What I am playing/listening to/watching/reading/looking forward to for May 2018.

This post is gonna be a little more WoW specific than usual.

The Beta has been out for a bit now but I’ve been waiting for some changes to some of my classes I am considering to play in Battle for Azeroth, namely: Death Knight, Demon Hunter, Rogue, Warrior. The beta was recently updated and had some huge talent and ability changes for Death Knights. Before this update, I was seriously considering rerolling a new main for Battle for Azeroth because Death Knights were going to be more or less the same as they have been for the last few expansions and because none (zero, zilch, nada) of the Allied Races can be Death Knights, however, the recent update and changes/tweaks to the class is compelling enough to keep it as my main. It should be noted that I prefer playing DPS but I enjoy having the ability to tank dungeons, mythics, and mythic plus.

Check out this talent tree for Unholy and Blood.

For Unholy, Clawing Shadows on the level 56 tier is insane, it’s my go to talent for AOE with Death and Decay/Defile as well as single target that gives me an ability to attack from mid range other than spamming Death Coil. On the level 57 tier, I went with Pestilent Pustules because it’s more in-line with my play style, bursting festering wounds with clawing shadows and Apocalypse (now a baseline talent for Unholy!), however, Soul Reaper is an option as well for more of a Single Target. On the level 58 tier, all 3 option are pretty good, again I went with something more in-line with my play style, Bursting Sores but Ebon Fever is more fire and forget with consistent damage and Unholy Blight (ITS BACK!) gives a pretty nice AoE damage on a short 1 minute cooldown. I could easily go with any of those 3 talents, but I’d probably go with Bursting Sores for aoe/cleave and Unholy Blight if I needed on demand AoE. On the level 60 tier, I always go with Asphyxiate because stuns are overpowered and Stuns in general are being nerfed to fewer classes and specs in Battle for Azeroth. On the level 75 tier, My choice is always Wraith Walk because Death Knight mobility really, really sucks but the other choices on that tier have some use cases as well. On the level 90 tier, it seems this tier is the main AoE damage talents, I really don’t know what to go with here because Defile does not offer the mastery bonus anymore, Corpse Explosion really only can be used with Army of the Dead (now on a 8minute CD) and Apocalypse (which has a CD of 1.5minutes) and that means very limited usage, or very changed Epidemic talent (which will probably be the go to talent because you can use your runic power on AoE.) On the level 100 tier, the choice seems to be between Unholy Frenzy (now a 1.25 minute CD that grants 20% haste and causing auto-attacks to apply festering wounds) or Summon Gargoyle (RIP Valkyr.) I like the Gargoyle as a DPS CD and chose that for now but I still need to try out Unholy Frenzy in leveling, dungeons, and mythic plus. The preferred stats still looks like it’s gonna be haste and mastery.

I am enjoying the changes/tweaks to Unholy on the beta and I will probably main a DK in BFA. It feels like you can build an effective single target build with clawing shadows, soul reaper, ebon fever, defile, and unholy frenzy. So the class has options, instead of being what it is right now on live.

Blood is changed alot as well, with many talents being either adapted legendary gear effects or artifact abilities. Interesting changes and it’s decent enough for me to be able to continue as Unholy and Blood spec in BFA.

For Demon Hunters, this is what spec I am for Havoc and the one I’m looking at trying out for Vengeance.

For Havoc, it has a had an interesting re-work and tweaks, the loss of fury of the Illidari is pretty big but some of the talents address that. I like Blind Fury and Immolation Aura generating fury, as well as their aoe and damage. Fel Barrage is pretty good where it is on the level 102 tier. I still need to see how well the spec performs, but it looks promising so far. Mastery looks like the go to stat, which is always a plus.

For Rogues, I am currently Assassination because the mastery has been updated to include bleeds, which is good for the spec. This is another case of current leggos being rolled into talents but the (re)addition of Blindside is cool, marked for death is in a great spot, leeching poison being usable as a 3rd poison is great, and the level 100 tier talents all seem to address the specs lack of AoE.

Outlaw is an interesting spec as well, but since it’s so proc based and random.

On live, I leveled up a Lightforged Draenei Warrior. It took about a week to get to 930 ilvl, and another week to get to be able to do 1.2million DPS single target which is pretty good. I got the 2 leggos I was hoping for (Archavons Heavy Hands and Ayalas Stone Heart) in a 2 and 1/2 week period, which is great. Arms spec is fun and I’m enjoying it. On the beta, it seems like warriors are due for another pass (because protection spec is pretty bad right now, I’m not sure about fury) but arms seems decent so far, the change in mastery is pretty huge but seems ok so far.

On other gaming related stuff, my WoW activities kinda halted my progress in FFXV, but I will for sure get back into when all the beta changes stop rolling out as we get closer to launch for BfA. I also got into playing the Division as well, it’s pretty fun still and all the changes really give you a lot to do. I wanna see what the Division 2 will look and play like when it’s announced and shown later this year.

Audiobooks this month, I continue with the Sandman Slim series because it’s compelling enough to keep me reading, I like the characters, the stories, the dialogue is decent, and I really like the lore of it. I have The Getaway God (book 6) and Killing Pretty (book 7) to read this month and will finish the series later this month. I plan to listen to the last 2 books as soon as I get my credits because in June 2 books I have pre-ordered come out, Brief Cases by Jim Butcher (release date is 06-05-18 ) and Before the Storm by Christie Golden (release date is 06-12-18.)

So a bit of a recap and review here: I enjoyed Devil said Bang, the story was interesting, the transition of Stark being Lucifer to back to being Sandman Slim was pretty good, overall it was a pretty good book. I liked the futility of hell aspect and how everyone is just looking to die in some meaningful way even it is futile and fatalistic. Kill City blues was ok, I felt that it being good and enjoyable for the first 3/4 build up expectations and excitement that kinda fell flat on its face at the end, over all I still liked it but felt that there was a huge missed opportunity between the conflict between Aelita and Stark as well as Medea Bava and Stark. Still though, I enjoyed it because of the characters and the story was still enjoyable despite of my expectations and missed opportunities.

On what I’m watching at the moment, Westworld season 2 is pretty good. I still think it is better than Game of Thrones, I still like both and will watch both but at the moment Westworld is a more compelling show.

On Netflix, I am currently watching Jessica Jones season 2, when I’m not watching the Overwatch League or playing WoW on live or the beta so I’m only on episode 2 so far. I also added Lost in Space to my list to check out later due to recommendations from friends and what I’ve read on reddit, I will probably check it out after Jessica Jones and Stranger Things season 2.

For Blu Rays, I am thoroughly enjoying the special features of The Last Jedi. The Last Jedi blu ray is the best example of why I get blu rays, excellent movie, great featurettes and an extremely good documentary like making of with/about the director Rian Johnson and Mark Hamil.

Things I’m looking forward too: Brief Cases by Jim Butcher next month, finishing FFXV later this month (so far it’s a very good game with fun combat), and watching the rest of Jessica Jones season 2.

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What I am playing/listening to/watching/reading/looking forward to for April 2018.

Waited til after April 1st because of how shitty the internet it is on April fools day.

I finally watched The Last Jedi. It was pretty fucking good. I wasn’t able to predict how it was gonna play out but it delivered on several character moments and had a pretty good story. The special features are pretty fucking good as well, the documentary “The Director and the Jedi” are the reasons why people will still buy Blu Rays, it is excellent and adds so much value to it. I got 4k version because I will be upgrading to 4k soonish, probably within the next couple months. I don’t get the backlash against the movie, I thought it was well done and highly entertaining, it was not predictable and it didn’t have to many homages to earlier star wars movies.

I picked up FFXV near the end of March, as well as Vermintide 2, both pretty good games with fun gameplay. I’m still playing Subnautica as well, it’s visuals are great, the crafting is satisfying and has depth, and I love exploration done well which is something Subnautica is great at. 8/10 game for me, has nearly everything I like in a game.

Vermintide 2 is really fun, it’s like Left for Dead 1/2 style coop with diablo like characters from the Warhammer universe. The characters are great, they have funny personalities and entertaining banter. The classes are hit and miss but every class has at least 1 really good sub class to go. The combat and abilities are extremely satisfying to use and are extremely effective, some abilities are good for big bosses or against armored targets or against hordes for enemies. The story is ok but the characters are pretty good. The Elf huntress, the Witch Hunter and the Fire Mage are great. The gameplay is the real area the game shines, the game does coop extremely well. Well worth picking it up, if you are into coop games with friends. 8/10 game.

FFXV is an indulgence for me, it was basically a late birthday pick up. However, the gameplay is extremely good, I like the combat, the magic crafting, the leveling system, and I enjoy the open world aspect of it. The Character are kinda meh, the story is taking a while to get into and seems like standard fare but still entertaining. I’m enjoying a lot so far and this is my first real serious playthrough of any Final Fantasy game for something like 5 years.

I’ve been watching a lot of the Overwatch League these last couple weeks, it’s really entertaining and fun to watch. I’m playing more overwatch because of it. Although quickplay is too informal for that many good games, some one will always lock Hanzo and Widow probably along with a Torb or Symmetra and just end up garbage tier DPS and basically make every team fight into 3v6 and lead to a loss in a full hold or 2 extremely badly played long loss control points. I wish the Reaper and Mei buffs were in already. The New hero Brigitte is pretty overpowered now, she’s basically a Reinhardt with heals and a stun.

I also got into the World of Warcraft Battle for Azeroth Alpha, which I plan to play and test a lot of, as well as giving a lot feed back on various things I think should be changed or tweaked. Since there is no real NDA, I can/will start adding WoW posts of things concerning Death Knights, Demon Hunters, Rogues, Mages, and even possibly Warriors.

As for Legion, I am currently leveling a Light Forged Draenei Warrior, it’s pretty fun. I’m leveling Arms, and will probably going to stay that way in legion as well.

I finished the third book in the Sandman Slim series, it was enjoyable and entertaining. It definitely hits on my liking of Secret Society Magic users, Heaven and Hell, and interesting but morally flexible characters. I picked up the next 2 in the series (Devil said Bang, and Kill City Blues) as well as a short story (Devil in the Dollhouse.) A pretty good series so far, I may or may not get 3 extra credits to finish the series early.

Looking forward to the next stage in the Overwatch League, watching Jessica Jones season 2 and Stranger Things season 2 (finally), finishing FFXV, getting the next sub vehicle in Subnautica, and extremely looking forward to getting my home theatre all 4k’ed up.

What I am playing/listening to/watching/reading/looking forward to for March 2018.

Spoilers ahead for Altered Carbon, consider yourself duly fucking ward.

Altered Carbon, it was pretty good overall with some definite flaws. Some of the elements of the changing of the history of Kovacs and Quell were pretty good: the training, the story tying the two together, and the flashbacks were done well. However, a lot of the changes just kinda muddied the water of what was already a clean backstory that had extremely interesting elements. The UN changes and the lack of or complete avoidance of Sharya, as well as changing Quell to being the same time frame as Kovacs were some definite misses. The Casting, however, was fucking top-notch. Excellent casting overall but I felt that OG Kovacs was extremely underutilized. I felt that the Bancrofts being older added more gravitas, presence, and elegance to their parts, rather than just being extremely good-looking powerful people in a forever youthful appearance. All 3 Kovacs were good, Ortega was also good, Quell as well, and the actors cast as roles who had multiple people in the same sleeve were extremely good. I didn’t like how that Lizzie Elliot ends up saving the day for Kovacs and crew but I did think it was well done when she was used to take down Miriam Bancroft in the end.

I am not one to trash something because “it isn’t the book” or “changes too much” or “it didn’t have this in it,” so for the most part I thought Altered Carbon was an extremely enjoyable show to watch and I can’t wait to see what they do for season 2.

I finished Doom (2016) finally, it’s definitely worth the money. It has great gameplay, a decent story, and pretty good soundtrack. I’m finally, slowly, getting through my back log of games. Up next is Uncharted 3, Rise of the Tomb Raider, and then Wolfenstein: the New Order.

I picked up the demo of FFXV on steam, after playing through it, I was EXTREMELY tempted to pay full price and pre-order it. I like the combat system and impressed with the visuals, but I think I will wait to pick it up. Unless, of course, I decide to pick it on a whim.

I also picked up Subnautica on a whim, and I am extremely enjoying plaything through it. I’ve been wanting a survival crafting game for while now, something to contrast to The Long Dark. Subnautica looks extremely good, has a nice pace to it, I am enjoying the survival aspect, the crafting aspect is also fun, but I am enjoying the exploration more than anything right now.

I playing Overwatch a lot more now, as well as watching the Overwatch league every Wednesday to Saturday. I am also watching XQC stream Overwatch on twitch.  Enjoying all of it so far, I even used my prime sub for XQC’s stream because I like his streams.

My audiobook backlog has been cleared out more or less (only the Invisible Man, Watership Down, and the Hobbit left) and I enjoyed getting through the audio-dramas I had. The X-files: Cold Cases was decent and Alien: Out of the Shadows was good, both were well worth the price because I picked them both up as Audible Daily Deals.

Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson was OK, it had a decent story, decent characters, and was narrated OK. by Jonathan Davis but I didn’t get into it as much as I thought, I can see why so many people like it and recommend it so much but I thought it was just a decent story with some decent characters.

Sandman Slim was something that hit all my interests and scratched that Darksiders/Constantine/The Crow itch I have. I enjoyed every bit of it and the narration was very good. I used my 2 audible credits to pick up the next 2 books in the series and I can definitely see myself buying some extra credits to get more of the series. I’ve already started on book 2 and I am liking it so far.

Annihilation is out now on Netflix if you live outside the US and Canada, I’m gonna wait til it comes out on Netflix or blu ray, which ever is first. I can’t wait to see it.

A lot to look forward too this year, and right now I’m extremely looking forward to Brief Cases by Jim Butcher (Release date: 06-05-18 FUCK YEAH), Port of Shadows by Glen Cook, Jessica Jones season 2, and Red Sparrow on blu ray.

 

what I am playing/listening to/watching/reading/looking forward to for February 2018.

Altered Carbon in a day from now. Fuck yeah.

Movies recap for me, I watched IT and Blade Runner 2049 finally, both are extremely good. IT is easily one of the best adaptations of a movie so far, and it’s mostly because they are doing 2 movies with the Loser’s Club being younger and older. Blade Runner 2049 was extremely compelling and told a story that you thought would be predictable which flips your expectation of where it’s all gonna go on its head. Well worth picking up both on blu ray.

I also have Dawn and War of the planet of the Apes movies to check out, as well as the special features, and it looks to be entertaining at least.

I listened to the audiobooks for Metro 2035, Mass Effect Andromeda: Initiation, and I am Legend. Metro 2035 by Dmitry Glukhovsky was very good with extremely good narration by Rupert Degas. Mass Effect: Initiation by N. K. Jemisin and Mac Walters was decent and had good narration by Fryda Wolff. I am Legend by Richard Matheson was extremely good, it still one of my favorite short story/novellas, and is narrated pretty well by Robertson Dean.

Metro 2035 was really a good story and a good ending to the Metro Trilogy, and it told a compelling story with numerous interesting characters. I thought I had an idea where the story was gonna go but switched it up on me in a good way that ended the trilogy and the story itself in a satisfying way.

Mass Effect: Initiation gave a pretty good back story on Cora, and did a lot to smooth over and explain her hero-worship of the Asari, and also told a decent story that managed to explain my A.I. is so feared in the mass effect universe rather than the all the hamfisted and handwaving attempts/explanations in the original trilogy. It’s pretty shitty we will never get a good explanation of the Benefactor and Jien Garson situation in Andromeda as DLC, however it may be addressed in The Lost Ark novel later this year. I liked both Andromeda novels, and after listening to Initiation, I pre-ordered the Lost Ark, which has a release date of Oct 1, 2018.

I’ve started Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson, the narration sounds like it was recorded by an old tape deck and an old cheap microphone but so far I’m interested in it. The narration itself isn’t bad, it’s the recording quality that seems pretty old, like some one telling you a story over a the phone.

After Snow Crash, I have another Neal Stephenson story to check out, Anathem. It’s over 30hours long according to my audible app, and I prefer longer stories like that. I’m looking forward to checking it out.

I’ve read a lot of fantasy last year and it’s refreshing to switch it up to a bunch of good sci-fi stories. In my backlog, that I expect to get at least one more listened to this month, is Alien: Out of the Shadows, The X-Files: Cold Cases, and Sandman Slim.

I finished Metro: The Last Light and thought it was pretty good, I managed to get the redemption ending which was pretty satisfying to get. I had to switch up how I play games usually, which was stealthily killing everyone and every thing that dares to cross or impede my path to trying to get through area’s mostly undetected using mostly non lethal means.

So Blizzard announces Battle for Azeroth pre-orders are available, announce a tentative release date, and unlock a few of the Allied Races for leveling, all on the same day.

That basically sums it up for me.

Now I’m leveling a Void Elf Rogue, despite already having a rogue, and a Light forged Draenei Warrior. That was on the only thing that would have brought me to playing WoW again. I’m leveling for the Heritage armor. I probably won’t play those characters, I will most likely race change my current Rogue to Void Elf though.

It basically means my plans to finish Rise of the Tomb Raider, Uncharted 3 (about 75% through now), Far Cry Primal, Splinter Cell Black list, Dishonored, and numerous other games I had my sights on finishing are on hold until I level those allied races to 110 for that sweet sweet Heritage Armor. It also means I will hold off on picking up Wolfenstein 2, Prey, Dishonored 2 and its DLC, Assassin’s Creed: Origins, Uncharted 4, Horizon: Zero Dawn, Bloodborne.

 

Take what is offered and that must sometimes be enough.

— Richard K. Morgan, Altered Carbon.

The Netflix adaptation of Altered Carbon is out tomorrow, or if you are like me you are probably gonna watch a couple of episodes at midnight, and I cannot wait to fucking watch it. Before I jump into anything, let me elaborate on somethings I go through before watching, reading, listening, or playing anything with the slightest amount of hype or even the tiniest bit of excitement and interest: Manage Expectation, adaptations means it won’t always be page for page to screen, Adaptations means something will be expanded or cut or merged, Leave your Bullshit out of it, and Things don’t have to be DA BES EVAR and anything else is failure or means it sucks. I just wanna see how it’s adapted if it has the feeling of the book and the spirit of the characters. Altered Carbon, and the Takeshi Kovacs Trilogy, is easily in my top 5 favorite books.

I’m hoping it will be received good and it will mean more scifi shows and movies because people didn’t seem to like the excellent Blade Runner 2049.

Things I’m Looking forward too: Red Dead Redemption 2, it’s been delayed but has a definite release date which is October 26 2018. Monster Hunter World, waiting for dat PC release. Black Panther, it looks awesome but I’m gonna wait for it on blu ray because I prefer watching movies at home now.

What I am playing/listening to/watching/reading/looking forward to for January 2018, Also a recap of 2017 for me.

So, another year gone by. Rather than do a year in a review or the top 10 whatevers of the year, I want to just do a short write-up on what I liked in the year and some of the things I didn’t like.

I’ll start with audiobooks as that has over taken gaming for me in 2017 and is trending to do the same in 2018.

  • My best and favorite series I listened to in 2017: The Black Company Series by Glen Cook. The entire series was very good, with top-notch narration, excellent characters, and a great over arching epic story. Honorable Mentions: The Broken Earth Trilogy by N.K. Jemisin, The Southern Reach Trilogy by Jeff VanderMeer, The Witcher series by Andrzej Sapkowski, The Metro Trilogy by Dmitry Glukhovsky. Technically, I haven’t completed the Metro Trilogy yet, I have just started the final book in the trilogy but I am enjoying it very much so far.
  • My favorite audiobook of the year is easily Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman. Excellent narration, great story telling, and compelling characters. The BBC adaptation is also extremely good, listen to it here (it should be up for another couple weeks at the time of this post.) Honorable Mentions: It by Stephen King, Metro 2033 by Dmitry Glukhovsky, The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi, Strange Weather by Joe Hill, and the The Aeronaut’s Windlass by Jim Butcher.
  • My favorite audiobook released in 2017 is another Neil Gaiman novel, Norse Mythology. Honorable Mentions: The Lady of the Lake by Andrzej Sapkowski, The Stone Sky by N.K. Jemisin, The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi, and Strange Weather by Joe Hill.
  • My favorite audio drama of the year is easily Anansi Boys from the BBC. Honorable Mention: World of Warcraft – A Thousand Years War.

My to be listened to list is much less than it was at the start of 2017, which was something like close to 10 books, I have only Metro 2035 by Dmitry Glukhovsky, Sandman Slim by Richard Kadrey, Mass Effect: Initiation by N. K. Jemisin and Mac Walters, Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson, I am Legend by Richard Matheson and Alien: Out of the Shadows. All of which I expect to start and finish this month.

I kept my 2 audiobooks per month, some times more but never less, for a couple of years now. I’ve listened to 43 audiobooks this year (30ish or so that are new or new to me, and about 13 “re-listens” of older favorites.) I will keep this going for as long as I can.

In 2018, the audiobooks I’m looking forward to are: Brief Cases by Jim Butcher, and hopefully Peace Talks by Jim Butcher or the second book in the series for the Cinder Spires by Jim Butcher, Mass Effect Andromeda: The Lost Ark by Catherynne M. Valente, World of Warcraft: Before the Storm by Christie Golden

Gaming wise, World of Warcraft still dominates my playtime. However, I did play a lot of Mass Effect Andromeda (120 hours), which leads me to my first thing I didn’t like about 2017. EA killing the Mass Effect Series, and then shutting down Visceral Games. Andromeda was not a bad game, it was actually a good game with some flaws. It sucks that Andromeda could have been a good starting point for a new trilogy or series for Mass Effect but it had to check all the boxes that EA likes to push out in their games, which is tacked on multiplayer, lootboxes, and DLC for fucking multiplayer. I’m certain that if the game was focused on a decent single-player experience it would have been a bit more polished at release. The Mass Effect Andromeda novels are decent as well, it’s too bad that they killed it early with no single-player DLC for some glaring unresolved story plot points like the benefactor and Jien Garson thing as well as Quarian Arc.

I still have quite a few games to get through in my backlog, which I will get around to as the time spent playing WoW dies down because it is near the end of the expansion. I have Rise of the Tomb Raider, Dishonored, Far cry 3 (which I am like 90% done and I should just finish it), Far cry Blood Dragon, Far cry Primal, the Crysis Trilogy, Splinter Cell: Black list, Firewatch, Furi, Icey, Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, Doom 2016, Wolfenstien: The New Order. I bought a couple of more games during the christmas/new years sales: Mass Effect 1, Mass Effect 2, Dead Cells, Nex Machina. I also plan to pick up Horizon Zero Dawn, Uncharted 4, and Uncharted: Lost Legacy for the ps4 in 2018. For the PC, I plan to pick up Dishonored 2 and its DLC, Prey, Wolfenstien: The New Colossus, Battlechasers. Also in 2018, the game I am most looking forward to, as well as picking up, Red Dead Redemption 2. Other games in that may be released in 2018 that I am looking forward to picking up are: Metro: Exodus, Final Fantasy XV Windows Edition, and Darksiders III.

I am also about halfway through Metro 2033 and looking forward to finishing it and immediately moving onto Metro: The Last Light.

A lot of good TV shows debuted in 2017. My favorites being: American Gods, Westworld, and The Last Kingdom season 2. If I had to pick only one favorite, it would be American Gods because it is an extremely good adaptation so far of the books with some very good things added in or changed to be more compelling.

Things I’m looking forward to watching in 2018: Altered Carbon on Netflix, Jessica Jones season 2 on Netflix, Westworld Season 2. I am not to sure there will be a second season of American Gods because the driving force behind the excellent adaptation to the small screen left the show, although Neil Gaiman is staying on despite the departure of Bryan Fuller.

There are a couple of things on netflix I will probably check out this year: Peaky Blinders, Hap and Leonard, and Stranger Things season 2.

Some excellent movies came out in 2017 and some that came on in 2016 that I was late watching because I prefer to watch movies at home on blu ray now.

  • My favorite movie of 2017 is easily Logan, it was such a good movie and a great finale for Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart. Honorable Mentions: Wind River, John Wick 2, Arrival, Atomic Blonde, Rogue One, Kong: Skull Island, Split, Dunkirk. I will be late to the part for IT and Blade Runner 2049 because I will not get to see either until they come out on blu ray later this month. Up until I watched Logan, Arrival was my favorite movie and to me it is a very close second.
  • My favorite original movie in 2017 is Wind River, it is extremely good with a very compelling story with a lot of emotion. If you haven’t seen it, fucking check it out. Honorable Mention: Dunkirk, Bright.
  • Movies I’m looking forward to in 2018: IT,  Blade Runner 2049, Sicario 2: Soldado, Deadpool 2, The Shape of Water, Black Panther, Annihilation, The Big Sick, Get Out.

This month I will be watching Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, War for the Planet of the Apes, IT, Blade Runner 2049, and Hell or High Water.

I hope you had a good 2017, and that you have an even better 2018.

Happy new years.

What I am playing/listening to/watching/reading/looking forward to for December 2017.

Another year gone by. Reminds me of a quote from American Gods “Every hour wounds. The last one kills.”

Anyways, lots of stuff this month and some updates.

Audiobooks first, I just finished Area X – The Southern Reach Trilogy – Annihilation, Authority, Acceptance by Jeff VaderMeer narrated by Carolyn McCormick, Bronson Pinchot, and Xe Sands. I enjoyed the story, narration, characters, and the writing of this trilogy. The story and writing were very good and I enjoyed that some things were left unresolved or unexplained, the only real comparison (and a poor one at that) is the Reapers from Mass Effect that once their purpose and origin were explained and detailed they became way less interesting and compelling. Area X and it’s purpose are way more compelling as a story element being mysterious and having some parts of it unexplained. I admire the decision to not reveal everything as it made for a much more compelling story. The characters are also well done and I enjoyed that they were only referred to as titles, code names, or nick names such as The Director, The Biologist, Control, and Ghost Bird. The narration was also good, with 3 narrators it some times is kinda jumbled and jarring but it served the story and tone of the characters to have separate narration. I can’t wait to see the adaptation, it looks promising.

I have a pretty big backlog of audiobooks to get through, roughly equal to last year, 11 or so: The Metro Trilogy by Dmitry Glukhovsky, Strange Weather by Joe Hill, I Am Legend by Richard Matheson, Alien: Out of the Shadows, Sandman Slim by Richard Kadrey, Watership Down by Richard Adams, Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison, The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien, The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper.

Two more books will be added to that list around christmas, it will most likely be Mass Effect: Initiation, and either Tigana or The Lions of Al-Rassan, or it could be something on a whim suggested/recommended from r/fantasy or my audible wishlist.

I will probably start the ball rolling with Strange Weather followed by the Metro Trilogy then Sandman Slim or I am Legend.

I picked up a pretty nice DAC/AMP combo, SMSL SD793-II, to drive my DT990 premium 250 ohm headphones , which the DAC/AMP is now connected to my PS4 and PC. I mainly use it for gaming, movies, and music (in that order), for that purpose it is an extremely good set up but I am going to add a few things to it. I decided against a sound bar set up and went with a 2.1 set up instead. I will be connecting the line outs from my SMSL SD793-II to a Micca Origain (simple, not the one with built-in DAC) and a set of speakers that I have handy. I will also add a subwoofer in the next few months to make a 2.1 set up, which I will probably use for music, movies, and the PS4 (in that order.)

I did not go with a USB DAC/AMP because I wanted something that did not need drivers installed and a TOSLink and a coaxial digital would allow me to connect my PC using a toslink to coaxial digital converter and the PS4 using the TOSlink. It is working extremely well for me and was well worth the money.

I picked up some blu rays this week, Atomic Blonde, Valerian, The Dark Tower and Wind River. I have not yet watched every one so far but I did rip and convert them so I can watch them any time on my PC. I’m using MakeMKV and Handbrake, which is very easy to set up. I’m using MakeMKV enough to consider just buying it even though it is currently free while in Beta. It’s easy to use and extremely useful, well worth the money if I do end up buying it.

Gaming this month is basically WoW, the last half of Uncharted 3, and probably (finally really) Rise of the Tomb Raider, as well as Total War: Warhammer. I have about 15 days left in my sub to WoW and I’m at that point where I am thinking of taking a break from it soon, within this month or the next.

WoW is still fun and accessible, especially with the Mythic Plus dungeons. You can be extremely competitive once you get your 4 piece tier set (which can be as low as raid finder gear, or normal) and everything else from Mythic plus.

This is a super late Edit here:

Looking forward to It, Dunkirk, and Blade Runner 2049 releases on blu ray this month and next month.

What I am playing/listening to/watching/reading/looking forward to for November 2017.

Only 2 more months left in the year, it’s gone by pretty fast and I already know what the best series I listened to this year is Glen Cook’s Black Company series. The narration, which changes a few times, is very good. The overall story is great. The characters are excellent, and for it me it was my favorite part of the series. Croaker, One-eye, Goblin, Murgen, Raven, Lady, Sleepy and really most of the company are all enjoyable and well written characters. So far, it’s the Black Company best thing I’ve listened to this year, easily surpassing N.K. Jemisin’s well written and very good Broken Earth Trilogy and more enjoyable than Bernard Cornwell’s extremely entertaining and compelling Saxon Stories/Last Kingdom series.

This month I’ll be listening to Jeff VanderMeer’s Area X: Southern Reach Trilogy, The Metro Trilogy by Dmitry Glukhovsky, and Mass Effect: Initiation by N. K. Jemisin and Mac Walters. I am also looking forward to reading the recently announced Mass Effect Book called the Last Ark as it is supposed  to resolve the very loose ends of the Quarian ark and I am hoping to at least address, and possibly resolve the Benefactor and the Jien Garson murder story line.

I am also looking forward to picking up and listening to Strange Weather by Joe Hill, Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett, The Lions of Al-Rassan by Guy Gavriel Kay, and I also have Sandman Slim by Richard Kadrey to listen to as well which I will probably listen to after the Metro Trilogy by Dmitry Glukhovsky.

I picked up a cool game called Castle Story on Steam for about 20$ CAD, it’s like a lite RTS with minecraft like elements. I like games like this because I can just put on an audiobook or a podcast and play it while it scratches my lite rts/crafting itch.

I am also currently playing Total War: Warhammer and learning to play it, instead of playing it like Civ or SC2. I will probably pick up the sequel when it’s on sale.

On the topic of gaming, I was extremely tempted to pick up Castlevania Lords of Shadow Ultimate Edition, Castlevania Lords of Shadow 2 , and Castlevania Mirror of Fate as they were all on sale during the halloween steam sale for near historic lows. However, I did not pick any of them up as I already have an enormous backlog of games that I am still slowly making my way through. I will possibly pick them up during the new years/christmas sales. At the moment though, I am extremely tempted to pick up Wolfenstein: The New Order and Wolfenstein: The New Colossus, you should also add Prey and Dishonored 2 to that as well.

I started playing Doom and I was extremely impressed with how well it runs while looking extremely good because of that I was why I was tempted to pick up the new Wolfenstien game. The game runs extremely well, looks great, the gameplay is very fun, and the soundtrack actually fits the game and environment perfectly. It’s well worth the money and definitely worth picking up when on sale.

I have also, finally, started working my way though the Crysis Trilogy. I’m looking forward to playing Crysis 2 as it is written by Richard K Morgan, author of one of my favorite all time series, The Takeshi Kovacs trilogy.

I think I’ll pick up a couple of PS4 games this christmas, probably Horizon Zero Dawn and Uncharted 4.

For blurays I am looking to pick up this month are: Atomic Blonde (November 14, 2017), Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets ( November 21, 2017), The Dark Tower, and Wind River (November 14, 2017.) Dunkirk which is scheduled for release on December 19, 2017 is something I am also looking forward to picking up. It and Bladerunner 2049 do not have release dates but I am definitely looking forward to watching those on Bluray.

I am looking forward to a couple of things in 2018: Altered Carbon on netflix, Red Dead Redemption 2, and The Last of Us 2.