Every 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!
TL;DR – Project Gorgon… no wait, we’ll do that tomorrow. Introvert vs extrovert: don’t be a dick. Oh hey, I should be fired (from MMORPG).
I sat down to post about Project: Gorgon, which I finally got round to trying out for an hour or so yesterday, but that will have to wait until tomorrow. I didn’t really get anything done other than being killed in a couple of interesting ways and trying to talk to a wolf who, shockingly, refused to respond in any way but by “Grrrr”.
As I was using my Google-fu to try and figure out where the game had put my screenshots, I saw that Twitter had some updates and clicked over to see this, from Aywren:
Click it. Watch the TED talk. Nod in agreement if introvert (vehemently in my case) or look bemused if extrovert.
And this scratched an old, old itch in my brain, one I still can’t reconcile and one which will presumably never change. Why is it that introverts can understand and empathise with extroverts, but the latter can’t seem to extend the same courtesy to us?
I’ve been here before. (I’m not going to add any other links because that post is dripping with them. The solo vs group introvert/extrovert debate has been going on since before some of you were born.)
Is it just a case of majority privilege? When white people — like me– in the West say we’re not aware of privilege, or when men say they’re not aware of it (especially white, anglo-saxon men), their saying they haven’t noticed something isn’t proof that it doesn’t exist. You may not have noticed that it’s raining but that doesn’t invalidate the fact that it is, actually, raining. (And don’t get me started on the fact versus opinion debate or we’ll be here all week.) Extroverts may not notice that pretty much everything around them is built for them, but that doesn’t mean it’s not true. Check out the TED talk, she’s much more eloquent about it than I am.
I have no hard data but I’m pretty sure extroverts outnumber introverts*, just as group-type players outnumber solo-type players. And I will avoid the obvious fallacy of drawing a direct parallel between introvert and solo, and extrovert and group; even to me things aren’t that cut and dried. All the same, there are some definite parallels in terms of behaviour.
Extroverts tend to think everyone is like them — or if not, that they should be. My family has its fair share of both personality types, and it was my misfortune (and to be fair, my great good fortune) to be raised by a very extroverted mother. She claims to be an introvert but she recovers energy from being around people, which to me is one of the classic signs. She positively thrives on having people around. Me, I thrive madly for a very limited time, after which I become increasingly grumpy, bitchy, and anti-social. There comes a time when I have to physically get the hell away from everyone (or almost everyone) in order to feel like I can breathe again.
Point being, I get that my mother is like she is. I don’t tell her she needs to be more like me — I don’t even think it, because it’s pointless. She is what she is. There’s nothing wrong with being an extrovert.
And if that’s the case, why does it seem to be such a bad thing to be an introvert? Why does every last extrovert in the galaxy feel we introverts are somehow weird and mutated from the norm? My aunt (an introvert who spent her life pretending she was an extrovert and ended a bitter and angry woman) used to tell me literally ALL THE TIME to smile more. To look pretty. To smile. To not be so quiet. To not be in my corner. To smile…
To this day, being told to smile makes me want to punch something. Fortunately for the somethings I’m very conflict-avoidant and just punch myself mentally instead.
I’m generalising terribly here and I know it, but that’s because one can’t rant without drawing a few lines in the sand. So here are mine:
Extroverts: please, please try to understand (and empathise with) the fact that being around people, even people we love, is extremely exhausting for introverts. We are not like you. We should not have to be like you. If you desperately need other people, which I get that you do, then please find another extrovert to spend time with for a little while. Introverts are not closet extroverts who need to be dragged forcibly into the joy of in-your-face-ness.
Groupers: please try to understand that solo players often like to play by themselves, and respect that they do not have to justify this to you. Just because your playstyle is the majority one doesn’t mean we have to shoehorn ourselves into your mould. If you desperately need other people to play with, which I get that you do, then please find another grouper to spend time with for a little while. Just because solo players like to chat does not necessarily mean we’re frustrated groupers who just need to be taught how much better life would be if we could only learn to doublethink group all the time.
Introverts: please try to understand that extroverts aren’t really, literally, physically trying to suck the marrow from your soul. They can’t help being energetic around other people, it’s who they are. Understand that a little tact when needing alone-time can go a long way and that the OMFGGETTHEHELLAWAYFROMME! posture is the opposite of tact.
Solo players: please try to understand that groupers feel games are designed for them (you know, that MULTI- in MMO, because apparently ‘multi’ is synonymous with ‘always with others’) and that you are breaking the rules when you persist in wanting to play by yourself.
Okay fine, that last one was a bit obnoxious; but I am very, very tired of a battle that’s been going on for years. I will never surrender, which makes it even more exhausting. Being in a minority does not make it wrong to be me — because if that were true, then on a global scale that makes it wrong to be male. Yes, it’s that ridiculous. Or left-handed (which I also am). Come to think of it, being left-handed was seen as wrong until not so long ago – my left-handed mother had that hand tied behind her at school so that she could learn to write the ‘right’ way.
Being in the majority does not make you the only possible iteration of a thing. Being the ‘norm’ doesn’t mean that the non-norm is wrong, except possibly at the extremes of that case. Please bear that in mind next time you mentally castigate someone for being in your face, for not being in your face, and for wanting or not wanting to group.
– – – – – – – –
As a final aside, I found this while I was looking for an old MMORPG.com column I wrote on the solo/group subject. As the more astute among you will deduce, that’s my real name. Wait, no. It’s my pseudonym! Whoops.
The forum post itself doesn’t seem to be there anymore, which is a shame since I never saw that at the time — or maybe it’s a good thing. I didn’t read comments and forum posts over there because of the inanity and vitriol-quotient, so it’s probably for the best. But I sure did like to stir shit among the masses now and then. And no, I don’t really have Bruce Campbell’s chin — there is only one Bruce Campbell.
So here we are, HA!s notwithstanding, combing the writing prompts forum thread for inspiration. I would like to shift some of the blame for being hoist by my own petard on the time of day I’ve had to do these posts, because I typically write much more easily in the mornings (which is itself odd as I’m not really a morning person). My mornings have been busy with that stupid Real Life game where you have to keep logging in to grind levels and dailies or you lose your damn mount, your house, and all your other phat lewt.
Anyway, I found enough there to spark a postlet. I am mashing up several prompts because I am a wild spirit and you cannot contain me with your writing prompts even as I use them as crutches! Ahem. Here we go. In no particular order…
5 things you don’t know about me
I speak English, French and German. I also think, dream and sleep-talk in those languages. Apparently it is extremely weird to have your SO mutter in German in the middle of the night. (Presumably this would not be so weird if *my* SOs past and present spoke German.) As an aside, I like to give my D&D dwarves silly German-word names like Achtung and Ausweis Bitte. As another aside, I suspect only Japanese beats German for sounding like you’re yelling at someone when you’re probably romancing them. And finally, swearing sounds SO much more like you mean it when it’s in German. (I realise this is actually NOT a thing you don’t know about me if you’ve read the blog in the last couple of weeks. Sue me. I needed to warm up to the subject.)
I knit and crochet and am not ashamed of either. So there. I have made 275 afghans and scarves and have finally screwed up my courage to tackle actual shaped garments. It’s Zen. It’s also occasionally incredibly annoying (patterns can be teh suq), but it’s mostly calming.
I have an enduring addiction to anything made of paper (well, except papier-maché) — books, notebooks, pads, journals… — and anything used to write thereon. I have made herculean efforts to keep this in check over the past few decades because planet and eco and all that, but it’s — twitch — not easy. There’s something so tactile about paper and the act of writing on it… that and the fact that unless I write it down with a pen, it won’t go in my head or be retained. If I write a phone number down, I’ll remember it right away. If I enter it in my phone or computer, I will forget it instantly. I wonder if I’m too old to change that, but I don’t really care.
I have visited nearly 20 countries and lived in 7. I wasn’t always too keen on it at the time (that UN-brat thing) but the older I get, the more grateful I am to have had the opportunity. Travel truly does broaden the mind.
I am utterly impervious to deadpan. I am also rather gullible and I suspect the two are related. The spousal unit has taken to saying “BAZINGA” after every deadpan joke, just to make sure I actually get it, and it’s helping. As for gullible… I tend to take people at their word and, given how cynical I am about other things, I don’t really mind. I’d rather assume people are telling me the truth than assume they’re lying to me. That’s no way to live.
I can’t count. BAZINGA.
A Stylish Selection of Past Posts
These are kind of random but I’m still happy with most of the posts I did in 2008-2011-ish. Actually I’m still happy with all my posts but the earlier ones actually had things to say rather than being “don’t shoot me for not posting” fluff items, which comprises most of what I’ve done in 2013-2015-ish. (Yes, you sharp-eyed reader, I missed 2012. That was the in-between year.)
And lo, I shall deliver the word from on high. In other words, I shall link to Raph Koster because whether you agree with him or not (and I do with a fervour that borders on the creepy), every gamer interested in the why and how of gaming and MMOs could do worse than read what he has to say. The links below relate primarily to SWG (Star Wars Galaxies) but they and the other articles in the series are relevant to MMO design on a much more general level. I’m sure I’ll get back to that someday because if MMOs have lost their way in the last decade (per my Anook AMA post) it’s by being less like SWG or even CoX and more like WOW. Both these articles are from earlier this year, so hardly obsolete.
I know the #FF tag on Twitter stands for something other than Freaky, but I can’t remember it right now and it’s all I see when I see the tag. So Freaky Friday it is.
This is going to be as short a post as can possibly be managed while still counting for Blaugust because I am creeping out from my well-defended introvert castle today and hosting a beer, brats & Exploding Kittens party this evening. LET THE ASPLOSIONS BEGIN!
In case you missed the most popular Kickstarter campaign of all time (or whatever the record was that they broke), EK is a card game in the vein of Cards Against Humanity. I think. I haven’t ever actually played CAH and I haven’t yet opened my EK box because unopened boxes (like unopened presents) are just more… more EVERYTHING than opened boxes. I’m definitely one for antici…………………………………………… ……………………….. ………………………………. pation. (Thank you Tim Curry.)
So anyway, back to the point. I #FF’d Belghast among others, and I’m not the first to mention this, but I wanted to do a proper, official-like shout-out to the crazy bastard who started this. Bel, you’re a crazy bastard. Thanks for starting this!
In the space of a week I have recovered my blogging spark, even though I’m still more drawn to silly, self-deprecating, omg-they’re-looking-at-meee there-are-people-on-this-site-argh posts than I used to be (there was a time when I did serious posts. No, really.). I am extremely hopeful that this will continue, albeit not at Blaugust’s frenzied pace. I’m an every few days kinda girl for the most part — and since I’m basically not playing anything at the moment (5 minutes here and there doesn’t count), I may not have a whole lot of front-line-reporting posts to offer.
Also in the space of a week I have discovered literally SCORES of new blogs, new people and what I’m sure will be new friends. That’s awesome — so thanks for that too, Bel! I’m way behind on my reading but I’m always way behind on my reading and that’s just how it is. I think that as a group we’re all interacting more, sharing more, commenting more and posting more than we normally would — even you prolific, social-media proficient types — and that’s rather super.
OK, have I met my quota? I have ribs to grill, sausages to brine and then grill, salad, salsa, dip and other nommy things to prep, and a light nervous breakdown to have because PEOPLE and PARTY.
With any luck I won’t remember any of it tomorrow. If I do, there may be an Exploding Kittens front-line report for your reading pleasure — assuming it’s safe for even this sailor-mouthed blog.
Because Blaugust isn’t hard enough as it is, our friendly blogging taskmistress (aka Syl) decided a little extra sadism was appropriate so she started the Blaugust AMA thread over on Anook. Seeing that I’d get to ask TAGN a question I went for it, only to discover he’d already more than covered my question in his blog (curse you, Wilhelm!). Jaedia from Dragons & Whimsy then asked me a question and I had no choice but to meekly comply. So here we are.
Q: Do you feel as though MMOs have lost their way over time? Or are you excited for the future and the unique ideas that it brings?
A: Yes, and no. Yes, and no.
Okay, whew, that was easy! See you tomorrow!
Double-curses! I’m not meeting the length requirement! (Thank God there’s no ‘meaningful content’ requirement.) Surely I’ve done a post about this in the past!
/realises that searching archives from 5-6 years ago will take longer than actually posting
/goes back to posting
Do you feel as though MMOs have lost their way over time?
Yes, because they’re not at all like they used to be 10 or 15 years ago… And no, because change isn’t necessarily a bad thing — despite the way most gamers react to it. Games have changed quite a bit over the last decade: to name just one example, we’ve gone from super-simple combat interfaces (smash monster) to having eleventy-million buttons to hit (see EQ2-Exhibit_A) and back to having fewer buttons to hit. Because it turns out that having lots of things to do in combat is fun, but mashing buttons as an interpretation of that ‘things to do’ concept is actually un-fun.
And no, because change is inevitable. For one thing MMO gamers are an incredibly opinionated and whiny lot (you wonderful people excepted of course, at least as far as whining goes) and we demand change all the time. Then we complain about the changes that were made. And when those changes are toned down (by developers who really ought to know better), we complain about the changes to the changes! But if no changes were ever made to games (I’d add an example but I can’t think of one) we’d complain about them being too static and… unchanging.
You know, I think the world needs another post on how MMO gamers are probably the most annoying people in the world. But not today.
As far as ‘losing their way’ goes… No, I don’t think so. The MMO industry is still really quite young, considering — I don’t know the insider stuff but I’d guesstimate we’ve had maybe 4-6 ‘real’ development generations for MMOs, if we can call them that, and that’s not a lot. Games aren’t made in a vacuum: studios and devs see what other studios and devs are doing, play what other studios are doing, like some of it and emulate it, don’t like some of it and try to correct it or make it better, and so on. We tend to forget that we’re still figuring out what makes a great MMO — and given the variety of playstyles, preferences and genre options I’m not sure there is such a thing as The One MMO to Rule Them All. World of Warcrack did a great job at the ‘One Size Fits All’ genre, but now we’re seeing that smaller, so-called ‘niche’ MMOs are not only doable but possibly a better option.
Do I miss the old-school MMOs? Of course. No game will ever be the same to me as my first MMO was. Asheron’s Call was weird, quirky, and amazeballs… but much of that comes from the fact that it was my first MMO. And because I had hours and hours to play back then. And because I was younger. And because MMOs weren’t as sophisticated (and neither were their players) nor as widespread as they are now and we didn’t have as much choice, so we were less picky. And because I met some of my best RL- and e-friends in that game, many of whom I still hang out with in person or online.
But I don’t think that means they’ve lost their way. If anything, I would contend that gamers have lost their way. And we won’t even touch the whole GamerGate thing which makes many of us hesitant to even use the G word anymore. (For the record, I come down hard on the side of the so-called SJW and if that bothers you so much you can’t get over it, feel free to read some other blog in your spare time.)
…or are you excited for the future and the unique ideas that it brings?
As for question 2, I’ve probably halfway answered that already. I am excited for the future of MMOs, though I hope there will be some re-adoption of old mechanics and ideas — in my case I’m desperate for a game that doesn’t offer much loot and depends almost entirely on a player-driven, player-crafted economy like SWG did in its early days. There are games in development that offer exactly that. Project Gorgon for one (I think – don’t shoot me if I’m wrong), whose current Kickstarter project has 17 days to go. I backed it because Eric & co of Elder Game have some design ideals that are very close to my heart. Camelot Unchained is another that I’m intrigued about. And then of course there’s Shroud of the Avatar, which I also backed last year and still can’t find the time to explore as much as I’d like. And if sci-fi is more your thing, there’s The Repopulation. [Note that those are all sandboxes. That’s my personal preference. I’m sure there are old-school less-sandboxy games in development as well.]
I expect the future of MMOs will certainly include more mega-titles, because some companies can afford to make them (EA, Blizzard, Square Enix), but I think it will include a great many more ‘homebrew’ or ‘indie’ or, you know, normal-sized titles. And I suspect that the ‘niche’ games will be just as successful as their larger brethren, once the smaller studios find out how to plan, develop and publish them in a way that doesn’t bankrupt them or force them to expect unrealistic revenue. Crowd-funding is one option and it’s certainly worked for the tabletop and MMO projects I’ve backed (even if it took Project Gorgon three tries – we’re all learning as we go here).
If we add technology changes into the mix (Oculus, anyone?) we’re looking at an evolving sector with evolving players, evolving technologies and evolving platforms, and it’s a wonder MMOs today are still recognisably the same type of game as they were 15 years ago. I can’t wait to see what they’ll be like in 2030, assuming I’m still around.
Damn straight I intend to be an MMO-playing pensioner!
X reasons why short blog posts are better than long ones:
People are more likely to actually read them.
They demand a great deal less effort to write.
List posts are even shorter, better and easier. True fact.
If I make it to 10, I’ll have fulfilled the Blaugust requirement of 10-ish long-ish sentences that make sense-ish.
They’re something you can easily bang out when you went out for breakfast (yum) and come home only to realise you totally forgot to do your Blaugust post for the day.
They kind of write themselves. List item 1, random blurb. List item 2, random blurb.
Here’s one: World of Warcraft subscriber figures came out yesterday. Some people do serious posts about them. I just write: Blizzy-wizzy, said Acty-wackty, the sky is falling!!
Lists can be quite useful — if the people writing them take them seriously, quite unlike the author of the present list who might as well be drunk at 10 in the morning for all the effort she’s putting into this.
They help organise your thoughts. So I’m told. My thoughts tend to look like an explosion in a gummy-bear factory.
I’m liking this list thing. It’s so much easier! Maybe I’ll do another list post tomorrow — after all, I need to jump on the Gaming Things To Do bandwagon! I’ve held off doing it because #9 above and no list of mine ever lasts longer than it takes to— ohhh look! SHINY!!
I don’t normally like to ask for ideas, but with people suddenly, you know, actually coming by and reading this blog again, I’ll break my own self-imposed non-rule that I was never bound to follow anyway. (Just like all the grammatical and good writing rules I learned — I majored in English and French Lit — and happily ignore. That’s the point of getting a Mickey Mouse humanities degree, don’tcha know.) So yeah… if there’s anything you want to know, have been wondering about, or would like to see me turn my rapier-like wit toward, by all means speak up in the comments.
Every time I’ve asked for comments instead of keeping my big mouth shut, the comments section ends up like this:
You’d think I’d know better by now.
Made it to X! Extra credit! I’m an achiever after all!
PS: I am woefully, shamefully and disgustingly behind on my Blaugust reading… like, stuck somewhere around noon on day 3 for most of my blogs. Apologies to all. Also, if you want, need or absolutely can’t live without being on my Blogroll (which people do click, according to WordPress stats), let me know. I am not snooty, I am useless — different intents, same end result. Besides, I’ve been waiting 73 years to make it onto Wilhelm’s Blogroll, so it could be worse.
Years and years and years ago, at the birth of the new millennium, a smart studenty type decided that researching gamers might be an interesting thing to do and began doing just that, surveying thousands of gamers. I don’t remember how I became one of them but I did, and I filled out a bunch of surveys over the years. You can still check some of that data and his conclusions out on the Daedalus Project.
The Daedalus Project has been over for some time, but Nick Yee now has a new, just as interesting venture going: the Quantic Foundry (no, I have no idea what it means, but it certainly sounds cool, smart, and even a bit gamerish). Long story short, there are still surveys to be done and if you check the place out you might want to start with the Gamer Motivation Profile. Hell, even Ars Technica got in on the survey action.
I’ve done mine and while the results were no surprise to me, they might be interesting partly for my usual readers (who probably won’t be much surprised either) but mostly for the screaming hordes of Blaugustinians dropping by. I read a number of blogs written by people with utterly different gaming styles from mine, but I certainly tend to empathise more (and comment more) with gamers who prefer some of the same types of things I do.
Gamer Motivation Profile
So here’s my profile page. And here’s the chart from the profile page for those who can’t be arsed to click:
And a quick caveat quote from the profile info:
Percentiles are how you rank relative to other people. In this report, your percentiles are how you compared with other gamers who have participated in this profile tool. A percentile of 80% means you scored higher than 80% of gamers. Conversely, a percentile of 10% means 90% of gamers had a higher score than you. This means that a 50% is perfectly average.
Most people will have high scores on a few motivations, low scores on another few motivations, and the majority of their remaining scores will fall near the average (in the 35%-65% range). Thus, it’s your non-average scores that most define your profile as a gamer.
Keep in mind that this isn’t a competition or an exam. High scores are not “better”. Gamers with extreme motivations (on both the low and high end) represent a smaller proportion of gamers and may have a harder time being satisfied by available games (which try to capture more average gamers within their genres).
It’s really difficult for most people to see percentiles and not compare themselves to others, for good or ill. In some ways it’s not a bad thing — I always knew I was different and a little weird when it came to the ‘norm’ of gamers (by which I mean MMO gamers for the most part; we may also play Candy Crush Saga, but most Candy Crushers have never even heard of an MMO and for my money they’re not ‘true’ gamers — but that’s another discussion for another time).
Action, Mastery, Achievement
I score exceedingly low in areas where most gamers I know tend to score much higher — and I’ve known for a long time that I’m absolutely not motivated by action, mastery or achievement. My action score is actually broken down into Destruction (35%) and Excitement (0%), which is totally me. I don’t like adrenaline — it makes me feel physically ill — so while I can watch people play fast-paced, action-oriented games (by which I mean Tomb Raider & co; I don’t think I could bear to even watch anyone play Silent Hill or whatever the current scare-the-pants-off-you game is), playing one is extremely un-fun for me. I do, however, like blowing things up now and then. Who doesn’t? Similarly, while I do enjoy some strategy (23%, and why I’ve been playing Civilization throughout its many incarnations — but I prefer the building side to the war & conquest side), I only give a 1% shit about challenge. As for achievement… I get a measly 7% for completion (my anemic achievement score in WoW proves this) and a total 0% for power.
All of which actually represents me rather well as an individual and not just as a gamer. I don’t care much about achieving things just because they’re there — Sir Edmund Hillary and I clearly wouldn’t have much to talk about at a dinner party. I believe power is a pointless and ultimately destructive pursuit (even in games, where there are no real consequences, the pursuit of power leaves me yawning). And while I like to blow up pixels or build bonfires almost as much as the next guy or gal, I actively avoid situations where adrenaline is a factor. I do really badly with adrenaline and I have an extremely low threshold for excessive sound and visual input — you know, like you find in most dungeons. My dislikes certainly inform my gaming a great deal. So how about my likes?
Social, Immersion, Creativity
Without going into massive amounts of detail (you can check out the write-up on my profile linked above, and better yet — go do your own!), they’re very true to who I am as well. Socially-speaking I am into community and cooperation (86% — shared effort, building things like guilds, cities, houses, communities in general) but not much into competition (8% — the why may be worth exploring someday, but I suspect the number is skewed by the fact that most competition involves excitement and adrenaline and I shy away from both). My Immersion-component scores are the most balanced out of the 6 — 64% for Fantasy (becoming and playing someone else) and 65% for Story (good storylines, complex characters, etc.), which is no surprise to me given my tabletop role-playing background. In fact, I’m quite sure that if I had an actual tabletop gaming group to do stuff with, as I used to, I would do a lot more of that and a lot less MMO gaming, and my blog would contain a great deal more content about pen’n’paper than it currently does. Which reminds me, I really need to look into those computer-based gaming program thingies… (Feel free to comment if you use one and like it!)
And lastly, the Creativity component. I scored 71% on discovery (exploring the game – both ‘physically’ and in terms of systems, options and mechanics) and 91% on design (making your mark on the game, be it through character customisation or through buildings, ships, etc.). This not only doesn’t surprise me, it actually helped to validate how I feel about myself. I’m a mostly-frustrated creator, a wannabe writer who failed at overcoming writer’s block almost 20 years ago and turned to ‘easier’ alternatives in order to scratch that creative itch. Like this blog; like 4000-word character sheets; like designing an endless series of game settings for games that never get played… and so on. I’m sad that I allowed myself to give up on my dreams of being a writer, but glad that I found other outlets.
The one thing that might surprise new readers after the above is that while I definitely identify myself as a role-player, I am not a role-player in MMOs. I’ve covered this elsewhere (here and here), some years ago now, but the not RPing in MMOs part of me hasn’t changed. It boils down to the fact that too much is imagined for me in MMOs, and there are too few tools to do some of the behind-the-scenes hand-waving that needs to happen for meaningful (in my opinion) role-playing to be able to happen. Also, you can’t reach through the monitor and knuckle-sandwich the RP-nazi who insists on defining for you how your character reacts to what they’re doing, which is a major downside as far as I’m concerned.
After (or before if you’re a contrarian) the Gamer Motivation Profile, you can take the Personality Profile survey (here’s mine), which also produced very accurate results in my case.
The one totally skewed result was “Extraversion”, and I sent the Foundry folks some feedback about it — but it’s interesting nonetheless. Basically I filled out the survey assuming it wanted to know about how I am in games, when I guess what it wanted to know what how I am in general (i.e. also out of games). In games I am in fact super-social, helpful, chatty, and occasionally even manic (except when I’m a hermit and then I play a character nobody knows so I can just bimble about silently with my own self). In real life I am also social, helpful, chatty, and occasionally even manic — but only with a small number of very close friends or in much, much, much smaller doses (like an evening or two every few months).
I probably should take that survey again knowing that it’s asking me about RL-me, not gamer-me, and see what comes out.
Conclusion? Cute Baby Animal!
If you’ve stuck with me this far, congratulations, you win a cute baby animal picture! (And as I write this, I pause for half an hour while I coo over cute baby animals I’ve Googled and get tied into knots trying to figure out which one is the cutest that I haven’t already posted.) Do check out the Quantic Foundry — it’ll give you food for thought, and if you’re a Blaugustinian it might even give you food for posts.
Soon I’ll be as prolific as Syp! … Okay, maybe not. And he might be getting a little tired of me comparing myself to him every time I claim to be Postia McPostyPants of Port-Postypont. Well anyway, moving right along…
It came as absolutely no surprise to me that my super-helpful post on getting into RSS feeds turned out to be more of a waffling rant about Google, Facebook and G+ and rather less of a super-helpful post about keeping the v/blogs you follow nicely corralled.
So let’s try this again. This is for Firefox. I’m not responsible for how anything looks or what may happen if you’re using any other browser, especially but not limited to Internet Exploder and the new-fangled Edge.
1. Start here. It’s the current list of Blaugust participants. One link is off by a .net (corrected here), one doesn’t want to open at all for me (http://blog.floortank.com/ – why am linking it if it doesn’t work?), and a few have signed up but apparently not begun posting yet — but other than that the list is good to go and just aching to give you RSI. Why RSI? You’re about to find out.
2. Open your lovely shiny new Feedly account page (or just hit the bookmark if you’re one of the already-in crowd) in another tab, or window, or whatever floats your boat for link multi-tasking. Alternately, go to Feedly and sign up.
3. Go back to Belghast’s list. Right-click the first blog on the list* and select “Copy link location” or whatever your language/browser equivalent might be.
4. Go to the Feedly tab. Long way: click “Add content” in the left sidebar. Short way: hit Paste in the search box in the top right of pretty much every page. If it’s not the first link you’re pasting hit the X to clear the search box (and also give it the focus) and then paste. Select the blog when it shows up in the drop-down list (usually it’s the first result if there’s more than one).
5. Once that blog has loaded in the main Feedly area, click the bright green +Feedly button:
6. I don’t think you have to, but it’s wise to add that blog to a collection, which you can do via the sidebar popup on the left (on Firefox anyway. If you’re using anything else you’re on your own). For very mysterious and cunning reasons only the initiated may know rather obvious reasons, I suggest you create a Blaugust collection. Personally I have a Blaugust 2015 collection but I’m just a stickler for detail.
7. Click Add at the bottom of that collections-thingy sidebar.
8. TA-DA!!! Only 68 to go! Or in MMO-speak, grind links until you complete the Blaugust Feedly-Adding Achievement. Say hello to RSI.
Apparently I have two possible Feedly links, both for the same blog (here), because I’m so damn cool and that’s how I roll. Actually one is the old URL (stylishcorpse.wordpress.com) and the other is the new (as in, last year /rolleyes) URL (stylishcorpse.com). Hrmph. At least I don’t have to do my own hosting, which I could because I have a host and I know how but I simply can’t be bothered because reasons.
Right then. Go forth and read, and don’t make me regret not saving this for tomorrow!
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* Dammit! I knew I should have called this blog AaaaStylish Corpse. Grrr!
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.
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.
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
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.
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…
Got a little bit of time to play in between massive work-dumps, so here are some more screenshots. They mostly involve Heloise, who is going to be my swordsman/doctor and just got her AOE melee attack (also known as Spinning Attack of Massive Lair Doom). If you scroll down past all that, you might even get some useful chat commands relating to structures (houses, harvesters, factories).
Below, Ysharros hanging with her thune pet in a purely decorative role. She’s not buffed (and just got killed by gurks for being a n00b), so she’s just using her level and her pet’s level to ensure Heloise can get the snorbal missions she desires. For the uninitiated, SWG missions are level-related and although I have no idea how the details work, I do know that more levels = more money (and harder missions, but not that much harder).
Next, Heloise standing in a big pile of dead snorbals. Basically, once you acquire the Spinning Attack of Massive Lair Doom (aka SAMLAD), you target the lair and just spam that one attack while the three waves spawn and stampede in to attack you. Which is perfectly justified if you ask me, but it didn’t stop me from doing my best to cause a mass snorbal extinction event. For the more uninitiated, snorbals are non-aggro, perfectly harmless elephant-type creatures. They’re good milking too, incidentally, but that day I was all about the FILTHY LUCRE. Oh hey, that might be a good character name.
In another Hemmingway moment, here’s Heloise killing a Kimogila, yeah baby!!!
…OK, it’s actually only a baby kimogila. I feel guilty about it but I did take a selfie all the same.
Let’s see, what else is in the pix folder… Oh yeah, my Entertainer-to-be busting some really, really, REALLY bad moves in Mos Eisley. I’d forgotten quite how bad beginning dancers are. She hasn’t had much playtime so she hasn’t improved, and I haven’t quite made up my mind to go the AFK-levelling route yet. I did it at the keyboard the first two times, dammit, and it was FUN. And, as it happens, Mos Eisley cantina is a totally happenin’ place, so maybe I’ll give it I shot. Dunno yet. Having too much fun using the SALAD — no, wait, SAMLAD attack on snorbal lairs.
OK last one, just to show folks the effect of using the various SweetFX mods as well as the ClearSkies mod (direct DL link here). It lets you see almost too far into the distance, something 2003 computers probably would have struggled to do — I know mine did — but it does cut out the insanity-inducing whistling sandstorms and the incredibly thundery rainstorms. Which, since I now live on Lok as a proud member of SWG-U, does make playing a little quieter. Even if those distant mountains look a little polygon-y…
Now on to some actually useful stuff for other SWG-EMU players. And if you’re not playing, come join us. You know you want to.
SWG Slash commands
These are for people — like me — who don’t like using radial menus because they’re slow, clunky, slow, annoying, and slow. If you’re extra-super-smart you’ll find ways to combine these into macros, such as a harvester maintenance-adminchars-power-naming macro that lets you do a bunch of things with a single button press (in this case add money and power to the harvester, name whatever alts you need as admins, and give it a funky coloured name if you’re into that sort of thing – which I am). They won’t make coffee, select a resource to harvest, empty a hopper or decorate for you, but they are useful. Check out this page if you want even more of them, just note that not all these commands are available in SWGEMU.
/pay [amount] — e.g. /pay 1000
Adds the specified amount of maintenance to the structure you’re in, near, or have targeted. Easy enough for houses and factories, can be a bit more hit-or-miss when you have a harvester targeted but are closer to another (assuming it’s also yours). You can’t add maintenance to structures you’re not admin for, so no worries there.
/setpermission admin [charname] — e.g. /setpermission admin Ysharros
Toggle command which adds [or removes] the specified character from a structure’s admin list. This can be a house, harvester or factory.
Makes the specified structure private or public. Pretty sure this only affects houses, and it allows other people in. Or not, depending on which way you’re toggling.
/addpower [amount] — e.g. /addpower 20000
Or if you’re really lazy — like me — /addpo 20000. Adds the specified amount of power to the harvester you’re near or have targeted. Can be a bit hit-or-miss when you have a harvester targeted but are closer to another (assuming it’s also yours). You can’t add maintenance to harvs you’re not admin for, so no worries there. I think.
Brings up a structure’s status menu that tells you how much maintenance is in it and other details depending on the structure.
/transferstructure [charname]/target — e.g. /transferstructure Ysharros (or to whoever you have targeted)
Does exactly what it says on the tin. I can’t remember if it works for ALL structures or just houses and factories, but I suspect all. You get a lot back and your target loses a lot (or more depending on the structure).
Go on, guess what it does. Useful for creating vendors without going to the structure control terminal or whatever it’s called. Vendors are created in your inventory and require a house to be public, because what’s the point of having vendors if nobody can come in? (Storage. Company. Decoration. Moving on.)
/tip [amount] [charname]/target bank — e.g. /tip 1000000 Ysharros bank or /tip 1000000 bank (with target selected)
Tips someone from your bank with a 5% service charge if you’re lacking in ready cash as I always am. I could also be wrong on this one. I always forget the syntax. You’re welcome to try it out exactly as written above if you’re playing SWG. /halo
That’ll do for now. I may turn that list into a handier and dandier reference page if there seems to be enough interest. Or maybe just to remind myself how to bank tip someone. Speaking of mundungous tips, apparently I missed out on a ONE MILLION CREDIT handout two of my fellow Donkeys lucked into the other day. Dammit.
On the RL front, the rescuees are doing well, thanks to those who have asked. 🙂 Here’s a crappy phone pic of them enjoying some sun. It’s still extremely hard to get near the black one, but she’ll creep closer when her sister is getting tickles.