Category: Gaming

Another Year, Another Blaugust

Every year for the past.. I’m not even sure how long, I’ve signed up to do Blaugust. Hosted by Belghast, with a number of participants and mentors, this event helps encourage people to blog throughout the month of August, be you a veteran or a newcomer. I love the community it fosters, and it’s always a great way for me to go around collecting awesome sites to read.

2021 has been a great year as far as blogging goes, for me personally. I’ve written every single day since January, and it’s something that I’ve wanted to keep up with for the entire year. I’ve branched off a bit from gaming and included knitting and art along with my adventures, but the basics remain the same. As always, I’m looking forward to this event and I can’t wait to see the new baby blogs that crop up. Maybe some of them will enjoy it so much they’ll stick around, and if not, that’s OK too. I can’t say I’ll have a lot of advice to give, but I am signed up as a mentor, and I’ll do my best to pass on some tips and tricks to blogging. The least I can do after all of the lovely things that the community has done for me.

Happy writing!


My Invisible Line

TW for sexual harrassment talk.

Yesterday a bunch of news dropped about a lawsuit being taken against Activision / Blizzard for their ‘frat boy’ culture. I doubt very much that it came as a surprise to anyone, but I went and read through the legal papers for it and the details were disgusting.

What was even more disgusting was the response from a spokesperson of Activision that said that the statements presented in the court document were “distorted and in many cases false” and this is where Activision crossed over an invisible line I have as far as supporting their games go.

We all have those invisible lines. Something that tells us “you know what, I just don’t want to support them any more”. Mine, I will admit, is pretty broad. I like video games, I enjoy supporting developers, and it’s ingrained into my entire life. I’ve played World of Warcraft since the start. I’ve weathered some pretty nasty storms with them – this time, I just can’t.

As a woman, my entire life I’ve been told that if I speak up about sexual harassment I was doing it for the attention. On two distinctive occasions I did the right thing and I talked to the right people and no one believed me. They told me I was trying to get attention. So on the third (and arguably biggest) occasion when I was raped in a washroom after work in a shopping mall I told no one except my boyfriend at the time. I did nothing. I never went to the police, what would be the point. I quietly quit my job, and never went back to that mall again.

It’s an enormous deal to me that so many women are standing up and being strong enough to share what has been going on or what has gone on in the past, and they are being told that their statements are distorted and false. There is nothing as heartbreaking for a victim than to be told that they are lying – when they are not. It is one of many reasons that women just don’t feel comfortable to speak up and talk about this sort of thing to begin with. There is almost always some sort of punishment. Whether it’s burning bridges, missed job opportunities, or something else. There is zero incentive for victims to come forward, and so much to lose.

So yes, Activision has crossed a line. I’m not willing to continue to support a company that can’t support female co-workers, or even ex co-workers. I’ve cancelled my account, and I can only hope that the victims are able to get some sort of closure from all of this.


Heroic Adventures? I can Do Those! (Barely)

When I stopped playing EverQuest last time, I had reached level 100 with my enchanter, 97 with my bard, and the shadowknight had also reached 100. I was playing with a good friend who has since moved to another server so they could participate in raids – but that’s OK, there’s still lots of folks around. I don’t think heroic adventures were a thing, but they are now, and they’re a neat way of getting experience and obtaining some gear / items if you’re not exactly geared to handle the awesome current content (which of course I am no where near).

Anyway, there’s an NPC in PoK who will send you off to work on some heroic adventures, or you can just bypass that and go read up on one of the guides out there like this one from Almar. You can start heroic adventures at 75 (they scale) but it’s recommended that you hold off for a bit. I’ve only done a handful so far, but they’ve been pretty fun and offer up some good experience and an alternative way of leveling if you’re bored of open world zone grinding. Most of the quests I’ve found tend to be ‘save my village, collect these items’ type, but there’s also the chance for a rare spawn to show up and provide some extra loot (so long as you can kill them).

Hopefully completing these will give some gear alongside the experience so my characters are not so poorly equipped. Next I need to look into upgrading their spells.


Ding, 105

Well for once I don’t have a screen shot to show off, but that’s because I’ve been gaming on my laptop, and it’s always awkward to shuffle pictures around. I’ve been meandering through some zones with my team of three (shadowknight, enchanter, shaman) and three mercs – and having an absolute blast. The game is still filled with people playing (even if a lot of them are multiboxing these days) and current-day zones are always full of groups. The shaman has leveled up from their boosted level of 85 to almost 97, and the other two characters are sitting at a respectable 105 – that’s 5 whole levels since I returned. I’m quite pleased! Picking up spells and figuring out where I go next has been a bit difficult as I’m not overly familiar with progression in the older expansions, but there are still guides out there and I’m able to fumble my way around. I’m hoping to catch the shaman up and then maybe gear everyone out a bit more. I’m not sure I’ll be able to take the team all the way to 115 but that is the (eventual) end goal. We’ll just have to see.

Happy gaming, no matter where you find yourself!


Could You Play it for a Year?

I remember some time ago when Tipa was writing about a new challenge of hers that she was making – sticking with a video game (MMO) for a year – and I envied that mind set. It’s one that I have not been able to adhere to for a VERY long time, and one I envy because I feel that in a year you’re able to really set down some roots, make friends, and get somewhere in an MMO. Jumping around from game to game isn’t fun on my wallet or my game play, if I have to be honest.

Then I went and looked back to the games I was playing in 2013 when raptr game tracking was still a thing. The games at the top of that list 8 years ago were STILL the top games I play today. They included WoW, EQ, EQ2, Sims 3 (now it’s Sims 4, but that’s close enough), Wurm, and then a few stragglers like EVE. Almost nothing has changed in which games I play. I still bounce around from game to game, and I rarely ever stick with any of the new ones.

Now I find myself back playing EverQuest, talking to the ‘locals’ and getting to know the names I see in chat. Almost all of them are older, with families like myself. Most have been playing for 15+ years. It’s comfortable. Once again I think to myself ‘is this a game I could stick with for a year?’ – and just like always, I don’t really have an answer. It’s still something I would like to do, if for no other reason than I’ve never been able to complete it before.


Erillion, City of Bronze

This outdoor zone was released with Veil of Alaris, and is around level 95 – perfect for my little team. I set the guild portal to Shard’s Landing and made my way there, and picked up two lowbies who were LFG to join my team (which consists of playing a Shadowknight, Enchanter, and Shaman). We made our way to the center of the city, in this odd record keeping type room that had a ton of mobs to pull, and settled in for a few hours of killing. I used my lesson of the devoted skill to boost the experience, and my shaman managed to get a few levels – even my level 102 guys gained a significant amount of experience which was just delightful.

One named spawned in the area, dropping a ring and I think an item that lets you get some rk2 spells. I haven’t upgraded any spells in a long time, so that will be next on my list very soon. I also need to see where I can get gear upgrades these days. The bazaar is a strange collection of high level end game items that I don’t really understand – combined with a whole lot of ornamental gear, which is appearance stuff.

Overall I think everyone had a good time, and it was nice to go back to some old school grinding. Chat was lively, and the pulls were pretty simple. I had the enchanter AOE mez any time we got any extra, and we just plowed through everything else.

Happy gaming, no matter where you find yourself!


Where to Settle

I can’t seem to make a decision about where to play. On one hand, I like the idea of FV – there’s few no-trade items, making it easy to gear up. They have a huge population, and I hear there’s some roleplay still going on some days. That being said, I’m well established on Drinal, and being able to play my old characters is something that I’d definitely like to do. Decisions decisions!


The Biggest QoL Change

I haven’t even been back in game a week yet, and my shadowknight and enchanter have each gotten two whole levels – that’s a huge feat for me. I’ve tried to return a few times in the past, but it never worked out because EverQuest is a game that likes to challenge people.

Or at least it used to – things are MUCH easier these days, and I have to admit, I was PLEASANTLY surprised. One of the biggest changes is something I mentioned in my last post that I wanted to expand on a bit. ‘Auto-Grant’ Enable. This feature is for premium accounts (let’s not start a debate as to whether or not developers deserve to get paid for their work, I’ve got no issues paying for subscriptions) and what it means is that every time you level, you’ll be given the AA from that level / expansion / tier. It stops at (I believe) level 110 – the cap is 115, so it’s not as though you’re handed everything – but this catch up mechanic is essential for players who have been away who haven’t managed to grind up thousands of AA. It lets new players as well as returning players feel like they are not completely useless.

Without this feature I wouldn’t be able to do anything in game that I’ve been doing. I started by running heroic adventures which are a pretty OK source of experience. My heroic boosted shaman (came with the latest expansion pack that I purchased) gained two levels, moving from 85 to 87. My 102 characters have over 20,000 aa points – and when I came back they had around 4000. Features like this allow players like me the option of returning in a way that was never possible before, and I REALLY wish I had of known that this change was made a few years back, because I probably would have returned then.

I’ve also spent some time thinking about WHY I am enjoying myself so much and what it really comes down to is that WoW absolutely obliterated multiboxing – and that was the one thing that I REALLY enjoyed doing in game. Multitasking on multiple accounts is something I find a LOT of fun. When Blizzard decided that 3rd party software and broadcasting and other tools were no longer acceptable, it really put an enormous hole in my gaming style.

In EverQuest, at least for now (who knows if this will change) multiboxing is still allowed. Let me stress that I am NOT looking to disrupt others game play, and I am all for grouping with real people, the best experiences happen that way. That being said, multiboxing IS a way I enjoy playing. Not even to work the economy but just because the plain simple truth of it is I love multi tasking.

Anyway, we’ll see how this adventure goes. For now I have subscribed all three accounts, and I went and bought them all the base copy of the latest expansion. I’m hoping to reach level 115 – current end game. I’ve actually never been at the level cap in EverQuest before when it was the cap. After 22 years, there’s still things I haven’t done, and I love that.


Well that Escalated Quickly..

There are a handful of games that I usually always return to. World of Warcraft, EVE Online, Guild Wars II, and Final Fantasy XIV – just to name a few. In 2016 or so, I stopped playing both EverQuest II and EverQuest, feeling that I had gotten all that I could from those games, and that I had changed too much as a gamer to properly enjoy them the way I had in the past (ie: lack of time). I continued to view the games with rose coloured glasses, and I would pop in but become immediately frustrated at xyz thing, and I never really ‘played’ again.

For the past few weeks I’ve been bouncing around games trying to figure out what I want to do. I was just not feeling WoW, FFXIV is fantastic but again I was restless. Part of that is simply due to my nomadic gamer inclinations – and part was something more. I have some of my fondest gaming memories from EverQuest, and while I know you can never go back, and those memories are best left undisturbed – I couldn’t help it. I found myself logging in.

Not only did I find myself logging in on my main account, but I also logged in on my second account and started multiboxing. Then, I added my husbands account. Along with mercenary, we have what is technically a full group. I know a group of people is far better, but I still believe everyone should play how they enjoy if it’s possible.

Anyway, I started out creating new characters on the FV server, thinking it might be fun and it does have a large player base. The inflation of that server, however, was enormous and it turned me off immediately. Then I had a thought.

I learned about the ‘auto grant aa’ feature that premium accounts can access. This is basically a ‘catch up’ mechanic where the game will grant you a number of AA that would have unlocked at your level previously. This feature I believe ends at level 110 (the current cap is 115). I decided to test it out. My level 100 enchanter had 3,000 aa that I had worked meticulously at obtaining. Turning on the auto grant feature boosted me to another 16,000.

I did the same with my husband’s shadowknight that I was now playing (also level 100), and a 97 bard on my second account. The shadowknight is easily over 20,000 aa now. This mechanic is gold and allows people returning to the game to feel that they are not going to instantly die in one hit.

I decided to test things out. I created a group with the shadowknight, enchanter, and a 97 bard from my second account. Grabbed two melee DPS mercenary and a healer mercenary. Then I headed to PoK to figure out the ‘heroic adventure’ feature that had been added some time ago. I picked one up, and I was actually able to complete the thing! I’m sure it’s slower than what people are running it as these days, but I was slowly figuring things out. I would pull a group of three dark blue / white con mobs, AOE mesmerize them, break one with the shadowknight, and DPS it down. No one died. The mercenary cleric was able to keep up. I felt on-par for my tier and while it took some adjusting and getting used to – it was glorious. It was what I was missing in gaming and I know that it’s directly related to the fact that Blizzard recently banned many of the multibox platforms that I used to use with my team of 5 there.

Whether you’re against multiboxing or not, it is how I enjoy playing. I typically just play for me, I’m not looking to ruin markets or mess things up for other people. I managed to ding my 100 shadowknight and enchanter to 101, earning about 20% of their level in the process through the heroic adventure. Hopefully my next runs go even faster, I had an absolute blast, and I can’t wait to continue to get back into things.


A Little Crowfall

I backed Crowfall what felt like ages ago, and this week the game was finally released (of course it released to a handful of DDoS attacks, but that’s not their fault). I decided to play something unusual for me – I went with a fae knight. They actually play a lot like a demon hunter, especially with those wings that allow for gliding.

I received a parcel of land and a manor with my purchase, but so far claiming those items has not been easy. I believe it’s disabled at the moment, but I’m not in any great rush. The aesthetics remind me of WildStar, highly stylized and very well done. I can’t say that I’ll stick with the game to any great extent since it does focus on PvP (which I enjoy, but not all of the time) but it is nice to be playing something a bit ‘new’ and shiny. Plus some good friends are playing. We’ll see how it goes.

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


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