Rants tag

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

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Day 12 - In Which I Thoroughly Bore You With a Slice of My Life

So Day 12 is supposed to be about a typical day IRL and/or online for me. This would be wonderful, if I had an interesting life. However, like many of you, I work in an office, not an emergency room or a police precinct.

I get up, get ready, and drop my teenager off at school on my way to work, where I stand at my 45.5" high desk and develop training materials for the classes I instruct and/or surf the web. There is a lot of writing and editing involved, mostly editing. I also chat with my coworkers, most of whom are actually out of town right now on assignment. A few also play MMOs, and we do chat about that along with other typical things: work, home, our weekend, etc.
I am lucky that I can eat lunch with my lovely bride many days of the week. At the end of the workday, I head home, picking up my high schooler and maybe stopping for some errands on the way.

We eat dinner, often as a family, and I spend my evenings either playing a computer game--right now it's SWTOR--with Sctrz or playing by myself (perhaps grouping online) while she does some schoolwork. I watch very little TV, and my reading has tapered off off late, as well.

If I am away on assignment, my workdays are longer, "on the podium" in front of a class. Then it's back to the hotel to relax, usually with a game. I do sightseeing on the weekends if the place is interesting enough. I also try to meet visit old friends and people I've met though blogging/gaming, when I get the chance.

What do I actually do while online? I quest mostly, sometimes I do some space missions, which I happen to really enjoy in SWTOR. They are the classic arcade-style relaxation technique for me, a lot like other rail-shooters of the past. Others have complained that space in SWTOR is is not basically a flight/combat simulator. I think they miss the point. But I digress. I do enjoy running a group instance occasionally, but I have only done PvP once in SWTOR. Maybe I should try again.

I really need to get in some exercise, either early in the morning or in the evening. The standing for most of the day helps a bit. It's better than sitting all day, which I did before getting my desk raised. But I do need to lose some weight and get healthier in general.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Day 11 - In which I Discuss a Major Flaw and Some Bad Habits

I procrastinate.

I know. That is fairly common--and doesn't reveal that much, does it? I would say though, that is my biggest flaw. I always put off 'til later what I could and maybe should do now. This post is a actually an unintentionally perfect example. It's been almost 10 days since my last post. Of what should only have been a 20 day series.

Granted this is not a gaming flaw, but I am not sure what flaws there are to my gaming. I certainly not the perfect gamer. But who is? And who gets to define that? We all have different styles and interests. It's the attempts to judge other people's gaming styles that leads to much conflict in the community. I, myself, am guilty of this judging.

Bad habits: My gaming sometimes gets in the way of  other things I should be doing. This is a reflection of my flaw of procrastination. "Write a blog post about my flaws and bad habits, or play SWTOR?" Which would you choose?

In-game bad habits? Again I am not sure, what is a bad habit to someone may simply be another's play-style. I am an altoholic, some would consider that a bad habit. I still don't have a character to max level in SWTOR, when there were a few people with maxed out characters during the Early Access week--before the game even officially launched. Am inconsistent with keyboard input vs. mouse-clicking the UI. Is that a bad habit?

I guess my worst current gaming-related habit is my non-ergonomic posture and gaming position. I play on a bed or couch, usually.

So that's it. What are your bad habits/flaws in the gaming realm?

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Day 10 - In Which My Favourite Blogs/Websites Are Revealed

OK I took a few extra days to sit down to write this because I wanted to do it justice. I consistently read only a few blogs, though I have a lot on my bloglist. I just don't have time to read every single post made by everyone. Here are the ones I do read all the time, in no particular order:

MMO Gamer Chick: A truly balanced blog, GeeCee stays on topic; and while she discusses controversies on occasion, she rarely publicly takes sides. Her posts are entertaining and informative. I looked to her to get most of my info on SWTOR early on. She is an accomplished artist (something I am totally jealous of), as a perusal of her posts will clearly demonstrate. In addition, we have become friends IRL as I have had a chance to visit with her and her husband. Her posts have tapered off of late--understandably--as she and hubby have welcomed a lovely baby into their lives. I look forward to her picking it up again as her busy schedule permits.

Scary Worlds: Scarybooster is just consistently funny, yet manages some serious insights on games and the gaming community through his offbeat parables. Not everyone can take his humor. But if you can, it is worth every minute you spend with him. He also serves our nation in the armed forces, a true hero. Thank you, Scary.

Bio Break: Syp delivers consistent insightful commentary on games and gaming news. Also a correspondent with Massively, Mutant Reviewers, and not one, but two podcasts, Syp somehow manages to hold down a day job as a youth pastor. Keep up the good work, Syp.

A High Latency Life: Every time I get a chance, I catch up with TheRivs. This series, 20 Days of MMO Blogging is inspired directly by him, so now you know who to thank/blame. His posts are concise and incisive, filled with humor/sarcasm, and usually include a pretty girl (or TV-girl). Even when his ping sucks, he gives good blog.

Harbinger Zero: HZ keeps me up to date on games I'll probably never play. Believe it or not, that's important. It keeps my perspective broader.

NebelStreif / The Self-Aware Colony: I have considered Adventure Historian a friend since my early days of STO, he jumps from blog to blog, but is always entertaining. He's got quite a bit of RP fiction going on, which I love to read. It inspires me to get back to my own fiction. Thanks and welcome back to blogging, AyAitch.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Day 9 - In Which I Essentially Link Back to My First Post

Perhaps like many such posts, my first one for this blog was not exactly the most auspicious beginning. I have written far longer and higher quality stuff (though not necessarily at the same time). But there it is:

OK Here We Go


As I said in that post, I had hoped to include more fiction on the blog, but my bouts of inspiration are fewer and further between these days than in the past. I guess I should work harder at that. But more often lately, I find myself incensed at some hot topic of the day, and I am inspired to rant about it rather than write (hopefully) exciting stories.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Day 8 - You Don't Know Me!

OK, so it's been a couple days. I relaxed this weekend and wracking my brain over this post was not on the agenda. I'm wracking my brain about what I want to tell my Readers about myself that they don't already know and that might be of interest. Or that they couldn't find out through my other posts. If you start Googling me, that's a little stalkerish. I'm still wondering what to say.

So here are 10 things you don't know about me:
  1. As a teenager, I was a speed demon. Listening to John Denver while driving slowed/calmed me down.
  2. I did not have a console game system in my house from the first Atari 2600 my family had in the early 80s until I bought a PSone in like 2002, after the PS2 had come out.
  3. Along that line, I did not have my own Personal Computer until 1996, when I was almost done with college.
  4. I was in a show choir in high school (3:1 girl-to-guy ratio? Aww yeah!)
  5. I worked for the Boy Scouts for a while as a "District Executive."
  6. I am bilingual.
  7. I have been known to write erotic fiction. (nothing published)
  8. I am an expert bayonetist.
  9. While genteel and articulate on this blog, I have a foul mouth and I'm not afraid to use it (because bayoneting people is generally frowned upon).
  10. I love my Sctrz. (You already know that, but it bears repeating.)

Friday, March 9, 2012

Day 7 - In Which I Relate the Reason Behind My Blog’s Name

I Have Touched the Sky -- from the Classic Trek episode "For the World is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky."

I disliked the title of my first, WoW-focused blog: "Rowanblaze Saves Azeroth." But I wanted to continue the pattern of (very) short fiction and occasional reporting/commentary of my game experiences in Star Trek Online. Fortunately, I had a much better idea for the title, IMHO. There's not a ton of meaning behind it other than its poeticism and relation to Star Trek. Much like River created High Latency Life when he realized he might want to blog about something other than WoW, I quickly realized that splitting my posts over various blogs might split any potential audience. And what if I decided to started playing another game? Start a third blog?

So I consolidated the blogs I had already, and kept the name I liked better. While it is a direct Star Trek reference, it is not so specific as to include the name of any World I may choose to escape to. By the way, I have touched the sky in Azeroth. My Snowy Gryphon didn't like it.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Day 6 - In Which I Share a Little About My Workplace

So this is my current workplace/desk. Exciting right. Welcome to life on the road. I kind of wish I'd planned ahead. I'd have gotten a picture of my office desk. It's pretty cool actually. There is a fitness enthusiast at work who requested our facilities guy raise his desk somehow, for which he produced a set of riser boxes. Having, at the time, recently read a few articles stating basically that sitting for 8-hour days is killing us, when I saw it, I asked if I could have that, too. So since October, I stand at my desk, which is about 4.5 feet (137 centimeters) tall. My desk also has more papers and a bunch of Lego Star Wars figures and mini-ships, from the advent calendar they put out this last Christmas (which I got half off after the holidays). And a laptop and peripherals, of course. I'll get a picture of it when I get back (if I remember) and post it here.

Right now I am on the road, teaching. It's been exhausting, more so than most of my trips. But the weekend is only a day away. :D

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Day 5 - In Which I Share My Favorite Items in Games

This entry of the 20 Days of Blogging struck me as a bit odd. I could easily say that my Asus G73 laptop is my favorite game item, but it is not IN-game. Neither is my wedding ring, though that is pretty awesome, too, and sort of fantasy-, if not gaming-related.
So. In-game items:

For WoW, I'd have to say my Violet Proto-Drake, awarded for completing all the holiday festival achievements. At the time, the only other way to get a super-fast flying mount was to win a drop in whatever the current endgame raid was. I'd say I worked at least as hard as they did to get all of it done; and it was well-rounded, too, involving PvP, group instances, and solo achievements.
A close second was not an individual item, but my minipet collection. I loved pulling out rare companions and having people ask where they had come from. My favorite of those was Miniwing, which was ironically very easy to obtain through a quest in eastern Terrokar Forest, near the Bone Wastes.

From STO, I love my Nebula-refit starship, the U.S.S. Peregrine. I had loved the Nebula class since the last shot of Star Trek Generations of the Farragut rising above Veridian III, and was disappointed that it was not one of the possible ships when STO launched. That the ships are customizable means that a lot of the ships I have are "favorites." But this one is the mostest favorite.
I don't really have any one favorite item from other games. The topic prompt took me a little by surprise, honestly. I am a bit of a hoarder, my banks are often full of stuff I no longer need. Come to think of it, so is my garage.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Day 4 - In Which I Recall My Best Gaming Memories

I'm having a really hard time with this one. It's not that I don't have great memories of playing MMOs, WoW in particular; but many times, it's more the general feelings associated with those games that are great. It doesn't help that I am currently working longer hours, so my brain is a little befuddled.

When I say feelings, I mean like how it feels to fly in my STO starships, whether interstellar space or in battle around a planet. It's just fun and freeing; I pan around my ship looking for awesome shots, like the one in the blog masthead above.

Or how it felt the first time I realized I was powerful in WoW. Rowanblaze the priest was in in the Hinterlands at around level 40, and multiple wolves of about my level attacked. I defeated them all and survived. It was great.

The opening crawl of MY story during beta in SWTOR was exhilarating. I was so excited to discover the adventures that lay ahead. I was also excited to hit 50 in Rift together with my lovely bride a few weeks after we were married. It was something we'd accomplished together.

Many of of my best memories were of playing with good friends, like running through lowbie areas on brand-new characters with friends I'd met in Germany. Or introducing a girlfriend or two to the genre and playing with them. Chatting with guildies as I taxied from one zone to another. Downing the final boss in Kharazan, really many raids where we could joke with each other and cement friendships.

I think that's the greatest thing that MMOs can still do, is bring people together across great physical distances to laugh and have some fun together, whether it's an endgame raid, or a little PvP, or just playing roles in some remote tavern on Telara, Kalimdor or Tatooine.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Just a Quick Update on the 20 Days of Blogging

Hey Everyone, all two of you. :P

I maybe seem to have slacked off the last couple days. However, the neglect of the blog is due to travel for business and preparation for said travel. I plan to return to the 20 Days tomorrow evening. Which means that, unless you're a night owl, you'll see it Wednesday.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Day 3 - In Which I Recount My First Day Playing WoW

At first I thought this question from the 20 Days of MMO Blogging was going to be hard. But then memories came flooding back. It wasn't really that long ago, was it?

Some others played other MMOs before they played WoW. Not me, I enjoyed real-time strategy games like Age of Empires and SimCity (yes it was a strategy of a different sort. These were all solo ventures as well. My internet at the time probably would not have tolerated online gaming. By 2006, however, I had upgraded to cable internet, and a friend and coworker of mine, with whom I had actually done a couple Star Trek-related podcasts, (he was the "Big Fan," I was the "Loremaster") was a huge World of Warcraft fan. He tried a few times to get me to play, but "I am not a gamer," was my typical response. We were taking a professional class and one of the other students had also played WoW, but it was her husband who was the big player. She would tease me and my friend about being nerds and gamers. "I am not a gamer," was again my response.

Finally one fine Saturday in June, my buddy brought over his discs along with a 10-day free trial key and said, "Just load it and play." So I did. The opening cinematic--remember, this was June, 2006, just before the Rise of the Necropolis patch in Vanilla WoW--Was EPIC! Deep bass preceded the words "Ten Years ago. . ." The male choir intoned their chords as the narrowed eyes of a dwarf faded in. He squinted into a blizzard as he surveyed the mountains, then beckoned his faithful companion bear and headed toward toward what I later realized was the entrance to Ironforge. More characters appeared, the Night Elf druid shapeshifting into a panther, the Tauren shaman, the Forsaken warlock and the Human mage, the raging Orc warrior. All to the strains of a full orchestral surging soundtrack. Absolutely EPIC.

To this day, I think the Original WoW soundtrack is the best game soundtrack I have heard. I also think the the cinematics while becoming more epic in scope, have lost the sense of personal adventure I discovered in that first Vanilla Intro, and even the Burning Crusade Cinematic, with its focus on player characters.

When it came time to create a character, I chose a dwarf hunter, because I knew I wanted a bear companion. Despite the more exotic pets that became available with each expansion, I still kept that Ice Claw Bear I had named Arcturus, "the Bear Guard." But that was yet to come, back then a hunter had to get to level 10 and then learn how to tame beasts in a short quest series.

I created my hunter and clicked the button to enter the world of Azeroth. I watched and listened to the introduction of the dwarves as the camera traveled through Dun Morogh to Coldridge Valley and settled into the typical point of view slightly behind my avatar. I could practically feel the chill of the wind as I set out on my first quests. It was just fine to be the little adventurer, I didn't need to be a big damn hero. I still needed to learn my way around this big huge world.

I think I got to Kharanos that first day (level 6 or so?), but I don't think I did much beyond that. Levleing was slower then, both for me personally and for the game in general. I was newbie, learning the ropes of the game, while my character explored the big world. Repeated visits to the early levels, and Coldridge in particular, were much shorter as my skill as a player improved, regardless of the class or level of my character. I also came to realize how small Coldridge Valley and Duin Morogh really were.

There was a sense of exploration and wonder about the Azeroth in those early days. When I finally got a new computer and saw the snow glisten in the sunlight, it was breathtaking, hyper-real. MMOs are still fun, but the sense of wonder is long gone, unfortunately, as my skills and experience translate easily to other games.