Category: Gaming (Page 5 of 230)

Gaming Together When You Can’t Be Together


I remember when Yahoo games used to be the way that me and friends would game together. I used to play scrabble and other board games online for hours at a time. There was a chat room and tournaments that I never paid attention to and most of the games were private, but we had a lot of fun.

When my husband went off to depot I installed Tabletop Simulator and sent him with the ancient laptop we have. We played it together when we were both at home and I was on baby duty, and I knew it would be a great way for us to be able to game together with our very limited amount of time. One of my favourite games to play which I’ve discussed before, is Pass the Pigs, so last week we set up a game and tested out his wifi connection.

The lag on his end was pretty bad but thankfully these types of games don’t require a whole lot of deftness. We used the chat room to talk and had a good time throwing the two little plastic pigs around. I won, but it didn’t really matter.

I downloaded other games like Cards against Humanity, and some favourite board games like the game of life, chess, and a handful of card games. Being able to game together a bit even with the distance gave me a little piece of normal for the evening, and reestablished our connection when most days are so busy we don’t get to say more than 15 words to one another.

I love the changes in tech and gaming that have happened over the years, and this is just one reason why.

How Streaming Helped my Mental Health

I haven’t been streaming for that long, but honestly it couldn’t have started at a better time in my life. Sure, I have a brand new baby boy, my husband is away at depot for 6 months, and I can barely form a single complete thought let alone carry on an adult conversation – but streaming has been one of the best things I could have done.

Why? Because it’s something I’m doing for me.

Four times a week, for an hour each time, I stream video games. I’m on a RimWorld stint lately because it’s pretty easy to play with a toddler in my lap or if I have to randomly AFK. I try my best to stick with a schedule which is currently 14:30-15:30 mon-tue-thur-fri. My streams are not long, and I’m not incredibly popular but I do have an absolute blast every time and I am incredibly thankful to those people who stop in, even just to say hello. At the end of my streams I have the biggest smile on my face and it’s because of each and every single person who has made an effort to be there for me. I really can’t express just how much this has helped me.

When I first started streaming I was in a pretty dark place. I was suffering from Postpartum, and I was very lonely with my husband gone. I tried streaming at night when logically I had more “free” time, but it didn’t work out because I’m on duty 24/7. I wanted to remind myself that I was MORE than just a mother. That I was an actual human being, with interests, friends, and passions. One of those passions is video games and even more than that one of those passions is other people and interacting with them to the best of my introverted capabilities. So I stream.

I feel really good when I stream. I love sharing what’s going on in my small home, I am proud that I’m able to remain calm and collected when something happens either in game or out. I feel like I’m able to transition between watching my llama bean and interact with my stream audience at the same time. I love having discussions with them, I love sharing my enjoying of whatever game I happen to be playing. I love that my little guy babbles into the microphone and shares his thoughts, too.

For that one hour I am something more than just a milk supplying caregiver. Don’t get me wrong, I adore my son, I love my family and I am incredibly blessed to have all of this in my life and I realize that, but you can get yourself caught up in a particular headspace where you’re not feeling very appreciated – and streaming makes me feel appreciated.

So even though I don’t have a lot of spare time, the streams are hectic, and some days I wonder why I’m bothering, I’m really glad to be streaming.

If you haven’t checked out one of my streams yet, please do! You can find me as Stargrace over on twitch and I upload my videos to YouTube after each one. If you happen to be a streamer let me know, I try my best to grow our community and catch other streamers when I can. I realize we should all be supportive of one another, and it really is a lovely community.

Finding Scarecrow Pepe

I had a really hard time finding Pepe for some reason. On my priest that used to be horde but transferred to Alliance he was no where to be found – so I relogged to an alt and there he was, on top of a grave. Cutest little fluff ball (as always). I had not gotten the achievement for finding him before, so it was nice to tick that off.

Plus how cute does he look perched up there!

I’ve been slowly going through the Halloween events in WoW. I’ve done them before, but it’s fun and there’s a few things I haven’t collected yet (pets, mostly). I already have the headless horseman mount from a few years back, one of the few mounts I’ve ever actually been able to collect. There are lots that I’ve been trying to get for years now. Aside from that, gaming has been nice and quiet – and relaxing, exactly what I’ve needed.

Happy gaming, no matter where you find yourself!

The Result Of Squirt Day

I have been neglecting my pet collection this expansion pretty severely, I haven’t even collected all of the overworld ones yet let alone any of the special ones. That being said, I did want to take advantage of “squirt day” because it fell on pet battle week. Squirt is an NPC you can find in your garrison, and leveling against her is really easy once you have a set team. I used the Enchanted Broom and a second pet, along with a carry pet. I managed to get about 25 pets from level 1 to 25 with just the handful of games I played. I would have done more, but, well, life interrupted (as it always does). Still, I’m happy with the progress. My collection isn’t that great, but I do have three pets that comes from the WoW card game, and I know if I just keep chipping away at leveling and collecting I’ll do even better.

Did you level up any pets during pet battle week? How’s your own collection doing? Let me know in comments!


We’re All Friends Here

People die and it sucks.

I’m 36 at the time of this post, and that’s quite young, but I’m no stranger to friends my own age passing away. 2 year ago my best friend from high school died in the middle of the night unexpectedly. I’ve written here about Jean, a friend from EQ2 who died from suicide.  Over the years people I’ve known, people I’ve loved, have passed on. It doesn’t get any easier to deal with and it doesn’t get any less awkward to talk about but I wanted to talk about it today anyway because it’s one of those things that’s important to me.

It’s important that my friends know how much they mean to me. Even those I have never met in person. On twitter, on facebook, on discord, on G+, any place we may have interacted, I truly do care. I may not always get a lot of time to show it, and you may not even think I know who you are, but if we’ve interacted, chances are I do. I do know who you are. I spent a lot of time quietly observing the happenings from a distance. If you need something I’ll be there to the best of my abilities.

This post is spurred on by learning that Zach Best passed away a few days ago. I didn’t know him personally. I only knew him through his writing as Ravious over at Kill Ten Rats.

Sypster over at BioBreak has a post about it too and how he met Zach back in 2011 at a blogger breakfast, something I have always wanted to do but as of yet have not.

It reminds me again that life is fragile. That we need to embrace the happiness we have. That we need to show people every single day that we care, that they’re important, that their life matters to us.

Just some thoughts this morning.

Duolingo ?

Duolingo is a language learning app that turns learning into a game, which is not anything new, but it has become incredibly popular lately. I see a lot of friends taking on new languages, and I think that’s amazing. I’m typically a fan of anything that promotes learning new skills, I think becoming stagnant with our skill sets is a bad thing, and we need these challenges.

I decided to install it on my phone and see what it was about, refreshing myself in French. I was in French immersion when I first started school, my mother’s family is French, and over the years I have seen almost zero use of it so I’m nice and rusty. I can read it and speak it pretty well, spelling is a whole other can of worms. You do a placement test to see what level you rank at, and then lessons start from there.

It’s an interesting app, but I have one major issue with it.

There are some words that have multiple meanings, or words you can use instead of, or words that have evolved over time, and none of this is taken into account when duolingo grades you. For example, the French word “manteau” is commonly used for jacket, coat, and various other objects. Duolingo wouldn’t accept anything but “overcoat”. As I mentioned to friends, getting silly stuff wrong isn’t fun, and it takes away from the program.

You earn points daily for completing the program, can see your progress, earn badges, add friends and all that good stuff. The app is also free with ads that are blended in fairly well (they have their own screens that you can skip or click but the actual interface blends in well with the basic app interface). You can choose to unlock everything and pay monthly, there’s three tiers of payment plan offered depending on how often you want to pay.

Is this the most amazing language learning app out there? I’m not convinced. I do think it works well as a beginner stepping stone, and I can easily see why it’s so popular, but it’s a lot of memorization, no lessons or explanation what so ever on anything. I think it’s a good tool for beginners to learning a new language or refreshing one you may be rusty in but I’d combine it with other language tools out there, including actual classes and of course the best learning tool which is hands on experience where you’re actually speaking the language with someone else and having discussions.

I’ve personally always been of the opinion that languages are something you can learn that will never go “out of style” and the more you can learn the better. I regret not doing it more as I grew up, but really, it’s never too late.

Have you tried duolingo? What are your thoughts? If you decide to give it a try, which language are you going with? Let me know in comments!

Where Do You Call Home?

It’s 2017 and we’ve seen a lot of changes in video games over the years – one of the biggest video game annoyances I have always had is the idea of servers. The traditional idea, where you’re locked to it, playing happily with all your friends until a year passes and suddenly no one is playing with you and the grass is greener on the other side. You know the servers I’m talking about.

What have games done to combat the idea that people tend to play everywhere and they want to play with their friends (along with a large population)? Well, there have been server transfers, allowing players to pay a fee (or sometimes no cost) to swap to a server of their choice. There have been server merges, where two (typically) underpopulated servers would get merged together to create one large server, there have been megaservers, where ALL smaller servers were combined into one gigantic server (a-la WildStar), there have been shards, where people can join up across servers to play in instances with their friends and even raid. There have been server teams, where you’re on a team with a bunch of other servers and you share some of the same zones but you’re not technically on the same server together.

Like I said, many different ways of attempting to solve the technical issue of having a ‘server’ and the players desires to be where all the action is – with their friends. Or with that new raid guild they’ve been eyeballing. Or whatever XYZ reason a player has to want to play some place new with their old character.

Then there are the games that don’t have servers. EVE Online is a great one that comes to mind. Because each area is its own zone there’s no real need to have people playing on different servers. Of course it could also be due to a population thing, while there are usually anywhere from 17-28,000 people online when I am, it’s not hundreds of thousands or even millions of people all gathered together.

The reason this comes up is because I have a lot of different World of Warcraft servers that I consider “home” – and that list has only grown and changed over the past 10 years as friends have come and gone and new friends have joined up. There’s Argent Dawn which is where I have both a horde and an alliance guild that I run. My husband and I have our established characters there. Then he stopped playing. It’s not much fun playing alone.

So I moved to Area 52 with a few characters. Set up a guild there. Had a few friends who played. The server population is enormous. Then those friends stopped playing, and I was playing alone again.

I moved a hunter over to Dalaran with a few members from Combat Wombat where we had an ultra casual guild that completely fell apart.

So I moved to Lightbringer with Stargrace, my priest where I joined Crimson Cross, and I have a tiny little warrior that I just started. An established guild that isn’t going anywhere, and while I may only “know” one or two members, at least it’s a place I can call ‘home’ and they haven’t kicked me out yet no matter how inactive I become.

All of these servers are still “home” for one reason or another. They all have characters that I’ve played, that I enjoy playing, and that I would love to play again – and I wish it were easier to move them around, or at least a little less expensive. I wish I could keep all of my characters together, but WoW is not a game that lets you do this very easily. At least not without shelling out a fair bit of cash. I wish I had all of my crafters on the same server. I miss them. Playing with friends or at least having them around in chat is a nice aspect to my gaming, and while we CAN group up and even raid cross server, I find it’s just not enough.

What are your thoughts? Let me know in comments and as always, happy gaming, no matter where you find yourself!

It’s OK To Like (Even Love) an Unpopular Game

My absolute favourite game of all time, is Wurm Online (or Unlimited, either one). Wurm Unlimited has “mixed” recent reviews, and “mixed” all reviews. There’s not even 1500 reviews total of the game. I have 2,399 hours on record on steam (so that’s Wurm Unlimited, and doesn’t count any Wurm Online hours). I could talk about the game for hours, and while I may not be playing right this second (I come and go in my Wurm obsession) it is one that I constantly suggest people try out, and will them to accept.

I rarely succeed.

The thing is – it’s perfectly OK to dislike or like this game – or ANY game out there. I know the reasons people don’t like Wurm. The outdated graphics, the incredible grind, the dislike of Club Code, the bugs and other issues. The unbalanced PVP. I’ve heard them all – and still this game owns my heart, as far as video games go.

I’ve never gotten mad at someone for not liking this game because I don’t expect everyone to like it. If you don’t like it, it’s quite simple – don’t play.

Please. Don’t waste your precious time on this earth playing a video game that you’re not having a great time in. Move on to something else. There are TONS of games out there catering to all sorts of gamers. Keep searching and trying to find the one that calls to you – and it doesn’t matter if everyone else is playing it or if no one else is playing it what matters is what YOU think and how YOU feel when you play it.

3 years ago (give or take) I joined to reserve the user name and then pretty much forgot about it. I didn’t add anyone to my friends list (it’s more of a follow list than friends) and I didn’t pay too much attention to it. The social part of the site tends to be filled with toxicity, and while there are groups they’re not functional in any sense of the term because only the owner of the group can post, with everything being open to the world (even your own posts). I was never that enthralled with the site because it felt like they were trying to “do all the things” but not really good at any of it.

Then this week they announced Create (I’m not sure if that’s what they’re officially calling it, but lets say it is). It’s a built in system that lets you design and customize overlays for your game streams. Everything from alerts to labels to the frames. You can add your own graphics, and have control over everything from the colours to the fonts. You can browse they’re pre-created overlays and then customize those, or use them out of the box. You can also keep track of multiple overlays, and splash screens like intermission or stream is starting. It’s simple to use and you can import the URL to your layout to a streaming program like OBS or Xsplit without any hassle.

I think this is a FANTASTIC service. I played around with it a bit and @scopique also made a tutorial video on how it works which you can watch here. It makes creating a uniform overlay easy, and whether you’re new to overlay design or an expert, you’ll be able to create something for your stream that you’ll (hopefully) like.

I’m not set on the design I’ve chosen for mine yet, but that’s alright I’m sure there are others I can play around with too. There are a TON of different overlays you can choose from, and I imagine they will add the option for paid overlays with time which is fine so long as I can also continue to use the ones that are free, especially the ones I’ve already set up. As I was discussing with friends on discord I would find it frustrating if they suddenly made those pay to use.

So if you haven’t been to lately, stop by and say hello. I’m there as Stargrace, as always.


The Couple That Games Together

My husband and I used to game together, but over the years he decided that he didn’t want to play MMOs because they used up an enormous amount of his free time, and he focused on his steam library (over 500 games) while I continued to play. We’ve played most MMOs together in one form or another, briefly. It made me sad when our duo was suddenly a solo but of course I supported his decision.

I started talking about WoW a few days ago with him, trying to decide what I wanted to do in game, what character I wanted to play, and he said out of no where that he missed playing MMOs with me and that when he gets back from depot in 3 months he would like it if we played WoW together.

I was stunned! He was incredibly excited about it and started talking about his old character and how he’d like to faction transfer from Alliance back to Horde. It was such a great discussion, one I have really missed. Even though actually playing together is some time off, we’re both looking forward to a few hours here and there in Azeroth together.

For most people this wouldn’t be such a big deal, but gaming is how we met each other. We don’t always share the same tastes, but thanks to him I’ve tried branching out and playing games I wouldn’t normally find interesting, and vice versa. I love that I have a partner who games, and I think it would be very difficult to be in a relationship with someone who didn’t share that passion of mine. Some things I know we don’t need to share, my husband is no knitter and doesn’t share my love of fiber, just like I am not a huge fan of some of his passions – but we support each other and we inspire and motivate each other. Having him express that he missed us gaming together and that he wanted to pick it up again when he comes home was like a big warm hug wrapping itself around me.

I’m so excited!

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