Category: Of Interest Page 2 of 14

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

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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!

 

 

 

 

New Header, New videos

 

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Pictured above is a new header I had designed by Belghast, yay! I’ve been trying to get a new header for my blog that I could use on various social media sites for ages now, but lets face it, my skill in creating these headers is pretty much zip to none. In instances like this instead of getting upset that I can’t create the header myself, I decide to find someone who can. On that same note I’ve also commissioned someone to create a new cartoon-esc avatar for me to also use across social media, so I don’t have to keep using my real picture. Now, why would I do this? It’s for a few reasons. Number one is that I’d like things to be uniform across all of these places. Number two, I’d like to do more streaming on twitch / youtube, and I don’t particularly want or need my real image gracing the pages. It took me a few days to find someone who was willing to give the avatar a try, but I’m confident that I’ll be happy with the results. I’m incredibly happy with the new header for the blog, and I’m looking forward to transitioning that header over to other media over the next week.

Speaking of media, I did do two twitch streams on Saturday. I did a short recap on Wurm Online (where the sound is absolutely horrible, my apologies. If you want you can fast forward past the part that’s playing music so it doesn’t drown out my voice so much) and then another stream later on in the day where I was exploring the Festival of Unity SPLAT event on Antonia Bayle (so much fun). I plan on picking up a new mic before too long, and I’m also picking up a webcam, something I’ve actually never attempted to do in my streams. I would like to make these streams a weekly thing, but that will depend on how busy I am and what games are on my plate. Wurm Online for example is not the most thrilling of games to broadcast unless you’re going out on a hunting trip or are working on terraforming the property.

You can follow my twitch channel if you want to be notified of streaming, or if you’d like to see the videos I’ve made in the past, I have most of them over on my youtube channel. Again I can’t promise that I’ll actually go anywhere with any of this, but it’s a nice fun little hobby on the side, and who knows. Maybe I’ll develop a knack for it over time. In the meantime, I’m incredibly happy to finally have updated my site a bit. After all, it has been 9 years since I started blogging on MmoQuests. It was time for a facelift.

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

Who Inspires You

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Firstly, image is not my own, I nicked it from the internet. Secondly, this post is less about video games and more about life, so you’ll just have to come to grips with that.

In the last ten years I have “met” some truly inspiring people. Some are people I’ve gotten the pleasure to meet in real life, others are those I only know through video games or through online social media (which typically involves video games). They may not be particularly inspirational to you, but to me they have helped shape who I am. I thought I’d take a little bit of time to talk about some of the more influential ones and share why I find them inspiring. I’ve done posts like this in the past, so you may see some repeats.

Teresa from twitter / blog / games: One of the most inspiring ladies I’ve never met before, I just absolutely love her outlook on life. Things don’t always go as planned, they’re not always sunshine and roses, and yet somehow this lady reminds me that we must keep going forward. That we keep putting one foot in front of the other and move on. I also think she’s one of the bravest that I know, especially when writing about life on her blog. I find this very inspirational, very motivational.

Emily (Domino) twitter: Now the producer at DaybreakGames, this lady is just.. wow. First of all she’s Canadian, so of course there’s a point in her favour already, we Canuck’s have to stick together. She cooks some pretty amazing food, owns cats, and I’ve never seen her handle herself as anything but professional especially in this type of a job. I’ve “known” Emily for years now, and she did amazing things for the EQ2 housing community once upon a time and continues to promote the community. She’s also pretty crafty. I don’t know how on earth she finds the time. This woman is like a superhero to me.

Deirdre (CRB_Sunshine) twitter : Community Manager for WildStar, I have the pleasure of working with this lady on a daily basis. One of those superhuman’s who are able to balance multiple tasks on a single finger, I have no idea how she does it. She also has a very lovely family, and she just works very hard. People who work hard inspire me, they motivate me. Especially when I feel things are slipping through my grasp. Obviously I’m a bit biased with this entry, but I can’t help it.

Tami (Cuppy) twitter: Now, I haven’t always seen eye to eye with Cuppy. In fact I’m pretty sure I’m blocked on her twitter (or she hasn’t given me a single thought and just ignores anything I say, which is just as likely, I’m pretty invisible) BUT this woman is amazing. She’s the content producer at Riot, and is probably one of the strongest women I know. She stands up for her beliefs – and I find that inspiring. I don’t believe that we have to get along with everyone to find them inspirational. We don’t even have to like them. I think it’s foolish to think that we’ll get along with everyone we come across, but I know I’m still a better person for watching this person interact with others.

Morgan (Missdoomcookie) twitter: Working as a Narrative Designer for Halo 5, this lady is geek to the core – and fantastic. One thing I need to note about all of the above, is that they all have broad interests and that’s just part of the reason I find them inspirational. They’re real people, with regular interests that they don’t mind sharing with the world. They’ve opened themselves up and let people know that they’re human beings. I find that fascinating. I’ve “known” Morgan for years now, though we’ve never actually met in person. Her crafty side makes me want to learn more, and her writing is amazing.

I’ve never ‘met’ any of these ladies in person (even though I was in close proximity to most of them at one time or another back when I was writing for Beckett Massive Online Gamer) but they’ve still touched my life. Is that a bit creepy? Probably, but just like some people look up to movie stars, athletes, or other public figures, these are the people that I look up to. They deserve a bit of recognition and my thanks.

D&D Night: Entrance to the Tomb of the Ghast Queen

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Like I mentioned earlier this week, I’m the newest DM attempting to fumble her players through an adventure. I’ve never DM’d before, and I’ve always wanted to. I decided to go with an already-created adventure (I’m not quite ready for campaign level stuff yet) and so I searched around online until I found The Tomb of the Ghast Queen. This post does include spoilers to the adventure, so if this is something you’re currently playing or want to play in the future you may want to skip on by.

Our first session was spent creating characters. Right now our group is only two plus myself as DM. Not a huge problem, I decided to play an NPC alongside, I’m pretty flexible and I believe that the rules are more of a guideline than absolutes. Myndi, the halfling rogue, and Borrik, the dwarf warlock, soon emerged. It was time to adventure in the second session.

The story began easily enough. Borrik was known as the chef aboard a ship of pirates. The captain, crew, and his pet goldfish were all brutally murdered. He was spared, but heartbroken about his beloved pet. He decided to make a pact with an entity who gave him magical abilities in exchange for his loyalty. The entity also revived his goldfish in the form of a clockwork goldfish, which Borrik carries around with him in a small glass orb attached to his belt. He’s often seen talking to his little companion, and when his ship finally docked, dead crew aboard still, he disembarked into a sea of people that were in some sort of altercation on the docks. Guards were everywhere, and he had no idea what was going on. He got swept up in the incident, and taken away to jail for treason.

Myndi on the other hand, grew up in the town that Borrik landed at. The land is ruled by the Ghast Queen, formerly known as Queen Esmerelda the III, she gave up her life to rule in immortality, and that’s where things went wrong. She rules over the land with an iron fist, and her guards seek out people to enslave to work in her mines on a daily basis. Myndi happened to be a guild merchant, and a very good one. She always knew which  masonry items were worth a lot of money and which were useless. She made her living by buying and selling these items to other people. Sometimes shady people. She made one of the guards that day angry by quoting him a price he didn’t like, and so she was one of the 20 people or so hauled away to work in the mines.

5 years pass, and our potential heroes have been working as slaves in the mine ever since. Stripped of their belongings, they keep mostly to themselves. Borrik notices the blue eyed halfling on a number of occasions, but she’s always looking at the ground and staying out of trouble, which is almost unheard of for her race. One day the guards round up 20 of the slaves and chain them together, leading them outdoors. They make their way out of the mines and up the side of a nearby mountain, then take an elevator shaft down into the dark once more. Everyone is rounded up in a single room, and the guards read from a parchment about a game called ‘The Gauntlet’. The rules are simple. The team that brings together all 4 Hand of the Lich gems, hidden within the tomb, will be granted freedom. The 20 slaves gasp – and as the guards continue reading, they slowly one by one drop off into unconsciousness.

Borrik and Myndi wake up and realize that they’ve been paired into a team. They’re supplied with a backpack, a handful of their personal belongings from when they were arrested, and not much else. Myndi is impatient and wants to begin hunting for the gems right away. Borrik has other ideas, and wonders if the pool of water in the room they woke up in is acid. He decides to take one of the old rusty tools that are laying around scattered on the ground and tosses it into the water, which does absolutely nothing. Myndi thinks Borrik is a bit odd, but imagines it’s not unusual for people in their particular situation.

They continue South even though entrances lead north, east, and west as well as south, and soon notice an archway on the right hand side. Borrik tries to peer around the corner but he doesn’t see anything except a rather large room, a statue on one side, and 5 treasure chests in the middle. He tosses a torch into the room about two feet, and a small click is heard. As he approaches the torch, the floor gives away, but at the last second he is able to jump backwards and avoid falling into a pit. He and Myndi creep along the side of the pit, and he directs Myndi to the statue, indicating that she should examine it while he checks out the chests. Throughout the room he can hear the other slaves exploring, and occasionally a scream breaks out. Myndi notices the statue has a black gem in its outstretched hand, and as she reaches forward a stream of acid hits her directly in the face. She crumple to the ground, her body wracked with spasms. Borrik is a quick thinker and pulls out her healing potion that each slave was given before they began. After a short rest, she is feeling much better. She apologizes, and explains that her skills of finesse must be rusty after so much time in the mine.

Borrik and Myndi walk back to the chests in the center of the room, ignoring the statue. They each select a chest and try to open the lid at the same time. Neither one succeeds, and they realize the chests are locked but not before they fling themselves backwards and into each other, sending one another sprawling. Myndi attempts to disarm them and unlock them with her thieves tools, but she has little luck. Borrik decides he should just wail on one with his club which does absolutely nothing. They spend a few hours working the locks on the chests, and eventually (through sheer luck) manage to open two of them. One contains 1,000 silver and 50 gold, and the other has 3200 copper. Myndi starts to get impatient that they haven’t found a single Hand of the Lich gem yet, and the two agree that it’s high past time they go on their way. They choose to leave through the north east arch, but before they do, Borrik senses something is off about a nearby pillar, and he disables a sleeping spell. Myndi is impressed, and together they leave through the arch. As they do,  a heavy scimitar blade comes swinging down, striking each of them across the arm and upper chest. Their wounds bleed quite a bit but don’t seem too deep. They collapse in the corridor and bind their wounds with rags found in their backpacks while they recuperate a bit. Neither one wants to use the healing potions they have left. Down the hallway they can hear the cries and screams of more slaves, but the sounds are fainter, and more spread out. We leave our adventurers there for now, as they rest and reestablish themselves.

(Details: Succeeded in a check vs. detecting the first trap, didn’t  manage to disarm it, but did manage to jump backwards in time. Failed discovering the acid trap, and failed in preventing any of the damage. Also failed opening any of the chests, numerous times through numerous methods, eventually succeeded at two of the five. Succeeded in detecting the sleeping spell on the pillar, failed in disarming it, but succeeded in resisting the spell. Failed at detecting the scimitar trap, failed at dodging any damage, no mob encounters in this room..)

Too Old for D&D?

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Is there such thing as being ‘too old’ to play Dungeons & Dragons? This is the question I’ve been asking myself lately, and honestly I don’t see a specific age as a requirement. When I was growing up I played with a few of my friends, but I was never as involved as I wanted to be. Now that I’m older (and have my own place) it has become my goal to get a weekly group going. While I know that there are numerous tools that turn this tabletop game into a digital adventure, I miss being able to sit around an actual table and I miss the interactions and bonding that happens. I’ve seen a lot of my video game industry friends stating that they’re heading off to their weekly D&D night, and it makes me crave the entire experience even more. Silly? Maybe, but I love the creativity that comes from playing this game.

So I did it. I went out and bought the player’s handbook, the dungeon master’s guide, and the monster manual (plus two pounds of dice. I mean come on, you can never have enough dice). I downloaded an easy 5e adventure to whet my appetite, printed out character sheets, and asked a few friends if they wanted to come over to play. First session is creating characters. While I have played the game before (AGES ago) I’ve never been a DM. I’m excited about it. I love making up stories and describing locations. I love drawing maps. I am eager to see how players interact to certain things, and responding in kind. Since I’ve never DM’d before I figured the best way to go through the learning process would be to use an already created adventure, which is a lot shorter than a campaign. There are some more complex ones that you can purchase on Amazon, but I just did a quick internet search for a free one that used 5e rules. I don’t want things to be horribly complex, and I imagine that for my first few runs I’ll be quite lax on the “rules”. I’d rather players get creative and get into the story and involved rather than trying to enforce a lot of regulations.

Once I get more comfortable with how things flow, I’m looking forward to creating my own campaigns. I have a notebook ready for.. well, notes, and I’ve already begun planning out what stories I want to run, npc’s to fill my towns, and I’m looking forward to picking up some graph paper so I can hand-draw some maps. That’s right, I said hand draw. Who even does that these days. I know there are other bits and bobs that may be important to pick up along the way (like a play mat and miniatures) but for now those are not essential. Lets just see where this goes.

Getting Started with the Newbie Blogger Initiative

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It’s May (already?!) which means the ‘Newbie Blogger Initiative’ has kicked off. Basically it’s a group of people who encourage others to blog more often / at all if they’ve ever had an inkling to. Belghast wrote about it in greater detail here, and they also have some forums set up here. I’ve been running MmoQuests for 9 years as of June this year, so I know a thing or two about blogging and what it takes to keep going. Though I have slowed in my writing since I started working for Carbine Studios, it’s not from a lack of desire but just a lack of time. I’m not getting super involved in the event, but I do like to watch from the sidelines.

For people who may have always wanted to blog but haven’t wanted to deal with the hassle of setting up a blog or actually running one – there are options out there. For example did you know that besides MmoQuests I also run Nomadic Gamers? This is a multi-author blog that I started five years ago for people who wanted to blog but didn’t want to deal with the hassle of setting one up. Over the years it has come down to just one current author, but I keep it running and people are welcome to contact me if they want to be a contributor. There are other multi-author sites like this out there as well, so don’t feel that you have to do things a certain way.

One thing I personally strive to do more of is not just read new blogs, but to leave comments on other blogs so that the writers know they’re being read. It can feel like this community is very closed off, that everyone interacts within their own little bubble and rarely spends any time looking outside that bubble and then the opinions that are being shared just turn into a circle of back patting and self congratulations. I think that sort of promotion is harmful, and we need to break out of it.

Why is blogging important? Well. Besides the obvious reasons like blowing off steam and sharing your opinion with the world, it has the potency to turn into something much larger. Like I said, I’ve been running MmoQuests for 9 years now. I started off small, writing about my main game (EverQuest 2) and kept the posts informative and not vulgar. Honestly that part is completely up to you – but if you know how to write negative things without coming across as a douche, it helps. Anyway. I started writing about EverQuest 2. Because of that, I landed a job with Beckett Massive Online Gamer writing guides and interviews. I spanned out a few more games besides EQ2, but still had my roots there. Because of my involvement to date with all of THAT I landed a volunteer position with SOE on the Community Council. Occasionally I’d get another freelance job, like writing for MMORPG. I continued to blog while working for Beckett MOG, and wrote for their magazine aimed at younger gamers, Fun! Online Games (also known as FOG). These things carried on for a few years until eventually MOG was shut down, and I landed a job a few years later with Carbine Studios (WildStar) which is where I’ve been for over a year now. A lot of it was luck and knowing the right people, but having not started out some place small I wouldn’t be where I am. I’m not saying everyone who starts a blog is going to move on to bigger and better things – but it sure doesn’t hurt your prospects depending on how you conduct yourself and how bad you want something. The one piece of advice I give to everyone is consistency. Be constant. Be reliable. Keep writing.

Birthday Games

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My birthday was two weeks ago, and I got some pretty awesome games from some pretty awesome people. I’ve been trying to fit in some time here and there to play, but of course there are just so many games out there, finding enough time can be a game in itself.

One of the games I got was Hyper Dimension Neptunia Re;Birth 1 and of course a whole slew of DLC for the game. It’s cute, it’s fun, it’s a bit of a grind-fest but I don’t mind that at all. The characters have personality in this turn based JRPG,  and it’s a lighthearted funny game that you really can’t take too seriously. Some days I really need that.

Another game I received was Fortune’s Tavern. Now this game is a bit misleading in its description. It sounds as though you’re going to be running a tavern, maybe something like running a shop in Recettear. Unfortunately it’s still got a lot of bugs, so if you’re looking for a polished game keep in mind the development is still going on. I had issues getting it to run at first (lots of crashes if I touched anything at all while the game launched) and you want to make sure you’re not playing in full screen. The movement is also a bit wonky, you use your arrow keys to move around the map and have to aim for doorways and watch out for walls. It’s not quite as responsive as I would have liked, but that’s not necessarily a deal breaker for me. It does bring back a lot of nostalgia, it has an older pixilated look to it, and it reminds me of Harvest Moon in more ways than one. You’re given a brief tutorial with setting up the inn, how to grab quests, and how to earn coin. You learn the story of the land, and get some combat experience in. My first pet was a chicken – doesn’t get much better than that. There are also some DLC available, which I was also lucky enough to have been gifted.

I haven’t had a chance to play If my Heart Had Wings yet, but it’s on my list of games for this week. I’m hoping to get back to a ‘New Games Thursday’ type post where I can talk about some of the .. well, new games.. on Thursdays. This was another birthday wishlist gift, and I’m really looking forward to getting into the story. These visual novels are just a real guilty pleasure for me probably stemming from the fact that I love reading and you don’t have to ‘compete’ to play these types of ‘games’.

Dandelion – Wishes Brought To You is another game I haven’t had the time to start playing yet, but I’m looking forward to it. It also falls into the ‘dating sim’ or ‘visual novel’ type game, so it’s another relaxing game where I don’t have to be stressed by competition.

What have you been playing lately, picked up any new games? Have a backlog of awesomeness that you just don’t have the time to get to? Let me know in comments!

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