Goodbye, Stropp

I’m getting to an age now where friends I’ve met online I’ve known for 10, 11, and 12 plus years. They’re friends I talk to on a daily basis, people I care about. When one goes missing or is suddenly quiet, we notice.

In most cases it turns out to be nothing serious. People step away from their online lives. Social media can be overwhelming. Family emergencies crop up.

In other instances, this isn’t the case and that’s how it was with John. I knew John for a long time. We were friends on steam, facebook, twitter, and hung out in the Combat Wombat discord. We talked games. We talked food. Hell we even talked politics. Around the end of September we stopped hearing from him in our discord, and today we learned that he passed away October 6th. I still don’t really know what to make of it, or how to talk about it because it’s not a comfortable situation. I’m sad.

Stropp. John. Your comments, blog posts, conversations, and friendship were felt by many, and you will be missed.

To everyone else – don’t wait until your friends are gone to tell them how much they mean to you. It does not matter if you’ve never met in person, some of the strongest friendships are those types. Be sure your companions know just how important they are.

Diving into LotRO

It has been years since I played the Lord of the Rings Online, and even though my other half and I used to play it together for some reason it is one of the very few games that we actually did not return to year after year (unlike EverQuest, or WoW, or EverQuest2). When they announced a legendary server would be opening (much like the progression servers we know at Daybreak) I perked up a little. It didn’t take much hype before I was fully on board and planning out the characters I would play.

My husband also decided to play, and though we faced a queue any time we tried to log in we both managed to make new characters – yay! He’s playing a Warden, and I opted to try out a lore-master this time around (the one with the pets). I also have a hunter for ease. Last time we played he stuck to a guardian and I bounced between my rune-keeper and my minstrel. We finished the tutorial starter and headed off to Combe to pick up some crafting vocations. This time around I decided to go Tinkerer, and he went Explorer. It should compliment one another well, and if not no big deal we’re not exactly min-maxers anyway.

It’s really nice to be playing again, even if we’re frantically trying to fit those minutes of gameplay in between everything (ie: life). Since we met in a video game (EverQuest 2, for those curious) it seems only fitting.

The server has had a lengthly queue every evening, but during the day it’s not too bad. There are all sorts of returning players checking it out, though a fair portion of my twitter friends are reluctant to start on the new legendary server and have opted to remain on the regular servers – nothing wrong with that! I hope this brings the game some money and more business is never a bad thing.

We’ll see how long I end up sticking with it. I’m hoping to be able to play a few times a week, even if I don’t get much done. I believe expansions release every 4 months, so there’s plenty of time to catch up to “end game” though I have never actually been end game in LotRO before. There is a first for everything.

As always, happy gaming, no matter where you find yourself!

Events, Deeds, and an Anniversary

This week Sklotopolis turned 3 years old – an amazing feat for a Wurm Unlimited server when in so many cases they tend to fall apart and become empty within the first few months. It’s thanks to our amazing staff (and players) that this place is so great, and I made sure to thank them all for their hard work. I couldn’t see myself playing anywhere else.

Barefoot is just about done with my new deed on Novus, and it’s looking spectacular. I’ll add some screenshots later this week to show it off, there’s still a few odds and ends that it is lacking and the workshop building isn’t quite done yet. It has lots of room for expansion, which I love.

In the meantime I looked for a small counter-deed on Liberty, and ended up moving (again) where I had settled. Originally I found a place along the East Coast, but sailing from Novus to Liberty (although quick) was still too much of a pain – so I decided to see what was available if I sailed straight from one deed across to the other server.

As luck would have it, I found an enormous deed that was recently disbanded. I claimed a small area of it with Minxes & moved my other Fo priest over there. Now I have two well sized deeds, one of Novus and one on Liberty, and I’m quite happy with the choice to re-locate. I’ve been playing on the Sklotopolis server for over two years now (off and on due to real life breaks) and I needed a bit of a change. Never a bad thing.

This weekend was also another double slaying. We took down a white drake (baby dragon) and a goblin leader over on Liberty. After there was a Ritual of Spring casting, so my main earned herself 5 hours of sleep bonus and a little mind logic. I’m almost at 60 mind logic, which will give me 7 actions – something I am REALLY looking forward to.

Otherwise, things have been quiet. Working on my deeds, meeting new players, making a few sales, the usual, and just how I like it.

Happy gaming, no matter where you find yourself!

Farm Together Made me Hate Pumpkins

I was gifted this ultra casual super cute steam title called Farm Together by a good friend, and I’ve been having a lot of fun with it – until I got wind of their Halloween event. It starts out innocently enough. Harvest 100 cursed pumpkins. Once you do that, you need to harvest 1,000. Then you need to harvest 10,000 – and 1,000 special trees.

You can harvest in a 3×3 area thanks to vehicles and gas – if the farm has those, but each cursed pumpkin costs 500 gold, and when you harvest them you get zilch in coin back. This makes it an incredibly difficult challenge especially for beginners like me. Thanks to the kindness of friends I was able to reach 3,000 pumpkins or so harvested (after blowing absolutely all my hard earned money on the crop before I realized they reward no coin in return) and I decided I give up. There’s a time limit (ie: harvest them by halloween) and 10,000 is just way. too. many.

You want to be a good neighbour, so you not only harvest in a 3×3 area, you till the land, and re-plant. Each action uses gas (or takes you forever by hand) and you can only plant in fall, which has a 17 minute window. The cursed pumpkins take 8h to grow (4h if you water them) and just.. no. NOPE.

This event is NOT FUN. It’s a grind that entices me because I WANT to unlock the cute halloween decor, but after 3k pumpkins I have put my foot down and I am NOT harvesting any more.

Sorry, Farm Together, your event is just more chore than fun.

Change is Good

I recently started playing Wurm Unlimited again, on the Sklotopolis server. Let me start off by saying that yes I promote this server a lot because it’s absolutely one of the best ones out there – and it keeps getting better. The developers recently coded a bot that hooks into the Wurm API and we can now talk back and forth between discord and game. It’s fantastic. It strengthens an already strong community, and I just think it’s a fantastic feature. I also think it’s impressive that this is a feature on a small independent gaming community, and not a larger company.

Anyway, that’s not the theme of this post. What I wanted to talk about in this post is how I’ve recently disbanded my two main deeds, keeping my 3rd smaller coastal deed on Liberty, and moved to Novus.

What spurred this on you might ask?

I recently posted looking for a pre-fabricated deed because I simply don’t have the time to design a new deed from scratch, and at the time I had no coastal home (after the fall of Moumix’ place). Barefoot responded, and offered to build me a deed (with payment of course) on Novus. He found the perfect location, asked me about the smaller particulars (buildings, landscaping, etc) and set to work.

I also joined a new alliance on Novus. I love my alliance on Liberty, but it’s hard to get people talking or to feel really involved because they have known one another for a very long time. My hours also don’t really match up, and while I know people come and go from the game I was feeling a little lonely. Being on a more active server (a lot of people left to Novus when it was linked to Liberty) has helped me feel not quite as lonely.

I do still have one smaller deed over on Liberty, in a new location. I took down Quail Keep and Quail Castle, and created Quail Cove over on the East coast. I’m hoping to slowly (ie: very slowly) turn it into a small town hub for when I go to Liberty events, and for alts. So far it’s going quite well, and despite all the changes I’m feeling happy and confident about them.

As always, happy gaming, no matter where you find yourself!

Yarn Review – Boss Lady Yarn Co.

Earlier this year (or maybe it was late last year) I had gotten it into my mind that I wanted to review (for my own reasons) yarn dyed by indie dyers – preferably Canadian. It didn’t exactly take off as I had way too much on my plate, not to mention the cost involved was more than I could spare. I’m hoping to bring that feature back at least once a month. Last month you may have seen me review this yarn that I was absolutely in love with so lets start with the second yarn I chose to review.

The sock above was knit with a yarn called Ivy, by Boss Lady Yarn Co. While it knit up well enough it was not what I was expecting when the package arrived. Because it had been vacuum sealed unwound and no label, it was incredibly messy and easy to get into knots as I opened it. The colours were nothing like what I had seen on the web site and I was really disappointed. They did include a wooden stitch marker as an extra that I appreciated a lot. Notions are a great way to win over an audience with an extra perk.

That’s the picture of Ivy in the shop. Really strong blues and greens, and a white base. What I got was a very speckled off-white base without the strong greens or blues that I had hoped for. I purchased the yarn from the sellers Etsy store, and I left a less-than-stellar review because I was not pleased with the yarn I received based on the shop pictures. Below is what I received.

The owner of the shop wrote me back and stated:

“Leaving a negative review should be a customer’s last resort.”

Let me mention that this was the first time I had ever been unsatisfied with a purchase and left a negative review. I didn’t feel the same way as the seller and it felt as though they were talking down to me as the customer. I felt that a dissatisfied customer should have the opportunity to leave their feedback, and that it was the whole reason there was a feedback option to begin with. I noticed that the new website does not allow people to leave reviews, and I find this a bit troublesome.

I understand that colours show up different depending on your monitor and that batch dying as a small company means there are going to be differences in the skeins, but this just felt like it was not what I had ordered at all. Something for the buyer to beware of. In the future I’ll also be looking for swatches knit up so I can get a better idea of what the yarn will look like if there are multiple colours used.

Wurm Unlimited – Sklotopolis

It’s fall, I’m feeling nostalgic. I decided that I had just enough free time to dive back into Wurm Unlimited (the steam version of Wurm Online) and meandered back to my old server of Sklotopolis. I’ve been logging in semi-regularly to keep my deed from vanishing, but other friends were not so lucky. Pictured above is Moumix’ deed that has since fallen, which made me pretty sad because he put a LOT of work into his grand castle of a deed. Maybe too much work, because eventually we all burned out.

I’ve got two deeds at the moment, Quail Keep which is an underground dwarven deed, and Quail Ridge, which looks more like a European village. There are sprawling buildings for each craft, fields, and horse pens. Since my return I’ve continued to work on the tunnel that spans between the two deeds, widening it to 3 tiles instead of the current 1. I’m hoping I can complete this project and then reinforce the entire thing, securing it. We’ll see how that goes.

If you’re looking for a fantastic Wurm Unlimited server with some of the kindest people you’ll meet, then I highly recommend Sklotopolis. The players and staff are both incredibly friendly and it’s just a good place to be.

Happy gaming, no matter where you find yourself!

Guild Wars 2 Electric Boogaloo

I haven’t had a lot of time to game, but if you’d like to friend me you can find me in Guild Wars 2 most days, just add stephanie.9073 to your friends list.

I’m making my way painstakingly through the PoF story line while also trying to complete my personal story (I’ve completed it on a different account but recently switched) and work on ascended gear. I managed to craft the jacket and the pants for my mesmer, who I am currently using as my main (and enjoying an enormous amount).

I also recently got my necromancer to 80 though I haven’t done anything more with that character yet, like, get her some exotics to wear. It’s on the list!

As always, happy gaming, no matter where you find yourself.

Can Twitch ever be as big as YouTube?

 

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Photo by Tarcil Tarcil. License: CC BY 2.0

Twitch area at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in Los Angeles.

YouTube is one of the biggest sites on the internet, and has seen exponential growth year after year since its foundation over a decade ago. It received eight million visitors on the day it officially went live in December 2005. More recently, there’s no greater measure of success than August’s boxing match between KSI and Logan Paul to indicate just how influential YouTube actually is. Both fighters were YouTubers boxing at a very low standard, and yet they attracted more than one million PPV sales. This is largely down to their huge combined audience they’ve earned from YouTube.

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 Photo by Luigi Novi. License: CC BY 3.0.

 Paul’s large physique is evident, even in 2016 before his boxing endeavours, and is mostly down to his wrestling background.

The site itself has a current total of 1.3 billion users, who watch five billion videos every day. Its popularity with the younger generation is also significant, with many studies showing more and more children are choosing to watch YouTube instead of TV. Even some sporting events are streamed on the platform, the UEFA Champions League final for one. And with Amazon and other streaming platforms also beginning to broadcast sport online, YouTube is leading the way for migration away from TV.  

So on to Twitch. It has similarly been revolutionary, albeit on a smaller scale. No other site, including YouTube, is as popular when it comes to streaming games, and some users have even said Twitch has benefited their mental health as well. Its viewership eclipses live TV figures, which in itself gives Twitch credibility as an alternative source of entertainment. The site generated more than twice as many maximum viewers that watched content simultaneously on the site than YouTube, at 788,00 towards the end of last year.

We are not just talking about video games either. Looking at poker for an example, professionals such as Lex Veldhuis, Jason Somerville and Daniel Negreanu are considered poker pioneers for streaming on Twitch. They have lead the way for other poker players on the platform, but significantly all still frequently upload on YouTube. So in essence, they use both platforms to display their content, but the fact that they began on YouTube yet now choose Twitch as their primary streaming platform encourages others to similarly migrate.

So it is certainly a popular stage for a range of gamers, but in terms of Twitch being actually as big as YouTube, that is a different situation.

To determine whether Twitch can be as big as YouTube, we must look at both platform’s potential. YouTube is currently formatted in 76 different languages and has officially launched in 88 countries. It is undoubtedly a massive player worldwide in the online industry, but has it peaked or will it continue to grow and become ever more popular?

It is tough to imagine YouTube being even more successful than it already is, but if there is a finite amount of people that it appeals to in terms of audience and content creators, that implies that it will have to peak at some point. So, the bar is set high, but just how high will that bar reach? If we assume that YouTube is at its peak now, we can use its current state as the benchmark for Twitch to reach.

Does Twitch have the capacity and potential to get to where YouTube is now?

What will bring the long-term growth is a system that works and is adaptable to change. Twitch definitely works as a streaming platform, its million-plus viewers will testify to that. Like YouTube’s partnership programme, it allows (in this case) primarily gamers to establish a source of income in the form of donations and subscriptions. However, is there any other direction for Twitch to go from here?

Where YouTube has shown its versatility and ability to adapt – embracing live streaming for instance and implementing that into the platform – Twitch may struggle due to its limitations. It is a master of one trade: being a streaming platform. YouTube is that and much more. It has shown it can host live events, be a database for information, be a place to rent and watch films and shows. Twitch was made for gamers with the sole purpose of providing a place to stream and upload that specific content to.

Therefore…

Twitch is almost certainly not going to reach the levels that YouTube is at right now on a general scale, but that is simply due to the fact that it’s targeting a niche market. Even if it were to grow and reach its full potential, it would not reach the full spectrum of YouTube, as there is simply a larger market existing for video content in general as opposed to just gaming.

If we break it down to a gaming level however, Twitch has the potential to near-abolish YouTube’s presence in gaming. Due to its size and the fact that it is ingrained in our society, gaming content will always exist on YouTube (hence the term ‘near-abolish). But the progression and improvement of Twitch could really see its competitor decline.

The next couple of years are crucial. Nobody can deny its success at present, but Twitch must establish itself as the place to stream and watch gaming in order to truly cement its place in the online, content-creation world.

 

Following Friends

I don’t always follow friends around from game to game (especially since some of us jump around pretty frequently) but every so often I’ll find myself getting drawn into the hype – and Guild Wars 2 is one such game that seems to pull at me.

The Combat Wombats have decided to start running GW2 guild events on Fridays, led by the amazing Pixel_One who streams the happenings. I’m usually tied down by baby and toddler so I can’t make them or I get called away from them, but last night I found myself in a baby-free zone and I was able to participate in a fractal with the group.

Listening to discord was hilarious and I’m pretty sure I fell off of every platform there was to fall off of, but I had an absolute great time and it was a reminder about how much more fun these types of games can be if you’re playing with a group of friends.

I’ve known most of the members of CW for 8+ years now, but we still like to grow and embrace gamers who are into positivity and being chill. If you’re a streamer it’s another bonus, whether you’re into watching streams or doing them yourself. We have ‘The Wombattery’ discord set up for anyone who wants to promote a friendly and inclusive environment and if you’re interested in joining you can let any of us old time wombats know and we’ll send you an invite (twitter, this post, whatever).

In the meantime, I need to work on unlocking the mounts on my GW2 account, and maybe see about crafting a legendary. It’s a nice break from World of Warcraft but I’m certainly not giving that game up either.

As always, happy gaming, no matter where you find yourself!

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