I had another great visit with Sister Julie and Sister Fran from the No Prisioners. No Mercy. podcast. Ouch I had no idea I was having such audio issue. That's the first time that's happened to me. *Sad Panda*
I’ve had a few careers in my life – developer, instructional designer and performance analyst. I’ve been fortunate enough co-author three books that were published back in my technical hay-day. I’ve been a wife. I am a mother. I am a grandmother, aunt and entrepreneur. I still aspire to be a published fiction author. And I’m a gamer.
Gamer – of all the monikers I’ve worn over the years, this is the one that was kept in the closest the longest. It’s not something you speak of loudly when talking to co-workers. You definitely don’t strike up a conversation about it with strangers unless you’re at a geek event. For many years, even family members outside of our household had no clue. And yet, gaming is such a huge part of my personality and lifestyle. Gamer is the moniker that identifies me best outside of family oriented titles. Gaming has been present from an early age for all of my children - they are gamers too.
I haven’t blogged much in recent months. Between work and my entrepreneurial adventures, I started feeling guilty about spending the time. Isn’t it bad enough that I occasionally squeeze in gaming when I could be doing any number of other more productive things? To turn around and spend more time on the subject blogging about it, seemed excessive. *smile* I’m not Catholic but I do self-guilt really well.
I’ve decided to throw the gaming guilt hat out the window. I can’t work 24/7 and even if I could, it sure as hell wouldn’t be healthy. I game. I enjoy gaming. DAMMIT, I AM A GAMER. So what if I like blogging about gaming too. Games, MMORPGs in particular, have provided me with a lifetime of precious memories. I’ve forged real life relationships with people I wouldn’t have met otherwise.
MMO Love Affair
I’ve been a serious MMO player since Asheron’s Call. I wasn’t blogging back then however. Blogging didn’t start until Asheron’s Call 2 but I didn’t keep that blog alive after AC2 was shut down. Consequently, I only have a few pictures from AC2, my first MMO love affair.
A couple of weeks ago I was watching my daughter make personalized monogram name plates for a customer’s nursery when an idea hit me. Wouldn’t it be cool to do something similar using my game characters?? I raced through my blog’s archive and picked out a few favorites and asked her to do a full word collage of them.
GAMER - Loud and Proud
I gave her pictures from the MMOs I’ve played. AC2 to GW2, minus the minor forays into F2P games, my most beloved characters are represented. Knowing that I’ve played just about, it not every, AAA subscription-based MMO that’s hit NA, it’s telling which games didn’t make the cut. Notably missing from the line up – Vanguard, Age of Conan, Star Wars, Pirates of the Burning Sea and Lord of the Rings Online.
Of the ones I selected, every picture has a story. Every image brings a smile to my face. I can recall exactly what I was doing and why for every pose. It’s easy to tell which games I preferred by the number of pictures I selected versus other games represented. I LOVE how it turned out!
I can’t wait to hang this in my home office. When I look up and see it, I’ll be transported to happy thoughts. I’ll breathe a little easier and exhale a sweet sigh. I don’t know about you, but I could use more moments like that in my day. If you or someone you know might be interested in having one done, I’ve posted buying options on our Etsy shop.
I’ve been playing a bit of Dragon’s Prophet (DP), the new title from RuneWalker, who also developed Runes of Magic (ROM). I was enticed by player housing, where the homes are visible in the landscape and the promise of creating my own furniture much like I did in EQ2. I bought into one of the founder programs to secure a free house and some starter furniture. Unfortunately, I didn’t learn until I started playing that unlike ROM, player housing is end-game material and not something immediately available. Unfortunate, but not a deal breaker for me.
Consus Cave - First Instance in Puretia
Sitting at level 13, I’ve moved past the starter zone into more active combat quests and have completed the Consus Cave, the first instance in the Puretia area. Consus was a bit underwhelming to say the least. While I did enjoy the fact that I could enter solo and complete the trash mob quests alone, the encounters were pretty bland. None of the special mechanics or orchestrated combat I expect when you take the time to instance an encounter. It was more of the same hack-n-slash quest material.
Many people slammed ROM for its generic watered down World of Warcraft feel. I liked it well enough. I enjoyed the housing. The crafting was decent and I liked the meta game of upgrading your armor. The daily quests were helpful in gaining XP. What I disliked most however, was the lack of combat against humanoids. I really get bored fighting beasts out in the wild! It’s so uninspiring.
Paler Version of ROM
From what I’ve seen so far, DP is a paler version of ROM. Hard to imagine you could make a ROM-like experience more generic, but apparently, you can. I do like the class I’ve selected. Taming a stable of dragons is appealing. As is the meta game of acquiring ones with different skills for different situations. I like that I can place them in the lair and send them out on errands (processes – that so needs a better, more RP name guys) like harvesting raw materials, training up their skills, etc. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mitigate the banality of the leveling experience. *sigh*
The end is in sight. I’ve done AC and CM story modes twice each. I’m plugging away at these last two professions (Tailor and Artificer). They’re the last I intend to level for quite some time. For now, it’s something I do when I want to play but not in the mood to run around. It’s more costly following the “just buy the component” guides but it’s easy. I don't even take the time to dissect what I have mats for that I could make myself versus purchase. This time around, I’m stockpiling the supplies I harvested. I what I can for my Mesmer's armor, weapons and trinkets. But as far as leveling the professions, this time I'm following guides.
Inspired by Making it to End Game Zones
Amazed how far I got on my bid to open up waypoints at 55, the idea of going back to fighting against mobs my own level felt uninspired. I know that I don’t need a fraction of the remaining content to hit 80 so I’ve decided to revert to how I added spice to leveling in my later days in WOW. I’m cherry-picking zones with mobs that are 4 to 6 levels above me and fighting them 2 to 3 at a time. Sometimes its more since the level disparity creates a wider aggro radius. More often, it's that my careless strafing skills will pull more mobs during combat. This is especially true in areas with high mob density and fast respawns. Damn but the undead resurrect quickly!! A few seconds after I put one down, they're back in the frey while I'm still killing their other brethren.
Mesmer, oh my!
The Mesmer is something else. Especially considering that my gear is generally up to 5 levels behind because I do en masse upgrade every 10 levels. I don’t kill quickly, but I can sustain/kite for a very long time. Sometimes I end up fighting waves because I’m still killing one or two when my aggro radius or careless strafing pulls more adds. There are also some areas with unusually fast respawns which can catch you unawares.
It’s not fast. It’s probably not efficient either. I could kill faster in my own level range. It’s just more exciting and fun. There’s more of a sense of adventure, higher stakes and risk. I’m basically setting my own bar and goals. I make a conscious effort to complete hearts if slaying nearby creatures satisfies the requirements. I’m buying stock piles of the Karma account bound cooking ingredients as I unlock the associated vendor. Figuring out at the end of my leveling on the first pass through the content, that I needed to go back and unlock these NPCs for their wares was annoying. I unlocked just enough of them to max cooking and then only the ones I needed for exotic and rare food recipes.. Makes sense to capture more of them as convenient, while I’m out doing hearts again.
New role at work that will require a bit more travel which will curtail some of my gaming. I’ll be out of town next week but am confident I’ll be 80 before or shortly after my return. From there I’ll complete tailor and artificer. After that, I want to continue crafting for profit and start playing the Black Lion market.
Ravious has an excellent post on Kill Ten Rats - Black Lion PVP. I’m exploring more of the offline tools players have created and have a plan to work on dumping data from GW2 Spidy into a visualization tool I use for performance management projects at work.
I want to create a template dashboard to view and analyze trading post data that will support overwriting the existing data store with a new dump from GW2 Spidy. The tool I use, Tableau, has a free reader available so I’ll be sharing the end result for others to use if you're interested.
Beyond crafting in GW2, I’m waiting for and crossing my fingers for player housing. I can’t seem to motivate myself to play other games. GW2 fits my personal style the best of any MMO to date. If you're new to my ramblings, here's my 2009 manifesto on why I tend to solo MMOs and why people who insist it should only support grouping, should burn in hell! :-)
More EQ2 Housing
It’s almost certain I’ll be making a return to EQ2 to decorate my “hobbit hole”, Vale of Halfpint Delight prestige house. I purchased it several months ago but haven't been back. I need to resubscribe for at least a month to unlock my bag space so I can move out of all the huge rental homes I maintain. I want to make a warehouse of sorts in the Halfpint property where I can place my inventory. This way I can return to F2P and still have access to all my items and only needed the reduced bag space.
I might buy the ship recently released as a prestige home, Galleon of Dreams. The idea of building out my own version of a shire and connecting the wharf to something visual that ports you into a real ship sounds SQUEELICIOUS!!
I purchased the Rift expansion a few weeks ago thinking I'd jump right in to level and build houses. That's now how it panned out after playing for a bit. Rift is still gorgeous. My cleric is still a fun class but it doesn't hold up to my experiences in GW2, which feels like Rift evolved and then some. I'm not unhappy with the purchase or having done a 6-month subscription. One of my nephews has taken a liking to the game.
This one in particular enjoys player housing and hence, was on my EQ2 account a bit but finds that game too daunting for a 10 yr old. The travel alone confuses him - moving from my houses spread across different racial zones plus the prestige ones was always confusing to him. Rift he gets and likes having a max level character. Combined with the new player housing, it's becoming his favorite. He asked me to make him his first starter house - the basics. A place he could call home and then decorate as he learned the mechanics and discovered new items.
I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Rift. The class selections and soul system were real highlights. I enjoyed the dynamic events and LOVED the questing areas. I found crafting lack luster and was one of the only games where my max level character didn’t max out her profession. That aside, I thought it would be quite a while before another game topped my time in Rift.
Guild Wars 2 quickly dispelled that idea. Tyria, in and of itself, is stunningly beautiful and feels alive. I don’t know if it’s possible for me to embrace traditional questing again, where I have one and only one, avenue of completing quest objectives and leveling. Not to mention that it bumped my previous favorite class of all time, Rift’s Cleric, to second place. I love me some GW2 Guardian. She’s pure questing bliss. Solo or group, it doesn’t matter; I adore this class’ versatility.
I’ve been sitting at max level for quite some time now in GW2. For the most part, I’ve only played my Guardian. I have a level 6 Necro but can’t count her. Since hitting max level, I’ve been doing 5-mans here and there but mostly finishing out my professions which is rapidly coming to an end as well. I have no desire to farm for legendary anything and the long WvW queues are not conducive to my play schedules. I want to be in Tyria, I enjoy it so much but I don’t want to force myself to find things to do just cause. I need my grind-worthy content and carrots.
Way to take the wind out of my sails. I logged into EQ2X real quick to check on something and all was fine. I try logging back into because I I'd forgotten to mail something to an alt but an update starts. The update completes - EQ2X icon is gone, EQ2 launcher is there and patching.
When it's done it asks me to reset my password which I do but I'm still confused as to what's going on. I see a link to a posting about a New Launcher and New Launcher FAQs. BOTH LINKS GO TO DEAD LOCATIONS (505 errors). Great.
When the patcher allows me to log back into the game all my characters are gone? Uh??? I do a quick Google search to see that EQ2 has gone completely free to play and they are merging X and Live servers. An email to account holders would have been nice. Not everyone plays regularly enough to have seen it on the launcher in advance. I was in the game several nights in a row the week before last, trying to finish up a section in my new house before leaving town on business.
I'd say I could care less since I'm pissy that I wasted my lunch trying figure this out but I'd purchased 3 presetige homes a couple of weeks ago so yeah, I'd like them and the chars that own them back please without me having to chase down WTF is going on. I opened a ticket. Grrrrrrr.
P.S. I am a gold subscriber on EQ2x so I am less than a happy camper.
Just before my mother passed away I was preparing to spend time exploring the new Rift content. Since then I’ve decided I want something creative and less on rails, so I’m returning to EQ2 crafting. I don’t have the time, energy or patience for the effort necessary to re-open my furniture shop. I’ve decided to start a long term, more personal project of turning a Felwithe Mansion prestige house, into a wizard city.
High fantasy is where it’s at for me when it comes to favorite genre. I like the idea of having a big project I can come back to when I have the time and inclination. I’m looking forward to the creative challenge without the pressure of what someone else wants or needs. I have a little too much on my plate in real life at the moment for the demands of others in a game.
I haven’t done anything yet. I had just enough spare time to re-subscribe and purchase the house on the market place. No auction expiration ia another thing I LOVE ABOUT EQ2’S AUCTION HOUSE. Logging into a game I haven’t played for months and finding plat in my sales displays is lovely. Even better is the almost immediate continuation of sales from pre-existing listings once the upkeep owed on the house is paid up. SAHWEET!
I’ve been catching up on my favorite MMO blogs the past few days. It’s all making me very nostalgic. I have a large amount of wonderful gaming memories linked to MMOs. I know EQ2 is pretty sweet this time of year. For my money, that game does holidays the best. I’ve probably been dropped from my guild not that I did much with them. I was so wrapped up in my furniture and custom home decorating shop. Dare I install it on my current gaming PC???
I haven’t even checked out the new Rift content. But-but-but there they have trick-of-treat candy needed for crafting certain items that can only be harvested this time of year. I could farm some if time allows over the weekend… But-but the new Rift Chronicles are fun I’ve heard… Maybe I can sqeeze in a weekend drive by.
I haven’t blogged in a while because I haven’t been gaming. Over the past several weeks I’ve had health concerns that were leaning toward a very scary place – again. Thankfully, after weeks of tests it doesn’t appear to be cancer. An outpatient biopsy this Friday will hopefully confirm that it’s just an unusually large hemangioma on my liver. They’re not a health risk and normally go undetected. Mine just happened to form in a spot and develop to a size where I was experiencing pain, discomfort and a persistent state of nausea - not fun.
I'm still dealing with the symptoms but the overwhelming panic and depression over it are gone. I feel much more in the “clear”. Even knowing it will have to be treated, it’s several orders of magnitude away from liver cancer. For people who spoke to me here and there, in game or email, sorry. It was just easier to say I was busy with work and stuff than explain when there was still so much uncertainty. Crossing my fingers for the biopsy results. The doctors feel confident so I do too!
Update 7/1: Biospy went fine. Had a decent 4th. Have consult for results on Friday 8th.
Update 7/8: BENIGN!!!!!! Dodged a bullet.
Hit Level 50 in Rift
I returned to actively playing Rift again last weekend. In two days I hit level 50 – FINALLY! I’m such a scrub. Most of the Casualties of War guild members have multiple 50s at this point. They’re such a great bunch. The night I hit level 50, they organized back-to-back Tier 1 dungeon runs to help me upgrade my gear. My accessories, staff and shoulders were all replaced. I cringe at using LFG tool to do some runs but I might have to in order to catch up. My one good experience was quickly followed by a bad one.