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May 14th, 2014 by

Random

 

What is this? I can’t even…I mean, what? I can’t stop looking at it.

I’ve been working through what was threatening to become a backlog of covers again, so I haven’t had time for much of anything. Too much work, which is both a good and a bad thing. No time for writing, for one thing.

I’ve been playing some Archeage and am very much looking forward to launch. Come on already! I managed (I think) to reserve my name for Wildstar despite their site having shit the bed.

Regarding that last line, that expression is one of my favourites for some reason. I have no idea why, I’m a California girl and that is (to my knowledge) from the East Coast/New England. I think I first read it in a Stephen King book. I just can’t help loving some really descriptive profanity, being such a foul-mouthed wench and all. Being from a very proper family, I had to learn to cuss and I try to do it with as much verve and enthusiasm as I can.

Anyway, this is just kind of a “not dead” (yet) post. Plus that horse…that freaky horse.

Initial Impressions of ArcheAge

May 1st, 2014 by

ArcheAge Landscape

 

Last week Phil and I, after much discussion, decided to spring for the ArcheAge founders packs and have been playing the alpha ever since. My initial impression was that I was having a lot more fun than I anticipated and my second thought was “Dear lord, this game is going to be SO addictive.” I’ve been playing MMOs since vanilla WoW and have played most of the main titles with the exception of Elder Scrolls Online and I have to say…it’s been a very long time since I’ve been antsy waiting for the day to end so that I could play. ArcheAge makes me feel that way.

ArcheAge CharacterCharacter Creation

To begin with, character creation has a lot of options for creating unique faces. There are age options that mean you can look as old as you want, which is a massive relief after the teenage doll-like prettiness of games like Guild Wars 2. The aged options actually look good, unlike other games where all faces were young except for the one cronelike and ugly skin that no one ever chose. Although there are no dark skin options, which I find disappointing as that is what I normally play, everything else is highly configurable and there are some very nice hairstyles.

Body options are strangely missing, but I hope they are added at a later date. It would be odd to have so many options to customise a face and no height sliders or body sliders.

Classes

Similar to the system in FFXIV, there are an enormous amount of class combinations that you can choose and build on. Also like FFXIV you have to level up the skill trees separately, so even though one character can learn everything eventually, you’ll find that it is probably easier to level up alts so that you have quests to help you level.

I tried a mage archetype when I started and it was okay. Healer I hated, although perhaps it gets better later on. It just seemed like so much work to kill anything. Warrior was a blast and was highly effective along with being very survivable. In the end I fell in love with Archery as a basic class, pairing it with Shadowplay, and will probably finish off with Sorcery.

Crafting

Here is where you get into the really addictive part of the game. Now I’m someone who tends to sneer at people who play casual/social games such as Farmville. I’m a real gamer, damn it. But gods help me if I don’t find myself logging in to this game in the morning and at lunch to manage my damned farm. I raise animals and crops, harvest and slaughter, and yearn for more space to do it in.

It dawned on me that Trion could make a lot of money by developing an mobile app for Patron players only (people who actually sub to the game) that would allow them to log and manage their farms. Here you go, a gift from me to you, Trion, because I’ve always liked and respected you and because Rift has such a good cash shop. Here is an app that will print money for the company, and you’re welcome to it. :D

Things I Love

ArcheAgeThere is so much that I love about this game and some of it is difficult to put into words. Blizzard has always acknowledged that there was an indefinable something about Warcraft that made it special, and they were quite wary about making the type of changes that would negatively impact that. I think ArcheAge has the potential to have that something that makes it enjoyable just to be in their world, no matter what you happen to be doing.

The game is beautiful, although the graphics are a little less stunning than I’d anticipated from screenshots and video that I’d seen. Characters are incredibly detailed in character creation, but a bit flatter and smoother in game. Hopefully this is something that will change, but if not it is still very beautiful.

Boats, ships and combat on the high seas are something that I’ll write about at a later time – but both Phil and I are very much looking forward to this element of the game.

One of the things that I love most is that it isn’t a raid endgame type of MMO, and thank all the gods for that! No rushing to level cap to keep a raid spot, no pressure to race to the end. Just having fun doing everything because the emphasis is on the journey, not the destination. That, more than anything, is what I’m happiest about. Yeah, I’ve turned into a big ol’ casual. So sue me. :)

Concerns

My main concerns at this point all have to do with the community. Open world pvp can be a lot of fun, if you’re into that type of thing, or it can be horrible if you’re being griefed by a higher-level player, corpse camped, etc. Sometimes I just want to dink around and do quests and not be bothered. It all depends on the community…and this one is worrisome.

We’ve wondered how so many kids came up with the $150 for alpha access. They’re obiviously kids, or at least incredibly immature in that 12-14 year old CoD way. I still have faction chat on (although Phil has turned his off) and there are so many nasty little shits calling people gay or faggot, or talking about raping people. Trion really, really needs to have a report function even at this stage because it is incredibly unpleasant and will turn people off the game. One wonders why they aren’t playing LoL or something like Darkfall, where not only can you kill other players and strip them of their stuff, you can also do really unpleasant things like slaughter their mounts. I suppose they prefer easily targets in games such as this where a lot of pve-types are just trying to enjoy themselves.

I think that this is one of those games where having the right guild will be imperative. Not only will there be a lot of things that you will only be able to experience with a guild, having friends at your back will mean the difference between having fun and having some prepubescent asshat ruin your night.

All in all, I’m really loving this game. Bring on launch!

braiiiiins

April 10th, 2014 by

Like an unlucky survivor of the zombie apocalypse I seem to have been pulled under and eaten by a massive amount of work lately. Everything else, including exercise, keeping the blog up and any writing have gone by the wayside. I think (fingers crossed) that I’m close to finally coming through the other side.

I’ve been trying to get the time to work on some pre-designed book covers recently and will be adding more in the future. Not having an MMO that I’m excited about playing at the moment has done wonders for my productivity. :) I’ll add them to the Pinterest board as I do them, so check back if you’re interested in inexpensive covers that you can have now.

This is the image from this morning: Save the cheerleader…oh no, crap, too late.

 

Pre Designed Book Cover

That Reminds Me: On Being a Vet Tech

March 6th, 2014 by

I have to confess that this post was generated entirely by my inability to tell an off-the-cuff anecdote in one tweet. I’m working, I haven’t time for a post, but I thought the story was both funny and gross (a win-win story in my opinion) so I had to tell it.

It’s probably a good thing that I thought of this, as I haven’t posted in donkey’s years. And just what the hell does that saying mean, anyway?

Anyway, amongst all of the jobs that I’ve held (and I did a LOT of different things before doing techy jobs exclusively), one of my favourites was being a vet tech for a large small-animal veterinary practice in Los Angeles. The practice specialised in various things including hip/elbow replacements for dogs, canine and feline dental work and also was the main practice to handle the LAPD K9 units. It was heartbreaking at times, hilarious at others, and I have quite a few stories from that job.

The first one involves people not wanting to spend the money to take their animal to the vet – understandable when times are rough, but unavoidable. The ones who were really hoping to not bring their animals in would call for advice, as follows:

“Hi, I have a question to ask you. My German shepherd was playing with my chihuahua and he grabbed the back of his neck, and well…one of his eyes popped out.”

“Come right down, we’ll see him as soon as you get here. Just stay calm.”

“Well, he might be okay…I mean, I kind of pushed it back in and it looks ok, he’s running around and everything. Do I have to come in?”

*speechless* I mean, what did he expect me to say? “No, dude, it’s fine. Just dust that little sucker off real good and pop it back in, he’ll be right as rain.” Seriously?

****

When the vet I worked for decided to start offering dentistry and teeth cleaning as a service, he did some training with a people dentist. I’m assuming this was a friend, but hell, maybe he took classes – it’s been a long time. :) Anyway, he once put braces on a dog’s teeth. Yep, I’ve personally seen one of the top show dobermans at the time sporting a set of braces.

Definitely one of my favourite jobs.

Farewell, Shirley Temple

February 11th, 2014 by

Shirley Temple died today at age 85. I’m memorialising it here because she starred in a version of The Children’s Bluebird, which of course I based my own Clockwork Bluebird on. The movie was entitled The Blue Bird, and as saccharine as the original story was, the movie camped it up even further.

Here is a taste:

Rest in peace.

Roots

January 22nd, 2014 by

warcraft

I’ve been in love with MMOs for a long time. Although I’m all crotchety and jaded now about new releases, I still have that yearning to disappear into a virtual world. The games that I’ve played the longest and been the most faithful to have been ones with a living, vibrant world and good community.

My first love and my introduction to MMOs was Warcraft – like a lot of gamers who have been around a long time, I suspect. I didn’t play in beta, nor immediately after launch, but after Phil had gotten into it and I’d become a gaming widow I made my first little warlock. That character still exists, and I’ve played since early 2005, finding along the way some very good friends and experiencing new worlds.

I recently re-subbed and have spent time collecting gear around Timeless Isle as well as levelling a few of the lower-level characters that I had on various servers. Phil resubbed for a bit, and it was nice to play together again. I’m not planning on raiding, I’m not planning on jumping on that iLevel/GearScore elitist treadmill again…I’m just enjoying the sights and feeling really nostalgic.

I remember seeing dawn slowly rise in the Barrens (this was when the game had actual night and day), the light slowly spreading across the plains. A herd of gazelle-type things ran through the high grass in front of me, bounding away with the light gleaming from their horns.

I remember how excited I was to get my first mount.

I remember raiding, which I did for several years from vanilla through Wrath, and the great times that we all had. Even during wipes. I remember our Spanish guild leader screaming at everyone with his adorable accent during a wipe on Lurker in Serpentshrine. “IS that a brain in your head, or a peanut? I wonder! ‘E is a FEESH, a stupid FEESH, and still you stand there and die!” It wasn’t quite up to the standard of the “More Dots” guy, but in his own way it was a classic and still makes me smile.

I still remember falling in love with my hunter, who introduced me to RP. Kitsune was born with a personality and backstory already in place, and I still think about her as being her own person, existing elsewhere, but existing all the same. I even had her name tattooed on my spine…now that is love. :)

tatt

Gaming and virtual worlds are part of the heart and soul of me. I’ve written before about loving the idea of magic doors to other worlds (wardrobes, doors, whatever) and I suppose that gaming is as close as I can get to that. For the moment, anyway…I still haven’t given up hope that I’ll find my door. :)

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