Archive | September 2013

Concurrent Quests

If you are anything like me, I bet you also have several games going at once. Come on, admit it! I started a few during Whacking Day, because hardly any eggs were coming my way. So I decided to become my own egg-buddy, and started new games. Worked like a charm, I got every prize, including all the snake boxes. Wasn’t really worth the effort, but you take everything you can get from EA.

One of my B-games is level 34 by now, but way behind with the quests. And since Whacking Day they don’t come one after the other, but somehow everything runs concurrently. This means, I am constantly scrambling for cash, because there are always three or four buildings to build.

Just now I am running the Agnes Skinner quest, the Fat Tony quest, Herman’s Military Antiques quest. I just built Wolfcastle’s Villa, so his quest line is just starting, and after the Villa was done, I got prompted for the Cops quest and the Rod & Todd quest at the same time. For everyone who’s counted: that’s 6 different quest lines from 6 different levels at the same time. Not to mention Krustyland, which is running alongside as well. No wonder I lose track sometimes and don’t know if I’m coming or going 😉

Inside this game, I sort of dread the upcoming Halloween event, because that in all likelihood will add another quest line to follow. If it is coming this week, I won’t be able to finish any of the currently running ones. And apart from that, I will be going on holiday next week, which means I will have even less time for the game and will probably miss the first two weeks of TSTO’s Halloween. Let’s hope there is reception in the Alps. Although I am quite sure that my husband will confiscate all electronic devices during the trip. How medieval…

One more update: I was just tapping along, placing the SWAT van and unlocking Eddie and Lou, when Lisa asked me to build the High School – quest line number seven! And if I count KL as well, it’s nine! Not going to be bored any time soon 🙂

Unnnhh: seven plus one is eight, not nine, silly!

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Donuts! Hmmm…

Yesterday I hit another bonus level after 35, and instead of one level up message I got two – both times with the chance to win donuts. Ended up with six instead of three. Although I have spent money on donuts in the past, every little bit helps. Especially since EA makes it so hard for us to earn free donuts. I have never met a freemium game other than TSTO that is so stingy with their premium currency. Usually there is at least a chance to get the premium items for free as well if you put a little bit of effort into it. Not so in TSTO. All the limited time premium items are way to expensive and available too short a time to have even the glimmer of a chance to earn them the hard way.

I am lucky enough to have a generous entertainment budget so I can afford to buy a few donuts, but there are a lot of people out there who can’t. And my beef with EA is not that donuts are too hard to earn, but nigh on impossible to earn. Only when you are top-level and also have a high multiplier (i.e. already have a lot of premium items) and earn a lot of in-game cash and XP you can hope to hit the bonus levels on a regular basis. And even then – three donuts really don’t make much of a dent into most of the premium items. What’s up with the price hike? Long gone are the days when you could get a new character for 30 donuts. At the moment there is hardly any building and/or character below 100 donuts. I dread what Halloween will bring. Knowing myself, I will pay up anyway, even if it is with a grim expression on my face…

Rant over now, all I meant to say really was that I am happy to have won six donuts from a level up instead of three 😉

The Game Outside “The Game”

Today started with a Bart Screen again, this time with a longish message about maintenance because people had trouble logging on – whatever. I was deprived of my morning-fix of TSTO. But there are more levels to the game than just The Game. At least to me. Apart from playing, I also spend quite a lot of time with keeping records of all sort of stuff. By now, I have an extensive Excel spreadsheet which is growing daily. There are lists of decorations, buildings, characters, tasks; one dedicated to land expansions. I record every measurement possible: cost of item, size, rewards, what level it unlocks on, what task is needed to unlock, and everything else you can think of. The problem by now is that there is so much information from so many levels, events, limited time sales, and now Krustyland, too, it starts to get confusing.

I will start on redesigning my spreadsheet, to make it clearer to understand. For example, there are loads of one time tasks on the character spreadsheet. Now the decision is, do I start creating special spreadsheets per event / level, or do I go by character? One Homer spreadsheet, one for Lisa, one for Marge… It would also make sense to group everything by update; Level 35, 4th of July, Whacking Day etc. Can’t quite decide at the moment, both ideas will take a large number of new spreadsheets. I think I might try the latter approach for now. If that doesn’t work out I can always try the other way.

Another way to extend The Game is of course surfing the net. I am flabbergasted at how many people put information out about TSTO. The number of blogs dedicated to TSTO is mind-boggling. Small wonder the number of Internet Addicts is on the rise. I am one, too…

Halloween pt. 2

Completely aside from the game: Halloween is not a holiday celebrated much in Germany, it is a holiday that came over here only with American movies and TV. In the cities, Halloween parties are quite common theses days, but out in the country people mostly don’t celebrate it, they stick with traditional holidays. There are a number of festivities similar to Halloween, but on other days of the year.

First, there is Walpurgisnacht – the night before May 1st – which is associated with witches. That night, huge bonfires are lit and people dress up in “witchy” clothes and dance around the fire. Well, at least they are standing around the fire drinking beer… In some regions, it is a night to play pranks, especially things like stealing the maypole from a neighboring village. No treats are involved, though, only tricks.

Another similar event is on Dec 6th, St. Nicholas Day. Children dress up and go from door to door collecting treats. However, treats are given in exchange for little performances, like singing a song or reciting a poem, and there is no retaliation if people refuse.

Halloween for me is a purely virtual holiday, celebrated in Springfield, USA. I will relish it nevertheless 🙂

Halloween

It’s that time of the year again, and speculations about TSTO’s Halloween event are popping up everywhere. Last year’s was nothing short of spectacular, but in the meantime people have been treated to all kind of events and updates, so expectations couldn’t get higher. In my opinion, it is a miracle if EA can satisfy those expectations. The more you expect, the more you can be disappointed. Earlier this year this happened to me a few times. Rumors of upcoming content got me all excited, and it never was as good as expected, and never came at the predicted time. Huge disappointment on my part, even though, in hindsight, everything was perfectly fine.

I decided I wouldn’t fall in that trap any more. I am happily and ignorantly looking forward to the Halloween event, without getting my hopes up for either content or delivery dates. There is nothing nicer than being surprised by a completely unannounced event, like 4th of July for example. Nobody expected that, and yet most people enjoyed it. My theory: they enjoyed it all the more because there were no expectations to thwart.

For now, I am just playing out the Patty & Selma quest, without hurry, without the need to accumulate as much money as possible for the event – which actually might not even come. But I guess then EA developers will by drawn and quartered 😉

Under the Boardwalk

Yesterday I started my first Boardwalk piece that takes 60h to make – 2 1/2 days! What especially gets my hackles up is the half day. I usually only play in the evenings, meaning it’s more like 3 days for me. For the design I have in mind right now, I will need at least another 12 tiles. This adds up to over a month of waiting time, especially if I don’t start the next one immediately after the old one is finished.

Even in the beginning it was slow going, but I was perfectly content with a rate of one tile a day. When that went up it got tedious very soon. At the moment, I don’t work much on Squidport, because I am always getting angry about the lack of room. So for now I will just be collecting tiles, and start seriously working on it around Christmas. That gives me about three more month to collect tiles, hopefully that will be enough for something nice. I am rather curious what Squidport will look like in the snow, though. Will they turn of the Boardwalk Fountain? And maybe close the whole thing down? What about the Boardwalk Performers? Will they get winter clothes or do they retire during the winter?

There still is a lot to look forward to regarding Squidport. I am still hoping they will add more buildings, maybe something more amusement arcade-like, not so many shops. But first I have to get on those tiles. I really dread what will happen if EA decides to release more tiles – one month for production, costing a million bucks…

The Buddha of Suburbia

For the first time ever (and I have been playing since last December) I got a Homer Buddha in my weekly Mystery Box. I was so stoked! I left it in my inventory and looked at it for a while before I broke it open. It gave me a green dumpster – not the greatest price, I never understood why a different color makes a premium item out of a cash item…

Anyhow, any premium item for free is nothing to sneeze at, but I caught myself wishing that I could use the Homer Buddha as a decoration in my Springfield instead. It would fit in so well with the Buddhist Temple!