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Off TopicAug 6, 2021 2:00 pm CT

WRUP: It’s the long-awaited return of “What Are You Playing?” and the Blizzard Watch team is ready for the weekend

Every so often, you get the kind of good news you never expected to hear. Something that’s been a “pie in the sky” dream you didn’t ever think would really become reality. That’s how I felt when Liz asked me if I wanted to bring back WRUP, a feature that’s been dormant so long it’s literally never been on this website.

Why? Because it’s fun! Sometimes, it’s nice to just… talk about your plans, to celebrate the enjoyable things, big or small. So that’s what we’re here to do — tell you what we’re up to and what excites us, gaming or otherwise!

Matt Low: I have been working hard on Vivaldi’s A minor which continues to elude me in some of the later passages. My fingers just cannot seem to keep up. I really want to iron this one out because Bach’s Double is so close which is what I really want to learn. It’s literally two pieces away and my teacher is making me focus on the foundational stuff first. She’s also sprinkling Wohlfahrt etudes on me as well (etudes are like studies which are akin to vegetables — you may hate them but they’re still good for you). I found out I have an outdoor performance in two weeks which is our first concert in over a year since the pandemic started and everything. I’ve got under two weeks to learn, uh, Disney on Parade, Pink Panther, Incredibles, and… Mission Impossible (which is quite apt).

Definitely still playing WoW, but jumped back onto the Diablo 3 train! I’m playing a Monk this season. Lastly, I’m still dropping in Warzone and chasing the elusive dub :(.

Matthew Rossi: Cyberpunk 2077 and the Avatar Legends quickstart are my current obsessions. I feel confident I can run Avatar Legends whenever the site calls for it. Also, here’s my V [above].

Oooh, I’m also watching Eons a ton. Not a surprise, but still, in case you want to see why it’s cool, [here’s a solid preview.]


Phil Xavier: I’m playing a lot of different video games at the same time, as usual. It’s what I do. Does it take me ages to finish each game? Yes. Do I care? No.

Hearthstone just got its shiny new expansion, United in Stormwind, so a lot of my focus is going there. So far, I’m loving it. The quest lines are super fun, for the most part. My personal quest is to make a Shadow Priest deck work, but alas, I don’t think the cards are there yet. Maybe when they release the mini-set, they’ll support it some more?

WoW became fun for me again since patch 9.1, even if I’m not spending a ton of time in it. I do the weekly campaign quests on my main, and work on leveling alts on the side — so many alts on the 50-60 range!

I’m also still playing NieR:Automata on the PS4, working on my second playthrough. To get the full story, you need to see five endings, and I only got the first one so far. But it’s a great game, so I’m not complaining.

On the Switch, I’m having an absolute blast with the long-awaited DLC for Streets of Rage 4, called Mr X. Nightmare. It added a Survival mode that is kinda like playing Hades: a series of random levels, with random enemies, random upgrades, and ever-increasing difficulty. I can see that game keeping me occupied for a very long time, just like Hades did before.

Finally, I’m working on my huge Persona backlog by playing through Persona 3 for the PS2. Slow and steady wins the race! (I hope.)

As for hobbies that aren’t “playing video games?” I’m still spending a bunch of time designing a game. That counts… right? [Editor’s note: Heck yeah, that counts!]


Ted Atchley: Most of my free time is going into final edits on my science fiction novel. I’d love to have it ready to publish before the end of 2021. But I am not without distractions. I’m having an absolute blast playing my Warforged, THX-1971 A.K.A. Thix, in a D&D game with several other Blizzard Watch writers on Friday nights, and I’m enjoying “Memory’s Door” by James Rubart, book two of the Well Spring series. Book one, “Soul’s Gate” was awesome and book two has not disappointed.

Most of my gaming involves losing to my son’s King K. Rool and Villager in Super Smash Bros Ultimate. He loves to yell “Houses!” as he defeats me, but it’s awesome father/son time, and I do win occasionally. I’m casually leveling my Engineer in Guild Wars 2, and I’ve found a great little mobile game called Retro Bowl. It’s got graphics like the classic Tecmo Bowl games I dumped too many hours into in the late 80s/early 90s, and a very fair monetization model. If you’re a football fan, check it out.

Anna Bell: I’ve been playing Fossil Corner, which is an incredibly chill puzzle game. You’re even able to “trade” neat shells and trilobites with people by sharing codes. Sometimes I’ll just leave it open in my second window, because the atmospheric sounds are gentle, too. There’s a lot of dopamine from the collection aspect, and the puzzles are relatively straightforward. It’s a really great game if you’re feeling a little down and don’t want anything terribly complicated. He — because it’s basically a single person dev team — will be adding crinoids next!

The other thing I recently got into is a YouTube channel called Tasting History with Max Miller. Max puts an incredible amount of research into recreating historic recipes, like Roman Garum or Tudor-era buttered beere. He relates the difficulties of using recipes gleaned from historic sources, which are almost always vague to the point of uselessness, and differences in the actual cooking process, and how he has to adapt it — like how you can’t really make a long-fermented fish sauce in a condo. He also discusses the historical context and impact of the food he’s trying to recreate, and if applicable how that food changed over time to become something more recognizable in the modern era. It makes for a binge watch which is simultaneously fun and fluffy but informative.


Andrew Powers: Mostly I’m playing WoW, Hearthstone, and D&D, and also watching YouTube videos about them. I’m also still logging into Animal Crossing.

For other TTRPGs, I found a game based on D&D called Star Wars 5e and plan to run a one-shot of that later this month.

As far as writing, I wrote, and will have performed at a table reading, a condensed, modernized version of Aristophanes’ The Frogs.

For television, I’ve been watching a lot of different shows on streaming networks. Two I saw recently that I would recommend: for comedy, Moone Boy on Hulu, and for supernatural suspense, Black on Netflix.


Anna Washenko: Seconding the love for Fossil Corner! I always keep something chill and meditative in my game queue, and like my fellow Anna said, this one’s a gem.

I’m also still moseying my way through the Mass Effect Legendary Edition. I hadn’t revisited the series since it ended, so it’s been really fun to get reintroduced to all the characters and their stories. Especially Garrus. He’s just the best bro.

Also this week, I will be masking up and making my return to a movie theater for a showing of CatVideoFest. It’s going to be fuzzy and furry and fantastic!


Allison Robert: My laptop is currently out for repairs, and I’m playing a game called How Long Will It Be Before Allie Goes Stark Raving Mad.

I am losing.

Rob Flanagan: I am hoping if the weather is nice to go hiking at one of the local parks. I do, however, doubt it will so I will most likely be playing CITIES: SKYLINES. I have become hooked on the videos of City Planner Plays, whom I liken to ” what if Bob Ross played video games?” with his calm voice, knowledge on the subject and willingness to make a mistake, I tend to have these videos on in the background. and much like Bob Ross videos, I am attempting to take what I learn from watching it and applying to my own game. Hopefully I can solve my traffic issue.


Elizabeth Harper: I’m re-watching Star Trek Deep Space Nine, which I started a few weeks ago to have something to do that did not involve the horror show that’s been overtaking our favorite game company.  It’s been an age since I watched and it’s reminded me of all the reasons I love Star Trek. There’s Sisko being chill and capable, Bashir and Garak’s lunch dates, Odo being grouchy, and Quark managing to bring a lot of heart to the Ferengi, which had previously been pretty loathsome whenever you saw them. Armin Shimerman gives a heck of a performance.

Game-wise, I’m keeping up with WoW (more or less) and playing a lot of Hearthstone. Battlegrounds are my go-to low effort game — it’s quick to jump in any time and play for 10-15 minutes without investing a lot of mental energy. At some point I need to check out the new Standard meta and figure out decks for the expansion, but I haven’t gotten around to it yet.

Oh yeah! I’m also playing a D&D campaign with Matt, Andrew, Christian, Ted, and LizP. It’s my first time DMing and I’m looking forward to our next session [tonight]. The players have set up an interesting situation by letting some NPCs who attacked them live, so now I have some characters in an unexpected situation. The idea I came up with for them is probably a lot more interesting than the adventure as written. Neat how these unexpected things shape the story.


Deb Montague: What am I doing with myself? Well, I wrote a script which won Best Feature at a small contest in July and just did a table read of that same script; which Andrew Powers attended and, let me tell you, he’s brilliant at coming up with ideas to fix small issues. I’m doing the rewrites on that script and writing another, what I would call fanfic script about a large Lepidoptera, which is not a butterfly. This one is to clear my head as this year has been rough on my creativity.

I just finished reading a breezy memoir and think I’m going to dive into something much deeper from the piles; maybe John Lewis’ biography. I am a very eclectic reader. Go find a copy of the children’s book, “The Big Green Book” with illustrations by Maurice Sendak. It’s delightful.

I’ve been playing WoW sporadically. My guild officers and I decided, before ‘the troubles’, to take August off. Some of us have been playing a very long time and we felt a vacation would do us a world of good. I hit 400 mounts so now is a good time to dial back the play time and do other things. I play Civilization and SimCity. I have the Blizzard Watch D&D group and another D&D-ish group which I play with. We’re going to start a C’thulu-based RPG this month. This ought to be fun as the last time we did this, we all went insane; right Elizabeth Harper? That reminds me, I have to make a character for that group. I can sometimes be found on Tabletop Simulator. I’ve been resisting the urge to add to my dice collection. I need a larger dice bag so that has constrained purchases.

I’ve been working almost full-time at what is supposed to be a part-time job and that cuts into what I would like to do. The cantaloupe in my garden is going crazy and I’ve got to make some slings for the fruits before they get too heavy on the trellis and break the vines. I’ve also been working on a Godzilla cross-stitch.

Joe Perez: This week I’ve been playing a lot of Pokemon Unite and starting to play some Magic: The Gathering with some local friends after a long break. They brought D&D to Magic and that sort of pulled me back in. Also painting a whole bunch of commission pieces for a local player. It’s completing the last commission my friend Pat had before he passed. I’m attempting to complete it to honor his memory and match his style. I’m feeling pretty good about that.

I also started building some Gundam kits I’ve had laying around forever and kinda forgot about until I started cleaning my hobby space.

With the launch of Tavern Watch I’m also starting to prep for more future content, and starting to do things like compose music again, which I haven’t done in forever. Overall, feeling pretty OK.


Liz Patt: I’ll be enjoying myself this weekend in my second session of Liz’s excellent D&D campaign as the world’s bubbliest Triton Druid. I had family plans for Saturday but they’re canceled (thanks COVID), so maybe that’ll see me returning to Blizzard games after two weeks off. After all, those Ethereals aren’t going to farm themselves, and I’ve missed two weeks of Sanctum story unfolding. I’m also enjoying a return to Hearthstone! Lucky for me, I work with some of the smartest players ever to ask questions. And if I’m not quite ready to return to Blizzard yet, I’ve got Minecraft and Hades for the Switch and Happy Color on my phone.

I’ve been on a major reading kick this year. I’ve burned through maybe 30 cozy mysteries so far, so I’m switching gears and reading Leigh Bardugo’s “Six of Crows” and Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s “Certain Dark Things.”

Other delights on my radar: crocheting more squares for a baby blanket, binging through Simply Nailogical’s YouTube backlog, and maybe some long-overdue office cleaning.

Cory Taylor: I’ve been leveling my first Shadowlands alt so I’ll probably finish doing that this weekend. Firefox the Vulpera Fire Mage will finally join the ranks of the Ascended. Its been a good way to catch up on my massive podcast backlog.

Sunday is my guilds second raid night and I’m pretty sure we’ll get our first Mythic Tarragrue kill, so expect to hear about that on Monday in my Queue!

In non-Blizzard gaming news A Plague Tale: Innocence is free on Epic this week and I’m very excited to see why everyone said it was amazing. It’s got spooky vibes and I’m all about that lifestyle.

Oh and Darksiders 3 is free on Xbox Live this week and I love a good hack and slash Metroidvania-style game.


Mitch “Mitch” Mitchell: Last, but not least, yours truly will be spending this weekend with Dark Souls and D&D.

I actually have back-to-back D&D tonight (Friday) and again tomorrow. Tonight’s is a one-shot that I know almost nothing about, but I’m playing an idiot Chaotic Neutral Warlock whose patron is an evil household item with a face drawn on it, and it talks to me. I imagine it’ll be great. The other campaign is with the same group, but it’s our ongoing Strahd campaign. We started a little over two years ago, and COVID has really hindered our progress (more than we were already doing ourselves, at least). Both of those will be the bulk of my weekend until Sunday, to be honest. But then Sunday…

I will finish Dark Souls 2. I only have two DLC packs left (six bosses total), and I’m super hyped to finish and move onto Dark Souls 3. I’ve loved every entry in the series so far, but I hear nothing but amazing things about Dark Souls 3 and I’m going in almost entirely blind, so I’m super interested to see what the hype is about!

Oh, and I do want to check out Back 4 Blood’s beta (I finally got in!) and the New Pokémon Snap content… but I don’t actually feel confident I’ll get to those this weekend >.>

Whew! That’s it for WRUP this week. If you have any feedback on the format or would like to suggest anything, please do! I’d love to hear y’all’s thoughts on this (even if it’s just praise for how great WRUP is).

Otherwise, leave a comment and let us know what you’re up to in the week ahead! And thanks for being great, all :)

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