Out of Order
This morning is an odd one for me, in part because there is a natural order to my weekends. Generally speaking I get up, get dressed, go find some food… bring it up and spent the next period of time working on my daily blog post. This morning however things are a bit off, because my mother in law will be coming around noon, and in the week since coming back from Pax South our house has gotten a bit disordered. So as a result I gobbled my breakfast and set forth to clean on the house. Generally speaking I do the grunt cleaning, picking things up, straightening, throwing out trash… and my wife comes back through with more surgical precision considering she sees dirt that I don’t. Together we can get our house in manageable order in under an hour generally speaking.
The other awesome and scary thing that is happening this morning is that I will be sitting in on the recording of an episode of battle bards. I’ve been a long time supporter of the show, having listened to I believe every episode. I too am a huge fan of game music, and tend to spend most of my days listening to soundtracks looping in the background. So I am pleased to be able to share some of my favorite tracks along a theme… that I am not going to give away. As a result of this I ended up spending my normal writing time while eating… going back over my notes about the various tracks we will be reviewing. I admit now that it is the actual day we are recording I am a bit nervous. Normally when I guest on a podcast it is no big deal… because I am being myself. This time it feels like we have a higher purpose, and while I have some formal musical training… that feels like a lifetime ago. So hopefully I don’t make a complete ass of myself.
A Calling Card
Over the last few weeks I have been working on a little side project. I originally started thinking about it while at Pax South and it just took a bit to finally pull the technical bits together. I’ve owned the domain Belghast.com for some time but I never did much with it. The idea was always to create a site that somewhat combined all of the different things that I do. At this point I am all over social media, have two podcasts, a daily blog, a youtube channel, and hitbox stream… in addition to the stuff I am starting to do for MMOGames.com. When I was having to pull together the information to hand off to the community folks at each of the game companies during pax… I realized just how spread out everything is. It would be so much more simple if I could just say… go to Belghast.com and that will link you to all of the projects that I do. So I guess in the idea is part calling card, and part resume.
The hard part was figuring out how to do what I wanted to do. In the end I found a plug-in that would allow me to syndicate posts from damned near anything with an RSS feed. Honestly the plug-in is a bit scary, and likely designed for some really nefarious site cloning purposes. It was however the only thing I could find to do exactly what I wanted it to do. Thankfully all the functionality I need is in the free version, because the paid version is like $15 a month. Essentially I am just excerpting my posts on Aggronaut, AggroChat, Bel Folks Stuff and MMOGames but the plug-in was designed to copy the entire post, images and all. I still plan on writing and podcasting in all the same places… just plan on having the other site to connect all the dots. I like the banner, because it finally gives me a reason to use the “real life” chibi that Rae did for me. Not completely sold on the theme, but for now it works. I might do something more custom later.
At Peace with GW2
I’ve had a very checkered past with the Guild Wars franchise. I was not a huge fan of the original, largely because I had no ability to jump… and Ruined Ascalon was so damned ugly. Then you zoom forward and the manifesto trailer was released… and everything it said I thought I wanted. When I managed to get into the Alpha program through a friend, I was more excited for any Alpha I had been to that point. When I actually got my hands on it… I had this overwhelming “I don’t get it” feeling. In fact there was a three hundred page thread on the forums essentially saying the same thing. I felt that all criticism of the game approach was being ignored, and as a result it was the only Alpha program I have ever resigned from. Then we scan forward to launch, and everyone I know is excited about the game. I obviously lost access to the test servers, but did manage to get into the open beta phase. I got in and the game was not as bad as I had remembered it, and I had lots of friends playing it with me… so I ended up buying the game. A few weeks in however I was hit by the same sense of pointlessness, like nothing I was doing in the world mattered. The final nail in the coffin was how bad the dungeon running experience felt, when that was the majority of what I spent time with friends doing.
I had not really followed the game from that point on, other than to use it as my whipping boy for what happens when grouping is done badly. Then we move forward to Pax South. I had been asked to sit in on the panel to see what they had to say, so I dutifully did so. Maybe it was the excitement of the crowd, or the well crafted sales pitch… but when I got back to Texas I reinstalled the game and I have been poking around. I can’t say that the game has changed drastically, but I think maybe I have in the intervening years. At this point I am 59 on my Warrior, and have been running around aimlessly completing the objectives on the map. I have to say I am really enjoying myself. It is a vastly different experience than any of the games I am playing, a much more disposable experience… but that is okay. There is some serious depth to this game, but it isn’t the same sort of depth that you see in a traditional MMO. I find myself actually looking forward to the Heart of Thorns expansion. This game has become my cooling down experience after raid nights. I pop it open, running around for a bit and finish a few objectives… feeling like i have accomplished something without spending a lot of time. That seems to be where this game excels, giving you bite sized moment to moment experiences that feel like they are building to something larger. I have to say… and I realize how much crow I have to eat… but I am enjoying myself in ways I never expected to.