Rants tag

Rants, ruminations, and rambling remarks from my mad, muddled, meandering mind.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Blowing Out the Candle on Blaugust

And so, dear friends, once more into the breach. 'Tis Blaugust the Thirty-first, and many of us are preparing for a much needed rest from our Labors. With the exception of perhaps one or two more folks, I believe it falls to me to turn out the light on this festival of ideas. This whirlwind of words, as your humble interlocutor put it way back on Blaugust the First.
It's been a great month, where we commiserated on the torture that mean ol' Belghast was putting us through, dangling rewards at us. We patted each other on the back for our cleverness and shared writing prompts to help get the words flowing. Luckily, there were at least two questionnaires that we could grab and run with. And learn about each other.

And that's what it's about in the end: getting to know each other and strengthening our community. I have often argued that gamers are not a community, but I do think gaming bloggers can be. We're just a little more passionate about our interests than mere gamers. And believing that perhaps what is true for us in our hearts is true for all, we share our thoughts and passions and pain. And hopefully, the world is better for it.

Thank you, my fellow Aggronites, my Spirits of Blaugust! "We have done the impossible, and that makes us mighty."
~~~
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Saturday, August 30, 2014

A Blog By Any Other Name

Wherefore art thou Blogger?
Wow, we're in the final hours of Blaugust. A few souls on the other side of the planet have already submitted their final, qualifying post of the month. You may recall (assuming you're not deeply involved in the effort) that a post every day was required to be eligible for the Aggronaut's top prize. We've all been encouraging each other and lamenting the strain of coming up with an idea for each daily post. And I am glad to have helped create a couple prompts during the month. I'm excited that I got a pretty decent response for my blog title explanation challenge. If you have posted about the title of your blog and I haven't listed you below, or you post about it after this one goes live, let me know in the comments or @rowanblaze on Twitter.

Without further ado and in no particular order:
You, too, may make a name for yourself during Blaugust!
~~~
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Friday, August 29, 2014

A Different Kind of Game

"And so it begins," Scooter says dramatically. "Friday Night Football, the official beginning of fall."
Although I am not and never have been a sports nut, I find myself at the local football stadium. This place is nothing like the bleachers they called a stadium back in California when I was in high school. But this is Texas, and they eat, sleep, and breathe gridiron in the autumn. I have a friend at work who can tell you on any day of the off season how many days until the NFL starts again. (6 nights away, if you're interested.)
So here I am, watching high school football. Believe it or not, this nerd is actually having fun. While I think a huge amount of money is wasted on spectator sports in this country, there is a definite thrill to sitting in a stadium with a couple hundred or thousand people cheering for their team.

We happened to be sitting by the STEM academy, given the responsibility for tossing t-shirts into the crowd. They use a pneumatic cannon to do so.

My stepson will be proud of the young men he coaches on the defensive line. They have done well this game, keeping the opposing team from making too many touchdowns, while our offense steals the game.

UPDATE: The final score was 40-14.

There's only a couple "minutes" left in the fourth quarter of Blaugust! Take it all the way to the end zone, Cupcake!
~~~
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Thursday, August 28, 2014

Why Have I Touched the Sky?

Last week, Simcha was debating changing her blog name because she wasn't sure it reflected her desire to post about things other than video games. But many commenters, including Yours Truly, felt that "Simcha's Many Lives" fit not just her propensity to alt, but also that her life is not just gaming. Any non-gaming interest is just a another facet of Simcha. Another of her "many lives."
But it got me thinking about my blog title. Much like my nom be blog, "I Have Touched the Sky" is a reflection of a certain time in my (gaming) life, when I was excited about Star Trek Online. I merged my first gaming blog, which focused on World of Warcraft, into this one not long after starting both, mostly because I considered this title a little more clever. What started as a STO blog quickly became a place for me to talk about all sorts of geeky things that I am interested in, though still mostly about the games I am playing. But the title is a reminder of my blogging roots, not to mention any "brand recognition" I may have garnered after four and a half years of existence.

As for the title itself, I like the multiple meanings it might convey. There's a certain aspirational quality about it. "Reach for the stars," as Kasey Kasem used to say. It's also a bit whimsical, no? Cloudcuckoolandish.

On the other hand, borrowing from the original quote, it expresses the need for a healthy distrust of the status quo. Question your elders. Question conventional wisdom. The original Star Trek episode concerns a generational colony ship, Yonada, that Kirk and crew encounter. The colony ship is disguised both inside and out as a planetoid. However, one old man has discovered the truth. "But things are not as they teach us. For the world is hollow, and I have touched the sky." I could be completely wrong, but I like to think of myself as possessing this sort of skepticism, and discussing it here on the blog as it relates to gaming conventional wisdom.

For some time, I have seen the combat of most MMOs for the dice rolls that they are. Much like Neo in the Matrix, seeing not the illusion of the computer generated world, but the numerical codes that form its underpinnings. I still prefer to play certain classes, etc. But really, is there any difference between the DPS of a rogue and that of a mage? Or the threat generation of a Warrior vs. a Paladin? You get the idea.

On top of which, in at least one game, World of Warcraft, I actually have flown up and touched the sky. My griffin wasn't happy about it.

So my second challenge for you, Dear Reader, in these few days of Blaugust: Why did you title your blog what you did? Do you think the name still fits?

You, too, could make a name for yourself in Blaugust!
~~~
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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Boondoggle

You, too, might get wrapped up in the Excitement of Blaugust! But there are only a few days left.

I wasn't sure what to write about this evening, since I didn't play any games. But Scooter suggested I report on my latest little project, a braiding technique called boondoggle. The other day, we were at a craft store looking for replacement feathers for my bowler (derby) hat, and I came across some colored parachute cord. Military folks often refer to it as 550 cord. I decided to get some and make something while watching TV with Scooter. I picked blue and orange because those are my high school colors, and my university colors aren't quite as exciting. Tonight was the first night we'd sat down for some "Arrow" since buying the stuff. Pictured above is about an hour's worth of work, including fixing what I'd screwed up a few times trying to get it started. After I get more practice, I'd like to branch out into other weave styles.

Oh! and I did get new feathers for my hat.
~~~
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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Running Aurin

Blaugust is in the final stretch. Hang in there, Cupcake!

Minor SPOILERS for WildStar

I have a great idea for a post, but haven't had time to develop it. Hopefully, tomorrow will be the day. Not to complain once again about the daily blogging thing, but while I think it's a great exercise, I don't feel it allows me to really go in depth with a topic. That may be my own hang-up, since Belghast, Wilhelm Arcturus, and others frequently crank out insightful posts despite a daily or nearly daily schedule.
I told you these two were keeping the undertaker employed.
Anyway, Flint and Lave have buttoned up the case of the Darkspur Cartel and are basically moving past the town of Gallow into what looks to be the last area of Algoroc.

We had fun with the tropes of the Western town, right up to the final confrontation with Throg. This despite Scooter being inexplicably disconnected from the game almost constantly, leaving poor Lave running in place while Flint stood by to defend her. It wasn't our network, because I had no trouble with my connection to the game besides an occasional lag spike.

We considered switching over to WoW, but there wasn't enough time left before bed to be worth it. 
~~~
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Monday, August 25, 2014

Gallow Humors

Beware of SPOILERS
The undertaker is doing a land office business, thanks to these two.
Flint and Lave have been spending time in the town of Gallow in the Algoroc valley. You could say they've been deputized, since the local constabulary seems inadequate to the task of protecting the townsfolk. As you may know, Gallow is the hub of several mining operations, as well as a robust ranching enterprise. (You may also note a certain lilt in my speech. It seems the local dialect may rubbed a bit off on me.)

Unfortunately for the Gallowites (Gallowegians?), a group of thugs led by a Krogg named Morek Throg has arrived in town to claim the valuable loftite in the area for the Darkspur Cartel. They've been terrorizing the good folks of Gallow, and also facilitating the distribution of the bootleg beverage known as Slush.

After losing his arm to a cowardly attack by Throg, Judge Kain has enlisted the help of Flint and Lave to break the stranglehold of Throg's gang and their allies, the Crowes. The walking mountain and his kinetic companion have been making mincemeat of the bandits and bootleggers.

Because dispensing frontier justice on the edge of a blade is how we do it in this big valley, pardner!

Bear witness to the Blind Justice of Blaugust!
~~~
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Sunday, August 24, 2014

Cannot Be Tamed

The cover art looks so much more exciting.
So it's time to jump on the bandwagon of Jasyla's Gaming Questionnaire:

When did you start playing video games?
We got an Atari 2600 when I was a kid—early 1980s, I'm not sure what year. Before that, I may have wasted a few quarters on Space Invaders or something similar at local pizza parlors.

What is the first game you remember playing?
And we liked it, cuz that's all there wuz.
Combat is the first video I can remember playing for sure.

PC or Console?
PC, definitely.We don't even have a console in the house anymore.

XBox, PlayStation, or Wii?
Given these choices, I'll say PlayStation. I've never even owned an XBox or Wii.

What's the best game you've ever played?
That's hard to say. I enjoy them for different reasons, and they also all have flaws. I have several favorites, but none stands out as the single best game.

Why is he falling? Where is everyone else? Why should I care?
What's the worst game you've ever played?
Also a hard question, because what I considered horrible games, may be someone else's absolute favorite. I am going to say Myst. The game did not appeal to me at all when I tried to play it.

Name a game that was popular/critically adored that you just didn't like.
The aforementioned Myst. I also couldn't get into Warcraft 3, though I tried it after I'd been playing World of Warcraft for a while.

Name a game that was poorly received that you really like.
The Secret World. I almost named it as the best game I'd ever played, but I am not sure it is. However I do really like it, despite the fact that it can be incredibly frustrating to play at times.

What are your favourite game genres?
MMORPGs, followed closely by RTS games.

Who is your favourite game protagonist?
ME! It's why I prefer MMOs to other games where I am essentially playing someone else's character.
This may take a while.
Describe your perfect video game.
My perfect video game would have an open character development system like TSW's ability wheel, combined with a fantasy/sci-fi scenario that is more . . . cheerful. Certainly less unrelenting horror. It would have fairly realistic graphics, but not be a brown world. I would use TSW's gear/wardrobe system, as well, where stats are not tied to the look of the character. Though the actual clothing would fit the scenario. Controls would definitely be PC mouse/keyboard oriented, similar to WoW, TSW, and a host of others, but the option to use a console controller would be available for those who would like. Combat would be kinetic, enabling and requiring motion by all players: active dodge, cast while moving, etc.

Better yet, where's my holodeck? I'd love to step into a world as beautifully realized as Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings, or Joss Whedon's Firefly. Could you imagine learning "spells" by perfecting hand gestures? Or actually wielding a sword and board or dual pistols? We'd all be a lot more fit, thats for sure.

Green-skin, tattoos, and tough!
What video game character do have you have a crush on?
Call me egotistical, but I really liked my Mirialan Trooper, Achillea, in SWTOR. She was tough, tried do the right thing, bucked authority when she thought it was wrong, and was just generally badass. I wish I had gotten to play her more before I got fed up with BioWare's management of the game. Achillea is perhaps the direct predecessor to Samantha "LoneStarBelle" Hawthorn, my no-nonsense, brilliant, and tough-as-nails Lumie character in TSW (shown above). Perhaps for obvious reasons, I make my female characters as attractive as I can. My male characters are generally attractive, too, I think. For their species.

What game has the best music?
I love the original World of Warcraft soundtrack. The expansions have their moments, as well. But WildStar's intro/login music is currently running through my head.

Most memorable moment in a game:
Hitting 60 and stepping through the Dark Portal several months into The Burning Crusade. I was still so amazed at the spectacle of WoW back then. What the graphics engine was capable of. I spent several minutes at one point just admiring the sky.
Actual in-game shot of the garage. Yes, that's all I could see.

Scariest moment in a game:
I honestly don't get scared in games, but I'd say running through the underground garage missions in The Secret World.

Most heart-wrenching moment in a game:
SPOILER ALERT
Lately? The destruction of Sadie Brightland's rescue ship in WildStar.
SPOILER OVER

What are your favourite websites/blogs about games?
I don't really follow regular gaming sites, because they're not accessible from my office. Blogs I follow religiously include Syp's Bio Break, Belghast's Tales of the Aggronaut, and Scarybooster's blog. I hesitate to just name a few, because I read several different posts though my gReader app. Basically, check out my blogrolls on the sidebar for the latest, greatest.

What’s the last game you finished?
Like finished, finished? Rise of Nations, I guess, back before I started playing MMOs, which don't really have a "finish."

What future releases are you most excited about?
I suppose Dragon Age Inquisition, but I need to actually finish Origins. Oh! I am also interested to see Firefly Online next year.

Do you identify as a gamer?
I suppose I do, although my "gamer cred" is fairly shallow, I think.

Why do you play video games?
Video Games help me relax; and at the same time, I feel more involved with my leisure time than if I were watching TV or movies all the time. I've made lots of friends in my years in gaming. But most of all I enjoy spending time with my bride in virtual worlds.


This questionnaire was brought to you by Cannot be Tamed in the Spirit of Blaugust!
~~~
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Saturday, August 23, 2014

Return to Mulgore

As I mentioned the other day, Scooter got an email offering Mists of Pandaria for free if she re-subs to World of Warcraft. On Thursday evening, she fired up her old trial account and roled a new Blood Elf Hunter. The thing is she was already familiar with the Blood Elf starting area from when she and I were playing WoW around the time Cataclysm dropped. I suggested she try a race and starting area she'd never done before.
This morning, I logged into my own trial account, created when we wanted to check out MoP a couple years ago. I had always wanted to see the post cataclysm Tauren area, but never really took the opportunity to do so. I roled a hunter of my own, calling him Gil Buckthorn (no space) and went through the first few quests on Red Cloud Mesa, spending a little over an hour until I got to Bloodhoof Village. It was pleasant enough, I suppose. Mulgore has always been one of my favorite areas, and I love the Tauren culture. I always wish there were more of it in WoW. And WoW has never really been an unpleasant experience, though I have gotten bored with it in the past. Today was no exception.

After a nice afternoon spent out and about, Scooter and I returned home this evening to play a little more. She took my suggestion and roled a Tauren Druid. Meanwhile, I created a Shaman, naming him Oakhoof. Scooter named her Druid Madam Oakhoof (again, without the space). We spent another hour or so doing the Tauren rites on Red Cloud Mesa and intended to continue with the quests in Bloodhoof Village, but some unexpected latency caused a few deaths and eventually I was bumped from the server. So here we are.
You, too, may commune with the Spirits of Blaugust!
~~~
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Friday, August 22, 2014

Unexpected Guests

Flint Buckthorn looked out across the Algoroc Valley. The sun was just peaking over the mountains. Loftite spires reached up into the sky, shards of the strange ore floating around them as if in orbit, catching the dawn's rays. He had been in the area just a few weeks, but it was already growing on him. The sparse environment reminded him of his village on Gnox, but he pushed that down. Even three centuries later, the rejection of the Free Companies by the Granok chieftains felt like a fresh fissure. A heavy sigh came out from under his mustache. He wasn't even middle-aged, but Flint felt old. He leaned on his sword, squinting into the distance. A ship was landing across the valley, but he couldn't make out its markings.
"Heya, Flinty!" Lave came bounding up the boulder he was standing on. Jumping onto his broad back and clinging to his shoulders, she asked, "What's so interesting up here?"

Flint barely felt the young Aurin's weight. The burden of her history was a different story. Seven years ago, he'd been part of the operation on Arboria. Unfortunately, they couldn't save the Aurin homeworld the way they had Gnox centuries earlier. Lavender Daisy had been orphaned by a Chua planet reaper attack that razed her village, and Flint's team was the first on the scene of destruction. He had found her huddling in a pocket under the rubble. The Aurin girl had scarcely left his side since. Flint had sworn that even if he couldn't rescue them all, he would make sure Lave wmade it out.

"Ship touched down over yonder," he responded, pointing. "I don't know that we're expecting visitors today. Might be the Marauders."

"Ya wanna check it out?" She dropped off his shoulders, landing lightly.

Flint hefted his claymore over his back and grinned at his companion.

"Sure. I love a good asskicking in the morning."

It's not too late to enjoy the Battle of Blaugust. Field Marshall Belghast has promised spoils for the victors.
~~~
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Thursday, August 21, 2014

Which Path Shall You Take?

Syp's talking about player paths in WildStar today. He's got some great ideas, like adding ways that the various paths interact with the environment on an incidental basis (e.g., blowing stuff up for extra damage to enemies, opening otherwise hidden doors, etc.).
Inherently Flawed?
I originally thought the paths would be more swappable—based on my playing mood, really. Much like the popular Bartle Test, locking paths in at character creation reflects a misunderstanding of Richard Bartle's types in the first place. On top of which, Bartle's hypothesis has been analyzed and critiqued by others, like David Yee, who came up with a different way to assess playstyle preferences. This actually makes me think of the Myers-Briggs personality test, which has been shown to be unreliable, but is often used in employment decisions and other inappropriate settings. In any event, if Bartle's model of player types is flawed or misunderstood, then games designed to appeal to such types will also be flawed, leading to player dissatisfaction.

Synergies and Efficiencies
Even though I generally love the lore of a world, overall, I am a bit disappointed with scientist. Settler is fun, though. And it seems the most appreciated path, providing buff stations for all players and repairing decorative items that garner the affection of the local NPC populace. There are synergies between settler and scientist, which Scooter and I thought were cool. And I assume all the paths have similar synergies. But often, we "waste" one another's time, one partner doing path-related things while the other stands by, not quite sure what's going on. On our more recent pairing, we went the same path, so now we can work together on the missions and be more in sync, making up for the loss of cross-path synergy.

Soldiering On
Non-soldiers participating in a holdout receive a buff, just like clicking on a settler buff station. There are chests of limited-use weapons scattered across the landscape, as well, that are accessible by anyone nearby when the soldier opens the chest. There is even a creature (with a quest) on the mountain above the first little town in Algoroc that only seems accessible by blowing up a box of explosives. I'm not sure if other paths can set it off, but when I am nearby, it's got a soldier icon above it.

While I disagree somewhat with Syp's assessment of soldier missions (there are more than just holdouts) and skills, they do seem a bit less useful to other players, the way settlers are. I do like the ability to bug out of an area like the bottom of a cave, rather than fight my way back out, though.

Heh, some soldier, right?

The siege of Blaugust is almost over. Who will emerge from the sound and fury victorious?
~~~
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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Young and Old

Turns out we can all just get along.
Too much fun in the sun yesterday, as we threw a party at the local water park for my daughter's 16th birthday; as well as a last hurrah of the summer, I guess. I don't often hang out with a group of teenagers, and it's an interesting experience. The things they chit-chat about are basically the same things we discussed when I was that age. The hot celebrities, the latest couples amongst their friends, the upcoming school year, etc. They sing along with the popular songs on the radio—which I have heard most of and do enjoy, thank you very much. Makes me feel young and old at the same time.

Funny, I don't feel like a redneck.Meanwhile, with the impending release of Warlords of Draenor, Scooter got an email offering her Mists of Pandaria free when she resubscribes to WoW. Presumably it's an open offer to any returning players. We might take advantage of it, I dunno. I honestly am not sure when we'd have time between now and November.

We're making progress with our new WildStar characters, Flint and Lave (which, as I have been informed, is short for Lavender Daisy). Tonight's NCSoft outage didn't help, though.

There's still a ton folks in the running for Blaugust champion. Follow all the posts on Anook or using the #Blaugust hashtag on Twitter.
~~~
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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. If you are reading this post through RSS or Atom feed—especially more than a couple hours after publication—I encourage you to visit the actual page, as I often make refinements after the fact. The mobile version also loses some of the original character of the piece due to simplified formatting.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Whence a Gamer?

Expecting everything to be custom tailored for you is the surest way to end up angry in the end. It is like walking into a store and complaining that a red shirt isn't blue enough for you. If you don't want to wear a red shirt, don't buy a red shirt and then expect it to change into the color you want it to be.
~Belghast, Change is Scary
Apparently, there was much discussion yesterday on Twitter about trying to define the term "Gamer" and specifically, who gets to claim the term. Belghast would like to include folks playing Bejeweled on their phone while they wait for the bus, while others are far more exclusionary. Roger Edwards questions the need for labels at all. I think there is some value in labels, but that labeling everyone who happens to play Minesweeper a gamer diffuses the term so as to make it meaningless. I am not a mini-golfer just because I go to Putt-Putt once in a blue moon.

Let's put it it this way:
  • If you consider the games you play to be a hobby, you might be a gamer.
  • If you set aside time to play a game on a  regular basis, you might be a gamer.
  • If you spend time thinking about a game while not actually playing, you might be a gamer.
  • If you've ever bored or annoyed someone because you're talking about a game you've played, you might be a gamer.
  • If you do research to improve your performance in the game you are playing, you might be a gamer.
  • If someone who is definitely not a gamer would comment on your gaming when describing you, you might be a gamer.
  • If you write about gaming, you might be a gamer.
  • If you argue on social media about who gets to be called a gamer, you're probably a gamer.
  • If you think you are somehow more a "Gamer" than someone else because you play on certain platforms or difficulty levels or are more "hardcore" or are more skilled or more committed—or whatever—shut the fuck up.
If you're interested in joining the circadian sun showers of Blaugust, breeze on over to Belghast's Blaugust Initiative Page on Anook and let him know you're there. It may even mean a small windfall for you, as Belghast has prizes prepared for high achievers.
~~~
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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. If you are reading this post through RSS or Atom feed—especially more than a couple hours after publication—I encourage you to visit the actual page, as I often make refinements after the fact. The mobile version also loses some of the original character of the piece due to simplified formatting.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Blaugust Has Ruined My Routines

So here I am, yet again, at bedtime, trying to think of something interesting to write about. Unlike other days, it's not pastmy bedtime with me laying in bed posting on my phone. This is a quiet time for me. I often have the time to jot stuff down at work, due to the nature of my job. But things are busier around the office than in the past. Or perhaps it's that when I am not posting every day, those brief opportunities only seem to come up more often.

Anyway, Rades over at Orcish Army Knife had some interesting insights into the behavior of Garrosh Hellscream in the Warlords of Draenor cinematic trailer released the other day. I encourage you to read it, but suffice it to say that the Garrosh we see in this trailer is a far wiser Orc than the one defeated at the end of the Siege of Orgrimmar. I don't know enough about the backstory surrounding his appearance here versus what we consider the normal timeline, but I would be interested to find out. For all I know, the information is out there, I just haven't heard about it because I am not really involved in WoW any more.

There are quite a few folks excited for WoD to drop. Others have said the trailer left them "meh." It certainly didn't get them excited for the new expansion. At least, not more excited than they may already have been. While I found the cinematic interesting, it made me more interested in the fabled Warcraft movie they keep telling us happening, more than it drew me back into WoW itself.

As Shintar asked, "Why should I be invested in this as a player?" I've mentioned this before, I think that as the World of Warcraft cinematics moved away from showing essentially player characters and classes to showing Epic Lore NPCs like Illidan and Arthas, so too the expansions themselves focused more on the "big story" and left players as sidekicks in their own stories. And the game is poorer for it.

GIVE IN TO THE MADNESS!! GO NOW TO THE BLAUGUST INITIATIVE PAGE ON ANOOK! POST YOUR BLOGS! THE AGGRONAUT HAS SPOKEN!!
~~~
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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. If you are reading this post through RSS or Atom feed—especially more than a couple hours after publication—I encourage you to visit the actual page, as I often make refinements after the fact. The mobile version also loses some of the original character of the piece due to simplified formatting.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Sunday Afternoon on Nexus

So Scooter and I were discussing our our characters, Rowan Blaze and Sabrine, a medic and spellslinger, respectively, and how they'd grown a bit stale, even though we'd only reached maybe level 17 with them. I am enjoying my spellslinger, Lyra, but then again it's only been a few days since I created her. I'd been wondering how a warrior would play in WildStar, and Scooter wanted an Aurin. I decided on a Granok, and Scooter went with the stalker class. Thus were Flint Buckthorn and Lave (LAH-veh) created. It's hard to get them both in frame, honestly.
In about five hours worth of play, including character creation, we got to level 10. And we're really enjoying the melee classes. I kinda wish one or the other had some healing, but we're doing just fine, I think. I am speccing into Tank; while Scooter is going DPS, as is her wont.

Since we'd gone through Everstar Grove and Celestion with our Human characters, we decided to brave the Northern Wilds and Algoroc. This is my second time on this storyline, and I gotta say that I really enjoy it a lot more than the Aurin/Mordesh one. There's something about the Old West feel of Algoroc that really appeals to me. Perhaps it's the feeling of a land to be tamed, rather than a forest to be preserved.
It might be a bit late to start in on Blaugust, but it's never too late get support and encouragement. If you're interested in joining the fun, double-jump over to Belghast's Blaugust Initiative Page on Anook and let him know you're there. It may even mean a small windfall for you, as Belghast has prizes prepared for high achievers.
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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. If you are reading this post through RSS or Atom feed—especially more than a couple hours after publication—I encourage you to visit the actual page, as I often make refinements after the fact. The mobile version also loses some of the original character of the piece due to simplified formatting.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Lazy Saturday

This is one of those days that I am basically looking at a blank screen and wondering what I am going to write. I didn't really do much today. Spent some time early in the morning doing some fence repair, then took some Benadryl to combat the itchy mosquito bites I'd received. This had the side effect of making me drowsier than expected, and I ended up sleeping the morning away.
In the afternoon, Scooter and I watched the recent movie "Noah" starring Russell Crowe. A friend had lent it to me. Strange movie, honestly. The cover tries to play up the action, but it is far more a character piece, in my opinion. It draws some of its story from Apocryphal books in addition to the account found in Genesis. Even accounting for that, the filmmakers took a lot of liberties with the plot. I also re-watched part of "Cloud Atlas."

I played some WildStar while Scooter ran some errands with her daughter. I really like my new solo toon, Lyra, but she's a bit squishy.
We ended up watching a mini-marathon of "Arrow" this evening. I actually kinda like this show. At first Oliver Queen seemed like a cheap imitation Bruce Wayne. But there's a great deal of intrigue and a web of lies that surrounds him. Bruce's enemies were always "other." Oliver's may be right in his own home.

If you're interested in joining the torrential downpour of blog posts, sail on over to Belghast's Blaugust Initiative Page on Anook and let him know you're there. It may even mean a small windfall for you, as Belghast will reward the faithful.
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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. If you are reading this post through RSS or Atom feed—especially more than a couple hours after publication—I encourage you to visit the actual page, as I often make refinements after the fact. The mobile version also loses some of the original character of the piece due to simplified formatting.

Friday, August 15, 2014

10 Years 10 Questions

I heard about the Godmother of Faff's 10 Ten Years, 10 Questions survey a few days ago, but haven't sat down to actually answer them until now. I believe Godmother intends to use the responses to put together an Alternative Chat show very close to the anniversary of WoW. But several other bloggers have posted their answers now, and I shall follow suit.

Why did you start playing World of Warcraft?
I had a friend who played religiously, and he spent a lot of time talking about it. I wasn't really interested until he came over one day and insisted that I install it (using his disks and a friend-key). I had subscribed by the end the week.

What was the first ever character you rolled?
My first character was a Dwarf Hunter named Oakheart. I believe I got him into the 40s, but not before he'd become one of several characters I roled ("rolling" is something munchkins do with dice. I play characters) as I found classes and quest lines I preferred to play.

Which factors determined your faction choice in game?
Initially, I played Alliance because my friend's main character was a gnome. I eventually created at least one of every race and class, and both factions. I continued to receive more social support on the Alliance side after he started playing different hours due to a job change. That's not to say Horde players are unfriendly, but I never put down any real roots on that side.

What has been your most memorable moment in Warcraft and why?
I'm not really sure. The first time my namesake, Rowanblaze, the priest felt truly powerful? Stepping through the Dark Portal for the first time—several months after the Burning Crusade was released? My first flying mount? Achieving "A Long Strange Trip" and getting my violet proto-drake? Really, there are a lot of memories when I stop to think. Many moments—like "smokin' and jokin'" during raids—run together.

What is your favourite aspect of the game and has this always been the case?
I've always loved questing and leveling. A major reason for my altoholism stems from the rested XP bonus and the fact that I wanted to play, but wanted to keep that bonus. So I would rest my stable of characters. The practice of switching from one character to another each session allowed me to go through a wide variety of different zones and quest stories, and I rarely got bored in those first few years. I was always a little miffed that "Lore Master" was not an account-wide achievement.

Do you have an area in game that you always return to?
Stolen from MMOGC
This doesn't really apply to me, since I haven't really played for a few years. In trying to think of my favorite places, I came up with a laundry list of zones. I tend to favor naturalistic forests and grasslands. Grizzly Hills, Nagrand, Elwynn Forest, Mulgore, Eversong Woods. I also like spooky areas, especially those dominated by the Forsaken.

How long have you /played and has that been continuous?
I am honestly not sure how much total /played time I have between all my characters. I played almost daily, it seemed, from late June of 2006, until January of 2009, when my account was hacked. I played semi-regularly after that, interspersed with new MMOs, until finally fully unsubscribing from WoW in the fall of 2011.

Admit it: do you read quest text or not?
I almost always read the quest test in WoW. It did not occur to me to do otherwise.

Are there any regrets from your time in game?
I don't think there's anything I regret, precisely. I continued playing it past the time I really enjoyed it, out of a sense of loyalty to friends who were still interested.

What effects has Warcraft had on your life outside gaming?
For me, Warcraft was a "Dark Portal" to a broader gaming hobby. I have started blogging and writing fiction, formed friendships, and strengthened my relationship with my bride through WoW and MMORPGs.

We're halfway through Blaugust! It's not too late to join. Breeze on over to Belghast's Blaugust Initiative Page on Anook and let him know you're there. It may even mean a small windfall for you, as Belghast has prizes prepared for high achievers.
~~~
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. If you are reading this post through RSS or Atom feed—especially more than a couple hours after publication—I encourage you to visit the actual page, as I often make refinements after the fact. The mobile version also loses some of the original character of the piece due to simplified formatting.