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Friendships in Gaming

Friendships in Gaming

In Remembrance

The past three years, December 5th has been a bit of a tough day. One of the people I hold in the highest esteem from my days in EVE Online passed away due to cancer, and his birthday is always a tough day (granted, it doesn’t help when Facebook goes “HEY! Wish your friend a Happy Birthday!”). We knew he was sick, and going in for surgery for unrelated issues, and we knew he had cancer, but it grabbed him hard and fast without much time for treatment.

Thulle was one of those guys who is gruff and off-putting at first encounter. An asshole, if you will. But that was a mask hiding the great big ol’ Teddy Bear he didn’t want you to see underneath–at least for the people he made a connection with. Chaide and I were lucky enough to be folks that he did make a connection with.

We’d spend hours in EVE not doing much outside of chatting in TeamSpeak and waiting to do whatever it was we were going to do for the time we were online. And you really get to know someone when you spend that much time with them. I won’t inundate you with stories, but I have a lot of them of how he helped me better understand combat. How he would skirmish with me to help me get a better grasp of things. How he would take the time to help me put together ships based on load outs that wouldn’t cost me my firstborn child. Lots of stories, and lots of laughter. And I miss him on a daily basis.

We had invited him to our wedding in July 2013, but he was going in for some surgery at that point, and wouldn’t be able to make it to the shindig. Little did we know it was one of the last times we’d get to chat with him.

“Yes, but he was an internet “friend”!” you exclaim. Yes, he was. But that doesn’t mean that the friendship we’d forged is any less than someone I would see on a daily basis.

Friendship is Friendship

Gamers, particularly MMO Gamers, spend hours upon hours daily, weekly, and monthly with the same group of people. Day in and day out. These are the people you tell about your work days, the big milestones in your life, and more.

These are the people you invite to your wedding because you’ve spent so much time with them. To hell if you’ve never met them “in real life”! They’ve been there for you for so long that they’re family.

The relationships you make online, and the friendships that come from these are things to be cherished. And they are just as real as the friendships you have offline–if, arguably, not more so.

So to Thulle–thank you for showing me that the friendships we forge online reach beyond that. And fly safe, dude. Drink a beer up there for us. o7

Developer Appreciation Week 2015

Developer Appreciation Week 2015

Today marks the final day of Developer Appreciation Week for 2015. Lots of folks around the blogosphere have been thanking Developers in games that have made a difference in their life (even a small one) left and right.

While there have been many games I’ve played that have made a difference in my life, whether they be console, handheld, or one-shot computer games, I would like to specifically thank the MMO developers out there.

Why? Belghast said it best:

I have a hard time viewing these companies as the evil empires they are made out to be. No one sets out wanting to make a horrible product, and no one deserves to feel like they are hated by the people that are supposed to be their fans.

So, without further ado, here are my thank yous to the following development teams, in no particular order (well, the ones I’m playing currently are the first three).

WildStar

One of the things I can say for WildStar, is that the devs really do listen, even if it takes them a while to be able to implement things. They’re also some of the most active developers I’ve seen in the social media sphere, and they truly care about their community. Two of the community team (DD and Tony) take time weekly to hop in game and stream their leveling adventures, and invite the community to not only watch, but to participate in the game itself. All of the devs are on Twitter, and make sure to foster interaction with their community on Twitter as well as official forums. I’ve even heard rumor they’re on Tumblr and do the same? But Tumblr baffles me, so I’ve no idea. Regardless–the dedication the team has to the community is what has kept me around (aside from an awesome guild). And a special shoutout to both DD and Buster for being able to take time out of their personal schedules on a weekend to sign in game and help with a player run event (ThaydFest). I’ve not known other devs that would do the same–hopping in TS and following directions from players to make an event super awesome special.

The Secret World

Chaide and I first purchased this game when it came out, but did a monthly sub instead of buying the veteran-lifelong sub (or whatever it was called) because of some finances. But we very much enjoyed the game when we were playing it, and as we’ve gotten back into it with a friend for a Let’s Play, I feel like we’ve gotten more into it than when we first bought the game. What we love about this game in particular is the lore and the quest design. So I want to send my shout outs in particular to lore team and the quest design team. The puzzles, while difficult, are lots of fun and very rewarding to complete. And the lore is robust and based upon so many horror mythos that it is amazingly… real! It feels real.

Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn

Not only is this game visually appealing, but it is entirely immersive. I can get lost for hours doing lore-related items, crafting, or even “time-killers” like the Golden Saucer. And not only that, the developers have designed the game in such a way that it benefits higher level players to (1) be nice to folks of all levels and (2) visit lower level zones. Because of the game design, the game feels more alive in all zones than some other games do. So, thank you, Squenix, for sticking with ARR and revamping it.

Star Trek Online

While I don’t particularly play this often, I have a soft spot for everything and anything Star Trek (yep, I’m a Trekkie, though I do enjoy some Star Wars every so often). What this development team has done with the game is expand upon lore that is both relevant and important, and I can’t say enough to be able to be a part of a world I grew up always wanting to be a part of. They have done a great service to both the Trek community and IP, and they deserve major props for keeping things as cannon as possible amongst all the versions of the IP they incorporate. This is a game I’d love to get back into occasionally.

EVE Online

One of the big things EVE has going for it is developers who care what the community at large thinks. They have summits where the community votes on whom they would like representing them each year, and then these representatives meet with EVE developers and share what the community at large is looking for. I know it’s not the only game out there that does this (LOTRO is another that comes to mind), but it’s the only game I’ve played that does this. So, thank you for caring, CCP. o7

Neverwinter

Neverwinter was a lot of fun for the little time I played it. I never got into it full time for long bursts–it was mainly 2 months here, 1 month there… but it was always enjoyable. I want to thank the devs for deciding to design an “armory” where players could create their own campaigns and content for other players to experience. This is the reason I kept going back for more–to see what Old Jerry was up to next. Or to play that Lovecraft-themed dungeon just one more time. The nice thing is that it’s FTP, so I can do that.

World of Warcraft

As many would say, this was my “gateway” into the world of MMOs and spending time with a community of players that was close-knit. It’s what got me into blogging initially–for wanting to break out of my shell. So while I have parted from WoW, I will always thank the developers for a lot of things–a way to bond with my husband when we first started dating, a way to make new friends, a reason to move to Georgia for graduate school, and a way to start coming out of my shell and trying to make myself a better person. So, thank you. For being a very big chapter of my life as I transitioned from undergrad to graduate school and a huge change in life moving away from home.

In General

And to developers in general, I’d like to thank you all for everything you’ve done. And know that even if we QQ a lot, deep down, we have a lot of reasons to thank you for making our lives better in so many different ways.
The Token

The Token

Image from the official posting announcing the WoW Token, link below.

I was going to write a long post about the WoW Token that was just announced yesterday, however, there are some better posts, this one in particular, that do a much better job of summing up and discussing possible ramifications, etc. A great read for folks.

I’m intrigued by the possibility of being able to play WoW again, however, I have to ask myself, how casual a player will I be able to be? Not just from the “there’s so much to do!” aspect, but more of the “how much farming and AHing and leveling do I have to do to be able to afford next month?”.

In EVE Online, it was fairly easy, once I got into a great Wormhole/Mining corporation to rake in the ISK to buy a PLEX once every other month (keep in mind, I was playing full time, and it was my only game) and still afford new ships and ship replacements. I kept myself at once every-other-month, even though I could technically afford monthly, because we lived in a damned Wormhole, and if I lost my Proteus or Arazu I’d be a fish out of water if I couldn’t afford one. Plus ammo, etc. If you’ve played EVE, you understand.

In WildStar, the last time I checked Entity’s C.R.E.D.D. prices (about a week and a half ago), they were at 15 Plat. Granted, for some folks, 15 plat is nothing. For myself, that would require about a week (an hour a day) of farming to afford. That might not sound like much, but with limited playtime because I run things with guildies, do crafting, and level alts, (and play other games) it doesn’t sound like much fun. It’s something I’m aiming to get to the point where I can afford it every-other-month (much like EVE), but it’s not a viable monthly subscription option based on my play times and play style.

Which brings me back to my point at hand–how viable, for the way I play, and the current market/gold pool the average player has compared to the last time I played, how viable is a WoW Token going to be for me as a player? Only time will tell, I suppose. Unless someone wants to gift me one, like you can gift C.R.E.D.D. and PLEX. I like presents.

Mini-Post: Pop Me

Mini-Post: Pop Me

A can in EVE Online, with some mining in the background. Picture by yours truly.

As a hauler in a mining corporation, I spend a lot of time shuttling ore from our Mining Ops to our POS (Player Operated Structure). It can be both exciting and tedious, depending on the day and what else I have to do on the side, such as laundry or reading a book for fun.

When it gets tedious, sometimes it’s fun to come up with a game to play. And that is what we did this past weekend. When a can is ready to be picked up, our naming convention is to call it “Full” or “Pop Me”. But the Elephant started naming his unconventional names, and the other miners started following suit. The goal was to have “Pop”, “Can”, or “Full” in the name.

A few of my favorites from this weekend:

Mary Poppins
Can Solo
Pop Wars: A New Can
Popping Candy
Popeye the Sailor Can
Frodo Poppins
Pop Tarts
Pop Me All Night Long
Ole Pop Canobe

See, EVE can be fun, too! 😉

IntPiPoMo 11-12: EVE Online

IntPiPoMo 11-12: EVE Online

Angelya over at Revive and Rejuvenate has developed a new challenge! IntPiPoMo, or International Picture Posting Month is an alternative to the popular NaNoWriMo. Since a picture is worth a thousand words, and the goal is to write fifty thousand words by the end of the month, IntPiPoMo asks that you post fifty pictures during the month of November. This is my contribution.

The Elephant and I have started playing EVE Online. We have been for close to two months now. What we’ve casually played of it, we’ve loved. We started a Corp with a fellow guildmate and got Wardeced. So we disbanded. Now we’re in starter Corps. It’s been an interesting change from WoW. Slightly boring in some ways, exciting in others. But what gets me the most is the beauty of the environments. So much so that I just stare at it and forget to hit the “Printscreen” keybind. But I have caught a few without the interface in the way, and I wanted to share the two of them. One, sadly, had a mouseover showing even though the interface was closed. And it was one of my favorite shots, too, of this gorgeous planet with rings with a star shining bright behind it giving off really cool shadows. Ah well. I can try to find it again. But for now, enjoy my two EVE shots for IntPiPoMo.

Two Tristans (a type of Gallente Frigate) coming out of warp.
Asteroid and nebula.
The Week in Retrospect: SKYRIM!!!

The Week in Retrospect: SKYRIM!!!

So, to keep myself blogging at least once a week (hopefully more?), I plan on posting about what’s happened during the week for me regarding gaming, and possibly real life if it isn’t too personal or something. (There’s only so much one can be willing to put on the Interwebs, right?)

The Blog
This week I spent some time updating the blog layout. More minor tweaks than anything. Changed some colors around so they weren’t so ouchy on the eyes (which I discovered with a new monitor were quite ouchy) as well as elongating the banner and hosting it on a (really small) personal space I had during grad school. It was somehow pixelated when I uploaded it through Blogger, and I couldn’t figure out why since it was a 100% quality JPG. But, it’s all fixed now.

Next on the list is updating the Pages (especially the Games tab), and putting together my Blog Roll/Link Love. I have so many blogs that I follow that it’s a somewhat daunting task, but I’m hoping to get it squared away tonight if I am not needed in the alt-Firelands.

The Blogosphere
I’ve recently hopped in on Angelya’s IntPiPoMo challenge, and am excited to post more shots. There are none today because of this post (that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it), but I’m readily uploading images to ScrnTAG (my new obsession) and have set up the order I want to post certain shots.

World of Warcraft
Not much has gone on in WoW, lately. We’re now 6/7 Heroic modes, and have made a few attempts at Heroic Rag, but we’re not going to push him like mad. For one, it’s the Holidays, and for another, we don’t feel the need to down him prior to 4.3. We’re cool with trying to get him before 5.0, or maybe later. Who knows.

We did spend Thursday night running through BWD heroics. We’d only downed two bosses at level in BWD before shit went down with members and the guild had a mini-implosion with the raiders, but we went in and spanked all of them except Nef and got lots of achievements in the process. We decided to forgo Nef this week and instead grab the achievement on him since we didn’t have it.

We also did quite a few quick gearing/alt runs in BoT and ToFW in which we got a bunch of achievements for people once again. Even a few that some mains didn’t have.

Tonight is night one of two of our gearing/alt Firelands run. I’m hoping to be able to sit out since Shaelee now has her 4-pc for Resto and let those that still need gear have a go. I’d like to maybe run some dungeons with guildies that still need them and finish putting together my Enchance set while the rest of the folks are in Firelands.

Or maybe level an alt. My newest one, Maagie the Forsaken Mage has recently dinged ten and I’m itching to play her some more. I just love Frost mages. I’ve been Frost my entire time playing Mages and won’t play anything else–I just couldn’t get into Fire or Arcane back in TBC. I also have tons of rested on my baby Warrior, my Sunwalker and my Hunter and Rogue. I should probably eat that up so I can get more…

Other Games
Last month the Elephant and I started playing EVE Online with a fellow guildmate. We’re having a blast but haven’t played much the past few weeks due to moving and work and such.

We also haven’t played much because of… SKYRIM! Yes, we’ve both been bitten by the Skyrim bug. I think our entire guild has. Gamertags are being exchanged and Skyrim talk abounds in guild chat throughout the day.

Much as I dislike Elves, I am playing a Wood Elf (I wanted the Archery bonuses) that is a member of the Companions. I won’t spoil anything but all I can say is, eventually do the Companions quest line–even if you roll another character or some such. The goal with my character is to play more of a “Thief” archetype with Archery, but still be effective in close combat situations. It’s working well so far.

I’ve been watching the Elephant play a lot of the Mage quest lines related to the College, and they are freaking cool! The amount of work that went into this game is amazing. The Elephant is playing more of a Destruction focused Dark Elf Mage. All casting all the time. I don’t know that I could do that. It doesn’t have the balance I like. But it’s still really cool to watch because he rocks at Console games. Well, he rocks at games in general.

Books
I haven’t had much time to read while playing Skyrim, but I’ve recently started a new book: Lost Souls by Poppy Z. Brite. I’ve never gotten into Vampire books before. It just wasn’t my thing. My thing is all Dragons all the time, or Fantasy with a bit of political intrigue and war thrown in the pot. I’m enjoying the book so far, and it’s had a few twists I didn’t expect.

The book took some time to get into. I didn’t expect the writing to be nearly as decadent as it is. I plan on finishing the book because I love the characters and want to know what happens, but I don’t know that I’d read any more Vampire literature. To me, it’s like eating the stickiest, sweetest chocolate cake that never disappears. Y’know, maybe that’s not the best way of putting it considering many people like Chocolate more than I do. But you catch my drift.

Wrap it Up
I honestly don’t know how to end these. I’ll have to work on that. So if you have ideas, let me know. But for now, it’s off to the alt-raid to see if I am needed and then work on other things and get ready for tomorrow as it’s an early day.

Authenticators? I think not.

Authenticators? I think not.

So, I’m sure there’s been a story here and a story there about people being hacked even though they owned authenticators. I’ve even read a few myself. But I hadn’t experienced anything like it until two guildies were hacked within two weeks of each other.

Guildie One was able to cancel his authenticator, change his password and recover his items within a week.

Guildie Two however has been given the run around by Blizzard, and I’m appaled. Though it honestly doesn’t surprise me. Guildie Two was away this weekend. A fellow guildmate knew that and when he saw him toon hopping, reported it to Blizzard with no response. Once Guildie Two realized his account was hacked, he contacted Blizzard. By that time however, the hackers had changed his email address, his password, and put a new authenticator on his account.

Guildie Two has a second account, and signed on to see what kind of damage was done to his personal and guild bank. It looks like the guild bank is okay. However, his own personal bank was cleaned out of quite a large sum of gold, and four bank tabs worth of ore, gems, and cloth.

When Guildie Two contacted Blizzard, and provided a photo identification and his credit card, they claimed that he was not the rightful owner of the account, and that he was trying to gain access to an account that was not rightfully his.

GMs claim that the logs look fine (even though the guildmate reported the hack within the first fifteen minutes), and that his REAL STATE ID is a false ID that he is providing them and that he is trying to hack said account.

Really? Is Blizzard Customer Service that brilliant?

We’re not sure what will happen to the guildie. Luckily we have his contact information, and he is in our EVE Online corporation. And the guild site of course. But he feels completely jaded by the entire fiasco.
So please! If you have an authenticator, make sure that it is not your only line of defense against hackers! Clean your computer of Spyware, and change your password often.