Category: Real Life (Page 4 of 26)

11th Anniversary

11 years. That’s how long I’ve been writing here at MmoQuests. When I first started it was to collect my stories of EverQuest 2. Over the years I’ve added a lot more games to those posts, and I’ve written a total of 3,028 (3,029 with this one) articles. That’s not bad, for 11 years. If you had of asked me if I thought I’d still be writing here, 11 years later, I probably would have laughed. Shrugged. Not known the answer. I’m proud that I’ve managed to keep the blog going for that long.

Things have changed a lot in that time. I volunteered for SOE (back when they were SOE). I wrote for a video game magazine. Wrote for video game web sites. Got to travel to California to interview some wonderful people. Started working for Carbine Studios. Worked for NCSOFT.

Things have changed a lot for me in my personal life, too. I moved across the country. I got married. I’ve got a little boy. I grew up, in other words. Despite the fact that a lot has changed, a lot also stayed the same. I still have a ton of passion for video games. I know a lot of the same gamer’s. I still write as frequently as I can, which lately is once a day, but that’s still pretty new. I’m making up for lost time.

I’ve never written for an audience, I’ve always just written for myself. I get comments here and there and they’re absolutely wonderful when I do, but whether or not I get a comment doesn’t decide if I’ll continue writing and I think that’s been the one thing that has kept me going. Writing is just something I do, whether you enjoy it or not, whether you take a minute to read it.

So here’s to 11 years and here’s to 11 more. It’s been absolutely lovely.

 

A Stream Scheduling Change (Life Happens)

I had intended to stream Black Desert Online last night at 7pm PDT but that didn’t happen.

I wasn’t feeling the game, my mood was a bit bleh, and instead I hopped into Gwent: The Witcher Cardgame. Things were moving along at a pretty nice pace, I was 13 minutes into my stream (yes, I remember the exact minute) and I was doing a multiplayer game against a random person (my apologies, whoever you were, but at least you won).

My little guy doesn’t sleep through the night quite yet, and last night was a rough one for him so at the 13 minute mark I had to suddenly sign off and go take care of him. He was screaming and crying and wouldn’t calm down which I hear is pretty normal for 8 month old babies. Truth of the matter is I may just not be able to stream until he’s a bit older or at least sleeping through the night.

In a test, I’m moving my Tuesday to Friday streams up half an hour, from 7:30-8:30 PDT instead of from 7-8. I’m hoping this gives my little guy more time to fall soundly asleep, leaving me with at least an hour to stream. I don’t know if this will work, I may be too tired, he may still wake up, a number of other factors come into play. I REALLY want to stream. Right now I feel like my days are 99% baby filled (which they are) and the small 1% I’m entitled to helps me keep my sanity. Unfortunately it also comes down to the fact that I need sleep. A lot of sleep. I’m a nursing first time mother and sleep is incredibly important. When he starts sleeping through the night hopefully I’ll also be able to sleep more soundly and I may have more time to stream then. I need to find the balance that lets me take good care of my family, and also allow myself that 1% of sanity. I am still a human being, after all.

So! Tonight should be guild wars 2. 7:30 PDT. We’ll see how that goes. Please tune in, give my channel a follow, and stick around if you enjoy things.

Keeping up With Gaming

In EverQuest 2 things have come to a bit of a standstill. I don’t have the time to LFG to do dungeons, and I’m pretty bored of running the same advanced solo dungeons every day. I log in to craft, get my loyalty tokens, and putter around, but I haven’t been keeping up with my epic 2.0 or progression in any real meaningful way. Since I have so many characters just doing the little bit of daily stuff I do is enough to keep me ‘busy’ but I’m also wondering if it wasn’t a mistake to get a year long subscription. Of course I had intended to play EverQuest with that, not EQ2, so maybe when I have a bit more time I’ll go back to my original plan.

In WoW things are moving along (even if it is at a snail’s pace). I’m able to queue for a few raids a week, I do some world quests, my characters move up the chain of progression. I’m really excited about the new pet battle dungeon coming to the game soon(tm) and I can’t wait to give it a try. I wish pet battles could be done independently of logging into the game (ie: mobile) but things are not so bad. My subscription for WoW lasts until July, so I have a few more months of that left and I’ll probably renew. It’s a good game even with my limited time.

EVE Online. I subscribed with a PLEX and then played once or twice. Truth of the matter is as much as I adore this game (and I do) I really want to play it with TWO accounts and that’s just not viable for me at this time. I probably won’t renew until I can afford to activate both my accounts, so maybe once my EQ2 subscription runs out. Don’t get me wrong, I love the game, I love playing, but I really like both accounts active so I can make full use of things.

Wurm Online / Unlimited. I currently have two active accounts in Wurm Online, Stargrace, and Blesse (a Vynora priest). I’ve got three active deeds (two on Xanadu and one on Independence) and while I haven’t been doing much to them aside from keeping up with the fields and animals, I still enjoy logging in every day. Wurm is one of those games that just really relaxes me. Plus I can leave it up and running while I putter around with my little one in real life. I also logged into Wurm Unlimited to check on my deed there. One had fallen (I re-deeded the place, my buildings and walls were all still standing) over on Sklotopolis, and over on Age of Urath – well, that server is apparently done now. It had a lock symbol by it with no users online. Should have stuck with my first choice! I also noticed a “new” server with the highest population these days, Zaneth. I’m incredibly cautious about new servers because it seems like there’s a huge overturn and you never know if the server will actually stick around but as long as I don’t go off and donate right away (like I have in the past) then I suppose there’s no real harm in checking things out.

In the meantime life is pretty busy. I get maybe an hour of gaming a day, which isn’t anything to sneeze at, and by rotating what I play I keep from getting bored. Of course it does seem that as soon as I settle in to do a dungeon or improve some weapons my little guy is waking up and begging for my attention, but hey that’s the joys of parenthood. He’s 4.5 months old right now, and while things haven’t exactly gotten easier yet, they’re constantly changing.

I hope everyone else has been having a great time despite the turmoil that seems to be enclosing around the world. Are you checking out Conan Exiles? What about ESO’s big announcement today? Did you give For Honor a try? Head to PAX South? Let me know in comments, and as always, happy gaming, no matter where you find yourself.

Where Did Stargrace Go?!

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Welcome to the world, Leo.

I was scheduled for a c-section October 20th, my due date being October 27th – but Leo didn’t want to wait, and he decided to make an appearance September 23rd, 6:44pm. I was sitting at my desk reading a blog post by a friend when my water broke. He was 5 weeks early and had to stay at the NICU for 2 weeks, hooked up to machines and wires. I thought those would be the roughest part of this very early journey, but as we came home things were just getting started.

I still have a baby registry here for anyone who wants to help out or send little Leo a gift. My family lives far away and I’m feeling slightly overwhelmed with things as a brand new first time Mom to a preemie baby. I’m currently on some medication to help with postpartum depression. Things are certainly not easy. We’re managing, because that’s what humans are programmed to do, but I’m finding it difficult. I have a lot of guilt and shame over how difficult I find things, too. Everyone tells me this is normal, and that it will pass and get easier with time.

Leo was born at 4lbs 5oz. Just a tiny thing. He had a feeding tube for the first two weeks of his life. He’s now 4lbs 14oz, so he’s still very small but he’s getting bigger. Nothing prepared me for any of this, no matter how much I’ve read or how much I looked into everything. I also developed a complication from my c-section which is still ongoing today. I developed a hematoma that opened up and has been bleeding out since the 24th of September. On top of everything else this single incident has really taken its toll on me. It doesn’t hurt, but bleeding constantly 24/7 for so long means a lot of ¬†bandage changes, packing (think like a wisdom tooth needs to be packed) and ruining clothing with blood. Plus it’s along my incision, which is just in an awkward not-fun place.

Still. We carry on. Because we must. It’s what we do.

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.

Just Married

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A non gaming post today (gasp). It’s actually my wedding day! A very small affair, just two witnesses, myself, my husband and the lady doing the ceremony. It’s exactly what I wanted. I’ve never had dreams of big huge weddings and crowds are not something I enjoy, but it was perfect. Tomorrow I’ll get back to the regular scheduled gaming blog posts!

Turning Life into Games

Ravatar_TeamBKALAs I get older I notice that it’s not just video games that have grown by leaps and bounds and that have headed into mainstream, but all sorts of things that turn “gamification” into a major hit. There are games to get chores done, games to make productivity and tasks easier, games for fun, work, and pretty much everything under the sun. Competition (whether it’s between yourself and someone else, or just competition between yourself) is a strong motivating factor, and it encourages us to push forward and better ourselves in whatever it is we’re trying to do better in.

With so much gamification in our day to day lives though, when do we get a chance to relax from it all?

Right now the 2016 Summer Olympic Games are going on. I watch every year, proud of the athletes who are representing Canada, and yes, eager to follow up on the political mumbo jumbo that constantly goes along with this event. This year while the games are ongoing I’m also participating in the “Ravellenic Games” which is an event hosted by Ravelry for the love of all things fiber. Basically you enter projects into categories, cross a finish line, get awarded medals, and qualify for laurals. You can join a team, and in some cases those teams have prizes for people who earn medals. It’s a neat way to motivate and push yourself into completing projects if you tend to be a more relaxed craft person. This is my first year participating, and the sheer number of people partaking in the event is pretty astounding. I belong to ‘Team BKAL” which is my beginner’s knit-along group. So far I’ve submitted entries to two events with a third being completed today. I’m hoping to complete a total of 8 events, but it’s only a 16 day period so it really does take motivation and persistence to keep up with it all.

In this case, for me, gamification of real life works. It DOES motivate me to push myself harder, to keep on task, to work towards my goal. In some cases gamification works in the opposite way. It doesn’t motivate me at all and I find it awkward and annoying. I don’t think that all of life benefits from this type of scenario and I think in some cases we even go a bit too far.

Having games in our life is great, being motivated and helping us overcome hurdles is something I hope I constantly encourage – but sometimes we do need things to be a little more quiet. Take time to look around and enjoy and appreciate what we have without it being a competition even if it’s just a competition within ourselves. Find the balance.

 

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.

Knitting Progress

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Tom Thumb Spinning Wheel

February has been a pretty nice month as far as fiber crafts go. I have spun about 1/2 of my corriedale on a top whorl drop spindle, dyed the other half, and added more fiber to my slowly growing collection. I also managed to pick up an amazing deal on a Tom Thump spinning wheel. Very little is actually known about these wheels it turns out – but that’s the joy of spinning, wheels may look different, but they all have the same basic parts, that change depending on the type of spinning / wheel they are created for.

In the case of the Tom Thumb, it can be set up for scotch or double drive tension. It’s a single treadle, with a built in lazy kate. Mine came with three bobbins, the flyer and the flyer whorl, and is intact with the maidens, but it is missing a few smaller pieces that I can hopefully replicate. It’s missing the threading hook, and the knob for scotch tension. It’s also missing a pin out of the footman to keep the arm attached to the drive wheel, but that’s an easy fix with a split pin and some washers. The bottom of the wheel is signed “Tom Thumb – Handmade from New Zealand Kauri” and it’s an exceptionally sturdy wheel. I wish I could learn more about it, but as I said I’ve only found one single article that mentions the wheel here. A nice lady was selling it on Kijiji in my area, and I’m glad I picked it up. Once I get it fixed and in working order (basically attaching the footman properly) I’ll be learning to spin the rest of my corriedale, and I’m pretty excited about that.

This month has been a bit slow in terms of finished projects. I did complete my knit-a-long afghan square, it was double seed stitch and a pleasure to knit. I also finally completed the rainbow socks that I had begun in January. I really need to learn to knit two-at-a-time so that I don’t procrastinate quite so much. I’ve been working away on my entrelac scarf, which I may turn into a cowl, I finished my antler hat, and I’ve also been working on the lace shawl mystery kal that I’ve had on-going for some time. I hope to finish that up before too long, I’m just getting to the lace portions. I know I haven’t been as ‘active’ with my knitting as I was in January, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. I’ve been learning a lot, spinning a lot (which I really enjoy), learning to dye yarn and all of the rest. I call that some great progress!

Challenge Yourself

Entrelac2I tried for years (unsuccessfully) to teach myself to knit. I could do the basic stitch, but I couldn’t purl and I had no idea how increases or decreases worked. I kept at it off and on over the years, never progressing past flat scarf / blanket like objects, until September 2015 when it just all suddenly clicked. In that short amount of time I moved from knitting flat blankets to doing socks, lace, hats, and other items. One thing I try to do as I progress through my knitting is teach myself new techniques, and to challenge myself.

Learning these techniques is always much easier if you have someone else trying to learn it with you, someone you can ping ideas off of. When a friend suggested we start up a KAL together, I was ecstatic. I found some great videos on YouTube about this particular entrelac scarf, and before the day was out, we had learned this new technique. It’s not the most professional looking piece, but I really love the way the colours shift.

We then discovered a downside. Knitting entrelac, especially on a scarf, is very boring. The pattern is not complicated enough to be interesting but not easy enough to be mindless (so that you can do other things, like watching TV). I’ve got the squares down but still need to pay attention and look at the instructions for the left and right triangles. Plus I’m doing mine in fingering weight yarn, with two extra repeats. Lovely? Sure, but I am having a difficult time keeping myself interested in the piece, and that doesn’t bode well.

Still, we learned something new, and that’s awesome. Not every new stitch or project has to be something you love to the moon and back. On occasion you’re going to try a technique only to find that it just isn’t the one for you.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.

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