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NBI 2016: Gaming with Grandparents

NBI 2016: Writing Prompt- Week 1

It never really struck me as odd— my papaw and I playing SNES together, we were just two people enjoying Super Mario All-Stars and Super Mario Kart. Now I realize how fortunate I was to get a chance to game with not one, but eventually both of my grandparents.

I don’t have many singular memories that I can pick out pertaining to gaming with my papaw, except one particularly strong memory, but it involves sneezing…so I will spare you the details. What I do remember is that even though gaming wasn’t one of his main hobbies, he enjoyed sitting down with my sister and I to play some Mario, and we really enjoyed playing Mario with him. Although he was in his eighties and he didn’t grow up with video games he had a lot of fun playing them. I assume he must have bought the SNES but I have no idea how he convinced my mamaw. As far as I know she had no interest in video games or most new technology at the time, and I can’t recall a time she ever picked up a controller and played some Mario with us.

With the introduction of the Wii and Wii Sports, I saw the first opportunity in years to get my mother and my mamaw to play video games. Once we got past the creation of their Miis, as well as the hesitation and resistance towards playing a video game my sister and I started a game of bowling. Bowling on the Wii soon became a tradition. Every time my mamaw would come over for a special occasion and after we ate a meal we would all bowl together. Not only did my mom and mamaw both really enjoy bowling on the Wii, becoming quite competitive at times, it also afforded them the opportunity to engage in an activity neither of them had for quite some time due to its physical demands.

The fun I had gaming with my papaw and mamaw is something that I will hold on to and cherish. It’s a reminder that once we hit a certain age we don’t have to stop gaming, and how special gaming with people you care for can be.

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It’s Time to Make my Way Through Some Other MMOs

On Saturday, I picked an MMO out of a hat.

I decided it’s time to make my way through the list of MMOs that I want to try, and I’m been trying to think of a way to do this. Unfortunately, being as indecisive as I tend to be I had a hard time just picking a game and saying “yeah, I’ll play that one”. Then I remembered one of Syp’s projects where he made a list of MMOs put them in a hat and then would tackle whichever one he picked for an evening. I really like this idea, but I want to stick with the game longer than one evening.

To do this I’ve decided that I am going to need to implement a schedule, as juggling three MMOs will not be an easy task, especially considering how well I’ve done trying to balance playing two.

You see, this June will mark my 12th year playing RuneScape, and in February, I hit 3 years in Guild Wars 2. I have yet to hit the level cap in either game or be anywhere near completing everything I would like to. In both games, I have one main character. I have dabbled with alts in RuneScape but the majority of my time playing has been devoted to one character, and in Guild Wars 2 I still have four empty character slots that have yet to be touched.

I was introduced to RuneScape when I was in middle school. Those early years saw consistent play and progress. I had quite a few friends in real life playing the game and found a wonderful clan, but both of these things faded. Friends left because they lost interest or they moved onto to other MMOs. The clan I was in eventually disbanded, and since then I have been in multiple clans, but none have been able to capture that feeling of home like that first one. For some people, seeing friends leave a game can act as a deterrent to keep playing, but for me as mostly a solo player I continued on; yes I missed my friends but I also hadn’t lost my passion for the game. I continued playing, and at some point my sister also started playing, so now if I am not soloing we are running around as a duo getting stuff done.

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I’ve been here a long time, but there is still so much to do.

When it comes to Guild Wars 2 I feel like we were never properly introduced; we never really connected. While I do contribute some of this to getting into the game after my real life friends had already moved on, having yet to join and be active in a guild, and not reaching out to people I know are playing; I think the main reason why I don’t feel a strong connection to Guild Wars 2 is the same reason why for the last few years in RuneScape I have had this feeling of being lost in a familiar world.

That reason would be: playing sporadically.

Some weeks I get a few hours in, others a few minutes. This tendency to play very little or play quite a bit and then not play for days, weeks, or months has plagued me for some time now. I eventually became content with just logging in for daily rewards, because trying to balance high school/university with playing two MMOs and trying to dabble in this game or that game started to feel overwhelming.

I use to have a near encyclopedic knowledge of RuneScape, but now I just feel lost because there is so much that has escaped my notice over the years. As for Guild Wars 2, when you play a part of the story one week and then pick the story back up a few weeks (or months) later not only is it easy to forget what’s going on, but I also find I feel disconnected from my character and the supporting characters. I’ve been playing the personal story on and off for 3 years, and the last time I played it was about 7 months ago.

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Come sit at the waterfall and watch the days pass by. Dragons can wait.

So, I think it’s time to change things up a bit.

I’ve come up with a tentative schedule, that I’ll be testing over the next few weeks. Hopefully, a schedule combined with chronicling my progress here will make my gaming time more consistent and deliberate.

Back to the hat.

The game I pulled out of the hat on Saturday was DC Universe Online. My plan with each game I pull out of the hat is to progress to a natural stopping point and then move on to another game. This stopping point may be level cap, end of the main storyline, or when I’ve reached a point where I am not having fun anymore. I figure it will be different for each game, especially since I plan to progress through each game as an F2P player, so I might be in one game for a few weeks and another for a few months. When I’m not in DCUO I will be buckling down in RuneScape and Guild Wars 2 attempting to get reacquainted with each game.

My goal is to make some actual progress in exploring the MMOs out there that I’ve been meaning to dig into but either never get to or just play enough to sample the beginning and never go back. I am hoping over the course of this journey I will gain a good perspective of how feasible it is to progress through these games as an F2P player, and just become a more informed player of MMOs.

If you’re playing the game I’m currently making my way through or have played it feel free to shoot any advice or tips you have my way.

Back to Blogging

It’s been awhile since I have tried to blog regularly, but I think I am finally ready to give it a go again.

Blaugust

About 8 months ago there were 50+ bloggers typing away vigorously as they attempted to write 31 blog posts within the month for Blaugust, turns out I actually completed the challenge, and then subsequently fell off the face of the earth (read: stared at the WordPress editor for a month and then started school again). I never did a proper reflective piece on Blaugust, and I won’t do one now, but I did really enjoy it.

blaugust_2015_conquerorWhat I want to do is thank Belghast for putting the event together and congratulate all the participants. Also, I never got to show off this nifty badge Belghast made for everyone who completed all 31 posts.

One more thing. I need closure, because…

100 Noses

In April of 2015, I decided one of the firsts things I wanted to focus on as I practice and improve my drawing was the human head. It was during Blaugust that I started posting my progress on this project starting with drawing 100 noses. And while it took longer than I wanted, I drew the last one on New Year’s Eve. I haven’t decided what my next “100…” project is going to be, right now I am thinking eyes.

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Back to Blogging

Coming out of Blaugust I didn’t have a plan for when to write, and I started to question what I wanted to blog about.

I don’t think a month, or really a week has gone by since August where I haven’t told myself I should start blogging again, and I often found myself fiddling around with the blog or staring at the WordPress Editor. I even started writing a few posts, but as you can see nothing materialized.

I suppose the logical question is what changed to make me start blogging again. There are a few reasons chief among them being I have a little more time right now as I am in a transition period as I recently completed my undergraduate education. The second reason is I need something to help focus my gaming and drawing because my efforts in both are feeling a bit scattered.

So, the plan is to post at least once a week, with the focus being MMORPGs, drawing, both, or something else entirely.

A Quick Update

It’s been nearly 6 months since I’ve made a proper post, and while this blog has been severely neglected it has not been abandoned.

I’m currently finishing my last term required to get my bachelor’s degree. I have 3 weeks left…3 weeks…I have to keep reminding myself because it feels unreal, but at the same time I will be so relieved to be done.

I’m trying to focus on the next 3 weeks, nothing beyond that. Let me get through the anxiety, the near burnout, the research paper, the finals, and the waning motivation–then I’ll think about what my next steps are.

3 weeks, they’ll be over before I know it…see you then.

Blaugust is Over. Let’s Talk About it Later.

Blaugust Day 31

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The last day of Blaugust is upon us. I am not sure if August went by so fast because of Blaugust, but this month has flown by. I plan on doing a reflective piece on Blaugust, but I will save that for later this week once I’ve had some time to mull it over.

For this last post, I want to quickly review my August Goals and Gamer To-Do List.

August Goals

I finished both Earth One and Battling Boy earlier this month, and started A Thousand Splendid Suns just the other day. So, I was successful in reading what I planned. I attempted to fix the Wii but when I tried to access the bottom I ran into triwing screws and didn’t have a screwdriver that could fit well enough to unscrew them. For some reason, I haven’t bought a trwing screwdriver online yet. Eventually. This month I also wanted to organize my bookshelf, start building a desk, and get more acquainted with windows 10, I did not get to any of this. I did mess with windows 10 a little more, but not enough to write about or feel satisified with.

As far as the blog goes I did get a Contact page put together that I am happy with for the time being. Unfortunately, I did not get to the blogroll or about pages, but both of these are high on my to-do list for September. Blaugust has definitely shaken some things loose in the ole noggin and given me a lot of things to think about when it comes to what I want this blog to be.

The Gamer To-Do List

In RuneScape I got 92 cooking, and tried Dominion Tower. Well, I attempted to try Dominion Tower. If I would have done a little more research earlier this month I would have realized I didn’t meet all the requirements to access it. To access the tower you need to have completed at least 20 quests from the list of quests that have bosses you can refight- I’ve only completed 15. Although I could not access the full minigame I was able to fight an easy version of a boss designed by the community at Runefest 2011. The third item on my list for RuneScape was to try Player-Owned Ports and I didn’t get a chance to try it, maybe in September.

After the release date for Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns was announced I have had a renewed vigor to get in the game. So last week I completed Part V of the personal story which was all about protecting quaggan, and today I got lvl 60. I also originally planned to complete the Gendarran Fields map, but instead I was mostly focused on clearing Dredgehaunt Cliffs since that was where my personal story was taking place.

Blaugust

This wouldn’t be a very good end of Blaugust post without saying that the Blaugust community has been amazing. Congratulations to anyone that wrote any amount of posts for Blaugust!

Quick Note: I think I finally found a mobile browser that will play nice when logged into wordpress, so many of you can look forward to -in the words of Murf- “Likeageddon” as I still plan on reading everyone’s Blaugust posts.

Blaugust Initiative Page

Blaugust Nook

 

Spider Scurry, Spider Get Smashed

Blaugust Day 30

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Yesterday I mentioned I attempted my first Guild Rush in Guild Wars 2 while trying to get to a vista. The Guild Rush I attempted is known as Spider Scurry, and as you might imagine you must traverse Dostoev Sky Peak as a spider.

As a spider you have the following abilities:

  1. Search: Search for area traps.
  2. Web Decoy: Create a clone of yourself at target position on traversable terrain. Can be used to distract foes.
  3. Leap: Fire a web to pull yourself to a target area on traversable terrain. Can be used to pull yourself onto raised platforms.

On my first attempt I ran in and didn’t look at the skill descriptions and quickly died. Turns out there are traps scattered throughout the course that are only visible when you activate your first ability. Besides traps there are also dredge and the occasional turret that will attack you. Who knew the dredge were so proficient at dispatching spiders? It didn’t take long to find out that as a spider you’re not very durable so it’s important to use skills 2 and 3. It also really helps if there are multiple people doing it at the same time and if you have escorts- I suppose that’s why it’s a Guild Rush.

I don’t know how many attempts it took to just reach the first platforms, but if I did know it would be more than I would care to admit. I feel sorry for the people that were helping me. For them it was a continual process of seeing me die and a combination of waiting for me to return or running back to the start to help me. I felt so incompetent, but even though the experience was a bit frustrating at times it was still fun, and I got the vista.

Blaugust Initiative Page

Blaugust Nook

Helping Hands at Dostoev Sky Peak

Blaugust Day 29

One of the items on my Gamer To-Do List was to complete Part V of my personal story in Guild Wars 2. I didn’t realize that I only had one more thing to do before Part V would be completed. So, when I logged into GW2 today I was expecting to spend most of my time working on the personal story, but it went really quick and I couldn’t continue on to Part VI because I am not level 60 yet. Instead most of my time was spent exploring Dredgehaunt Cliffs.

During my time exploring I came to a vista, and I couldn’t figure out how to get to it. I decided that instead of running around in circles for another 5 minutes I would ask someone, and I did. The person I asked was really helpful and informed me that I would have to do a Guild Rush or at least start it to get where I wanted. I’ve never done a Guild Rush, so this was a completely new experience for me, and I’ll probably go into more detail about this particular Guild Rush tomorrow. For now, I’ll just say there was a lot of failure and incompetence on my part. Luckily, the kind soul who helped me was there with their guild, and I ended up with multiple people from the guild helping me through the Guild Rush.

I didn’t reach the end of the Guild Rush mainly because I didn’t want to take up anymore of the guild’s time, but I did get the vista which was my main objective. I don’t know the guild’s name only that their tag was PT, but I am very grateful for their patience and willingness to help.

Blaugust Initiative Page

Blaugust Nook