Blaugust Day 21 – Anti-Motivation and Other Things

Well. I guess instead of moaning about it on Twitter as I’ve been doing for the last half-hour, I might as well moan about my lack of motivation here — especially since my lack of motivation includes the lack of motivation to write a blog post, so complaining about my lack of motivation with my waffly skills should use up at least 200 words, by which time I’ll be 40% there. (There being the Blaugust 10-sentence, 2-paragraph, to-my-mind 500-words-ish rule of content requirement.)

Twitter has been no help at all — well, except for TAGN, who alone responded to my plea for help — and maybe MrC, who totally enabled my displacement activity.

gotnotmotivation

Apparently some people actually have lives and jobs and things to do on a cool and breezy Friday morning other than post a week’s worth of Tweets in an hour. Or provide a desperate blogger with post ideas. Or, better yet, write them for her.

OMG there it is! I should have found myself a guest blogger! That would have been such a cool thing to do for Blaugust, too! Curses.

In the spirit of carpe diem, does anyone want to do a guest post on an incredibly high-profile, Jon Stewart reads this, up-to-the-second, content-stuffed bloggy mountain of infinite delights? If so, apply to the Huffington Post. If you’d rather an obscure cavern of confusion, apply here.

You’ll get acclaim, pride, self-confidence and the absolute guarantee of no free T-Shirt ever. And you’ll be the first guest poster here. (And quite possibly the last.) (Despite the tone, this is a serious offer.)

[Okay, 238 words, only 262 to go. I can do this!!]

TAGN inspires, I perspire

Under the Drunder You Go

Drunder Prison-World may be the most awesome thing ever… It’s basically EQ2’s answer to Lord of the Flies or Escape from New York* with 8,000 Snake Plissken wannabes. You can read the whole post for yourselves, but the basic idea is that the biggest asshats in EQ2 will find their entire account banished to an exile server from which they may never escape, as determined by Customer Service GMs. People can also opt for a one-time, no-refund, one-way transfer to Drunder if they think they’re hard enough. People also have to have a paid subscription account to EQ2 for this, which is just kind of weird. Because the rest of the scheme is totally not weird.

Aside from the obvious issue of let’s-just-make-a-new-account-they’ll-never-know-it’s-me-bwahaha, which I assume they’ve thought of (no of course I haven’t read the entire thread, what am I, made of time?), and the inevitable whining that will ensue when people transfer over for a lark and are forcibly made to understand the meaning of the term “one-way only”, does this have a chance of working at all? My guess would be asshat players will either find a new account to be an asshat on, or will find a new game to be an asshat on; of course if they pick the latter it’s no longer the EQ2 staff’s bailiwick so problem solved.

At any rate it’s a new idea in an industry that always needs new ideas, and it could lead to some interesting server-ruleset variations if this experiment works. And if it removes the worst offenders that’s a good thing. Not that I have any idea who the worst offenders are or what they have to do to earn that dubious distinction. Even in EQ2, which is one game where I follow global channels, I don’t follow the global-global channel because it’s invariably full of over-sharers, eejits, or crashing bores who think they aren’t.

My favourite MMO mount

Hrm. All of them. Okay, probably this one — as the mount you can’t actually ride except for 10 seconds in a specific zone with a one-hour cooldown. (Can you say L-A-M-E?)

Shinri

I’m terribly boring when it comes to mounts. I like to get the weird and wonderful ones but when it comes to actually getting around I’m 100% utilitarian. They need to move without too much jerk, wobble or bounce (yes, the mounts), they need to not fill my entire screen (Pandaclysm dragon-mounts FTW), and they need to match my outfits — by which I usually mean my pets. So here’s my most common mount in WoW, which probably counts as my favourite.

winterspringers

A crafting profession memory!

That’s easy. All of them. I’m a crafter in games, it’s what I am as much as what I do, and any adventuring that happens (including levelling, in most games) is an incidental by-product. Most of my EQ2 characters are max-level crafters — or were an expansion or 2 ago — but haven’t made it out of the teens or twenties for adventuring. I had no less than three accounts for SWG back in the one-account/one-character days so that I could experience all the crafting professions. I pick games based on their crafting options — and yes, I’ve been disappointed many, many times. Which doesn’t mean I don’t play games where the crafting sucks (WoW is an obvious example), but it does feel sort of like playing with half a game. And so we segue neatly into…

Why is there so much Cheese in WoW?

Because cheese is awesome. Because cheese is better than cake and better than pie, as I have stated before (see the no free T-shirt link above if you really want linkage). Because a world without cheese might as well be a world without air. My glorious leader said so:

How do you govern a country which has two hundred and forty-six varieties of cheese?

Yes, I’m French. What of it? You wanna take this to Drunder? EDIT — WordPress is either Francophile or Anti-French. It ate my DeGaulle caption. But since it was about cheese, maybe WordPress just really likes cheese. Thanks for spotting that TAGN!

– – – – – – – – – –

* I totally made that reference before I’d read TAGN’s post about it. GMTA or something.

Blaugust Day 20 – Only Slightly Early

It’s only 2 hours till midnight where I am and it’s long past that in parts east of me, so I’m going to call this Day 20. That’s what the scheduling button is for (yes, the one I said I’d try not to use then totally forgot to use. Sigh).

This time you really are getting your image = 1k words post, because I have a crapton of work to do and too little time in which to do it. I’d like to blame ARK for this but can’t even do that; I spent a fair bit of my dozen hours of playtime so far sat at the main menu while work mail asploded. What I did manage to play I chronicled (except for the bits I forgot to chronicle) in screenshots, a selection of which have been posted to the brand new ARK page and its sub-page (+s, but there’s currently only one):

ARK screenshots from August 19th, 2015

I’ll add more as and when. Since I have gigabytes and gigabytes of unused media upload space I can add a great many more as uncommented screenshots somewhere if people are interested; as an example, I took 61 (quite passable) screenshots today but only posted 16 of them to the daily session page.

And that’s it for today. There are 1000 words in that screenshot page anyway. I just don’t know how not to babble.

(PS: Only 11 posting days to go. WOOOOOHOOOO! I love the initiative, but this daily posting thing is killing me. Srsly.)

Blaugust Day 19 – ARK: lazy blogging day pix

It’s my turn to claim that if a picture is worth 1000 words, you’re about to get way more than I should need to write in a single day. That’s because a) it’s already late in the day and the later it gets, the less I want to write and b) there’s only so many different ways I can say “…and a dinosaur killed me and devoured my corpse.”

I did do and learn a few things yesterday though, the first being that for all my maniacal crowing (here’s a reminder:)

quoting myself

the server options shockingly only affect server-based games and not single-player games.

Bummer.

The second was that telling literally the whole freaking world (well, Twitter), first thing in the morning, how you’re going to spend the entire day in a blissed-out gaming state is guara-fucking-teed to screw up said day.

Third: Setting up a server for myself and the spousal unit to play on wasn’t as easy as it looked, until I found better instructions and this handy-dandy utility: ARK Server Manager. Get it. Use it. I spent a couple of hours faffing around with firewall and router settings and didn’t even need to since it’ll do that for you. I was wrong. You DO have to open those ports on your router but the walkthrough you’re pointed to is excellent.

ARK server manager 2
Click for larger version

Just be sure to point your “Installation Location:” to your existing ARK install (generally SteamSteamAppscommonARK) and not some other folder — I thought it was asking for something else until I realised it was redownloading the whole bloody game (not on my internet connection, you don’t!). And if it doesn’t enter the required ports (orange boxes above), make sure those are entered.

The utility lets you set ALL the variables for the server and then some – the screenie below is just the first quarter of them.

ARK server manager
Click for larger version

Also, if you run your own server, know that it takes a while to get up and running — especially the first time. Mine currently takes about 2 minutes to get going but that’ll vary depending on your rig. Finally, if you find you’re getting timed out a lot once you’re playing on your server, set the client bandwidth to lower than epic — which you have to do from within the game since I assume it’s a local setting; worked like a charm for us.

Fourth: When you brag about how you’re going to play all day, you should know that there will be a patch. It’s a law of gaming. And lo, as soon as the server was set up, there was a patch.

And because I was running the server, my patch was corrupt. So here’s another thing about running a server: shut the server down before you patch. If you get a corruption, shut down the server and just let Steam run the validation; it’ll redo the patch and things will be fine. And if you have a decent internet connection you won’t have to get so mad that you have to clean a parrot cage (no, this is not a euphemism) just to channel your fury into something more constructive than whining on Twitter.

When I finally did get on it was kinda late in the day. The spousal unit and Ysh 3.0 spawned into South Zone 1 to see a brontosaurus happily clomping around crushing every tree in sight. Then we got repeatedly killed by a (to quote him) dildosaurus but was in fact a dilophosaur — yes, the same wee bastards that killed me before. He left to go watch TV but I persevered and have a few screenshots to prove it.

Turns out third time might be the charm — I did not get killed (after the first 3 times), I got revenge on the wee bastard, and I made a house!!11oneone!! There. You may now switch channels, the rest is just pix.

bronto invader
Not a dino you can easily push out of the way.
Note: do not light its foot on fire by mistake while demonstrating a torch to the SO

A quick note: Ysharros 3.0 does not have Thunder-butt, to quote @Wolfy. Men can be so judgy! Maybe just Minor Tremor Butt, because I refuse to make females who look like stick-figures with hot-air balloons stuck to their chests. (Only men make female characters like that in games, BTW.)

Take THAT, dildodocus!
Take THAT, dildodocus!
very very dark
This is what night is like without a torch or fire nearby
fire good
Fire good! And house half-built
ill cut you
If you get near my house I’ll CUT you!
house 1 done
House 1 done. And fancy Indy hat.

I promise I will write about something other than ARK tomorrow.

Maybe.

PS: See how what I’m playing right now fits really well into my Gaming To-Do List? That’s my 6% conscientiousness showing its true colours right there.

Blaugust Day 18 – ARK: Die Another Day

…and another, and another, and another.

(EDIT – ARK had the last laugh. Seems that the server settings sliders do *not* affect single-player games, judging by the GameUserSettings.ini file I just poked around in. Which explains why I wasn’t godlike… or even nooblike… Anyway, read on.)

Yesterday’s play session was the typical second session of any new game, and this applies to all games — computer-based, card games, board games — you get the picture. It’s also known as Your Beginner’s Luck Has Run Out, Byatch!

I went on and on about dying in yesterday’s post, but truth be told I did more almost-dying than real dying — hell, it was only 3 or 4 times in total over a few hours and most of those were newbie mistakes from gawking at the scenery too much and not seeing the dinosaur for the trees.

So when I fired up the game this afternoon, it was with confidence that I was going to get way more done than yesterday, since I was no longer such a noob.

wrong
WRONG!

Yeah…

It started out nicely enough, just to lull me into a false sense of security. I made it back to my original ‘house’ (well, foundations) and was admiring the gradual goldening of the beach as the sun came up behind the headland…

sunrise
I think I found the perfect spot

…when I noticed the brontosaurus who had spent most of the previous day peacefully browsing by the water’s edge coming my way.

That’s nice, I thought to myself. Large peaceful herbivore, not too smart. I’ll have to shoo him away so he doesn’t squash my foundations.

And then he fell over, and I noticed he was kind of covered in gore. Yes, it’s really obvious! Maybe I was dazzled by the sunrise or something.

dino dinner
“Oh look,” I thought, “he’s sleeping! How cute.”

… And then I saw the dinosaur chewing on his ass. Literally.

Hmmm, I wondered. I sure hope that huge brontosaurus will be enough to keep the aggressive one sated for a while and— is it looking at me? Is it coming this way? IT’S COMING THIS WAY!!!!

You can guess that happened next. And the damned thing was only level 1. AND I had the settings skewed in my favour! (Or so I thought. After this afternoon I’m wondering if maybe I’m moving the sliders towards the DIE BYATCH! end of the scale.)

dead again

I respawned in a hurry because I’d just found out that you can loot your shit off your own corpse if you get there fast enough, and I’m lucky (so I think at the time) to respawn right on that same beach, which as I now know is not a given. The Dickosaurus is still hanging around, probably burping up an Ysharros rib or something…

Bad dino

…because, as it turns out, if you’re killed by a carnivore then you’re SOL — or (to be gross), soon to be SOD. You have been eaten by a grue.

(NOTE: Poop is a thing in this game, so get used to it. Dinosaur poop comes in small and medium that I’ve seen so far, but there’s also human poop (which I should never never NEVER have picked up, even if it was my own) and presumably other-entity-poop that I just haven’t yet come across. YHBW.)

Let’s cut to the chase and make the rest of this a bit more concise.

dodo love
Ysharros is such a noob she thinks the dodo loves her. It’s just a health icon.

Dino won’t leave and eats Ysh a few more times. Ysh, driven by death-rage, decides to make a new survivor – for no reason whatsoever other than to not only lose all her items but also lose all her levels, only to get a change of hair colour. Kids, don’t let /rage-quitting drive you!

clue_by_fours
Note to self: broken tree stumps do NOT happen by themselves

Okay then, I think proudly to myself, I figured something out! Avoid big dinos!

And then I ran into these little guys (and their even smaller brethren), who killed me. And killed me. And killed me. And I found the best use for selfie-cam, because it sure as hell isn’t to send pix to my besties on Whatsapp-ARK.

shitlist dino

I know their names now. The Shitlist has them forever. I may have to tame one just so I can kill it– okay that’s a lie, but I’ll think really bad thoughts about them!

By this time I’ve spawned somewhere way to the east of where I started, probably because I didn’t pay attention to the spawn-zone choice, and I’m probably lucky it didn’t respawn me on the north side of the island which is apparently where dinos go to play with tasty human treats. I get killed a few more times trying to work my way back west to see if Ysharros 1.0’s house foundations are still where she put them even though I made a new character, but I never make it that far because I keep dying and the dinos that kill me are getting smaller and smaller. They’re mocking me, I know it.

dilpho death

raptor death
x2 because I ran right into him AGAIN

…and so on.

Ysh, driven by death-weariness after something like 8 deaths — all of them to carnivores so screw you and your attempted corpse run, byatch! — decides to hit back in the only way she can.

SHE DELETES THE FREAKING WORLD

Take that, dinosaurs!

(BUT NOT HERSELF)

(AND SETS THE OPTIONS TO EVEN MOAR EASY*)

(And takes to writing about herself in the third person)

Bwahahahaha! … Isn’t that kind of cheaty? Oh who cares, this is a solo game.

2015-08-17_00041
Yay! Supply crate! Noooooo! It’s Level 15+ to open. This game hates me.

I eventually made it all the way back to my starting beach because — well, I don’t know why since it wasn’t even the same world, but after you start working on your toes to count the number of times you’ve died your goals tend to become a little more basic.

Only to find $#*@$^# Spinosaur 2.0 waiting for Ysharros 2.0. Crouching, by the way, is surprisingly helpful for avoiding becoming dinner. Who’da thunk it? Dickosaur 2.0 got bored and went off to kill dodos on the other side of the river and I crept out of hiding.

2015-08-17_00046

I’ll be taming me one of those bad boys right after I’m done hiding. And finding food. And building a house. And putting down my boxes (oh yeah, that was my one piece of good luck – the newbie beach supply drop had 2 small boxes in it, woot storage… once I can figure out how to get into them once they’re dropped). And making some weapons, preferably nukes.

Actually, it was 18:51 in game when I had to log out and I’m currently just hoping I’ll make it through the next night. What if surviving nights 1 and 2 was sheer luck and my campfire attracts my hungry dinosaurs?

– – – – – – – – – – – – –

I have since discovered that I am not alone in being damn near corpse-camped by ARKian dinosaurs. Be warned, the language is colourful. This is the same person who made the very simple, easy-to-follow Dinosaur Taming!! video Aywren originally linked to.

– – – – – – – – – – – – –

* Assuming she’s right about the way the sliders work. This is up for debate.

Blaugust S -15 – Lost in the ARKger Games

I passed on ARK when it was on the Steam Summer Sale, and then regretted it — but regretting missed Steam Sale opportunities is like a twice-yearly ritual for me anyway — so when it was on sale again yesterday I went ahead and picked it up.

One of the reasons I passed on it before was the vast amount of ZOMGPVPganked stuff I read about it, until I realised that ZOMGPVPgank mode isn’t the only one available for the game. You can play solo, on a restricted server, or on other people’s servers. Which at least gave me the chance to dip my toes in the water (metaphorically – you want to be careful about actually doing that in ARK) yesterday and see what all the fuss has been about.

In case you live under a rock like I mostly do, ARK: Survival Evolved, as it’s officially called (because it’s not a real game these days if it doesn’t have a colon somewhere in its name) is… a survival game. In which you try to avoid dying from: heat, dinosaurs, cold, exhaustion, dinosaurs, lack of oxygen, dinosaurs, starvation, dehydration, swimming dinosaurs, the weather, dinosaurs, and (if you want) other players. And that’s only the methods I’ve discovered so far.

It’s less One Million Years B.C. and more LOST or The Land That Time Forgot, though given the costume similarity some confusion is understandable.

ARK_million years
Does my bum look bigger than hers in this?

Aside from the basic premise — don’t die — which is a fairly important one, there are more extended goals. Escape from the Island is the obvious one, though I’m not sure how achievable it’s meant to be and since I haven’t even left the beach I started on, it’s hardly a priority for me yet. Tame dinosaurs!! is another and yes, it must always be spoken or written with exclamation marks. Duh. I haven’t got to that yet either.

Heeere, dino dino dino!
Heeere, dino dino dino!

You’ll also find the standard game goals of exploration, character levelling and skills, building (so that you don’t die from being stomped on by a distracted brontosaurus), and killing shit so you can take its loot (so you can make more shit and aren’t so easy to kill when stomped on by a distracted brontosaurus). And last but not least, there’s finding out what the giant glowy towers are all about, which I suspect ties in with the whole survive-and-escape goal. Unless it opens up a Master Of The Dinosaur Island option, which I’d be okay with too.

Click for larger version
Click for larger version

For my trial run I decided to play in single-player mode, which means you can pause the game and the world doesn’t persist when you’re not ‘logged in’. After getting my ass handed to me a bunch of times by dodos, pteranodons*, some kind of giant turtle-thing and a whole freaking school of blood-frenzied megalodons before I’d even made a pair of shorts, I played in dumbed-way-the-hell-down-for-21st-century-slickers mode. In fact, the game lets you customise all manner of things from how tough you are, how tough the dinos are, how long the day/night cycle is (or how long day and night last individually), how quickly you go through food, and so on. You get 24 sliders to play with, not counting the basic ‘game difficulty’ one which I set to jeez-why’d-you-even-bother-buying-the-game?! Because death gets boring after a few run-throughs.

Thanks to Dracosaurian and the ARK wiki
Thanks to Dracosaurian and the ARK wiki

The very first thing you notice — other than being almost naked and definitely not alone on a beach – is that the game is stupdendously beautiful, at least on my spanky not-quite-new-anymore machine. I can’t run in ultra settings because I only have a ‘lowly’ GTX970, but the high settings weren’t bad at all.

Brontosaurus

The next thing you notice is that everything that isn’t you either wants to kill you or won’t hesitate to kill you if you are foolish enough to attack it — even the trees. Since you start with nothing, you literally have to bang your head fists against a few trees in order to get some basic materials and yes, you take damage every time.

After that you realise that time is passing, tick-tick-tick, that you’re near-naked, surrounded by dinosaurs, dinosaur-infested jungle and dinosaur-infested waters, observed by ominous structures in the distance (which almost certainly have something to do with the glowy carbuncle on the inside of your left wrist), and that you’re probably about to die quickly and unpleasantly (chomp!) or slowly and unpleasantly (brrr!) if you don’t start doing something about it. And all you have is your hands.

Which is fine, because it’s enough to start pulling up berries, leaves, rocks and whatever else you can fit into your capacious and invisible pockets. And soon enough you have enough to cobble together an axe-like thing, which makes you more efficient at getting more stuff to make more stuff to oh shit it’s dark and cold and raining and I don’t have a fire and I’m dyyyyyyiiinnngggg….

Dark night 1
The night *is* dark and full of terrors

So you find a tutorial, because it’s one thing to admire the landscape and quite another to realise that sundown will likely kill you. This one (written) and this one (YouTube) were both basic enough and helpful enough to get me past that first half-hour of frustration. If you’re more used to this kind of game and its UI/controls than I am, you might not even need those. I kept banging my head on the desk because I couldn’t move the mouse to the icons on the right-hand side of the screen (until I realised they’re status icons, not menu icons…). It was just a happy coincidence that the YouTuber chap started in the same spot as I did – or vice versa. But I can tell you that the S1 spawn (I think) on Footloose island, or some such name, is a good, relatively safe spot to start. Yes, even with all the dying I did, because most of that dying was self-inflicted.

Rebuilding
Rebuilding after yet another death

And so you make yourself a couple of tools, eat a couple of berries, kill a couple of dodos, and become cocky enough to investigate the actinic shaft of light shouting Oi! Come check me out! to every gamer within miles. Fortunately I’m the only one on this version of The Island, and when I investigate my first one I get a few goodies like a sling and a flare gun. A little while later (after having levelled, gained some new crafting recipes, and become engrossed enough to totally forget about screenshots) I spot another one a little ways around a headland to the south-west, and I hurry to investigate it before sundown. Being careful of my megalodon nemeses, who mostly avoid the shallow channel between my spawn spot and that other headland apart from the occasional foray, I swim and scuttle over and am rewarded with a thatch foundation, 3 walls, a doorframe and a door. Since I’d already built and placed four foundations at my starting point I was stoked, as this would be the start of a proper house…

Supply cache!
Supply cache!

And then the sun went down, the rain started, the temperature plummeted, and as soon as I stepped into the water to get back to my side of the channel the game warned me in no uncertain terms that I wasn’t just cold, I was about to freeze to death. So — disappointed but smarter — I quickly placed my single-foundation hut just off the sand, closed the door behind me, lit a torch, and stood there waiting for daylight.

And that’s where I left it. Tune in next week for another episode of LOST in the ARK!

After a few hours of play, my basic impressions are that it’s definitely a fun game, if you like that sort of thing, which I do — and I haven’t even scratched the surface. I also think it’s probably a lot more fun with friends, so Mort and I may try running a local two-player version when we can find the time (and if I can drag him away from his renewed love-affair with EVE). After that, once we’re not as likely to be a drag on whoever takes me/us in, I may try to see if anyone is running a more-people server, because joining a tribe probably opens up a whole new dimension of fun, and who doesn’t want to be an Ooga-Booga? I probably won’t touch the PvP side of things but that’s ok, I don’t have to.

I even got used to the insanely annoying non-MMO controls pretty quick, though I’m sure I will suck at combat until the end of time. But that’s ok. I’ll find a dino or something to protect me.

– – – – – – – – –

* I’m lying about those. They actually flew away from me before I could hit them, with or without an axe-type-thing — which was probably the only thing that prevented me from impaling myself on their claws.

 

Blaugust Day 16 – Halfway There

TL;DR: Yay! Halfway! Animal! Stats! No Project: Gorgon play! But ARK! Yay!

I’m certainly not the only one to be doing this kind of post today/yesterday — and those were only a few of the links I could have done, because I’m shamefully behind on my RSS feed.

Point being:

halfway-thereOr screw calm and just:

animal smallEvery morning as I sit down at my desk I’ve been moaning and whingeing to myself about having to post. And then I’ve been moaning and whingeing to you lot about having nothing to write about. And yet every day I’ve produced around 800 or 1000 words of text (which, if you remove all my tangents and parentheses, probably comes to about 200 words a day but fortunately nobody said tangents weren’t allowed).

Odd how that happens, eh? Yoda was right. To do something, you just do it. And the flip-side of that is that you need to give yourself permission to also not do it. (I’m lookin’ at you, @hestiah! You’re not bad or a failure for not wanting to / being able to / having the energy to post every day!) Yoda’s such a Zen dude.

As many others have noted, however, this pace is a little excessive for me. I’m already noticing that sharing bits of myself every day is quite exhausting and that it’s costing me more (emotionally, creatively, whatever) than it’s bringing me, which is the opposite of what this blog was meant to be. It’s supposed to be a charming boutique-type outlet, not a Black Friday Sale. But it’s equally undeniable that just sitting my ass down and writing stuff (as I used to) is producing the results I’d hoped for: I’m recovering my sense of myself as a blogger.

Now that we’re two weeks into the initiative, it’s fairly obvious I am getting traffic from Blaugust, but the weirdest thing I noticed from glancing at my stats was that the more I post in a single day, the more views I get. Two weeks is hardly a representative sample, though it was a trend I noticed years ago on the odd occasion when I posted more than once in a day. (Maybe that’s not as weird as I think — but although I’m quite decent at some types of math, statistics are voodoo as far as I’m concerned.) The other thing of note is that Twitter traffic has increased significantly, which is no surprise as my Tweets used to be protected (i.e. limited to my friends) and now they’re not.

There will be no Project: Gordon today, because the launcher decided it needed to re-download the whole client instead of just the patch so I sent it to stand in a corner to think about what it did.

And now I’m going to try to end a post before I hit 500 words, because it’s Sunday. And because after not buying it in the June sale, I’m going to get ARK and try it out. Blame Aywren. Ooga-booga!

Blaugust Day 13.2 – Happy Birthday to me

year 7Or rather this blog — my birthday isn’t until October, so you all have plenty of time to find something suitable. (Early October though, so don’t dilly-dally!)

I would have forgotten all about it but the WordPress Widget Wizard has a much better memory.

This means it is also Harbinger Zero’s blog-birthday, or somewhere in these waters, along with a number of other people who began their careers as novice bloggers during the beta of Warhammer Online and the formation of Casualties of War. Happy freaking birthday, bloggers!

I’m not sure if CoW is dead these days but it sure was fun while it lasted — leaning towards dead, actually, since the link now leads to some kind of site in Mandarin (I’m guessing) with a very white-bread, white-linen, flower-clasping pregnant lady on the banner. Quite tasteful, really.

Um… that’s it. Maybe I should mention WoW, FFXIV, Tera, GTV and ARK just so I can catch some of that random search-engine traffic — PSYCH!! Bwahahahaha.

Blaugust Day 13 – the Dreaded Doldrums

TL;DR – Much soul-searching as to why I’m ‘meh’ about games. Need people. Don’t want dungeons. Insoluble. Inconceivable!

I keep calling them that, but I think it’s more than the usual “I’d rather be outside reading a book” summer thing. I have a million games I could be playing and yet, as I have lamented more than once of late, I’m not really playing any of them. Not to any degree of involvement, anyway. Actually, when looking for posts to link in that previous sentence, I realised that those two “what shall I play?” posts were in fact not weeks, but rather months apart (January and July). Which means I’ve been feeling this ‘meh-ness’ about gaming for some time.

meh_catFirst I wondered if it might be that I’ve simply grown tired of MMOs or, *gasp* gaming in general. I still have fun playing Sims 4 now and then, though admittedly that’s not a particularly demanding game; but I don’t play for ‘demanding’ so that’s not an issue. I log into WoW more out of duty than any particular desire to do so, but I am paying a sub (and have been for the last 5 years – I might want to rethink that) so I might as well use it. I haven’t logged into EQ2 for almost a year now, even though I love that game. I check in on The Secret World now and then, but that game is demanding, specifically in a theory-crafting kind of way which doesn’t particularly motivate me. (More on TSW some other time.) I’m not logging in to SWGEmu much and if my vendors burn up, I’m not really bothered. Aside from those there’s The Repopulation, Shroud of the Avatar and Project: Gorgon, and that’s just all the MMOs I have I’m not playing. And I really want to play Project: Gorgon. I’ve backed the Kickstarter and all. But… meh.

And it’s MMOs I want to talk about in particular because I think I know what’s going on.

I don’t really have anyone to play with anymore.

It galls me vaguely to even say that. I’m an introvert. I’m perfectly happy in my own company. I don’t mind — in fact I very much enjoy — bimbling around by myself in games… provided there are other people to chat with. And there’s the rub. While I’m an introvert, I’m also a sociable player and I like to share the experience with people I know. Which means I’m not counting General Chat in any game as an acceptable alternative. Taking part in general chat is like bathing in a sewer — and not the clean, clearly lemon-scented sewers Baghpuss mentions.

Part of the problem is that I play odd hours. I’m not much of an evening player for one, and I’m in a weird time zone for another — 2 hours behind the US East Coast and an hour ahead of the West. (Granted I’m not playing from Australia or Thailand, which I’m sure presents even greater challenges.) I play during the day, which means I tend to interface most with Euro times — and that’s fine, when it works.

Another issue is that while I know eleventy-thousand gamers through Twitter, Facebook, blogging and just general gaming, we’re all playing different games — so even if they’re online when I’m online, chances are we’re not online in the same virtual world or server. And while I am acquainted with many, I don’t really know who they are in the various games; my occasional attempts to hook up with folks in games tend to fall flat because of issue 1 above.

Then there’s the fact that I am primarily a solo player. I did game with bloggers and e-friends at one point, and we even made guilds together, but because I am not particularly keen on the group thing, I don’t really fit in. So I slip out of touch. And then everyone moves on to another (usually different) game and/or stops playing, etc. etc. etc.

I’m beginning to think I’ll have to embrace the group thing in games. I don’t mind grouping at all (ask my SWG buds, if you can find them), but the primary purpose of grouping in most games is to run dungeons and I would really rather not. I’m certain I’ve explained why elsewhere but I can’t find a link, so in 10 words or less: dungeons = too much visual / auditory input for me. I’ve tried the whole desensitisation thing (thanks to friends who kept telling me that if I did lots of dungeons, I’d start to like them), I’ve tried running them with friends (helps because no PUGs, doesn’t help with the whole input-excess thing), I’ve tried running them in different games (and some are less bad, e.g. FFXIV, while some are awful, e.g. WoW). I’ve tried turning off the particles and turning down the sound, but then what exactly is the point? Oh, right — items.

GWdungeon
Makes my eyes bleed (From the GW2 forums)

I am not motivated by items. So the absolute primary reason to run dungeons, which is to obtain stuff so you can run the next dungeon and get even more stuff… just doesn’t matter to me. The only items I care about are my crafting tools, my housing deco, pets, and the occasional piece of clothing. And even then I’m not always motivated enough to get those that I’d crawl over broken glass to get them (i.e. do long & boring quest lines and/or dungeons).

So while I do occasionally run through dungeons by myself when I’m high enough to not get my ass kicked, it’s not something I make a habit of. And it’s not something that really floats my boat or rocks my world.

I have the uneasy feeling that what I really want — which is to be in an MMO for more than 2 months at a time, to have a couple of dozen folks I can hang out with, and to feel at home again in an MMO rather than like a visitor — may not be available to me right now.

Well then. I shall just have to stop whingeing, pull my socks up, and pick a game. Then *I* can be the one player that’s always there even when everyone else ups and wanders off.

Eenie-meenie-minney-mo… PROJECT: GORGON it is! On with the download! And if you decide to join me, chances are you’ll find me as Ysharros*.

– – – – – – – – – –

* Except in all the games where I’m Eloise or Heloise or Alouette or – yeah, whatevs.

Blaugust Day 12 – Homer strikes back

I now know why other, smarter Blaugust bloggers elected to not include the Blaugust tag in their post titles. For one thing, it means it’s going to be glaringly obvious — especially to me — if I miss a day, and I sort of promised myself I would try not to miss any days. And yet…

IGMonkey-1_1024x1024
Homer, my Instant Gratification Monkey

And yet the more I try to force the posts, the more by brain is pushing back against the very idea of writing anything. When I’m not blogging regularly — as in the last three years — there’s nothing Homer wants more than to do a blog post!!11oneone… provided I don’t actually sit down and do one. I don’t know if my Instant Gratification Monkey is a special mutant kind, but whatever he is, he always wants to be doing anything but what I want to, ought to or should be doing right now. When I’m working he wants to play games. When I have time to play games, he wants to write blog posts. When I sit down to write blog posts, he makes this passive-aggressive cross face and points at the TV. When I watch TV, he reminds me I have deadlines to meet.

Little shit.

I shall persevere, even if my post content has become cobwebs held together by fluff, because I think there’s something going on there.

Sometime in the last 3 or 4 years I lost confidence in the fact that I had anything interesting to say, even to myself. (How selective is that? If you can’t talk to yourself, who can you talk to?) I decided I’d said it all, others had said or were saying it better, and I wasn’t playing much anyway so why bother. Bullshit. When one writes for the love of writing and for the joy of expressing oneself, one doesn’t second-guess one’s motives. They’re right there: I used to write because I bloody well wanted to. Finis. The end.

I’m pretty sure I still want to but I’ve also spent my entire teen and adult life telling myself that writing is not a valid pursuit. This is old, old baggage for me — I wanted to be a real writer long ago but pretty much everyone in my entire family and adults circle convinced me that I was being foolish. One might as well want to become a trapeze artist or a snake charmer. Hell, it might be easier to want to become a tightrope-walker. It would certainly be more lucrative to become a bus-driver, landscape gardener or — well, pretty much anything else. Only people with a very weak grasp on sanity and reality want to become authors. (This is apparently not uncommon. I am willing to bet at least one of you reading this has had a similar experience.)

Since I also have a few cases of baggage relating to sanity, the lack thereof and other fun things like that, and because I am who I am, all the negatives stayed in my head and all the positives (teacher & friend comments and encouragement, grades, actually getting published [albeit in a very small way], etc.)… did not. If I have a curse in life, it’s the inability to retain all the wonderful things people say to and do for me coupled with a photographic memory for all the negative things I have ever incurred. (Yes, incurred. People like me tend to think we’ve earned bad treatment.)

Getting back to the point, we all have a rational mind and mine does work rather well — provided it’s not being hijacked by Homer or my far less rational subconscious. (For those who care, I’m much more Jung than Freud, even though the old goat did make some valid points.) Rationally I know I shouldn’t care, that things that hurt were most often meant to help and even, in a weird way, support. Rationally I know that if I’m writing for myself, none of the above should matter. Rationally I know I’m perfectly capable of writing even for an audience (I’ve done it) and that it’s never too late to become an author as well as a writer if that’s what I really want. Life is not as either/or as we tend to think when we’re in our teens or even our 20s. Life may be short, but it’s also longer than we realise at that age.

I must love writing or I wouldn’t be here; I wouldn’t be constantly devising game backgrounds; I wouldn’t be writing out paragraphs, plots and people in my head as life goes by.

So I should just write. And I will. As soon as I break down this — I hope — last barrier of self-doubt and self-sabotage. So if I need to do 31 days of entertaining but seriously content-weak posts to break down that wall, that’s what I’ll do. Because I am writing for myself — and telling myself I’m writing for all of you (much though I appreciate you stopping by and love hashing stuff out in comments) is just another way to try to fail.

Now I’d better publish this before I wimp out.