I’ve hit a point in Blaugust where I’m running out of steam. Not only just a lack of time, but a lack of topics (possibly tied to the lack of time, because I’ve tons of draft posts!). Well, I take that back, I have a bunch of topics I’d love to write about, but they’re more NSFW-related (games, comics, etc.). Yes, I swear a bunch here. Yes, I am beyond lewd. But there’s a line. There’s a line between “mature audiences” and “almost or actual pornography”.
I’ve been waffling for a few months on whether I should start another blog for those that cross the line into “almost or actual pornography”. I could work it into my NSFW job (click at your own risk) no problem. But then what about the posts I want to write about modding The Sims 4 to be dirty? Or reviewing an erotic visual novel I’ve been playing? Or what about reading that comic that isn’t quite NSFW but flirts with the line enough that I don’t want to write about it on this blog? (Unnatural. It’s Unnatural by Mirka Andolfo. Though Sunstone by Stjepan Sejic falls into this category as well.)
I don’t feel like there’s an easy answer to what I should do. I have a blog name idea, but I don’t know if I should go with free or a hosted domain for now. Especially since I want to try to figure out a domain where I can add sub-domains to link to things like my content sites.
Normally I’d just make a decision and run with it, but I feel like I’m at an impasse and am being extra cautious for unknown reasons. And I’m aggravated at myself for feeling so dang stuck.
Last week I finally had the opportunity to finish the Summerset Zone Story, even though I was rushing a bit to make it to WoW raid on time. I didn’t know when I first started playing ESO that Morrowind wasn’t the starting area. Once I found out, I decided that I wanted to complete the Morrowind > Clockwork City > Summerset arch before going back to the “base game” and doing Khenarthi’s Roost > Auridon > Grahtwood > Greenshade > Malabal Tor > Reaper’s March. While I love the One Tamriel initiative, it does make things a bit confusing on what to do when. Luckily, the forums have been a godsend.
Anyway, I finally finished Summerset. And I didn’t think that the story would wreck me the way it did. I enjoyed Morrowind once I got about halfway through the zone story. And while I was all, ‘SAVE THE CITY DO IT NOW’, it didn’t hit me super hard. Clockwork City was much the same way. I enjoyed the zone story sooner, but it was a very zen ending, and learning more about Sotha Sil was relaxing. Summerset, however. Summerset is where everything comes to a head. The bits of story you get in Morrowind and Clockwork City all convene for the end of Summerset.
Characters that I’d just met (and consequently didn’t know very well) met their endings, and it absolutely wrecked me. It destroyed me. I ended up sobbing on stream. But it says something about the writing in ESO. It helped cement that ESO has become my new main game of choice. Story is one of the most important things to me in a game, and when something hits me hard like that, I become more invested in the game.
I am one of very few left playing Warcraft right now that has yet to obtain flight. I’ve been ruminating on how to write about my feelings in regards to the current flight grind, but I really couldn’t come up with more than, “heck this bull” (except with much more colorful words).
The flight grind, right now, is ruining the game for me. The need to spend an hour per zone each day to grind out world quests and zone quests is time I don’t have. I was already feeling indifferent about the game (pepped up a bit by downing Azshara and seeing some more lore), but this feels like an anchor that I can’t untangle from.
Luckily, it seems I’m not the only one that feels this way.
“Earning flying almost seems not worth it, and disappointingly punitive with the two new factions you have to advance…”
I agree that it feels largely punitive. Even more so when one cannot dedicate even a half hour of time per day to just doing the world quests in one of the zones. Then add on the fact that others begin to question, “You really don’t have flight yet?”
“No matter how well designed these zones are, how engaging the core quest and PvE content, they will be lost for many players in a haze of empty, unfulfilling grinding. My core issue this time around, a similar one to Legion actually, is that the flying grind involves a lot of time spent not playing the core game of WoW. It has the skin of it – you do world quests in Nazjatar and the one daily world quest in Mechagon, and it has the same reputation increases that accompany a lot of WoW’s gameplay. However, many of these quests don’t focus on actually playing your character, and instead focus on minigames and other things – some of which are amusing, but many of which are not, and none of which are as fulfilling as playing your character in fresh world content.”
Her post in general is a pretty good summation of my feelings.
Even though Pathfinder is not a pointless endeavor (flying is super helpful), it very much feels like it. And it’s dragging what little enjoyment I had remaining for Warcraft into the toilet.
This past week was “Get to Know You” week for Blaugust. Bel’s description proposed,
“Tell us about you and your preferences as a gamer or whatever it is you happen to like doing. This is the time to dip into the well of stories and tell us something interesting that has either happened to you or something about your specific footing in your real or digital life.”
I’m a fairly open book both here on the blog and even moreso on Twitter. So it’s been difficult (not including the depression) to suss out a topic to write for the week. I don’t mind questionnaires, and I know I have another one I’m tagged in by Bel that I have yet to answer, but that didn’t feel fully “right” as a way to talk about myself.
Honestly, I didn’t think I’d have a post for the theme until I was logging off FFXIV and crawling into bed last night. And then it hit me: talk about healing through, well, healing.
A Short History
CW:This section includes brief mention of abuse.
If you’ve been following me on Twitter for a while (even from before I moved Twitter accounts), or have stumbled upon old blog posts, you probably know that I was married, and divorced. I moved down to Georgia in my early 20s for grad school (I’m looking at you, Great Recession) because I couldn’t find a job teaching. In my first year here I ended up meeting a guy, and falling for him.
I’m not going to get into the nitty gritty details. It follows a somewhat predictable story. After three and a half years of dating, we got married. And about three and a half years later, we separated at my request. Seven months later it was an official divorce. That’s the part most folks know. The part they don’t is that he was abusive.
It’s not easy to see in the moment when you’re being abused. It’s definitely something that you deny, and make excuses for. It’s something that people don’t believe because the abuser is so charming. I was lucky that I was able to recognize and rationalize what was happening to me when he was away on a work trip. I was lucky that I was able to get out the first time I said I was going to leave.
Healing Through Healing
There’s little things people take for granted doing with a partner—watching movies together, going to events together, hanging out with mutual friends together, gaming together—you get the idea. The one that’s hit me the hardest is the number of hours we gamed together.
I still can’t bring myself to log into my old WoW main, for instance, for more than a half hour tops. Enough to do whatever the current event tokens are if I qualify at level. Spending more time on her causes panic attacks because of the memories attached to her that are still so strong.
Final Fantasy XIV was another one. We spent many hours together leveling on our characters on Cactuar. I would tank, he would heal, and two of our mutual friends would dps.
When I decided I wanted to go back to FFXIV to give it another try back in April, I waffled about rolling a new character or going back to the one I’d spent so much time on with him. At the time, I decided to roll a new character. But in the two months I had an active subscription, I didn’t play her much. I had difficulty getting into her, and starting over when my main was sitting there.
I tried logging in once to my main and couldn’t do it. A panic attack ensued and I decided to cancel my subscription, writing it off to, “just not into it right now!”. But as I’ve been playing more ESO, I’ve felt the call for more fantasy gaming, and meandered back to FFXIV, again. I decided to just bite the bullet and play my old main, come July. I only logged in once or twice. Enough to decide on playing CNJ/WHM as my new main class (until I can get Dancer, of course), and get her gear set up.
It wasn’t until the past two weeks that I really dove in head first. It started with feeling bored with any game I opened. So I opened FFXIV. And all I did was one dungeon roulette. But it felt… okay. I couldn’t manage more than that. I could feel a panic attack coming on. But I’d had so much fun in that fifteen minutes I spent in that dungeon. So I logged in again the next night. And the night after that. Playing a bit more every time. Five minutes extra here. Five more there.
And I realized, last night, after I spent almost two hours in game after only, “logging on for a little bit”, that spending the time healing in roulettes was a way of confronting a lot of my fears and triggers and pushing through them… whether that makes sense to anybody but me is another story.
There’s still a lot more healing I need to do for myself. And some might argue some wounds will never fully heal, but bit by bit, reclaiming my character and having her heal her way through leveling has given me a chance to heal IRL a little bit as well.
Wednesday night was date night, and as is tradition for Manthing and me, we sat down in front of the television to watch something and eat dinner to kick off our weekly four-ish hours together. Sometimes we watch something on Netflix (most recently IT Crowd and Sherlock), or pick a movie (recent selections including Aquaman and 10 Things I Hate About You), but it is typically something that one or neither of us has watched in entirety.
This past week, we watched Detective Pikachu. Neither one of us had seen it, and he was looking forward to watching it, whereas I was indifferent to seeing the movie.
Overall, I thought it was okay. The ending was a feel-good ending, but the ridiculousness of the writing in the first twenty minutes or so of the movie was off putting, and then carried into the entirety of the movie for me. It almost felt as though the writers were trying to make Deadpool, but for kids. I just couldn’t get over the start of the movie and get fully immersed into the rest of it until very close to the end.
I want to give the movie another try, and see if maybe having a bad day (I was in a lot of pain) affected my initial opinions of the movie. Right now I don’t think I’ll go out of my way to watch it again, but I wouldn’t change the channel if it were on.
It’s taken us some time due to the fact it was summer, and people have lives, but Iron Circle finally downed Azshara on normal! We’ve been close for a couple raid nights, but just didn’t have the people to get her through. Now that she’s down, though, we’re focusing efforts back on pushing heroic.
The cutscene you get after defeating Azshara actually made me squee a little bit. Azshara and the old gods are some of my favorite Warcraft lore, and it’s felt like a long, slow, slog to even get to this point of the story since Battle for Azeroth started. Now that it’s here, I’m excited. I just hope Blizz keeps up with it, otherwise I’m going to lose my interest very fast once again. (Cutscene has spoilers!)
The other day I decided to turn a post from 2017 into some prompts for folks. Part two’s prompts can be found here. It comes to an end with this post, part three of three!
(Unrelated: I know I’m “behind” on posts, and while depression may have gotten the best of me for the past few days, I’m going to try to post an extra post or two every so often to try and catch up on the 31 posts. I may not hit 31, but I very much want to try.)
Just like with the antagonist question in part 2, I’m not particularly sure how to answer this one. There’s lots of characters I like, but there’s no real single protagonist I can pull out and say, “Yes! This is my favorite!”. I attribute this to playing mostly MMOs. I think I’d have a better answer to this if I had played more RPGs when I first started gaming, or if I played more now.
Game You Think Had the Best Graphics/Art Style
WildStar. I know it’s still not everybody’s cup of tea with the art style, but how can you go wrong? I loved it so much. It made me so happy with how unique it was.
Favorite Classic Game
What defines something as a “classic” game? To be fair, I really only played a few handheld games until we got an N64 in the house, but I never really had any other consoles until I purchased a PS2 in college. So I never really played a lot of “classic” games (if I’m thinking of what might actually classify as “classics”).
I unashamedly adore the voice acting in Secret World. It helps that I love that Jeff Combs and Armin Shimerman do various voices throughout the game. But overall, the voice acting and character development are what make me keep going back even if the combat makes me twitch.
Most Epic Scene Ever
What defines a “scene”? A cutscene? I think one of the ones that has stuck with me the most is the reveal of Drusera’s connection to the Entity we saw in Blighthaven in WildStar.
Favorite Game Developer
I’m going to leave details for Developer Appreciation Week, but I really dig Aksys Games. I’m sure it helps that they’ve pushed to localize a lot of otome. By extension, I suppose Idea Factory (and their Otomate brand) is probably one I adore, since those are the games getting localized. Though favorite… I don’t know if I could claim a favorite. I loved Carbine for WildStar. I love Funcom for Secret World… This would be like picking your favorite child.
A Game You Thought You Wouldn’t Like, but Ended Up Loving
To be brutally honest? WildStar. “What, Chestnut? YOU? Not like WILDSTAR?!” I know, I know. But when I played in the beta, while I was intrigued, it didn’t quite grab me. And I thought come launch that I just… wouldn’t like it. But I’d play it because that’s what my Ex and his friend wanted to play. In the end, I loved the game more than they did, and it still makes me sad that it’s gone (even if I wasn’t playing much at the end).
Your Favorite Game of All Time
This isn’t a fair question. This is, once again, like asking to pick a favorite child. Of all time? This could change the moment I play another game, and something gets replaced. Does it require that it is something I could pick up and play again at a moment’s notice and have fun with it? Is it something I can leave as one-and-done? Could I count an MMO for this? I honestly just don’t know. There are so many games that I could list for this as an answer (WildStar, Secret World, EVE, Hatoful Boyfriend, Skyrim, Code Realize), but none of them feel completely “right” as the most favored.
The other day I decided to turn a post from 2017 into some prompts for folks. I’m continuing it with this post, part two of three!
Gaming System of Choice
I know it’s cliche, but it really is the computer. When it comes down to it, I do love my handhelds and PS4, but I just have a larger collection on the computer than anything else.
A Game Everyone Should Play
My top four suggestions are not everybody’s cup of tea, but they include: Secret World Legends (for the story), The Park, Hatoful Boyfriend, and Code: Realize.
A Game You’ve Played More Than Five Times
Pretty much any of the dating sims I’ve played could fall into this category. I have to (aka like to) 100% the game for all the CGs and story!
Current or Most Recent Gaming Wallpaper
Uh, so it’s one of the CGs from Code: Realize of Saint Germain, but I don’t feel right posting it on this blog because it could very much be construed as if it were NSFW, even though he’s pretty much trying to murder the MC.
Post a Screenshot from the Game You’re Playing Right Now
Game with the Best Cutscenes
I honestly don’t know if I could choose. Especially since some games, like Detroit: Become Human, are changing the way that cutscenes work.
Another one that I honestly don’t know the answer to. I don’t play many games that have memorable antagonists, or ones I’ve connected with on any particular level.
Picture of a Game Setting You Wished You Lived In
I could say “visual novels”, or “dating sims”, or in particular, “otome”. But it really just comes down to a game with a story that I find captivating.
Game with the Best Story
Right now I’d really have to say it’s a toss up between Elder Scrolls Online and Secret World Legends for me.
A Game Sequel Which Disappointed You
I don’t do many sequels. The only game sequel I even own is the second Code: Realize, and I have yet to play it, so I don’t have an answer to this one, I suppose.
This is a post that has been sitting in my backlog since 2017. It’s one of those evergreen pieces I mentioned it is a good practice to have around for bad days. And today was a bad head day. It wasn’t as difficult to get out of bed this morning as it has been the past few weeks, which is a plus, but it has been a very difficult day for concentration, focus, and parsing of feelings and thoughts (not exceptionally brain weasely, per se, but they’re there in the background). I even took a nap when I got home from work because I didn’t feel like I could reasonably function for the remainder of the day if I didn’t.
I really didn’t want to miss a day of Blaugust, but figuring out what to write about, despite plenty of half-written posts and ideas was difficult. I went through seven or eight different posts now in various states of done-ness, and nothing felt exactly… right. There was lots of over-thinking and self-doubt. So I figured something a little more light-hearted and fun was a good idea. Plus, I figured I’d split it into 3 parts, and people could also use it for prompts since it is Topic Brainstorming Week this week for Blaugust!
I pulled this idea from Wolfy back in 2017. At the time there was one of those, “here’s a picture with questions, I’ll answer a question for every like!” things going around the gaming/blogging Twitter. I’m terrible at keeping up with those, the majority of the time, but had really wanted to participate in it. I saw that Wolfy had co-opted in a blog post format and thought it would be much more fun to do it that way as well… since you were still limited to 140 characters at the time!
Your First Video Game
I honestly can’t remember. I think it was something like Megaman or the Mario Bros. game where you jump around dodging stuff Kong throws at you to try and rescue Peach. I know it was something handheld that was on the original Gameboy. The first real one I remember is playing Paperboy after our grandmother gave my brother and me a Nintendo 64. That game was terrible but also so much fun.
Your Favorite Character
For those that know me well, this comes as no surprise. (I always end up loving the [SPOILER] murder-husbandos in dating sims, somehow…)
A Game That is Underrated
There’s a lot of games that could fit this, and choosing one out of all of them is a difficult task. But honestly, I think it’s going to have to be The Park. A lot of people don’t think they’d be interested in it because it’s, “just a walking sim”, but the depth of the story was pretty incredible for a few hours of gameplay. I do think it seems to resonate more with folks that live with mental illness compared with those that don’t, as well. Regardless, it’s a game I wish more folks would try (if horror is your thing). It’s also made by Funcom, and considered canon to Secret World, so that also works a little bit in its favor for me.
Your Guilty Pleasure Game
I could swear I’ve written about how much I love this game previously (but can’t find the post), but it is Monster Rancher Advance (1 and 2), hands down.
Game Character You Feel You Are Most Like
I don’t ever particuarly identify with video game characters. I suppose the closest would be any MC in an otome. While they’re their own characters, I always end up picking what I would want or do rather than what I think the character would want or do.
This is a difficult one for me. The only games I’ve truly played that had a focus on a love story of some sort have been dating sims, and while I have favorite pairings there, I don’t feel they fully apply, because it’s the fact that I like the character I pick as the MC, rather than the MC as a couple with the chosen character.
I’m honestly not sure. I have cried at a handful of video games, but I couldn’t, off the top of my head, tell you which one has been the saddest for me. Or even remember which ones I specifically cried over. So I’m going to tweak this prompt: Most Memorable Time a Game Made You Sad/Cry. And that, honestly, would have to be when WildStar shut down.
Heck, I honestly don’t know. I don’t really pay attention to gameplay within a game unless it annoys me or truly makes the game unplayable for me. I do have to admit that I enjoy telegraphs and slightly more active combat, especially in MMOs. So as far as MMOs go, I’d list WildStar, and ESO. Secret World could almost make it on the list if certain aspects of movement weren’t so dang clunky.
I’ve never been a big fan of fighting games. I’ll play brawlers like Smash Bros if it’s with the right people and I’m in the right zone. Otherwise, I much prefer to watch folks play fighters. That thinking changed, slightly, the day I saw the game Them’s Fightin’ Herdssuggested in Steam.
My first thought was, “WHAT!? A MLP fighting game?! YES!” While it is not branded My Little Pony (nor related to Hasbro in any way), the art is created by Lauren Faust, creator of My Little Pony Friendship is Magic. So I’d still say it has a lot going for it. But it’s been sitting in my wishlist for far too long. I’ve been afraid to bite the bullet because, well, I typically don’t enjoy fighting games, despite this one looking so cute and cuddly.
I first discovered the Community Game-Along back in early 2016, where the theme was Dating Sim month! I had just gotten into otomes/dating sims for the first time (having played Hatoful Boyfriend as my first ever dating sim in August 2015), so I knew I had to check it out and join in. And I’ve intermittently participated since then!
I figure this is a good time to pick up Them’s Fightin’ Herds, and see if it floats my boat. Maybe I’ll even add it in to my streaming rotation for the month. I also hope to see more folks participating in the Community Game-Along this year and in years to come!