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Blaugust Day 1 – Brain Tentacles

Blaugust2015

Every aspiring writer has heard the advice – if you want to be a writer, then write. That’s it. Sit down every morning/day/middle of the night at your desk/bathtub/local coffee shop and pour words onto paper/pixels/digital audio/the camera. Doesn’t matter if you’re an author, playwright, poet, blogger, vlogger or whatever the hell else is fashionable right now (Instagrammer?) — the act of doing is the act of becoming, not the other way around. If you write, you’re a writer — it’s that simple. Yoda said so.

But if you want to stay a writer, or a blogger, or a ballerina… you have to practice your craft and practice it regularly, and I’m using the word in its fullest meaning. A concert pianist can’t plink around once every week or so and still call herself a concert pianist; similarly, I’ve felt for some time that a blogger who doesn’t blog more than once in a blue moon (which was last night, see how à propos I am?) can’t in all honesty call herself a blogger. When people ask me, I tend to say “I have a blog”, not “I am a blogger” — and Beghast’s Blaugustinian madness is an attempt to recapture the craft by practicing it regularly, whether I want to or not, whether I have other shit to do or not, for a full 31 days. When several score other bloggers, vloggers, writers and gamers are also taking part, it becomes a sort of sublime collective madness which might be just what I need.

And trust me, I really do have other shit to do. I am possessed of a particularly active and energetic Instant Gratification Monkey:

instant gratification monkeyAmong others and in no particular order: I have a lot of work to do. I have a lot of games to play (that I never get around to because Fancy-Pants the Monkey never likes the one I’m thinking about right now and always wants to play the one I haven’t downloaded — which is ironic for an Instant Gratification Monkey, if you think about it– moving on). I’m trying to get in shape a bit more, which means waking up an hour earlier to throw my unwilling ass onto the elliptical machine I bought a year ago and have hardly used. I have work to do, in the sense of earning a living to pay the bills, which does kinda matter. I have about 3 metric tons of gorgeous yarn, 8000 patterns, and only 2 hands with which to knit or crochet all the lovely stuff I want to make. (Yes, I knit. I also hand out knuckle sammiches to people who laugh at knitters.) My mother is coming over for a month+ visit which entails not only dealing with said parent but also preparing the house for said parent — see Panic Monster at the Wait but Why link above.

panic monsterWe adopted a couple of rescued Basenji girls a few months ago and dealing with them is still quite a bit of work, mostly because they firmly believe that People Are Scary and that the lovely Outside is for gamboling and frolicking and not for doing your business in. Which means said business must clearly be done indoors (fortunately mostly on the hard tile which probably resembles what they were used to in the puppy mill where they grew up for 2 years). I have food to cook. Marmelade to make (yum). Pictures to take. A nose to pick. Clouds to watch. Time to waste. Shit to do, I tell you!

Excuses. If I want to be a blogger again I need to blog. I also need to get back to myself, the old blogger self who wasn’t afraid of 3000-word posts and didn’t care if people got bored halfway through and left. I never wrote for them, I wrote for me — I had opinions (mostly but not always about gaming), I expressed them, I was super happy when people stopped by and discussed them… but I didn’t really care whether they did or not. For me, blogging has always been a way to get things out of my head so that I can fill my head with more stuff, because I have that kind of a brain that’s always reaching out tentacles and at some point, you know, even your brain has to take a dump. (Just because a metaphor isn’t pretty doesn’t mean it’s not a valid metaphor.)

That’s still me, and Blaugust will prove it. I may be full of shit, but I’m a BLOGGING full of shit blogger. See you tomorrow — and if you’re lucky, it might even be about gaming.

EDIT – A handy-dandy link to the Anook Blaugust page/nook/whatever the hell they’re called. I’m not sure I get Anook, and I’m worried I’m getting to old to get this newfangled stuff kids do to community-ise, but it’s everybody in one place and has a list of daily posts, links to blogs, forums, blah-de-blah and so on. Last but not least, Belghast is a) incredibly well-organized, b) an evil overlord who loves our suffering and c) clearly completely insane for organising this and keeping on top of it.

 

 

 

 

Real Blogging

Blaugust is coming. A few other bloggers have mentioned it to me, either to cruelly mock my utter inability to post anything meaningful and/or regular, or to invite me to take part in a fun and slightly challenging event, or both.

I don’t know why I have signed up to do this.

I’m lying. I totally do — and it’s mostly because this poor blog has been terribly neglected and I’m stuck in the nobody-gives-a-shit-what-I-have-to-say-least-of-all-me rut, which never bothered me before. I started blogging to entertain myself and continued blogging to entertain myself and was just happily grateful that other people also found it entertaining enough to keep coming by. But at some point and when I wasn’t watching, I starting feeling as though I had to say things of import, big things, useful things, insightful things like the real bloggers out there do (by which I mean TBFKAL*, TAGN** and other acronym or acronym-less interesting people).

And I really don’t need to worry about that kind of thing. I just need to write posts that entertain me, like I used to do, and not care so much about having anything useful to say. I spent so much time advising other bloggers not to care about what their readership thinks and wants that I didn’t notice when I apparently started caring what my readership thinks and wants. I love you guys, especially those of you who have stuck with me through the posting drought and content starvation, but I actually don’t (and shouldn’t) care a jot what you want. This blog is for me and only incidentally for you — sure, it’s public, but that’s more so I can hold myself accountable to myself and not so much because I’m an attention ho (though I suspect there’s a little of that going on too; we all have an ego after all).

So maybe Blaugust will help with that. There was a time when, like Belghast, I could sit down at the keyboard and just write away — and I want that back. And since this blog was born in August, aeons ago in Internet time, August is as good as any to try and give it a Frankensteinian jolt.

Young FrankensteinIf you’re an interesting and real blogger and want to take part, the guidelines are in the above-linked Blaugust post.

Last but not least, this post was initially titled “Bits and bobs”, but while writing the ‘bits’ part I totally forgot what the ‘bobs’ part was going to be about, so I guess Blaugust is all you get.

– – – – – – – – – – – – –

— Oh wait, I just remembered what the ‘bobs’ part was going to be, but Blaugust is coming and I’m going to save it for one of those posts. Provided I don’t forget again, of course.

– – – – – – – – – – – – –

* The Blogger Formerly Known As Lum

** Who comes up FIRST in the acronym list of the free dictionary when you Google “TAGN”, ahead of such oft-used acronyms as Triaminoguanidine Nitrate — how cool is that? Unless you meant to look for TANG-the-drink and just didn’t type it correctly, in which case it’s probably a bit confusing.

Famous TAGN

 

You know it’s summer when…

… you think Oh jeez, I’d better log into an MMO or my harvesters/garrison/housing will go up in smoke. It’s the summer doldrums, which means that despite the lovely Steam sale and all, I’d rather be anywhere but sitting at my desk staring at a screen. I have a million games to play and nothing’s really grabbing me.

  • I haven’t even logged into WoW since the 6.2 patch, so I really should check that out.
  • My harvesters are almost certainly burning to the ground in SWG. Almost everyone from the early return-rush seems to be gone, and I’m in a really big guild (with lots of names) that has absolutely no guild chat, which I admit is a little disheartening. I don’t always want to be on TeamSpeak, dammit. (Actually these days I don’t want to be on voice chat at all. I’m having a hermit month.)
  • It’s The Secret World’s third anniversary event and there are goodies. Or it was. For all I know I’ve missed that too…
  • The spousal unit is back in EVE and making beckoning gestures; apparently it’s somewhat improved since our last foray in… (checks old posts) 2010. Eh, maybe. Maybe not.
  • Everyone’s raving about the FFXIV expansion. Eh, maybe.
  • The Repopulation has sat unplayed on my desktop for a couple of weeks. Not that I didn’t like it, but apparently it didn’t grab me. Which may have more to do with the whole summer doldrums thing than with the game itself, which is okay (up that to “pretty good” considering the development stage it’s in).
  • I’ve been a contributor to Shroud of the Avatar since, err… last year sometime? And have logged into it exactly once. I should check that out too, since I did put money into it and I love the folks who are developing it.
  • And then there’s all the non-MMO games I haven’t touched either… Sims 4, various Steam games (including Torchlight 2 and I’ve already forgotten what else), Dragon Age Inquisition (remember that first session I blogged about? Well, that was also the last session)… The list goes on.

But all I feel is meh. Meh MEh MEH MEH MEEEEEEEH. In a couple of months it’ll cool down and I’ll want to play again.

You lookin' at me?

Bored gamer is bored

The Repopulation – Hour 1

It’s on sale on Steam for a few more days. Find out more about the game here, or do a Google search you lazy bastards. Here are my very brief first impressions.

  • It’s in alpha. Read it again: ALPHA. Repeat after me: Aaaaalllph-aaaaaa. So stop crying about the bugs, the disconnects, the crashes, the bugs. (And it’s running very stably for me so QQ bitches.) If you don’t want that experience, wait a few months. It’ll be on sale again and it doesn’t launch till Q4 (that’s dev-speak, so I’m guessing May 2016).
  • It’s a sandbox. There’s a basic “here’s how you walk, talk and shoot things” tutorial and then you’re dumped in Mos Eisley one of the two faction starter-cities to sink or swim. However, NPCs are literally spamming your inbox with mission offers and the rest is pretty self-explanatory for anyone with a working braincell. Want to harvest? Find some nodes, swing that axe. Want to fight? Find some mobs, pewpew that pistol.
  • It feels a lot like SWG and the UI elements borrowed all the nastiest, clunkiest, screen-hoggingest crappy bits of the SWG UI (of all the things to copy), but it is most definitely not SWG or UO, so don’t go buying it because someone said it was. It’s ‘inspired by’ — and that’s definitely true. It’s not a clone. Your character may be, but it isn’t.
  • I’m not a huge fan of the graphics or even the art style, but that’s highly subjective. Bodies are reasonably well-proportioned and fairly realistic (moreso than in most games). The buildings in the starter cities are suitably grimy. The outside bits are suitably tree-y and rock-y… But somehow it leaves me cold. I’d almost rather SWG’s cartoonish art than this gritty, realistic and ultimately unpoetic view. So far the landscapes haven’t made me catch my breath, but I haven’t gone far. AND it’s alpha. Always remember alpha.

2015-06-19_00004 2015-06-19_00002

  • The crafting system looks complex. It may still  depend on grinding 1000 craft-foozles to master, but there’s very little way around that in an MMO – at least no fair way. I haven’t really crafted anything but I have chopped down some trees and harvested some flowers and ore. Oddly enough if it reminds me of anything, it’s Anarchy Online, simply because it’s so freaking complex and there are so many recipes and Recipe 1 depends on subcomponents A – M each of which is made by a different crafting profession…
  • However, the game does have a Work Order system, which is the only way you can make genuine crafting interdependence work. I have already sold little bits and pieces to people who needed them for whatever mysterious purpose they needed them for. I’m guessing grinding.
  • I have no idea what combat is like, other than a bit buggy. I pewpew-ed shit with my trusty handgun as needed to reach nodes. I don’t care about combat.

I have a feeling there is a LOT to discover under the surface, especially with harvesting and crafting and perhaps even housing. I will probably carry on discovering, but I doubt it’ll pull me away from SWG or WoW or my main games, not for a while.

SWG – The Master Speaks

I mentioned Raph Koster’s post a few days ago, but as it turns out there are a bunch of them about SWG and I’m still cursing the loss of Google Reader (yes I bloody well hold a grudge, at least in this case). So for my own convenience and that of a couple of other people who keep saying they need to read those posts — and they do, they’re fascinating — here are some links.

Designing a Living Society in SWG – Part 1

Designing a Living Society in SWG – Part 2

SWG-tagged posts

That should be enough to get you started.

It’s weird how often Mr. Koster says they didn’t end up with what they wanted for various systems in SWG (especially crafting!), when I and many others still remember it as the best crafting system ever, bar none. Actually to me it was the only real crafting system ever, bar none. All the others were just… bleh. Even EQ2, and I love EQ2 crafting — but it never even remotely compared to SWG crafting. The difference is one of several orders of magnitude in terms of complexity and depth. EQ2 is fun, but it’s whack-a-mole: once you’ve figured it out, you’ll never get anything but pristine (and yes, that was true even in the days when Death By Forge was a possibility).

And this is why SWG worked for crafters and people who wanted to be part of a society and not just someone who ran a ‘toon’ (apologies to all of you who use it, but I hate that term). It’s also why I doubt anyone will ever design another SWG. More’s the pity, but at least we have the Emulator:

I get asked this question all the time. In fact, now that I do consultancy from time to time, it’s not unusual for a company to come to me and say “can you put in crafting like SWG? Our players say it was the best ever!” Usually, they have actually, you know, designed their game already, or even built it. And I have to tell them, “No. You build your game around it, not the other way around.”

In other more fluffy news, I managed a little bit of playtime in between bouts of being sick and feeling sorry for myself. Here’s a pictorial account:

Coronet by night

Coronet by night

Poor Heidegger, can't hold his liquor

Poor Heidegger, can’t hold his liquor

A gift from a princely Master CH in Coronet. I shall pay it forward.

A gift from a princely Master CH in Coronet. I shall pay it forward.

SWGeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.2

A couple of people asked for pix, here and on FB, so prepare for full-on (mega-newbie) nostalgia.

My first char (can’t make another until tomorrow) is a crafter, which means she’s going to spend the next 3 days sampling till her lekku fall off. Because no resources = no crafty = no money, and you can put those in whichever order you wish. Currently I’m running artisan survey mission in between sampling because those training NPCs must live in gold-plated mansions in Kadaara when they’re not busy fleecing poor saps just off the space-boat.

Theed!

Theed!

Fambaa baby

Fambaa!

Maulers

Eeeek!

 

 

 

SWGeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

That pile I was talking about last month? It just got bigger.

SWGEmu1

One of my favourite games EVAR and one I miss perhaps even more than I miss Asheron’s Call (which was a wonderful MMO-virgin game nevertheless). I miss it like the spousal unit misses UO or hardcore raiders miss EQ. I followed SWGEmu a number of years ago but time, life and the state of the emulator’s progress back then conspired against me and I never got to try it out.

This is about to change. Well, in 2 or 3 days when my pooey internet allows me to update.

I’m not even going to mention the NGE and the CU and if you don’t know those acronyms you’re much better off, trust me.

Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee. I’m really excited about this. My workload is pretty heavy right now but I may have to make time (i.e. lose sleep) for this one.

A propos nothing, it’s the game I was playing just before I got caught up in the Warhammer hype and started this blog. That was back in 2007-2008. Man, that was a long time ago, and despite all the changes they’d brought to the game it still had something unique going for it. Can’t wait for that update to finish…

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