Category: Of Interest (Page 1 of 14)

Another Year, Another IntPiPoMo

If you’ve never heard of IntPiPoMo before, check out this post here at Gamer Girl Confessions. There’s prizes, and I love participating every year and showing off some awesome screenshots and pictures. Most of my posts come with a screenshot, but I’ll be adding 50 throughout the month tagged properly – so be on the lookout!

If it seems like something you’re interested in doing, sign up! It’s never too late, and you get to share some wonderful images with everyone!

People Deserve a Thank You

This week I am so grateful and thankful for the people in my life. I wanted to talk about a few of them and why.

David – who I’ve known since high school. He’s the one who set up the whole transfer of MmoQuests over to NomadicGamersEh – he did it painlessly and didn’t laugh when I asked silly questions. Plus he sped the whole site up and he wrote about what he did over on his own site here. Go give it a read. I’m thankful for people like this who have a skill set that I don’t have and I appreciate the time they put into these sort of projects.

Shai – A newer friend, but one I have already vented to on more than one occasion about life and she’s always there listening. People like this are rare and she makes me want to be a better person even though I’ve butchered her name a billion times on stream.

Speaking of streaming – Scopique and Girlvsmmo have been my personal cheerleaders ever since I got it into my head that I wanted affiliate on Twitch. They helped motivate me, inspire me, and were always there with a RT when I went live, and watching when they could. Advice on layouts, streaming gear, and everything in between – these are the folks I go to, and I’m proud to call them ‘my people’.

Ranni – This lady is one of the strongest people I’ve ever met. When life’s tough (and it does get tough) she’s still there and she keeps it real. She keeps me grounded, her stories are hilarious and honest. She probably doesn’t realize just how much I admire her, and may even find it a bit creepy (lol). Still, fantastic person.

Iz & Bex – We’ve all been going through our own personal crap lately but these two ladies are just fantastic. If I need to quickly vent about family, they are both there. We have our quiet moments but I still know I can go to either of them (or both) when I need to.

Neil – Lover of Christmas and purveyor of  Tinkerbell pictures, when things are crummy he still manages to find a good side. He’s one of those silent types that I’ve known for many years now (and helped introduce me to Wurm Online) and I just can’t thank enough for being around.

Anyway, I just wanted to put my thanks out there. There are many more people I’m thankful for, but today these folks are at the top of my list and they certainly deserve to hear it.

Back to gaming!

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.

MMO Regrets (Inspired by BioBreak)

Syp had a great post over on BioBreak today (yes, I still read Feedly and keep up to date with posts) about MMO regrets – and this is what inspired me to make my own post. He’s right, we all have a few regrets, so what are yours? Mine are the following:

  1. Creating so many alts. I started making alts back in EQ2. Before then I never had alts and I was able to focus on a main character. Since that time I’ve never felt like I had a ‘main’ and I never felt like I actually completed all that much on a single character. Instead my characters were spread around with a little bit completed there, a little bit completed here.
  2. Buying in to so many early access / Newly released MMOs. Yes, I regret this. I know it’s great to support developers, but I’ve paid so much money for games I rarely ever played and never stuck with. Just to name a few off of the top of my head there was the almost $200 for Landmark (we all know how that one turned out), the collectors edition of BDO that I don’t play (I made it to level 15), and the top tier of ArcheAge (I think I played that one for a month or two, I at least made it to level 50). Then there’s Ark, which may not be classified under the MMO genre, but why not. I think I played that one for an hour. I stuck with Rift for quite a while before giving that one up so I don’t include it in the list but the ones listed above I don’t feel like I ever got my value out of what I paid.
  3. Being a nomadic gamer. I wish I could settle down in just one game for at least a year long stretch. It never happens. It used to happen, but now I change games more than some people change underwear. I envy people who settle down in their game of choice with a main character and are able to actually stick with it.
  4. Not playing Vanguard more before it shut down. I LOVED that game. It is my all time favourite MMO even to this day, and when they announced it was closing I was absolutely defeated. I was actually playing it at the time and gave up because I didn’t like the idea of playing a game that was just going to shut down in the near future. That game had everything for me. A vast open world, the awesome diplomacy system, complex and rewarding crafting, just to name a few. I wish I made more videos of the game and I wish I had of dedicated myself to just playing that one and writing about it.
  5. Not playing MMOs sooner (or video games in general). I didn’t start back in the ‘olden’ days. I started MMO gaming around 2003 / 2004 and so when people talk about the start of the rise of MMOs with the olden golden olden days I regret that I didn’t get to experience that, especially because I was such a fan of EverQuest. I had been playing EverQuest for a year when EQ2 released, and I eventually (I had some reluctance) switched over.
  6. Keeping in better touch with my past MMO friends. I’m pretty good about this now, I have an established group I can virtually hang out with and I like to think we’re pretty good friends. If one were to go missing I like to think I’d notice and we’d band together and track them down. This wasn’t always the case, and I’ve lost touch with a lot of really awesome people over the years. I have multi-game guilds (now), and a good group of friends on twitter. I often wonder what happened to the people I started gaming with back in 2003. As I drifted from game to game I was often kicked out of guilds for not being active enough and of course people I had been ‘close’ to in a particular game would drift out of touch. This isn’t an MMO regret per say, but it’s still something that I think about and is pretty firmly based around MMOs.

That’s my list! Thanks again to Syp for providing the inspiration for this post. What about everyone else out there, what MMO regrets do you have? Why not share them!

Dreaming of a Gaming Laptop

Ever since my son was born, I have dreamed of a gaming laptop. Having a desktop is great, but the chances of me actually having a moment to sit there and use it have been pretty slim over the last year. I’m more likely to be found on the floor so I can be within easy reach of my crawling little one than sitting on any actual furniture. At night time I’m still watching over him, and the desktop doesn’t exactly lend itself to portability.

I’ve been trying to find a reasonably priced laptop for some time, but I also want to make sure it can handle a few specifics. What is it that I’m looking for?

Cost effective. I don’t want to make a big purchase when it’s just going to be completely outdated and unable to upgrade and won’t play the games I have in mind any longer. If I can’t upgrade parts of it I would like to be able to at least know it handles what’s out there today pretty well, and should last at least 5 years.

Temperature control / cooling system: I want a laptop that can actually handle games without setting my house on fire. I say this because I’ve had a laptop in the past that just got SO warm I felt like I needed to use it on a tray of ice in order for anything to work and be comfortable. The internal fans used to trigger on and it felt like an airplane was trying to take off. I wasn’t playing on high settings, either. They were pretty basic.

Where some people may care about the look and design – I don’t. I want functionality and I don’t mind paying for that functionality if I think it’s got real value to it.

Battery life is somewhat important but it’s something I can do with just an hour or two of. I don’t need something to run for 15+ hours before needing a charge.

For those of you who are gaming with a laptop, what did you find that works well for you? What are your requirements? Have suggestions / tips / hints for me (as I’m completely new to this sort of shopping)? Let me know in comments! As always, happy gaming, no matter where you find yourself.

Changes at MmoQuests

In the 11 years that I’ve been writing on this blog I would say about 99% of the posts have been about video games in some way shape or form. I love games, I love the friends I’ve made through gaming and games are large part of my life. That’s not going to change.

The thing is they’re not the only part of my life. I have two other blogs, one for knitting and one for book reviews. Neither site gets very much attention (lets face it, these days I rarely post here as it is) and having multiple blogs for all of my little hobbies is getting… annoying.

I don’t want to change the site name from MmoQuests because I’ve had it for so long now and it would just feel awkward – but I do want to change things up and include more posts that talk about whatever happens to be holding my attention. I’d also like to change up the look of the blog, but that will take some time because I’m pretty particular about what I want (and what I don’t want).

For those who enjoy only reading about the gaming – don’t fear. I’ll add a gaming category along with the individual game categories, and you can subscribe to an RSS of just that. I’ll also be adding a few new categories like knitting, cross stitch, and cooking. I understand that readers may go down because you’re pretty used to me writing about specific things here, but I really feel that my blog should be able to incorporate ALL of me, and not just the side that enjoys video games.

These changes should be seen as good things. It gives me a bigger incentive to write and not feel lost that I don’t have a video game to write about. It expands the audience (hopefully), and broadens topic searches. I’ll be keeping my book review site because I pay for that one, but my knitting site I’ll be taking down and merging into MmoQuests. I haven’t written there since August 2016 and I doubt it will be missed.

If you’re absolutely against me merging non game related topics into MmoQuests let me know, either in comments or by email, and be sure to include why you think it’s a bad idea. I can’t promise I’ll act on your advice, but I will listen to it.

How Gaming Influences

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One thing I’ve been really fascinated with is the transition of Twitch (and other streaming platforms). Back when I first “knew” twitch, it was called Justin.TV and it was used to stream (mostly) TV shows (like sports that were blocked out on TV unless you paid for the package, etc). It has evolved quite a few times since then, becoming one of the more popular video game streaming platforms. It has since evolved even further, adding new and unique categories to streaming – categories that I wouldn’t necessarily even consider to be something someone would stream let alone watch. Turns out people enjoy watching the non-mainstream just as much.

There are people of all ages streaming all sorts of creative endeavors and it (quite frankly) blows my mind. No longer are crochet, knitting, and cross stitch a hobby that just older generations are partaking in. People streaming engage with their audience in various ways, encouraging others to pick up the craft and motivating everyone. Of course having a nice set up certainly helps, a way to automate things like thanking your followers and acknowledging donations. The fancier you can get with your set up the more hands-on your crafting can be and the less time you’ll spend trying to hook (see what I did there) viewers.

Personally, I love this new move. I enjoy watching video game streams but I enjoy watching crafty streams even more. I admire the talent these people have, and if you can find someone who has both the talent and the online charisma to make their channel into something special, well, then you’re set.

Have you found some of these fantastic creative streamers in your travels? Want to give them a shout out? Be sure to drop a link down in comments.

Happy 10th Anniversary, MmoQuests

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June 25th, 2006 marked the first post I ever made here on MmoQuests. 10 years has gone by since then. Ten. Years. So much has changed, and yet, not that much has changed. I started this blog writing about EverQuest 2. There are a total of 2,889 (soon to be 2890) posts, and 1,349 of them are related to EQ2. That’s a lot of posts. 260 of them are related to EQ. 225 to WoW, and 195 to Wurm Unlimited. Those are my top game categories and it’s pretty easy to see that those are also my top games. Even today, 10 years later.

This blog has changed my life in ways that I could have never imagined. A few years after I got started, I got a job working for Beckett Massive Online Gamer, and wrote articles for their video game magazine. That’s right, articles that are out in print (or were in any case). It was one of my proudest moments. I wrote guides for EQ2, Wizard 101, Aion, and others. Unfortunately the magazine shut down, it was right as the surge of video game web sites was coming up and lets face it printed publications are typically outdated by the time a buyer sees them, especially compared to web sites. It was still pretty damn awesome to go to a big box store like Chapters and buy a magazine that had my articles in it. Sometimes there was just one, other times there were as many as four or five.

Because of the connections I made at Beckett, I was invited to visit the Sony Online Entertainment studio back in 2009. It was another experience I won’t ever forget. I met with dev teams from EQ2, EQ, and they managed to slip in a Vanguard tour for me which was spectacular. I wrote about it all on my blog and it’s just so apparent to me how much of a fan of these games I was even before meeting with the people behind the games.

When Beckett shut down I started volunteering for SOE, both as a guide for Vanguard and EQ2. After some time, I was also invited to sit on their community council. A good portion of my blog and blog-related changes happened because of my love of EQ2 and the fact that I had found a method of discussing my unhappiness with some aspects of the game without being incredibly rude. I learned that developers most certainly DO listen to players but you really have to word it a particular way so that it doesn’t come across as crass. Too many people like to spout hate and disrupt things – that’s not how you get the proper attention of anyone in charge at all.

Eventually I started applying to game companies for remote jobs that were not SOE. These jobs are rare, but they’re out there. It meant I had to break my ties with the SOE Community Council though, which I still miss. Through some luck and a man named David who was willing to take a chance on me, I was hired at Carbine as a forum moderator to help work with the WildStar players and their teams. Eventually this job shifted to me being hired at NCSOFT, still mainly working on WildStar but also dabbling in Aion, and Lineage 2. My job consisted of not only forum moderation, but feedback from players to developers, acting as that barrier. I interacted with players on a daily basis, wrote reports on an almost daily basis, and invented events and games to help keep things calm in times of turmoil. I started helping out with patch notes, and learned just how valuable my sense of organization was. I learned a lot, but unfortunately contract work is contract work, and we all know how those typically end, especially if you’re working remote.

None of this would have happened had I not started writing back in 2006. I don’t often get a lot of comments on my blog, and my readership fluctuates, but I like to think that I have stayed relatively steady through those 10 years. My writing doesn’t change that much, even when I’ve been angry or upset about a recent video game decision. One of my most valuable pieces of advice that I can give is – be persistent. Write steadily and reliably. Write for you. I never ever expected that blogging of all things would take me to where I have gone, but I am eternally grateful that it has. Hopefully my next 10 years of adventures will be just as grand.

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

Distant Ramblings

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Lately, I’ve felt like I’ve been floating along. I know I tend to refrain from much RL here on MmoQuests and keep it to posts about gaming, but there’s a lot more to daily interactions besides gaming. My friends are playing everything from WoW to Otome steam games and everything in between. I’ve been floating along, feeling distant from it all.

There was the big kerfuffle over legacy servers that everyone seemed to be involved in and it’s all we heard about. Guess what, legacy servers don’t bring back that feeling that you long to recapture. Nothing will do that because we were all different people back then, with different worries and goals in life. Have games changed over the years? Sure, games have changed. So have people.

There was the butt incident. What an odd thing to get worked up over.

GW2 revamped a lot of their latest expansion because people spoke up about how not fun it was. I’m glad the changes seem to be working. GW2 is a game I think I love to play only to find out that I don’t actually love it at all. Every time.

A new season has started in Diablo, and while I wanted to get all involved with that, I fell short, again. I just feel like it’s the same game and re-playing it each season doesn’t excite me.

I’ve been playing Wurm Unlimited on the Sklotopolis server still and it seems to be about the only thing holding my attention gaming wise. The large deed Moumix, Maya, and I are working on is coming along wonderfully. I’m working my channeling up, weapon smithing hit 60, and I’m saving up for a merchant. I have two auctions going on at the moment which should give me enough silver to buy a merchant form (10s).

It’s summer here, and the weather is lovely. My anxiety has been bouncing off the walls and I’m not sure if it’s due to the pregnancy or just that time of year. 14 weeks as of tomorrow. I’m so very blessed, but it’s also scary being so far from my family and not really knowing anyone here (still). I feel like I’m floundering.

Getting Started with Streaming Games

Mic

Not pictured is the new c920 HD Pro Webcam that I bought, but along with that I picked up a blue yeti microphone and have started setting up my area to do some livestreaming in the future. Today I played around in WildStar (thank you those who came and visited while I was adventuring!) and I’m trying to think of some more exciting adventures for people to tune in to. I’ve done a few livestreams in the past but nothing very exciting (and most of the time I tend not to use voice, and I’ve never used my cam before) but I’ve always admired those who did. It’s something that I’ve wanted to do for years now, and heck there’s no better time than the present!

If you’re looking to catch me live, you can follow my twitch channel:

Twitch.tv/Stargrace

Or if you would rather watch at a later time, you can follow my youtube channel:

YouTube.com/StephanieMorrow

I haven’t worked out a schedule yet, so my streams will probably be sporadic in the meantime. Due to where I live I’m also not allowed to sign up for the direct donations programs, but I did include a link on my twitch channel for those who may want to donate through paypal. You can also donate directly at the link here:

Paypal.me/stargrace 

Donations will go towards keeping my web site (MmoQuests.com) running, as well as paying for things like twitch banners and avatars. I’ve been looking at getting some custom ones made, but so far haven’t had any luck finding what I’d like. Of course all content will continue to be free, this is not something I want people to feel roped into doing, but a nice little side hobby. We’ll see if it goes anywhere.

In the meantime I’ve been bouncing ideas around. I thought maybe I would try playing (and streaming) some of the lowest rated games on Steam – but that idea really didn’t sit very well with me. I don’t like to play bad games just because. Then I thought maybe I would try playing horror games – the one genre that I don’t have the stomach for – but honestly when it comes right down to it, I want to play games I enjoy. I don’t want to play just because I have an audience. So for now I’m back to the drawing board. I do have all sorts of games in my steam library that I’d like to slowly work through, but a lot of those are also visual novel type games. I don’t know how interested people are going to be in me reading aloud a romance story, even if it’s something I personally enjoy playing. For now I’ll just continue streaming when the mood strikes me, and the games will be random as well. There’s a good chance you’ll see me in Wurm Online, WildStar, and maybe some EverQuest or EverQuest 2 along with Sims 4. Those are pretty static regular games for me. Please remember to follow my channel, especially if you want notifications of when I go live. You’ll see the highlights of my last broadcasts up there and I’ve already moved them over to YouTube as well. I did find that the sound quality seemed to have reduced quite a bit when I transferred the videos from twitch to youtube – is that normal? Is there a way I can combat that?

Of course any help, tips, tricks, etc. are greatly appreciated. I’m brand new at this, I don’t know any of the fancy UI things people have on their twitch streams (I’m using XSplit to stream if that matters) so of course anything you can offer up as a suggestion is greatly appreciated. In the meantime, happy gaming, no matter where you find yourself!

 

 

 

 

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