Gamer Social Media

AnookForTheWin

Love for Anook

AnookForTheWin

So anyone who follows me probably knows of my love of twitter.  Over the years it has become the only major social media network that I really interact with on a regular basis.  Technically I have Facebook, and G+ and essentially an account on every single social media network because I am always curious about the next big thing…. but rarely do they actually make an impact.  What has happened instead is that I seem to have become more and more entrenched in niche social media.  Firstly I have to talk about my love of Anook.  When this site first launched it confused the hell out of me.  In fact I was shooting off my mouth like I often do on twitter, complaining about me not really understanding its purpose….  when the Anook account started messaging me trying to explain it.  My attachment to this network is entirely thanks to one man, Lonrem the social and community manager for the site.  The site itself does a lot of things…  but it also has so far to go before it “grows up” into the site that it could be.

I have a long list of things that I would love to see on it, but I continue to use it as it is in the hope that someday the rest of the world will realize just how special this network really is.  It is built on a strange dynamic of forcing actual interaction with the site, rather than allowing folks to just auto post content.  This is cool because it means that folks are actually there and posting and commenting… but the negative is for content providers like myself it is frustrating to have to do extra work just to support them.  Each week when I publish AggroChat I go out and manually syndicate the content to our AggroChat Nook.  The first change I would love to see is for them to integrate with RSS feeds the same way they do with YouTube and auto format a post in a way as to showcase blog content.  The other big one for me is that their system only allows you to tag one game per post… and you all know I cannot seem to make single game posts like ever unless it is an impressions piece. In any case…. the community on Anook is amazing because Lonrem works his ass off to keep it that way.  Spammers, Bots and Trolls do not last long because the network is curated by hand.  I just hope that they get the funding to expand features and integrate with more things.

Slack: Private IRC Thingy

MyLoveForSlack

The next social thing that has taken me even further away from traditional social media… is Slack.  It is kinda hard to explain just what Slack is, but I tend to think of it as a private social network.  On one hand it is almost like having a private IRC server, and on other hands it is like having a private version of google drive or dropbox.  I was originally introduced to the tool through the MMOGames.com staff who uses it for coordination of articles and such.  I then started using it at work with my own development team, and we have pretty much switched to communicating exclusively through it so that if someone tags into a discussion late they can use the channel backlog to catch up on what is going on.  Finally I convinced the AggroChat crew to start using it to discuss and coordinate things during the week, and from there it kinda grew into me being in a huge number of private slack groups each of them with their own dedicated focus.  The end result is that I use other media less and tend to use slack as my key focus.  It has a bunch of benefits, like the fact that this site is largely used for business purposes around the world, and as such happily passes though most corporate web filters.

What slack does extremely well is text chat, and while they can integrate with a dozen other things and are even starting to move down the voice chat path…  they are the king of text allowing you more options than pretty much any other service.  For programmers this is amazing because it allows you to post snippets of code and then have it formatted and color coded for the language you posted it as.  This is huge when collaborating on development, and we even end up using this from time to time among the AggroChat crew.  You can also see in the above image that we have it integrated with twitter so that anytime someone sends a message directed at our AggroChat account it shows up in a specific channel.  The feature we have really gotten addicted to is the custom emoticons and I am not sure what I will do without my Vault Boy Thumbs Up icon to use as a reaction.  The piece of the equation that most people don’t know is that the team behind Slack… is Tiny Speck the company that built the amazing 2D MMO Glitch.  They essentially took the robust chat infrastructure behind that game… and turned it into a business product that honestly makes me feel a little good inside to be using.

Discord: New Voice Contender

DiscordTheNewKid

Over the years we have shifted back and forth between the three major voice providers for gaming purposes:  Teamspeak, Ventrilo, and Mumble.  Each of them has their own positives and negatives.  They all share a big negative however in that it requires you to either find someone willing to host a server for you, or pony up for server hosting costs.  For years during World of Warcraft raiding, I just ate the cost of a voice server because it was something like $45 a quarter.  However that still adds up over time, so when we were offered the Alliance of Awesome Teamspeak server I jumped at the chance to jump to no longer having to pay this fee.  That server has been awesome and we record AggroChat from it every Saturday night.  However deep down inside… I know that someone out there is having to foot the bill for our fun… and it kinda bothers me.  Recently a new app called Discord has somewhat taken the gaming world by storm.  In so many ways Slack and Discord seem to spawn from the same desire… to have server less communication for their users.  Slack went in the direction of replacing IRC, Instant Messenger and Email…. and Discord went down the path of trying to replace Teamspeak, Ventrilo and Mumble.  There is a huge bit of overlap between the two technologies but for the most part Slack is my daytime network, and Discord is rapidly becoming my night time network.

What is extremely awesome about this is that each game community seems to be adopting Discord, and I now have large communities in Destiny, ESO, Rift, and The Division that are focused that one game.  We recently shifted to using this as a World of Warcraft raid for the Stalwart casual Wednesday night raid and it works wonderfully.  The stability of Teamspeak has been a little questionable of late, and we went through a night where everyone sounded like robots.  This lead us to fire up a discord, and in a few minutes we were all able to chat happily with little to no lag.  There are some caveats here that I feel like I should talk about.  The web client is awesome for text based chat, but if you intend to use it long… I highly suggest downloading the client for your desktop or mobile platform.  The web client push to talk only works if you have focus on the web page…. meaning as soon as you alt tab into your game you can no longer speak.  A side note… if you are not using push to talk…  please god use push to talk.  I raided for years with folks who didn’t and really… we can hear every sneeze, fart, and kid yelling in the background.  I would absolutely jump from Teamspeak to Discord entirely… but as of right now there is no good means of recording a channel.  I’ve bumped the feature up on the request list, so hopefully maybe someday someone will see fit to do that.  Mostly I hate Skype with a passion and would love for Discord to really take over the podcast recording world.

Other Stuff

The thing is… these are the three services that I have now become extremely comfortable with and have integrated into my life.  There are so many others out there like Player.me that I have yet to really see the personal benefit of.  Then of course there are all of the services like Steam that we all use… but don’t really use like social networks.  Recently I have somewhat been forced to use Band because it is what my Destiny Clan switched to using.  It seems to have really great scheduling options, but pretty shitty chat or at least it is shitty if you are not using a mobile client.  I try and do everything I can through desktop or web based clients because nothing makes me a sad panda like typing on my phone. I am horrible at responding to non-critical text messages because I really hate the process of typing even with swype on a mobile device.  I know my wife uses the Google speech to text functionality a lot, but nothing makes me feel more of an idiot than talking to my phone.  So in the end… I put off responding to as much as I can until I am sitting back down at a keyboard again.  So I’ve showed you mine… what services do you now use that you cannot give up?  I am curious how these niche media sites are reshaping the way we interact with social media in general.

 

 

Wilderqueen

Contemplating Forge

Last night was another night that was all over the place.  Firstly I decided to reinstall Forge.gg and give it another chance.  I have so many mixed emotions about this service, I like the concept that I can grab short clips at the end of my gaming session.  I dislike the fact that I can ONLY grab short clips, which are generally too short to show a boss fight for example.  I like the always on nature, and that it can just run in the background without me feeling like I need to be entertaining.  However I ran into some issues last night where apparently even though I had push to talk set… it was still actively picking up my microphone the entire time as you can see in the above clip.  So you get a snippet of a conversation between my wife and I about something I don’t even remember.  I like the idea of streaming but I don’t always want to be actively interacting, and forge is this great middle ground.  Ultimately I wound up muting my microphone at a system level just to make sure that it was not picking up.  I am hoping this is just a bug in the current client, and I will crawl the site to see if I can find out why this was happening.

The other gotcha it seems is that it did not pick up and start recording Elder Scrolls Online.  I spent the first part of the evening doing garrison dailies and doing at least one Tanaan objective in World of Warcraft and it recorded all of that perfectly.  However as soon as I swapped into ESO, it never came up with the forge icon in the upper right hand corner of the screen letting me know it is recording.  I will say that the really really nice thing about the client is sometime in between my last attempt at using the service and this one… it seems to work nicer with Fraps because there is no way I am giving up that just to use the service.  I am too used to having a common and centralized screenshot tool for all of the games I play.  It is an absolute necessity that I have a fresh source of new screenshots for this blog, and I hate having to try and find the screenshot directory for each individual game.  So instead I tend to unbind the screenshot key if it is allowed and just use Fraps for everything.  It was awesome last night that I was able to use fraps just fine while still recording on forge….  at least when it came to World of Warcraft.  I am going to be a sad panda if that ends up being the issue with it recording Elder Scrolls Online.

Return to Greenshade

eso 2016-02-29 20-13-11-90

The bulk of my time last night was spent wandering around Greenshade in the Elder Scrolls Online.  Generally speaking I tend to play this game by wandering aimlessly from objective to objective, but last night I actually seemed to move through the zone with a purpose.  That purpose being ingratiating myself to the Court of the Wilderking, a forest spirit that controls the Valenwood and that the local Bosmer worship as a God King.  As part of trying to quell the rebellion and steal forces away from the Veiled Heritance, my mission was simple…  get the support of the Wilderking to get the support of the local forces…. thus ending the  rebellion.  I of course did a bunch of other stuff along the way, and I am not entirely complete with the main story sequence…  but I am having a blast.  I got sidetracked in helping a friend level in World of Warcraft, and then again by the Love is in the Air event…. and finally I am settling back into Elder Scrolls Online for a bit.  Granted currently I will probably continue to hop games like mad because there is just so damned much stuff that I want to be playing.  In Elder Scrolls I have yet to see any of the Imperial City content, or Orsinium… and they are just about to release the Thieves Guild as well.  So much catching up to do… but at the same time I feel like I have all the time in the world to do it because I am not playing the game at a serious end game focused level.

eso 2016-02-29 22-47-26-19

The other big happening of the night is that I finally dinged Veteran Rank 4, allowing me access to the next tier of crafted gear.  I was doing awesome….  until I screwed up and rushed to get my shield made and forgot to go to the set crafting area.  Originally I was planning on having 5 piece Alessia’s Bulwark, and 4 piece Ashen Grip…  except I am now sitting at 3 pieces in that set because I got sidetracked and ended up making a non-set shield.  Unfortunately I am completely out of the right kind of wood so I will need to do some more adventuring before I can finish things out.  For the time being I have opted to abandon my costume and go with the actual armor look because I dig the Imperial armor look.  I will probably always favor the Dunmer sword type, though recently I did enjoy using an axe for a bit.  The game looks amazing on the laptop, and I am so damned happy with how well everything is performing to be honest.  It does get a little hot but then again what gaming laptop doesn’t.  My previous one had a SLI graphics card configuration so had insanely hot air venting out of both sides of the laptop.  At least this setup isn’t continuously baking my mouse hand.  I just need to sort out why exactly Forge was not recording the game.

The Division

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Also looming on the near horizon is the launch of The Division.  At this point it is absolutely certain that I will be playing it on the PC, at least at first.  When the price comes down a little I will probably also pick it up for the PS4 so that I have access to it for any of the friends that happen to be playing there.  For the last few days since the end of the beta I have trying to sort out how best to organize folks for the upcoming launch.  The game itself does not really have guilds or clans or any structure like that….  at least that I saw in the two betas I have been part of.  So as a result this is going to make getting stuff going a little more difficult than in other games.  However my friend Sigtric, the man who coined the hashtag #BelEffect is firing up a Discord group and attempting to get it to be the official/unofficial chat server for the game.  If you are going to be playing I highly suggest you pop by and join the “Gone Rogue” community.  There is a shared general chat and breakout channels for PC, PS4, and Xbox One to make organizing things a little easier.  I honestly wish I had something like this for Destiny.  Discord is one of those things that is growing on me, and while I still find Slack easier to use…  there is a point in the near future where I could see abandoning traditional voice servers and moving to Discord entirely.