Tuesday, June 20, 2017

I Finally Started Playing Overwatch! SEND HELP.

I blame all the cosplay, really.

This past year almost every time I didn't recognize an amazing costume, it was from this game "Overwatch." I was intrigued, but once I heard you had to play online - you know, with real live human strangers, I was like, NOPE.

Then some of my friends started playing, and I kept reading more and more about it online, and my favorite artists were posting gorgeous fan art, and THEN I heard about a 2-week free trial on Xbox Live... and the time had come.

 (You can also play on PS4 and PC, if you don't have an Xbox One. You need an internet connection for all of them, though.)

So John and I rented Overwatch from Redbox (Fun Fact: you can rent games from Redbox!) and fired 'er up several weekends back.

About a month later, and I'm helplessly hooked. (HEYO ROADHOG PUN!) It was a bumpy ride at first, though; after the first few days I told John I didn't want to play again EVER, and it took some adjustments before I could really start to have fun with it. So I thought I might throw this review out there, in case any of you are thinking about taking the plunge.

The first thing you should know about Overwatch is it's hella confusing at first. There's a laughably simple "tutorial," then you're on your own in a maze of character and play options. Like most games nowadays, you just have to muddle through and learn as you go. Fortunately it doesn't take long to get up to speed, though.

In a nutshell, Overwatch is a tournament fighting game. You're placed on one of two teams, then instructed to either attack or defend an objective during a timed match. There's no story to follow, no mystery to unravel; you just fight. Obviously this requires FPS (first person shooter) skills, but if you're not great, there are ways to practice outside of the "real" games. More on that in a sec.

The second thing you should know about Overwatch is that you die. A lot. Sometimes over and over and over, in fact. That's not just my lousy hand-eye-coordination talking; everyone dies a lot. It's part of the game. You immediately respawn, though, so dying just means the inconvenience of running all the way back to the fight. Well, that and the frustration of being soundly trounced for the eighth time in a row. :D

Which brings me to the third thing you should know: if you can get past the frustration and rage-quitting stage, Overwatch is insanely fun - and even more addictive.

The secret is in the enormous cast of characters, or Heroes, you can play. You can fight with everything from a bow and arrow to ray guns. You can fly, leap tall buildings, turn invisible, turn back time, or clomp around in an enormous robot mecha. The variety feels endless, and every character has unique abilities to discover, which adds to the fun.

Most players settle on a few favorites and stick with them, but since I'm new I've been switching up my character a lot, just to try them all out. I've been surprised how often I end up really loving a character I wouldn't have picked otherwise, and hating others that are really popular.

The game locations have a lot of variety, too; you could be in a space-age industrial factory, a quaint Mexican plaza, or pretty stone ruins in a German forest. It's all beautiful to look at and incredibly detailed:

As a reward for the battles you gain medals and experience points, plus "Loot Boxes" filled with customizations for the characters. Each character has maybe 20 different "skins," along with different things they can say or do, so collecting all the goodies is a real incentive.
In fact, here's the Bastion skin John's saving up for:

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Mailbag Show & Tell: Labyrinth Bots, Fairy Crowns, & Super Wonder Wombs!

It's time to dip into my Folder of Awesome Reader Stuff again! This is where I try to save all my favorites of your project photos shared on the Epbot Facebook page, or over on Fans of Epbot if I get permission. So let's check out a little of what your fellow readers have been up to!

First, the Labyrinth/Epbot mashup my heart always wanted:

Look closely; Kristi O. turned them all into bots! AAA! How cute is Ludo with rivets? And I am MELTING over Ambrosius' antennae ears. MELTING.

Even though you shared this ages ago, Kristi, I really DID need it this week. Thank you.

(P.S. Kristi doesn't have an art store yet, but sooooon.)


Here's a brilliant idea from my friend Melanie for displaying all the little toys you can't find a spot for:

 She put them in these stackable glass blocks from Michael's! It's like "Where's Waldo" in real life, right? So fun to look at. (I spy a Doozer!)

Mel has four so far on her desk:

These would be perfect lined up like a backsplash. Ooh, or stacked to make a low divider?

Shanon L. made the most STUNNING fairy flower crown:

Isn't it gorgeous?

Then she goes and makes it sound almost easy:

"So it's actually a metal laser cut mask, and I used a metal saw to cut the bottom half off under the eyes. Then I did a wash of gold over it, added flowers and stuff and tadaa!"  

I've seen these metal masks in costume and craft shops before for just a few dollars, or there are tons on Amazon around the $10 mark. There are so many cool designs, I'm seriously tempted to try this sometime!


Sophie B. is a big Welcome to Night Vale fan, so when she found a decorative microphone at the thrift shop she knew EXACTLY what to do: