Wot I'm Playing – September 2015

This is a total cop-out post because I’m not actually playing anything, hee hee, ho ho. So you’re about to be regaled with all the games I’m not playing, which has been a quarterly litany this year.

WARNING: Do not click the subheading links unless you want to watch extremely silly and definitely NSFW comedians on YouTube. YHBW.

A Compuder

I’m not playing WoW, even though the Draenor flying patch is in and whatnot. Not for lack of interest — well okay, partly for lack of interest — actually, wait, almost totally for lack of interest. And not just in Warcraft. Nothing is really calling my name these days. I’m also not playing TSW, though I keep both games up to date. I’ll have to log back into TSW soon, if only to take more screenshots. Easily the best game evar for moody and evocative screenshots — and for allowing me to make a character that looks the way I would totally love to look in that grindy-ass Real Life game.

It doesn’t help that MMOs are better with other people. But other people tend to play in the evenings, and in the last 6-36 months I’ve tended to conk out right around the time the sun goes down. (Turns out that’s almost certainly the medications I’m on and not just some weird mutation that’s turning me into a sloth, but that’s a whole other story for another time.)

I got all up in ARK‘s business for what, a week? … and haven’t fired it up since. (Playing alone probably didn’t help that one.) I played Shadowrun: Hong Kong and that was super fun, but when I thought I was about a third of  the way in it turns out I was almost at the end, and I finished it before I truly realised what was happening. Super fun but too damn short! Of course, it includes some sort of development platform so maybe there will be other adventures to play. It was never intended to be another Skyrim or Witcher, after all.

Speaking of the Witcher, been meaning to pick up the 3 that people are raving about but haven’t got round to that either yet. In fact, if you were to check my to-do list you’d notice I haven’t done a single item on it.

I haven’t played my new Sims 4 Legacy family in over a month — but there I’m not so worried, because I always go back to the Sims. After looking down my nose at that game for a number of years (and incarnations 1 and 2), I picked up Sims 3 on a whim in 2009 and have been pretty regularly hooked ever since. I don’t play it all the time, but I do play it several times a year for a month or so. So the Stylishes will be back, sooner or later, and I may even post about them someday.

What I have been doing is preparing for the impending parental visit. My mum will be staying with us for ONE. WHOLE. MONTH., so we have to brace ourselves and assume crash positions. And clean the house. Lots and lots and lots of cleaning the house.

airplane_crash_position

Me? Mobile games? With my reputation?

It’s also possible I’ve been *cough* playing a few mobile games. I never did get the point of those until I got a decent tablet; the only games I have on my phone are sudoku, crosswords and a Bejeweled clone and I hardly ever play those as it is. But on the iPad… hell, if it moves I’ve downloaded it. Well, not quite, but I’ve tried out a few games. And I spend a few moments every day doing whatever non-in-app-purchase moves I can do. Which isn’t many, but when you have about 6 games that’s about an hour’s worth.

I’m currently farting about with Happy Street (which fails to hook me but is super cute and so easy it hurts, and it’s all Syl’s fault), Paradise Bay (ditto with nice Disney-like graphics), Adventure Capitalist (seriously, making money to buy more stuff and make more money faster? I might as well be raiding), Best Fiends (which is super cute and kind of fun, since I like match-3 games), and the standard crosswords, sudoku and mahjongg.

Le tabletop game est sur la table

And of course there’s the attempt at a tabletop group and some games. There’s a G+ community going at the moment with a half-dozen folks, and we’ve met up a couple of times on Roll20. Yesterday we did some character creation with about half the group and will fit the other half in as and when schedules allow.

[Tangent-ish: speaking of which, because the schedules and time zones of the current dirty half-dozen are so hard to reconcile, I’d be happy to sort out two or even more groups – playing or GMing, I’m easy. So if you’re interested in playing something FATE-related, or even finding out what the big deal is about FATE, leave your Pathfinder books at home and holler at me in the comments, or on G+.]

Oddly enough it never occurred to me that scheduling is possibly even harder online than it is in person. I expected it to be the opposite… but we have 2 players from the UK, 4 from the US East Coast, and me in the US South-west, which gives us a 7-hour time-zone spread and makes things a little complicated. Add to that some odd work schedules (some folks have non-Sat/Sun weekeneds, some work rotating shifts, some have pretty hefty workloads, we all have other external commitments, etc. etc. etc.) and I swear it’s been harder getting us to our computers and keyboards than it would be to head down to my local game shop and kidnap a few callow youths.

Problem is, I don’t want callow youths. One of the best things about getting older and being an experienced gamer is that you get to play with other older and/or experienced gamers — gamers who don’t think a dungeon crawl with 10,000 gp as a reward is the best thing you can get out of tabletop games. (Not that I have anything against a good Monty Haul campaign, mind you, but I did outgrow those in the 90s.) Or, to be a bit more tolerant of the chronologically-challenged, I don’t want inflexible callow youths. I want to play with folks who don’t mind stretching their gaming comfort zone, as I am currently trying to do.

In fact, what I’m really doing is trying out systems that formalise how my RL friends and I played for years. We didn’t always play so-called storytelling or story-heavy systems, but we always played them as though they were. Character was paramount (possibly herded by a literature major who has very definite opinions about whether character drives plot or the other way around *cough*). And–

And so on. Since this is still nominally an MMO blog, at least until I change the tagline at the top of the page, I won’t froth about tabletop gaming. But the 2 semi-sessions that have been managed have been fun so far; here’s hoping we’ll manage a few more.

The Obligatory Comment-Inducing Question at the End

And you? What have you been playing or wishing you had time to play? Do you think the moon is made of cheese? Who really shot JR? And was the ending of LOST lame or what?

 

Blaugust Day 28 – You Don't Say?

Metrics and traffic and referrers, oh my!

I actually don’t care too much about those, though there is something hypnotic about clicking on all the little metrics bars for all the different time periods, at least here in WordPress. But I checked the Comments info out last night and it did make me laugh, so I’m sharing it with you. Actual numbers have been removed a) to hide my shame or b) to not shame others, or c) because they really don’t matter — take your pick.

The screenie below shows the comments each month for the last 12 months, starting in September 2014. The smallish peaks (December and April) coincide with me doing a lot of Sims Legacy challenge posts alongside  WoW-Draenor and my usual fluff. January – March see me putting out exactly four posts each month, which doesn’t really give people much to talk about.

2015 blog comments

And so we circle back to Kanter’s decision to comment on at least one blog post a day during Blaugust. I loved that idea and though I haven’t actually kept notes (even mentally) of whether I’ve commented every day or not, I’m pretty sure I’ve managed at least one comment on one blog every day for the last 26 days — not counting my own, obviously.

I’m probably even happier about that than I am about blogging every day, because the latter is purely a self-involving exercise whereas the former requires me to interface with other people, something I’m occasionally happy to do in spades (with appropriately long sanity breaks in between) but don’t like to have to do all the freaking time every day every week for a whole freaking month and not just a February month noooo a 31-day month and can you tell this is starting to wear me down?

I’ll tell you one thing about blogging every day, commenting every day, and interacting on Twitter every day* – it does get to be a habit, and one I’m not sure I want to give up. It brought me back to my blog and other people’s blogs and has renewed my enthusiasm, if not for MMOs, then at least for talking about them with other people. I’ll just have to find that proper balancing point between ‘often enough’ and ‘so often it makes me want to chew my keyboard’.

– – – – – – – – – –

* Which has been by far the most exhausting part of the whole endeavour, for me. I enjoy it, but God it’s tiring. Expect me to go Twitter-mute for a while without warning.

 

Blaugust Day 21 – Anti-Motivation and Other Things

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

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

gotnotmotivation

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

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

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

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

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

TAGN inspires, I perspire

Under the Drunder You Go

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

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

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

My favourite MMO mount

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

Shinri

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

winterspringers

A crafting profession memory!

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

Why is there so much Cheese in WoW?

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

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

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

– – – – – – – – – –

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

Blaugust Day 12 – Homer strikes back

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

IGMonkey-1_1024x1024
Homer, my Instant Gratification Monkey

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

Little shit.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Blaugust Day 10 – Is Blaugust Driving My Traffic?

If I had Wilhelm’s airy lightness and ease with statistics, I would be backing up my thoughts with numbers. But I am not he (for which we are probably all suitably grateful), so instead I will speculate in a manner unsupported by facts and jump to conclusions like a drug-crazed llama.

crazy llamaIs Blaugust driving driving more traffic to my blog? Well, as I realised when I started this post, it’s probably my usual yes, and no. Unlike some (Mr. Murf, I’m looking at you) I haven’t exploded on the scene — even the Blaugust scene — with the force of a thousand suns. Which in his case is amply deserved since aside from posting well, he has also been devoting a great deal of time and effort to being a part of the Blaugust community.

For those not taking part — yes, there is definitely a community (as in, group of people) and a sense of community in this endeavour. It’s made up of some very energetic individuals who seem to manage to interface with everyone, some far more reticent individuals, and a pack somewhere in between that interacts with a fair few — but not necessarily all — the other Blaugustinians. I try to be in that last group but I still have at least a dozen blogs to add to my blogroll and limited amounts of energy to devote to it. I’m hoping others are making up for that apathy. Regardless, I certainly get the feeling that many of us are trying to achieve the same thing, that many of us are struggling with the same issues, and that shared effort does tend to make the load a little lighter to bear. The marathon runners’ version — only with blogs and asses in chairs.

And as with all communities, you tend to get out what you put in. Making a lot of effort to support, commend, encourage and engage with others unsurprisingly tends to get others to reciprocate. I’ve seen it myself — both in terms of others’ engagement with me but definitely in terms of my engagement with others — as I’ve attempted and mostly succeeded to follow Kanter’s suggested comment-a-day effort.

Mogwai
My Basenji, Mogwai, says OHAI NEW READERS! Tickle me?

I was here before Blaugust, and it’s possible the bump in my views could be due simply to the fact that I’m suddenly posting every day. It’s also very likely that it’s not, because most of the comments have been coming from Blaugustinians — but then my longer-time readers also know they don’t need to comment that often (no, it’s fine, my ego can take it! /hand-to-forehead). I had a great many more visitors when I was actually, you know, posting regularly, but there has still been a bump since we’ve gone from a few score random and/or pity and/or stalker views to many more score regular daily views.

So yes, Blaugust is driving my traffic, if only with the force of a brown dwarf, which I’m fine with. Too much traffic and I’d start getting worried and paranoid and mumble about needing to perform for the audience and how much I couldn’t care a whit about audiences and can’t you all go away?? <shifty-eyes>

It’ll be a lot more interesting to look at this in a month — first to see if I’ve continued posting at all (or whether Blaugust has made me run screaming for the hills), and second to see who sticks around. And before then, it will be interesting to see how we all fare as August winds on. I’m having a whole heap of trouble posting these last few days, but I suspect that’s due to my general gaming malaise, ennui, and other too-cool-for-school French words — when that passes and my energy returns, so will my ability to just blather on about games, gamers, and gaming in general.

I’m not a big fan of ending posts with questions but this one is obvious: How about you?

I’d certainly love to hear about other people’s traffic bumps or outright shot-out-of-a-cannon experiences in the short time we’ve been doing this. *I* have most certainly been reading more blogs and I make a point of visiting the actual site of at least half of the ones I read every day (since posts are collected for me in Feedly but don’t count as page views*) — which means I’ve been contributing to increasing other people’s traffic too, which feels kind of nice. It’s been a while since I read many blogs. This is exhausting, but fun.

– – – – – – – – – –

* Just because I don’t let my traffic drive me doesn’t mean I don’t watch it with interest, and I’m sure most everyone else doing Blaugust is aware of their traffic and any potential changes to some extent.

 

Blaugust Day 9 – The Gaming To Do List

A week or so ago, when A Green Mushroom (Void on Anook) posted literally eighteen-thousand writing prompts on the relevant Anook forum post, I read through them.

eighteen thousand writing prompts

“Ha!” I thought to myself, “I have a mind like an explosion in a gummy-bear factory, I never run out of things to write about, I’ll never need those. Ha!” (I like to Ha! I do it in real life too. Occasionally accompanied by a rapier flourish.* Ha!)

I also thought “Damn, that Green Mushroom chap has way too many ideas and way too much energy and is making the rest of us look very bad!” Then I thought, “Oh well, let’s— oooh look, shiny!!”

And now — as you might expect from the blatant telegraphing I just did — I am in fact casting about for things to write. Last weekend was easy (well, relatively-speaking) but I think that was coasting on the wave of OMG I’m really doing this enthusiasm. This weekend I’m more “Geez, again? Can’t I just play something? [whine] It’s national book lovers’ day, not national write said books day!” [Distant sound of Waaahmbulance siren.] “It’s SUNDAY!!”

This final argument has failed to sway my Rational Decision Maker and as of about 5 minutes ago** it has soundly beaten Instant Gratification Monkey*** (buy your own here and get your own damn name!) (yes of course I’m going to end up buying one, probably right after I finish this post, or somewhere in the middle if I can’t manage to get to the point) (and yes of course it’s perfectly fine to keep chaining parentheses like this; trust me, I’m a lit. major).

IGMonkey-1_1024x1024Where was I? Ah yes, here. I’m actually not taking one of AGM/Void’s prompts today but I have learned my lesson and now know that when I do — as I inevitably will — I shall do so with the requisite gratitude and humility. Today, however, I am going to fill out Izlain’s Gamer To-Do List.

As may be relatively evident from my amazing barely passable atrocious Conscientiousness score over at Quantic Foundry (a whopping 6%, which means basically ALL my friends in any grouping of 10 or so are more conscientious than me), I’m not much of one for being constrained by stuff I don’t want to do. Homer holds the upper hand in my subconscious probably 94% of the time. It’s a wonder I manage to finish showering and come out clean.

And the number of useless but hopefully entertaining tangents so far will amply demonstrate how little I actually want to be doing this list thing. I do not like lists. I do not like having to order my brain in coherent, sequential segments. Organising is hard. I’m creative, dammit! Which means I get to be messy, unfocused, messy, easily distracted, messy, occasionally brilliant, and messy. It does not mean lists.

Alison HendrixWhich is pure bullshit, of course. Lists are helpful. I don’t think I’ll ever be Alison Hendrix even if I spent the rest of my life in rehab for the terminally-disorganised procrastinator, but even I can aspire to a modicum of sense and structure in my life. Sometimes I’m so scattered it seems hard to keep a single thought at the front of my mind; I’m not sure if age is making that worse, or if meds are making that worse, or if it’s just one of those things that get bigger and more awful and more noticeable the more you look for them, but it’s a fact that I have real trouble focusing on things I don’t want to be doing. Probably, you know, because I don’t want to be doing them.

I’m not convinced that carefully structuring my entertainment time is going to work for me, not just for the reasons given above but simply because, ironically, I am as spontaneous in games as I am unspontaneous in life (there might have been a time when I was spontaneous but that was before anxiety and comfort zones — now my spontaneity is carefully-planned). There are few things I love more in games than seeing something on the horizon and taking off to see what it is, getting distracted halfway there by an abandoned [insert structure] and exploring that, only to get distracted halfway through that to read up on all the mythological and lore references… etc. etc. etc. (Much as I dislike questing in MMOs with the significant other, he probably hates questing with me for this very reason.)

So here is the damn list already. Chop-chop!

Ysharros’s Gaming To-Do List

1. Make a gaming to-do list. Okay, I’m kidding.

  1. Real number one. Play a Sims 4 legacy family to at least Generation 4.
    This is because my previous Legacy family made it to Gen 3, but I abandoned it amid much grumbling regarding twins/triplets, families who forgot all about each other between dinner and breakfast, and other sundry bugs that have since been fixed. I am currently playing the Stylish family (bien sûr) and have taken a million screenshots, but I haven’t written anything about it partly for fear of jinxing it and partly because starting it coincided with Blaugust and I didn’t reckon the new visitors would be much into the Sims 4. I might be wrong! If you’re a Sims 4 or Legacy challenge fan, previous legacy posts start here
  2. Check out Banished
    The first of a number of Steam games I bought and have never even fired up.
  3. Check out Torchlight II
    See #2 above
  4. Give Elite: Dangerous another shot
    As in, try to make it out of the space station (easy peasy!) and back to the landing pad (not so easy) and maybe even, you know, to somewhere else. No game in the last 25+ years has ever made me feel as incompetent and uncoordinated as E:D did. If that doesn’t work, shoot it in the virtual head.
  5. Get past the intro sequence in Dragon Age: Inquisition
    As you might by now have gathered, this year I have been mostly having problems playing the games I have bought. Games I know I’d like! What is wrong with me?!
  6. Check out Witcher 3
    By which I most likely mean Buy it and forget to play it. See above.
  7. Finish the Garrison Shipyard line/quests/whatever they are on at least one of my WoW characters.
    I’ve got 4 to choose from, 5 if I could be arsed to level the mage, so it’s not like I’m lacking for candidates. I just can’t muster any enthusiasm for WoW at the moment. Come to think of it, I can’t muster much enthusiasm for gaming in general, but that’s another topic for another time (probably this week since I’m definitely not the only Blaugustinian suffering from Summer ennui).
  8. The not gone and not forgotten list — Landmark, SWGEmu, EQ2, STO…
    I’ve played all of those apart from STO. I love SWG and EQ2… but I don’t want to play those either at the moment. At the very least I can schedule time to update them, which with my internet connection requires some actual scheduling.

That’s enough for now. I feel tired already just looking at it!

Last but not least:

We’re almost a third of the way there. Only 22 days to go. Take heart, fellow Blaugdignagians!

* Okay, not since my LARP days 20 years ago, but I have gone Ha! with a rapier. Everyone should do it at least once. Chandelier-swinging is on my bucket list.

** After watching an old Chopped, making an elaborate brunch, cleaning the kitchen, and futzing about on iPad games for a couple of hours…

*** Does he have a name? I think I’ll call mine Homer. You can think it’s a Simpsons reference but I swear it’s epic and Greek.

Blaugust Day 5 – Lists' Labours Lost

X reasons why short blog posts are better than long ones:

  1. People are more likely to actually read them.
  2. They demand a great deal less effort to write.
  3. List posts are even shorter, better and easier. True fact.
  4. If I make it to 10, I’ll have fulfilled the Blaugust requirement of 10-ish long-ish sentences that make sense-ish.
  5. 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.
  6. They kind of write themselves. List item 1, random blurb. List item 2, random blurb.
  7. 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!!
  8. 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.
  9. They help organise your thoughts. So I’m told. My thoughts tend to look like an explosion in a gummy-bear factory.gummybearexplosion
  10. How cool is the internet when you can create a random simile, Google it, and actually find results. Click me. Really. You won’t be sorry. The real fun starts at 29 seconds.
  11. 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!!
  12. 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.
  13. Every time I’ve asked for comments instead of keeping my big mouth shut, the comments section ends up like this: tumbleweed
    You’d think I’d know better by now.
  14. 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.

Blaugust Day 3 – You Don't Know Jack…

TL;DR: I am a unique snowflake and yet very much like everyone else, except for the fact that I have freakishly short arms. T-Rex pic. Byeeeee!

…Or me.

I have always resisted doing “X Things You Don’t Know About Me” posts, for a number of reasons including English reticence, the complicatedness* of my background, sheer unadulterated laziness, and the general impression that most people really don’t want to read that kind of thing about me (which sounds like reticence but is more akin to Calvinist conceit-shaming**).

But here we are on day 3 of Blaugust and I’m already flailing around for things to write about, especially as a number of new readers are stopping by – ohai new readers!! – and it might be meet*** to include a little information about the author which isn’t, you know, easily accessible in something like a blog’s About page. (Which I have. Which I have not updated in 7 years. Which is okay since I, like granite, am utterly unchanging.) So here we go. X things you don’t know about me – where X is how many I can be bothered to do before I run out of steam, space, or sanity.

Thing the First

I’m French and German by parentage and family ties, was born in France and raised in Switzerland (with forays of a year or so to Belgium and Senegal). At home we spoke mostly French and English, or Frenglish, which was really normal to me (and to most of my bilingual diplomat-kid friends at the International School I attended) but is apparently not really normal in general. I have been to a fair number of European countries, mostly because unlike in the US a hop, skip and a jump will take you from one to the other. Hop – Switzerland! Skip – France! – Jump – England! (and so on). I have also been to a few African countries, which were awesome and which actually helps me in my job today (I’m a translator – more on that some other day if anyone cares).

I went to University first in France (hated it) and then in England (loved it), so I can legitimately claim to be a college dropout. I went from Business School to a Mickey Mouse Humanities degree (English and French literature) and haven’t regretted it for one second even though I’m sure I’d have a lot more money if I’d stuck with Business school. The problem is, business-school-type kids were an entitled bunch of little assholes back in nineteen-coughty-cough and I’m sure they’re no better now.

I lived, worked and gamed in England until 2001 when I moved to the States and here I am now. I am a transplant but that’s ok, I’ve been a cultural and national transplant all my life and I wouldn’t know how to live any other way. Nationalism is for fools. But let’s move on or I’ll start ranting.

Thing the Second

I refuse to use 2 words where 12 will do. Brevity is the soul of wit but the death of my blog, so most of my readers are patient sorts who are either just like me or have decided to put themselves through a wordy version of hell. I don’t judge. (Okay, so why is the paragraph about how wordy I am so woefully short?! Maybe I’ll add stuff in parentheses to pad it out a bit. I like parentheses, they work exactly how I think. Am I thinking out loud again? Oops.)

Thing The Third

My arms are apparently freakishly short, although despite my friends’ mockery they are not T-Rex short.

trex_happy

Here’s how you can tell if you have freakishly short arms: sit on the ground with your legs extended in front of you. Now see if you can put your palms flat on the floor to either side of you (next to your hips). If you can’t, you too have freakishly short arms and we can form a club! To date I know only one other person like me, so at least I’m not entirely alone. It’s not really a problem except for yoga class, where it’s a big fucking problem for all the poses that require you to have, you know, arms that reach to the ground properly when you’re sitting or kneeling. Maybe that’s why I prefer Tai Chi.

Son of Thing the Third

I am a very anxious person. I didn’t know this, really, until I got put on some anti-anxiety meds last year and discovered what it’s like to NOT be anxious all the time. (I also discovered what it’s like to be permanently stoned, sleep 12 hours a night and not have any motivation at all – which I could have achieved far more entertainingly by smoking dope – but we’re not on those Zombie Pills™ anymore, thanks for asking. We’re on something a bit easier to actually have a life with.) Having experienced anxiety-notness, I finally realised I’ve been anxious pretty much all my life – I remember being 5 and being anxious, which is a rather sad state of affairs but also shows I must be relatively well-balanced in other areas because I haven’t grown up to be a puddle of goo. So go me!

Return of the Son of Thing the Third

I’m a dyed-in-the-wool introvert. Being around people makes me tired, nervous, and mentally drained, which is why I like blogs so much. And no, being an introvert doesn’t mean I’m anti-social – aren’t we past that particular misbelief already? Being alone is wonderful and I could happily be alone for the rest of eternity – well, alone with a few select friends who (because they’re all introverts too) don’t make me feel like my brain is being pulled out through my nose when I’m around them. All my wordiness and apparent sharing is in fact a sort of armour to protect the introvert within, even when the sharing deals with apparently very personal stuff. It would almost certainly do me good to learn to share stuff that’s a bit more meaningful to me – and I’ll try. Maybe. That’s the best I can say.

Aaaaand, that’s enough for today. You Blaugustinians have another 3,472 blog posts to read so I won’t keep you. Thanks for stopping by!

 – – – – – – – – –

* Of course it’s a word. Word didn’t even underline it! And no, I don’t normally do my posts in Word first (proofing and editing is for wimps… and for people who don’t have to do it for a living) but my internet is up and down like a tart’s knickers today, as my little British chum used to say, and Blaugust is hard enough already without losing any of my painfully squeezed-out words. Great, now my blog sounds like a giant zit. I should probably end this aside before I dig myself in even deeper. Into the zit… Oh God…

** And here I’m being super-clever, because Calvin, Geneva, me, Geneva… you’ll get it if you read on.

*** No, I really do talk like that. Blame it on a love of words, literature, and my college majors. I frequently use words like ‘obstreperous’, ‘disgruntled’ and ‘antidisestablishmentarianism’ — ok, I lied about the last one.

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…

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