debuff that doesn’t allow you to mount, and you are on a (very generous) timer, but although this may look like a jumping puzzle, it’s really a pretty simple walk. It also frequently gives almost as much anima as your average world quest, which is a great bonus.

Obviously, the ease of access and quality of Anima Conductor treasures is probably a worse reason to choose a covenant than fashion, but I thought this might help someone decide what to reinforce first on an alt. If you’re Venthyr, the treasure is quick and easy, and if you’re a Necrolord, well, you might be better off going after the rare.

Game Over – Hook – #PuzzleGameMonth

Over the years, I have amassed quite the collection of short, minimalist puzzle games which I load up once, play a handful of levels, and then proceed to forget about while I shop for more short, minimalist puzzle games. It’s a problem. However, I decided to see if I could actually finish one during #PuzzleGameMonth, and at only 50 levels, Hook seemed like it’d give me a pretty good chance at completion. In about 90 minutes, over a couple of evenings, I managed to finish all 50 levels, although more than once, I was sure the game had beaten me.

The concept is simple – click on the large black buttons to pull pins, until you have no pins left. The image above is one of the earlier puzzles, and it’s not too difficult to figure out the order of presses to make the pins come away smoothly. Press the button in the upper left, followed by the button on the right, and lastly, the one in the lower left.

But again, this is an early level.

As you progress, you’ll have more stuff to mess with in order to make things work. The image above is from a puzzle near the midgame. Still not terribly hard, but it’s starting to get complicated. Some levels have pieces that you need to rotate, some have pieces that send out a signal, and some have both. In the latter half of the game, you really have to think about every possible pathway. The game does eventually start giving you more than one mistake before it fully resets the level, but there were quite a few that took me several tries.

Hook has absolutely no story, no text, and you will need to learn from the game as you progress through it, but the puzzles are absolutely satisfying, and picking it up at full retail will likely give you at least an hour of puzzling for only a dollar. I’m glad I pulled this one out from the deeps of my library to play.