Category: Real Life (Page 10 of 26)

End of Holidays and Back to Gaming! #WurmOnline #EQ2 #3DS

wurm.20121224.1100I hope everyone has had a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday this year. As you can tell by the lack of posts I fully enjoyed my Christmas break, and I’m gearing up for new years (with a lot of baking involved).

In Wurm Online I’ve acquired yet another deed, this time on Independence. That brings my total up to three, one on Deliverance (lets call this home base), another on Pristine (separated from the rest of Freedom, what I consider my future vacation home) and my newest deed I’m currently setting up to be a refuge for my priests, to work their skills and hang out at.

Speaking of my priests, they’re coming along well. The Fo is not a priest yet but still only a follower, but my Vynora priest and Magnaron are both doing well. Faith gains have slowed down on both but the Magnaron is inching towards 70 faith which allows me to strongwall mines. The main reason I want this particular priest to begin with.

I’ve also been playing a little EQ2, I started up a necromancer and started leveling her through some older content. Thanks to triple station cash and a few Christmas presents I’ve got a nice stash of station cash and while there hasn’t really been anything lately that has caught my attention, I’m sure it won’t be long. Perhaps a new house or some furniture, or a mount. I’ve always loved the choices in EQ2’s station store.

I also got two new 3DS games for Christmas (and an amazing laptop that I’m completely in love with) one of the games was Epic Mickey (loads of fun, think Mario but with Disney characters), and the other is from the Professor Layton puzzle series of games. This one is my favorite so far, you listen and follow along with a mystery story while solving puzzles of various degrees. Plus I’ve just acquired a bunny that I’m training to perform, I think if the game was only that I’d still like it just as much.

So, what geek goodness have my readers gotten this holiday? Please share in comments below!

Happy gaming, no matter where you find yourself

A Little WurmOnline, NaNoWriMo, Sims 3, EQ2, and WoW

I made my 50,000 words for this months NaNoWriMo, but it was a very difficult run. I would start a story, get interested with it, get bored of it, and then write a new story. I even gave up for a week or two. After some consideration I decided there was no reason for me to give up and so I started again. I’m very glad that I did. I’m not really sure why this year was so difficult compared to others, it was my 5th year attempting it so there really no surprises, but it seemed like everything hit this month, and I really felt it so maybe that’s why.

Of course in between writing I still played games. Wurm Online being my main choice these days as far as MMOs go – but I’ve also decided to pop back into WoW now that 5.1 has come out. I’ve been playing a little EQ2 (have you seen the incredible new house they added that’s a ship? Much love) and I’ve been playing some single player games like Sims 3. During the black Friday sale EA had some fantastic deals on their Sims franchise, so I picked up the last expansion I was missing, and now all I’m missing are three “stuff” packages that I don’t exactly care about getting. The base game was going for as low as $9 which was really great to see.

TODAY is the last day to register for the 2012 Gamers Secret Santa. I’ve gotten over 150 replies so far from interested parties, and I’m really happy that people are still interested in this. I’m also doing a card exchange this year, so if you’re interested in exchanging your address for that, please email me!

What has everyone else been up to this month? It feels like it went by so quickly! Before we know it, Christmas will be here!

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

The Month of Gaming Stuff #EQ2 #EQ #VGD #TS3 #Riftgame

Not only is NaNoWriMo going on this month (which I have been failing at, horribly), I’ve opened registration for this years Gamers Secret Santa, Rift released Storm Legion, Sims 3 released Seasons, EQ2 released Chains of Eternity, EQ1 is releasing Rain of Fear, Vanguard is releasing City of Brass, Planetside 2 is releasing, and that doesn’t even begin to touch on the other console games that came out this month like Halo 4.

What a month to be a gamer, hmm?

4th Annual Gamers Secret Santa Registration Has Started!

In case you’re not familiar, This will be the FOURTH year I’ve ran a gamers secret santa. Last year was my 2011, then 2010 Gamers Secret Santa, and the year before I ran the 2009 Gamers Secret Santa – and it was a huge success. I had over 100 people participate, and geeky gifts were sent out all over the world. This year I’ve decided to attempt to run another one. I know it’s not as big as the Reddit one and I’m sure there are others going on, but I really take a lot of pride in running this little event. If you’d like to participate or are interested in what it’s all about please read further!

What it is: Those who want to participate, are more then welcome to. You can be a gamer, blogger, a member of the game industry, whatever. As long as games are some how a part of your life. I will take names / addresses, and assign everyone a ‘secret’ person to buy a small less then $20 gift for, as well as give them the address required. Send out your gift and wait for one to head your way, and that’s it. Ok, let me explain it a bit better.

What is “Secret Santa?” here’s the definition!


1. Send your full name and mailing address to me at, make sure it comes from a valid email address. If you happen to run a fan site or a blog, please mention which blog you write for. It doesn’t matter who you are or how involved in the gaming community you are, anyone can participate.

2. On December 1st I will email you back with someone else’ address.

3. The price limit is $20, don’t spend any more then that. Be creative, make something, have it be unique to your culture or your life, if you need suggestions then please don’t hesitate to let me know. Try to keep in mind that we’re all gamers, no matter where we come from.

4. Keep your person a secret! Don’t tell anyone who else you have. If you DO happen to run a fan site or blog, then when you receive your gift write about it and let everyone know.

5. If you have any other questions, don’t hesitate to let me know below in comments, or email me.

Details: I understand that you may not be comfortable with me or one other person having your mailing address, so if you’re not please don’t feel pressured to participate. The idea is to share with one another and realize what a fantastic community we have, not make you feel on edge that you’re going to potentially run into issues.

If you’d like to participate but simply can not afford to no matter what, send me an email and let me know, I will do my best to help you out. I want anyone who’s interested to be able to participate in this event. I think some times we forget that these people we all talk to online are not just random pixels, but are actual people on the other end of those computers.

Please keep in mind that only myself, and ONE other person will have your address. It won’t become a mailing list or anything like that. If you’re only comfortable with me having it and no one else then let me know, and I’ll have your gift sent to me and then I’ll send it out to you. Anything to make sure people are comfortable and still able to participate.

YOU HAVE UNTIL DECEMBER 1st TO EMAIL ME YOUR ADDRESS – please take your time to think about whether or not this is something you really want to do. If it is, get me your address by December 1st so that I can give people some time to get their shopping done. If it’s a little late (the gift, not the address) that’s alright.

If you don’t celebrate Christmas but still want to participate that’s alright too! This isn’t a religious thing, I just want to try it out and see how it works this year. There are some amazing gamers I have met from all over the world, and I think that we have a lot to share with one another.

I think that’s about it. If you can think of something I’ve missed then please let me know and I’ll do my best to answer it. If this is a completely horrible idea don’t feel shy to let me know. I just wanted to share some of the Christmas joy that’s going to be flying around before too long and figured this would be a fantastic idea for people to experience it with one another.

November means NaNoWriMo – And the 4th Annual Gamers Secret Santa!

It’s that time of year again! This will be my 5th year participating in NaNoWriMo (national novel writing month for those who have never heard of it before) and that means that the time I would normally spend writing a daily blog post will be going towards making my word goal for each day. The ‘goal’ of NaNoWriMo is to push out a 50,000 word novel in the month of November, stretching your creative mind to its limit. You can also add me as a buddy if you’re attempting NaNo this year, and we can help motivate one another!

Each year I attempt to write a new genre, and this year will be the hardest yet (personally speaking).

  • 2012 – Mystery /Thriller
  • 2011 – Erotica
  • 2010 – Fiction
  • 2009 – Fantasy
  • 2008 – Autobiography

November also means that very soon I will start posting details to the 2012 Gamers Secret Santa. I should be posting details on November 9th, and people will have until December 1st to decide whether or not they want to register. This will be the 4th year I’ve run the event, and I’m really looking forward to it (I do every year).

I’ll try to keep writing on MmoQuests as often as possible, but if you see me go silent, well. Those are the reasons! As always you can follow me on twitter: @stargrace or you can find me on G+ or even facebook. I hope everyone has a great November! Happy gaming, or writing, or whatever you find yourself doing!

Product Review: UnoTelly

Note: It should be noted before I go forward with this post that I was given a review account to test this product out with, and I did not purchase it with my own money.

One of my biggest complaints living here in Canada (in regards to the internet and entertainment) has always been that I can’t access shows in other countries without having to resort to VPN changes or some other work around in order to watch some of my favorite shows. Even shows I pay for on Netflix differ from US to Canada. When I was approached in an email asked if I’d like to test out UnoTelly, I was only too eager.

The web site claimed that UnoDNS was easy to set up on every device you may possibly own, so I started out by installing their ‘UnoHelper’ on my PC, it was quick and painless and I had it up and running without any troubles. I was able to watch Hulu and without any interruptions in my speed, and if it were not for the small icon on my desktop I probably wouldn’t have even known it was running at all. I used it for a few hours without any of the noticeable slow downs that I’ve experienced with other VPN services, especially in prime time.

I did attempt to also get this working on my ipad, but ran into some login issues, so I wasn’t able to test it further. My only concern is that occasionally I would get a message saying my IP address had changed and I should refresh it. Being the non-tech savvy person that I am, I’m guessing this has to do with my ISP and not with UnoTelly. It was a bit distracting but nothing that wasn’t solved by hitting the refresh button. ** edit ** I just have to say again, what great and prompt service I was given during my review. I emailed support, found all my questions answered, and have no more difficulties. Works fantastic!

The product comes at a great price (thee tiers with different pricing depending on what you’re looking for) and they include channels for you to use which I found really helpful. They are right on with the speed, and I experienced no slow downs. Over all, I’m really pleased. The contact emails I’ve received were pleasant and helpful, and prompt which is something I really value in customer support.

It’s a great system, and so far I have no complaints. I’m looking forward to using UnoTelly more in the future, and hopefully it continues to work as well as they’ve suggested. Anyone else out there have any experience with UnoTelly? Let me know in comments, thanks!

It’s Never “Just A Game” #EQ2 #MMORPG

If you ever thought that video games were “just games” then you’ve never really been a part of a community like the ones I’ve been a part of over the last 10 years. A little while ago I heard about Ribbitribbitt – a 6 year old boy with cancer who was given 6-12 weeks to live. His mother put out a plea on the EQ2 forums to players, she wanted an amazing play ground that her little boy could run around in, since he was unable to do so in real life.

The players stepped forward with something that went well above and beyond what anyone could have predicted. The event was massive, and has put together a wealth of videos, screen shots, and tributes.

It was with a heavy heart that we all learned that Ribbitribbitt passed away quietly in his sleep, May 20th. Players once more poured forth their condolences, although what the family is even going through I can’t begin to imagine, having never been there myself.

Video games are never ‘just’ games any more. As soon as you have interaction with another human being – even in a virtual world, you’re leaving some sort of foot print on their actual lives. Keep that in mind, next time you’re sitting down to play.

R.I.P. Ribbitribbitt. Thank you, for showing me what an amazing community of people is out there. I’m so sorry that it some times takes such a sad circumstance to shed so much light.

Inspirational Girl Gamer for January – Domino

I am so incredibly happy to announce this months ‘Inspirational Girl Gamer’ – Emily (aka Domino). You may not recognize her in her Dalek form pictured above, but Emily has played an important role over the years in the development of EverQuest II, especially concerning tradeskills. Not only that, but this girl gamer has inspired many with her fantastic minecraft creations, book suggestions, and is just a plain ‘ol wonderful person. Of course I’m slightly bias since she’s also Canadian and we have to stick together. *grins* A huge thank you to Emily for taking time out of her busy schedule to answer some questions for me, I hope everyone enjoys reading them as much as I did.  Without further wait here they are:

1. What was your first gaming experience, and how old were you?

I don’t even remember how old I was. I remember loading “Frogger” from a cassette tape at my aunt and uncle’s house; that’s got to be pretty long ago. But I’m not 100% sure if that was the earliest. I remember Pong, vaguely, but I don’t remember if it was the original arcade game or a later personal computer version. I do know I was absolutely fascinated by arcades when they appeared, and I’d spend hours (if allowed) just watching the bigger kids play things like Pac Man. The local laundromat had a game called Tutankhamun, and later Elevator Action, and I spent a LOT of quarters playing those.

2. How many hours did it take you to complete your Halloween costume for this year, and by the way, WOW what a costume
I didn’t keep track of the hours, but it was an ongoing project for several months. The most time-consuming part was spray-painting all the foam hemispheres and then gluing them on. I did save a lot of time by starting with a dress I found at the Salvation Army and converted into the skirt, rather than sewing one from scratch. The top was likewise a corset purchased on ebay which I just sewed some silver ribbon onto. The headpiece was a bit fiddly too, as I actually did some soldering to get the central blue light to work.

3. What are your favorite types of video games to play?

I tend to prefer strategy and sim type games, although I do play others. Currently I’m obsessed with Minecraft, I also got almost all the remaining achievements in “Plants vs. Zombies” over the holidays. Alpha Centauri is also one of my favorite games ever (and IMO the best in the Civ series) and of course I played lots of Sim City and Populous way back in the day. I don’t like feeling forced down a particular plot track or into a particular gameplay style, and I love to explore and find new ways to entertain myself, so sandbox type games appeal to me quite strongly, as well as MMOs of course, which is why EverQuest and EverQuest II have drawn me in for years. That said, I was one of the Tetris champs in my college dorm; I actually used to be able to play left-handed or even play with my feet and still beat my boyfriend of the time (this didn’t go over too well).

4. How do you find balance in your day between all of the activities that you do?

To be honest, I’m not sure I do. It’s an ongoing effort. I guess it’s a hazard of loving what you do for work; it’s difficult to remember not to work way too much, and take time to do other things. My friends help to remind me of this, and playing things like Minecraft rather than the game I work on helps also. (Although I do also play the game I work on, these days I find it’s almost impossible to relax while doing so, and I usually end up with an email full of notes on things to improve or fix at the end of a play session, unfortunately.)

5. What is one of the most emotional moments in gaming you’ve ever experienced?

This is more of a moment in game development than pure gaming itself, but as tradeskill developer during EQII’s Destiny of Velious expansion, I created a new present-day version of the Coldain Prayer Shawl quest for tradeskill players. The original quest was a huge mark of crafting accomplishment in the original EQ, and I wanted the EQII version to make the player feel epic, and as if they had really affected the world. I did a ton of research and the new quest was tied very closely into the lore behind the original quests; to make a long story short, in the original EQ, after the events of the original quest, the ring wars between the coldain dwarves and the giants drew to a close with the giants advancing on the dwarven city of Thurgadin. Defenses crumbling, the desperate dwarves had only one last option remaining to them, their absolute last-ditch plan of last resort: they set explosives beside the waterfall above Thurgadin, blowing away the top of the mountain and unleashing the icy waters onto the battlefield. The floods of frigid waters and their cryomancers’ spells froze the torrents solid, encasing both giants and dwarves below in an icy tomb. This ended the ring wars for good and saved Thurgadin from the giant invasion, but it also meant the death of all the brave coldain warriors who were fighting on the battlefield that day. For hundreds of years thereafter the coldain in Thurgadin have had to live with the knowledge that they knowingly murdered their most brave defenders to save themselves; and worse still, the spirits of the dwarves (and giants) killed in that final battle have been somehow trapped, re-enacting the final battle over and over again as ghosts instead of proceeding the afterlife of feasting halls and dwarven revelry which all dwarves look forward to. The coldain have spent the years in fear and guilt that their ancestors have been trapped in this endless undead hell because they were killed by the hand of their own kin, and the dwarven god Brell Serilis has therefore rejected them from proceeding to the afterlife. In the new coldain prayer shawl quest, the player gradually learns this history and learns of the horrific burden of guilt that the coldain are suffering, and struggles to make contact with the ghostly warriors and the god Brell Serilis to try and free the trapped spirits. Without going into all the details, suffice it to say that the player manages to gain the assurance from Brell that the warriors are serving an essential purpose and will indeed proceed to their just rewards when that is completed, and to take this news back to the coldain dwarves of Thurgadin to at last relieve them of their incredible burden of centuries-old guilt. It’s a pretty epic story and I really hope the players who complete it feel their actions have had a real and fundamental effect on all of Thurgadin. I confess to tearing up a little while writing some of the dialog for the guilt-wracked, and then unimaginably relieved, coldain dwarves and imagining what extreme depths of emotion they must be feeling.

6. What is your favorite book?

Oh, very tough question – so hard to pick just one! You could ask me this question every day for a week and I could probably give you a different answer each day depending on my mood, but today I think I’ll nominate the novella “True Names And Other Dangers” by Vernor Vinge. This was written in 1981, pre-world-wide-web, pre-virtual reality, before William Gibson’s “Burning Chrome” and before Neal Stephenson’s “Snow Crash”. It’s probably the first recognizable description of cyberspace written, and when I read it in the early 90s it just blew my mind. When you consider that the internet as we know it was still well over a decade away from existence it’s simply amazing that he wrote this in 1981. I recommend it to anybody interested in cyberspace, cyberpunk, and SF in general (it’s currently available in the collection of essays “True Names and the Opening of the Cyberspace Frontier”). Vinge’s later novel “Across Realtime” is also highly recommended! Other favorite authors include Pratchett, Bujold, Austen, Tepper, and Gaiman.

7. Any words of wisdom for people looking to get into the video game industry?

I joined the industry in a rather nonstandard way, so I don’t know if the specifics of my particular experience would be a lot of use to others. But in general I will say the following: learn Excel. Learn everything about it. Learn how to do vlookups and concatenations and substitution formulas and match formulas and nested if statements. Use it to write your Christmas cards and organize your book collection and calculate your D&D stats and anything else you can think of. Excel is a game designer’s best friend. Also, learn to write and communicate clearly and effectively. It doesn’t matter if you have the best ideas in the world if you can’t communicate them to other people (be they players or co-workers) both in words or in writing. And finally, be positive. Never criticize anything without also offering a solution to fix it; and preferably compliment a good point at the same time. This is true whether you’re a game player or a game designer; in fact it’s worth trying in all aspects of life both personal and professional, regardless of where you work or play.

8. What has been your geekiest moment to date?

Another question to which there are many, many possible answers! I could pick any number of occasions, but the first one that springs to mind this evening is spending Valentine’s day in 1996 sitting alone in the university computer lab learning how to make my first web page on the ancient unix-based mainframes. That was a pretty exciting evening, in terms of learning new stuff. But okay, maybe just a little bit geeky. In fact, one of the features of my brand new web page was a small stick figure comic called “geek girl”. I drew about 20 of them, I think, before retiring Geek Girl somewhere around 1997.

Santa Baby..

I know, I’m a little behind this year Santa so I’m sending this letter to your wife. She not-too-gently reminded me that Scarybooster posted his letter December 3rd and how DARE I wait three days before responding but I’m pretty confident you’ll forgive me, because after all I do run a ‘Secret Santa’ every year for gamers, in your name of course. Speaking of which, I still haven’t gotten my paypal payments. Oh, what’s that? You’re upset because even MmoGamerChick, Rivs, Rowan, and Scopique found the time to send off their lists? Well. That’s just how this year seems to be going. I’ll make up for it by being extra good next year. We both know the goodness meter was stuck at full for the past twelve months. I hope you can find time to give me the things on my wishlist, at first I didn’t think I was asking for too much but well, after reading some forums. I think this may be one of the hardest wish lists to fulfill yet.

1. If you could remind people that games are supposed to be FUN, that would be fantastic. I think there are a few sour grapes who have turned this hobby into something like work and they feel the need to shower down their negative thoughts and opinions on the rest of the happy gamers who are content with playing a 15 year old text based game and don’t see anything wrong with the fact that their UI is completely outdated (do they even HAVE a UI?! What IS that?!) and the controls are garbage. On that same note, remind people that it’s O.K. to be having fun in whatever your game of choice happens to be. That’s right, games are choices. What we play are also choices. That’s how hobbies work.

2. Make everyone do one random act of kindness in game. That’s right, I’m complaining about the lack of community and friendship we feel with anyone outside of our own personal little bubbles. I understand that these days there’s very little ‘community’ that we want to be a part of, and finding a place to belong is even more difficult – but doing just one simple little thing can brighten up someones day. I’m not saying you have to be best friends with the person or even talk to them ever again, but if you could remind people that not everyone is bad, that would be great.

3. I would LOVE to see more games like Glitch, A Tale in the Desert, and Wurm Online. I’m a bit tired of smacking things around all of the time, and I’d love to see one of those types of games become REALLY popular. Just to prove all the naysayers wrong.

4. On a more serious note, I just want people to be safe and healthy. Whether I know them or not. More happy days than sad days would be a nice plus, too.


Sure, my Christmas list is pretty selfish this year, but that’s what I want. I think I deserve at least a few things off of that list, hmm? I’ll even leave out a can of coke for you, the white cans. Because polar bears rock.

P.S. Don’t forget to collect a list from Tipa over at West Karana.

P.P.S. Please tell Alfie I want to sleep for more than 5 hours a night.


2011 Gamers Secret Santa Under Way!

This morning 65 eager emails were sent out with care, in hopes that secret santa, soon would be there. That’s right, I finally kicked off the 2011 Gamers Secret Santa and wow what a fantastic turn out! If you’ve signed up be sure to check your email to see who your recipient is, and if there’s any mistakes or issues or for some reason you are unable to participate this year, please don’t hesitate to contact me and let me know! After all, sending out so many emails means I’m bound to make a mistake here and there! If you’re having issues coming up with something to send to your gift-receiver, don’t forget that we’re all gamers at heart. We share a secret bond of game related history that few others ever comprehend.

I hope everyone enjoys this round (the third year running) as I have putting it together, and I’m already excited about next year! Thank you all for taking part, without you I quite literally would not be running this small event.

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