Playing Catch Up

Battle Bards Episode 45 – Rock On!

This segment is going to be a little bit odd, because at the time of me writing it the episode has not officially gone live.  However I only post once daily, and as such I really would like to get a plug out there for the show.  In saying this, the links I am about to post will not go live until 9 am so I will be embargoing my post this morning which is an odd experience for me.  On February 7th I had the privilege of sitting in as a guest host on the Battle Bards podcast with the illustrious Syp and Syl.  To make things even kookier, they told me that I needed to pick a topic.  I went back and forth on a few topics and finally landed upon rock themes in MMO games.  Traditionally MMOs seem to have the same auditory palate of instruments and themes.  Every now and then however there is a soundtrack that abandons the traditional and brings in some rock guitar.  Over the course of the show we focused on these tracks, and I believe it was Syp that finally gave the show its title of “Rock On!”.

I had an absolute blast recording the show, and would be more than willing to step in again if they ever had need of me.  Now onwards with the show information.

Episode 45 show notes

  • Intro (featuring “Blue Turns to Greyfrom Tabula Rasa, “Battle on the Big Bridge Reborn” from FFXIV, and “Prologue” from Castlevania SOTN)
  • “Titan Battle Theme” from FFXIV
  • “Alonewolf” from Rusty Hearts
  • “Toko” from Granado Espada
  • “Character Select/Map Load” from Heroes of the Storm
  • “New Conglomerate Main Theme” from PlanetSide 2
  • “Malicia’s Finale” from DDO
  • “Lucid Dreaming” from Aion
  • What track did we like the best?
  • Mail from Akiranon
  • Outro

Listen to episode 45 now!

Giving Levels Away

gw036 Last night I managed to hit level 71 in Guild Wars 2 and absolutely thought I would never actually get there.  In truth I would not have gotten there were it not for the fact that the game seems to be giving away levels every time I turn around.  At some point they added the Tome of Knowledge into the game, and double clicking them item grants you one instant level.  I am not sure if I am exceptionally lucky, but I seem to be pulling these left and right out of various bags and containers.  Last night from my daily login reward chest I pulled two of them for example.  I think my meteoric rise in levels is really two fold.  First they keep giving me levels, but secondly it seems like everything is quite simply worth a lot more experience.  I did a level and a half over the last few days dinking around and completing a level 5 starter zone.  I still have about half of the objectives in that zone to go, so I am enjoying the fact that it doesn’t actually seem to matter what I am out in the world doing…  just that I am doing something.

At this point I can honestly picture getting up a few more characters, because right now this game seems to be the ideal winding down practice for me.  We finished our Final Fantasy XIV raid around 9:30 pm, and I played Guild Wars 2 for another thirty minutes or so after that.  At which point I felt relaxed and ready to go to sleep, which has always been a problem for me after any raid experience.  When you have been doing exciting things, you have this surplus supply of adrenaline flowing through you, and for me at least I need something much more relaxing to work through all of that.  While Guild Wars 2 may never be destined to be my primary game, I am really appreciating its worth in the role it is playing.  I am curious to see what life at 80 is going to be like, but I have a feeling that ultimately I will just end up switching to an alt so I can continue the slow paced progression.  If nothing else I think it would be pretty awesome to 100% the map.

Playing Catch Up

ffxiv 2015-02-16 21-00-32-31

Monday night is traditionally our more serious raiding night in Final Fantasy XIV with Saturday being a sort of anything goes experience.  However since last night we had a number of players hung up on key steps to the main story and other things… we opted to do a grand “catch up” night.  We started the evening by knocking out the Battle of Big Bridge for Neph, which is always an extremely fun experience.  That is one of those fights that I happily do every single time anyone needs it because getting to play with Gilgamesh is always a treat.  From there we knocked out the Dhrome Chimera fight because that was the step Neph happened to be hung up on for her Relic.  I remember the first time we did this fight, it took the full raid timer, because quite honestly back then it was a massive challenge.  However since then a method of pulling the Chimera out of the cave has become popular and this makes the fight immensely easier.  Also the fact that I am insanely over geared helps as well.  In any case we got the fight completed quickly and Neph moved on to the next step in her relic chain.

ffxiv 2015-02-16 21-18-32-87 The bulk of the evening was spent working on the Chrysalis trial.  This is the road block placed in the path of completing the 2.5 main story arc addition.  I don’t want to go into too much detail about the fight, namely because I don’t want to provide any spoilers.  There are a couple of places in the fight there where things shift drastically, and you have to begin dealing with a new mechanic.  In truth the fight felt like a bit of a remix of some of the raid encounters.  There were elements of several fights from the Crystal Tower series especially.  I think it took us about five tries to get through the encounter, but I have to say the whole experience was extremely fun.  That is one of the best things about Final Fantasy XIV is that their boss encounters are extremely solid.  After defeating it, and each of us making it through the cut scene we had around twenty minutes left to do something.  As a result we grabbed Solaria and opted to help her get through the Leviathan primal encounter.  It was a night of lots of objectives being checked off, and a night of many fun battles.

Amazing Podcasts

A Network of Awesome

Yesterday each of the members of The Gaming and Entertainment Network blitzed the world with posts announcing this awesome new venture we are all part of.  However since I ended up technically soft launching the network on Sunday when I posted the latest episode of AggroChat I opted to also follow up at the tail of the pack.  At this point I am uncertain how someone could miss there is such a thing as The Gaming and Entertainment Network, but just in case here goes my attempt to explain just how great this concept is.  TGEN as it will be referred to from this point on as the full name is longer than I want to type on an average basis, is really the brain child of Braxwolf from the Beyond Bossfights podcast.  So the lions share of the credit for this venture has to go to him.  I think each of us had considered the possibility of teaming up with other podcasters, but the most important thing is the person who gets the ball rolling.

Brax had quietly noticed that there were several of us that spring form the same basic community that surrounds MMO gaming and participated in events like the Newbie Blogger Initiative and my little creation Blaugust.  Then over the course of a few months we proceeded to hash out the details in some extremely long gmail threads.  At this point pretty much everyone involved has pitched in with some skill or at least voted in many polls that lead us to reach this point.  So many podcast networks feel corporate and impersonal, and I think while we all wanted to present our best face to the world… we also wanted it to come from the same place as our blogs and podcasts did.  As such TGEN is very much a podcast network for and by the podcasters.

Amazing Podcasts

The entire venture would be completely empty without the actual podcasts and I am not sure if it is absolute coincidence or careful planning but all of the member podcasts fill various niches and happen to be releasing mostly on different days giving us a pretty varied release schedule.  We have a new podcast releasing almost every day except Saturday, but with the whole weekend being family time thing…  at least as far as my blog is concerned that is a dead spot in the statistics anyways.  I feel like at this point I should probably just cut to the chase and introduce the member podcasts.

  • AggroChat – you guys should know this one by now, since it is the podcast tied to the blog.
  • Battle Bards – awesome podcast devoted to something that is often times overlooked in the gaming experience…  the music.  Each episode is thought provoking as they delve into various game scores with the awesome cast of Gypsy Syl, MMOGC, and Sypster.
  • Beyond Bossfights – excellent thought provoking podcast by the man who started this madness.  Braxwolf often digs into deeper topics behind the games and communities we love.
  • Cat Context – awesomely intelligent podcast that is in essence a conversation between friends:  Liore, Arolaide and Ellyndrial.  I started listening because they were my guildies, and stuck around because it was always interesting.
  • Contains Moderate Peril – One of the most polished podcasts I have listened to and always enlightening.  Reminds me of the classic news discussion show, and always has interesting co-hosts.  Additionally Roger has an amazing voice, and I could listen to him read a phone book.
  • Couch Podtatoes – Face it, every podcaster is jealous they thought of this name first.  You come for the interesting name but you stay for the great dynamic of Izlain, J3w3l and Doone.  They always dig into some interesting discussions and have been known to do some interviews as well.
  • Massive Failure – Join the MMO Troll as he talks about what is happening in MMOs and adding commentary to what is going on.  Troll being tongue in cheek as he talks about the good, bad and the ugly in MMOs.
  • Roleplay Domain – And rounding out our founders is a cool podcast that I just started listening to myself recently.  Roleplay Domain is devoted to roleplaying in any form be it on the computer, classic tabletop or live action.

That is one hell of a founding line-up if I do say so myself.  I am absolutely humbled to be included in this venture, and I hope we don’t let everyone down with our more rambling style.  TGEN provides an opportunity for us all to cross pollinate our efforts, and help support each other.  I know personally even in the few days since the launch I have seen a boost in listeners to this past Sunday’s episode of Aggrochat, so it seems like the basic theory is working.

Shared Mission

What makes me the proudest of our network is that while many can say phrases such as “like-minded podcasters” without really hanging that on any sort of a framework, we sought to fix that.  Early on when we started talking about this network we decided that we needed some basic tenets that we should all abide by.  We went into this planning for the contingency that the network might grow beyond these podcasts and encompass new ones, and as we inducted them… we should have a clear “code of ethics” for them to follow as well to insure that the statement “like-minded” stayed true as we moved on.  You can check out the full form on the TGEN About page, but I am going to copy the relevant bits here.

What can you expect from TGEN?

  • Honesty – If we like something, we’ll say so. If we don’t like something, we’ll say so. It’s a pretty simple policy, really.
  • Creativity – We value the diverse, unique talents of our creators. As such, we offer a wide range of shows. At TGEN you’ll find topical discussions as well as news, opinions, interviews, and even music! All of which relate back to our main foci of gaming and entertainment.
  • Diversity – We hail from all around the globe and represent a variety of backgrounds and experiences. As such, you can expect a variety of input and opinions!
  • Collaboration – Even as diverse individuals, we understand that we can accomplish more by working together, not only as creators within TGEN, but also with outside shows, personalities and networks.
  • Consistency – While our creators all lead busy lives and release schedules may differ, we want to make sure that we have a steady flow of new content available. All shows on TGEN are “active” shows that release on as regular a basis as life allows. No waiting months between releases for our shows.
  • Fun – This may be the most important, yet easily overlooked. The purpose of gaming and entertainment is to have fun. And if we’re not having fun, neither will our listeners. Let’s build something fun together!

I think all of this creates a pretty firm foundation for us moving forward.  There has been talk of trying to do some regular mixed podcast roundtables in the future so I can only see things like that strengthening the network as a whole.  Additionally I feel like there is plenty of room for us to grow, and I know personally I have a handful of podcasts that I would love to “adopt” as I am sure other members do as well.  I am extremely excited to be a part of this, and am looking forward to seeing just what awesome things we can do together.

#TGEN #Podcasts