IntPiPoMo – Warhammer Online

I have to do some Warhammer Online screenies, because getting into that beta and joining Casualties of War (a guild by bloggers for bloggers (and anyone else)) was what started this blog. And through this blog I’ve met millions and millions of new people — okay, a couple hundred maybe. And a few dozen of those I like a lot and am friends with (is it YOU? Is it not you? And if it isn’t you, why isn’t it you?!). And a handful of those I am now good friends with, some of them even IRL. So yeah, definite turning point that was.

Besides, it was an excruciating amount of fun, if only for a little while. It’s also the only MMO ever where I played a healer as a healer (as opposed to playing a Shadow Priest or a Feral Druid) and had fun doing it. I don’t seem to have many screenshots of Amariel the Archmage, but that’s probably because I was too busy spamming heals in scenarios to actually stop and take pictures. The pix below are therefore from Ysharros, my solo char.

Kaltlauf 1900

I don’t remember what all the places are, but that’s ok. I remember the fun. And as a little nostalgia kick for anyone else who played, here’s a link to THE DUDE WITH THE THING. It actually applies to pretty much any PvP carry-the-thing scenario. There is one rule: KILL THE DUDE WITH THE THING.

Ysh and big skelly

Ysh and the Big Nasty

 

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 2 – Feedly, Seymour!

TL;DR — Use something that will help you organise the blog content you want to read. I rant for 1000+ words about why I have to use Feedly, but that’s what I use. It’s not bad. Use it. Byeeeeeee! [Also, this is how Ysharros posts — see section headings below.]

Not very grabby intro

Man, do I really have to post again?! — Oh wait, that’s the opening for day 8. Moving back a bit…

[Squiggly hand-wave, camera blur… POOF!] It’s July 2013, and my beloved Google Reader shut its doors. I started blogging (and really only became aware of blogging as a thing) in 2008, not counting some LiveJournal foofery I’d done for a number of years before then. I guess LiveJournal is a blog, but it never felt like one to me: it was more like my friends and I each had a semi-public journal — you know, sort of what Facebook is like now only FB has way more pictures of food that nobody gives a shit about. (Mea culpa there, but at least mine are mostly home-made — or maybe that’s worse.) Anyway I started this blog with a whole bunch of other people in Casualties of War (a guild, for Warhammer, with bloggers) who also had or were starting blogs and suddenly keeping track of each other via bookmarks just seemed like way too much work.

Long, rambling middle bit

Enter the wonderful RSS feed and the beautiful, magical* RSS feed-reader; in my case and for many others, that piece of amazeballs web magic was Google Reader. (If you don’t know what an RSS feed is or what Google Reader was or why I care so much, read section 1 of this. It’s perfect.) In one fell swoop I could add feeds and see all the new stuff in one handy-dandy list, every day — or every hour if that was my whim — and not miss a single post of a single favourite blogger.

After a year or two of using the Reader I had something like 130 blogs in my feed, which I’ll tell you right now was way too many. I’d ended up having to make categories like “Blogs I follow but don’t actually want to read” (why??) and “Blogs I follow that hardly ever post” and “Blogs I actually care about reading”, which oddly enough didn’t really help in terms of organisation.

Unexpected tangent!

My G+ is organised rather the same way. I am not someone who likes being acquainted with eleventy-million people, in fact I very much dislike it (I’m an introvert), and when I inevitably end up that way on social media I have to find a way to keep most of them at arm’s length because I have no tolerance for a low signal to noise ratio (I had to look it up to get the direction right, so you might as well have a link). And let’s face it, social media is 99.9999% noise… or maybe that’s just how I feel about it. So on G+ I now have this circle, that circle, and the “Feeds I give a shit about” circle (yes, that’s really what it’s called) which contains only 36 people and is the only one I actually read. And this is with a total all-circle-people size of only about 150, which is quite enough to overwhelm me.

Random filler pic to break up the text (Mysericorde on her bike in TSW)
Random filler pic to break up the text (Mysericorde on her bike in TSW)

In any case I don’t quite get G+, which sadly proves that I’m not the cutting-edge know-about-computer-things person I was back in 1990 when ‘Kermit’ was more than just a Muppet. Like, what exactly do these circles do? Do people know what my circles are (God I hope not)? Is it like sub-sets of friends in FB so if I post to the Super-Seekrit circle, only the people I put in there can see it? And what’s the difference between me having someone in a circle I post to and them having me in circles, since unlike FB is doesn’t have to be mutual? Yes, I could look it all up but I don’t want to. I actually grasp computer and web stuff pretty fast since I’ve been working with them all my life (Commodore Vic20 at age 13, yo), so if after several years G+ still doesn’t make sense to me, I’m kinda sure it’s because it doesn’t work in a way that’s intuitive to me. Which is probably why I still don’t really use it.

Basically I’m pretty sure G+ is the indecent and noxious love-child of Facebook and Google Reader, and that’s just wrong. When I want blog posts I’ll use my reader. When I want to keep up with my friends’ kids, dogs, dinners and dislikes, I’ll use FB. /end_tangent

Facebook rant

A few years ago I used Facebook primarily to keep up with my much-missed friends from England**, because I totally suck at keeping in touch by email and I suck even more at keeping in touch by phone, plus many of those friends were friends but maybe not good enough friends for regular international calls***, and Facebook does do a good job at giving you a window into the (Facebook-oriented) daily lives of the people you care about, and— breeeathe… And anyway, it was good for that.

It’s still good for that. But — and this deserves caps because I feel very strongly about it — FACEBOOK IS NOT A BLOODY FEED-READER YOU ZUCKERBERGIAN MORONS!!

In 2013, they sent Google Reader away to be sensible oblivion, because Facebook and Twitter and Instragram. And, I guess, because RSS feeds and RSS readers weren’t in fact the magical flange every. single. person. in the world was using, but rather something only a few people thought worth bothering with. I still can’t quite digest that fact, but I guess I’m not your standard Facebook or Twitter user.

To get at least marginally back to the point, when Google Reader stopped, I did too pretty much. A few companies were scrambling to develop alternatives to the reader but none of them really did such a simple and elegant job of simply presenting to you the new posts from the sites you wanted to see. Nooo, they had to dress it up and make it look like a magazine, or make the posts into post-card looking things that danced around on your screen, or make it look like a book you had to turn the pages on— breeeeathe… I missed my GReader and, as a result, I simply stopped reading blogs. For two years. AND IT’S ALL GOOGLE’S FAULT!!!

[Squiggly hand-wave, camera blur, end of flashback] Now it’s 2015 and Blaugust and I’ve missed way too many blogs and blog posts these last two years. I miss the blogging community — and to some extent I wonder if not feeling part of that community anymore didn’t influence my sudden lassitude with keeping up with my own blog.

Random filler pic 2 (Also TSW)
Random filler pic 2 (Also TSW)

Finally, the point

If you’re a blogger and/or Blaugust reader who doesn’t use some kind of content-aggregator and would like to have blogs and new blog posts more easily to hand, consider using a reader. I can’t advise on any but Feedly, which is what I’ve decided to go with (after several false starts with it in the last 2 years). I’m still in the process of remembering/finding the sites I want to read and getting them vaguely organised, which means I have totally got a new Blaugust category set up and totally haven’t actually added anything to it yet. Because being organised is so tiring

But at least I have a few dozen blogs on there and when I load up the page, POOF!, there’s a lovely, simple list of all the new posts since I last checked in.

HUZZAH! Now I can go back to wasting 30 minutes 2 hours every day reading everyone’s posts about gaming, because not reading them would impoverish my life. It really would. I know this, because I lost my reader and it really did. (But maybe I can cut back to 30 minutes.)

– – – – – – –

* See what I did there? I don’t add music videos but I cleverly embed lyrical references instead. I’m cool like that (and too old for YouTube embeds in my posts).

** For those new to this blog, I’m French and German hybrid who grew up in Switzerland (among other places) speaking English, French and German, before attending university in England where I then lived for a decade and a half. In 2001 I moved to the US. Which means I’ve actually been in the US longer than I was in England (by a hair), but I’ll never lose my accent, am not likely to ever feel American (though I do feel New Mexican, especially when I drive badly), use Us in words like colour and armour, use -ise instead of -ize (when auto-correct doesn’t catch it), and generally get homesick for Europe even though I love where I live now.

*** Believe it or not, there was a time before Skype when phonecalls around the world actually cost money…

Bloggy Xmas 11 – Nothing New Under The Sun

So, #bloggyxmas Day 11, it’s just you and me…

…and the score of other bloggers who came before me and said everything good, right, and interesting *I* was about to say. No, really, I was. Except now I can’t and you’ll never know, because they already did and I can’t possibly copy what anyone else said. /ragequit

GRRRRR!
GRRRRR!

Okay, I lied. No /ragequit. Because that’s partly the point of community for me, especially the gaming community but probably, to be honest, any community that’s passionate about whatever it is it’s passionate about — we all share this gestalt mind that pursues the same subjects at the same time and says very similar things. And subjects come around again every so often (in my case, Solo vs. Grouping and Why Dungeons Are Horrible), get hotly debated, and then die back down for six months or a year.

For a while — which coincided with me not blogging a whole lot, so the past 2-3 years or so — I wasn’t so sure, but now I think this is A Good Thing™. I started this blog back in 2008 and for a very short while it was going to be a blog just about Warhammer Online, because that’s what I was involved in when I started it. It’s all the fault of Casualties of War, you see (and they appear to be a casualty of the internet because the forums have either moved or are no more) — a bunch of people I met online and don’t even remember how I met, because that’s the cool thing about gaming: you meet people all the time while playing games and while many of them fall by the wayside, a not-inconsiderable number of them end up sticking as acquaintances, friends, possibly RL friends and sometimes even spouses.

cropped-casualties_2.jpg
Casualties of War – Warhammer Online group shot

I am now RL-friends (and neighbours, as it happens) with people I met in Asheron’s Call almost 15 years ago, not to mention having changed continents in order to get married to one of those met-in-an-MMO people. Back then it was weird, and people kept telling me I was going to meet axe-murderers; it’s not so unusual these days (meeting people online – not meeting axe-murderers). So I probably met someone in Casualties through someone I knew who knew someone who knew someone who was involved. And Casualties was chock-full of blogging types who encouraged the rest of us to try it out, and many of us did, and most of our blogs went from “this will only ever be about Warhammer, I swear!” to “games rock! let’s talk more about games!”, which is entirely predictable given that most gamers are passionate about more than a single game.

I’m not sure where I’m going with this, because I’ve lost the blogging habit these last couple of years and anything other than stream-of-consciousness is hard work. But at some point — and many bloggers have encountered the same thing — I felt as though I’d said most of what I needed to say, that others were saying it much more cogently and with a fresher perspective anyway, and that I was just rehashing stuff nobody would care about. So I stopped writing, and told myself it was because life had become very busy (which it had) and I had many other things to do (which I did) — but when you’re passionate about something, you find time for it no matter what. That guy who never calls you back because he’s ‘too busy’? He didn’t want to call you in the first place. We make time for the things we care about.

Kittens make every post 1000% better. True fact.
Kittens make every post 837% better. True fact.

And I care about gaming, so here I am. I’ve always stated that I blog primarily for myself — and I do, which freed me from caring about how many people clicked this or how many people commented on that (though the stats are kind of fun and the positive attention is freaking awesome, especially when it’s from people I admire). But blogging for myself doesn’t mean I’m not part of a community of other people who blog about games and a whole host more people who read blogs about games. And yes, we’re terribly incestuous. We share ideas, we all post about the same thing pretty much at the same time, we have storms in teacups and get our knickers in a twist and make up and write posts about how awesome the gaming and game-blogging community is. Because it is.

Because despite (or perhaps because of) being an introvert I can connect, whenever I want and to whatever extent I find comfortable, with folks on blogs and all the other social media out there now. We all have different lives, we all have daily triumphs and tragedies and challenges, and although we don’t necessarily talk about them (though I find I share that stuff a bit more nowadays than I used to, and it can be a comfort), we share a bond that somehow makes life a little better. Because we’re passionate about that one thing. It can lower barriers and build bridges between people who otherwise wouldn’t acknowledge each other in the street, for whatever political, religious or cultural reason. It’s not a panacea, but it is A Good Thing. And whether it’s reading blogs or writing them or simply making friends through gaming and Twitter and Facebook and MyLifeHasNoPrivacy.com, we should continue doing it.

Thanks to Syl for running this initiative, which has reminded me why I started this blog in the first place. Alone but not lonely, I game.

Happy holidays.

xmas

 

 

Come be a WoW-CoW

wowcowBoom chicken CoW-WoW, as they say. (Somewhere. I’m sure they say that somewhere.) Subtitle: because the world needs another guild recruitment post.

However, in case any of you are looking for a home, or a new home, in Warcraft, here’s the skinny.

Casualties of WAR were formed last year shortly before the WAR launch, as a “by and for bloggers” effort, and have expanded into Warcraft. You absolutely don’t have to be a blogger to join, though you may want to be careful, the blogging thing seems to be contagious. I wasn’t a blogger (LJ doesn’t count) and look at me now.

Games have come and gone, but our ambitions have not. Our lives have changed. Where ten hours /played was once just a start, it is now our entire week. As guilds progressed, we blogged. As new dungeons rolled down the line, our sick dog forced us to sit idly by. As our children slept, we played. We now come forth, like-minded and joined. We are the Casualties. (Genda)

We’re on the Rexxar server. The idea for CoW-WoW, where most of us are second-time-arounders in Warcraft, is to stop and smell the roses. We’re not rushing to level. There’s no obligation to log on and when you do, there’s no obligation to do anything in particular. Plenty of us are solitary explorer types, but just as many are more group-oriented and would love a few other folks to do mall dungeon runs with or for long walks on the beach killing naga. Even if you start over you won’t be far behind most, and probably not for long at the rate one can level in WoW these days. We hold CoW-Altohlics meetings every Wednesday evening.

Let me reiterate: we’re casual. We’re mostly NOT level 80 yet. We’re not waiting around to do instances. The above paragraph isn’t the standard blurb that turns out to be bullshit when you actually join the guild. Ca-zu-al, that’s us. If that doesn’t appeal, or if you’re going to get mad because there aren’t instance groups running 24/7, there are plenty of guilds out there who do cater to that playstyle.

Here’s a post telling you how to apply. Read it and, ya know, understand; it’s not difficult, though it does require folks to be able to string together a couple of sentences or three. In a guild founded by bloggers? Perish the thought.

Here’s the forum where you actually apply. Start a thread, do yer thing. If the gods deem you worthy ($10 PayPal donations really help here*), your original pallid white forum name will mutate to orange and you’ll be CoWed for good.

As a social network, you can’t beat Casualties of WAR. As a harcore raiding guild — yeah ok, we won’t be getting the oscar on that this year. Or probably next year.

I’m an ESAK and an altoholic and I approve this post.

* That’s a joke. Really. Must… not…. insert…. link….

Rolling stone…

Not the Mick Jagger kind, the Papa was kind. Casualties of WAR, along with most (all?) of the Redemption alliance we’re part of, have moved from Averheim to Badlands.

The transfer announcement yesterday shocked quite a few WAR folks, seeing as Averheim wasn’t exactly tumbleweed city, but apparently Mythic are trying to munge (technical term) some med/med servers into others and thereby create, if not purest green, at least some higher/higher pop servers. It’s a little stressful, especially for the folks who just recently moved to Averheim and now have to move again, but it’ll probably pay off in the long run.

I lost a couple of names, which wasn’t a huge shock. I did find it odd that Amariel was taken, but for all I know it’s a really common name; it popped into my head in Beta when I made my first Archmage, and just stuck. Since I don’t use the same names for every game I play, the only one that would have been a real wrench would have been to find “Ysharros” in use. That’s only happened to me once so far, so non-fame has its benefits.

I’m not going to rant or rave about this. Population balances are hard to call at the best of times, MMO launches are rockier than ever, and I seem to be one of the few people who remembers how we howled for more servers at head-start and then at launch. We got what we asked for, and apparently we shouldn’t have.

Stuff happens. I may have been off my WAR feed lately, but I do want the game to do well. I want every MMO to do well since it’ll broaden the options for games coming down the line, but aside from that I do want WAR to succeed because I think it has a fair bit of long-term potential. The trouble these days seems to be surviving long enough to reach that potential. We’ll see.

Happy Thanksgiving to my US readers. Be safe, be nice, be gluttonous. See you on the other side.

Auntie Moo wants YOU!

cowrecruit1

Casualties of WAR is reopening recruitment to more than just friends and family. Here’s the announcement. CoW is on AVERHEIM on Order side and MONOLITH on Destruction side. We’re smaller than we were at launch, but committed (or should be, boom-tish) to WAR and casual gaming in general. Most of us have more desire than time to play, so when we do get to play we want to be able to do it with smart, articulate, and generally fun people.

That’s why there’s an application process. “Lemme in gild kthxbai” won’t get you in. We’re not asking you to write Ulysses in your app, but a few sentences about who you are and what you like to do isn’t going to make your fingers fall off, so get typing. Also, we have pie. Or is it cake? Might be cookies. I forget.

Also, Real Soon Now (TM) Casualties will expand its presence to other games. More info when there’s more to be passed on.

Change on the changes that change the changing thing

There’s no way you only read this blog, so you already know about 1.0.5 patchy largesse for WAR. If you don’t, here’s the link to the Herald Post where you can reeeead allllll abouuuuut it.

One thing I’ve noticed over the years is that people clamour for patches. When they get them, they gasp in horror and fall over while frothing at the mouth about how that patch wasn’t what they wanted. Often, they add a diatribe about how the OTHER class got everything they wanted despite being horribly OP already, etc etc etc. Ad bloody nauseam.

(Just like with launch servers. We gasped at how few there were and at the queues. Now, we’re lambasting Mythic for having too many launch servers. The blogosphere has NO sense of personal irony, and apparently not much of a memory either.)

I’m going to wait till I experience this buff/debuff thing for myself before I comment, because quite often what seems awful on paper turns out to be a good thing for the game, if not necessarily for my characters. Some of the more generic changes — like Morale abilities actually firing when used — are obviously good, provided they work. We shall see.

Meantime, I’m going to pimp my CoW buddy Rackham and his latest post/strip. The man has talent! He’s making us a CoW-Order side wallpaper, and I can’t wait to see how that turns out.

TGIF, at least for those of you in jobs that recognise weekends. Me, I’m likely to be slaving at the computer all weekend and *not* by handing shammies their nasty little green backsides.

Casualties of WAR recruitment reopens

I shouldn’t bother with any text and shock the lot of you who expect 12,000 words. Far be it from me, however, to disappoint.

Casualties of WAR has reopened recruitment now that launch month is over and done with. We’re a pretty active guild with branches on both Destruction (Thorgrim server, though we will be moving once transfers open) and Order (Averheim).

The Guild Charter is here; please read it if you intend to apply. There are application guidelines also, and they are there for a reason. “I wunt to join ur guild cuz I is cool” only works if a) you’re an Orc in real life and b) you append more meaningful info. CoW was started by bloggers, and while not everyone is a blogger there it does have a lot of smart, articulate and funny people, so we want to know whether you can string words into coherent sentences.

Couple of caveats: CoW isn’t a very hardcore guild. We care about RvR and whatnot, but RL obligations come first and nobody is being made to give out their phone numbers for 3AM keep defense calls. If that’s what you’re after, there are plenty of high-quality hardcore guilds around, and places like the Warhammer Alliance forums can help you find them.

Secondly, this recruiting phase is friends, family and recommendations only. This is partly to help the friends & family who missed out on the last recruitment phase, and partly to make sure that we have at least some acquaintance with the people applying. Reading this blog is probably not a valid qualification, though if I’ve interacted with you (here or elsewhere, especially in game) then you’ll probably get the Yshy Seal of Approval(TM).

Casualties of WAR – class photo, October 2008

Okay so it’s not the whole class, but herding 26 people and getting everyone to stand still long enough for the screenshot was hard enough. I tried keeping the names on, but that was just a mess of illegible text.

Casualties of WAR might be recruiting again at some point in the not-too-distant future. I’ll keep you posted. While most games can quite happily be soloed these days, being in CoW has reminded me of the best thing in online games: other people. Not living in your pocket all the time or forcing you to go on raids every evening (yech – I never did understand that) — just people of a like mind who are about in the game when you are. It’s great.

There’s a 1920×1200 version of the caption pic here. The one below is scrunched.