Sticky like quicksand is “sticky”

May 20, 2020 - 2 Responses

Not like molasses at all. More like a really big bowl of oatmeal.

What I like about many games is the grindiness – the good grindiness – the meaningful grindiness – of something important to me that is gained by the time invested or a repetitive activity endured. However, if I am not growing, more specifically learning, through that activity, then it’s not really meaningful.

I don’t like things to be handed to me. I like to earn them and to understand the cost and benefits in the process. I’d rather make a corpse run over and over until I understand the timing or synergy of my abilities, than have a buddy or well-meaning stranger “help” me take out a particularly tough mob. That’s what makes something a game for me. That’s why I can get engrossed for hours. I’m just working on this one little goal and I’ve almost got it.

Unfortunately, that’s also why I’m not good at grouping. I’ve tried. I’ve really tried.

So the past couple of weeks, I’ve been spending a little time in Project: Gorgon, anticipating the upcoming Animal Husbandry skill addition. I’ve also returned to OSRS where I had started playing as an ironwoman last winter. Have I mentioned I like grinds?

However, now I’ve added WoW and WoW Classic to my personal game roster. Since they’re somewhat unfamiliar territory for me, I’ve been giving them most of my attention. When I first re-subbed in mid-April, I had intended to try Classic. After the first night with a my new dwarf hunter in Coldridge Valley, I had second thoughts. By the second day, I decided to give Retail a look. I hadn’t played for a couple of years, but remembered having fun the last time I played.

And, yes! I really have had fun. With the double XP boost, I’ve been able to take my little Alliance toons to zones I’d never visited before and finally to Outland. Yeah, I finally made it to level 60. So trying new zones and using the achievement panel as a guide, I’ve been sampling story lines, seeing the sights, and trying to understand the lore, a thing I’d never done before.

The only problem is the flip side of the XP-bonus-coin. I out-level the resource nodes for my professions too quickly. It’s boring (non-meaningful grindy) to go back to completed zones or to double up gathering professions on other toons, just to get enough of the right ores and leathers to properly advance my production professions. Those are still all far behind the corresponding combat levels of my toons.

So my initial enthusiasm for Retail has begun to flag somewhat. Much I read disputes the utility of the professions in the current game. I probably should just set them aside and play for the zone stories and the class mechanics. The little internal character RP I do is based on these, of course.

So…I have returned to Classic, and find I can savor that grindiness, after all. Engineering is helpful and easy to keep on level.  I’ve just gotten my pet. There’s a bounce in my step, but the ground is sticky enough to keep me faithful…for the moment.



My next step in blogging

May 9, 2020 - Leave a Response

Yesterday, I mentioned the most important lesson I’ve learned during Blapril – read for joy, write for joy.

A practical next step for me is to learn my tools, particularly the WordPress site tools. For example, I remember that during the first week I was able to create and select tags for each post.  At some point, that option went away. Did I change settings somehow? That kind of fogginess makes me crazy.  Guess I’ll have to read the instruction manual…

At the beginning of the Blapril run, I had planned to focus my playtime and commentary on Project: Gorgon and on Old School RuneScape. I totally blame other bloggers for tempting me back into WoW, of all things. This is not the first era in which I’ve played, but perhaps this time I’ll explore Azeroth for more than a couple of months.

My history with the game began after my final career change, from manufacturing to public education.  As a newly minted high school language arts / special education teacher, still in graduate school, I ran across the work of Peggy Sheehy and Lucas Gillespie (here and here).

Before long, I logged into WoW, joined the Cognitive Dissonance Guild, and was the grateful recipient of gentle newbie guidance from hard-core raiders, most of whom had just spent their daylight hours running college and secondary classrooms. I never progressed beyond mid-level newb-hood, but it was a delightful introduction.

 Meliflora Lvl 41

My new Fury Warrior. Gnomes and Goblins lead the best lives.

Blapril is almost over, but I’m not

May 8, 2020 - Leave a Response

Well, I do like writing, but I’m afraid I just forget it’s a thing I can do, or even should do. Writing has not been a habit for a long, long time – since before the internet became a standard utility.

Most of my writing for the last twenty years has been for an audience of one – myself. One lesson Blapril has taught me is that posting something online has a great advantage over jotting down ideas in a journal.  It is so much easier to search for a string or a tag in a previous post than to rummage through boxes of old binders and legal pads, looking for an elusive scrap of a half-formed idea.

However, when I started this month of “daily” posting, my intent was to meet and grow into becoming part of an established community of other writers, many of whom I had been enjoying for years. I had hoped to pay tribute to the encouragement and insights I’d so long received while perhaps adding some novel, amusing reflection of my own.

I realize now that was an overly ambitious, nonspecific goal. The first week I read everyone else’s posts daily, recording notes on a little spreadsheet I’d devised. I highlighted ideas I wanted to save for possible future comment and elaboration.

It was fun at first, but it quickly turned into work. Real work. Then I began to feel that I wasn’t really “participating” in the community if I couldn’t comment in a timely fashion. Certainly, it would be self-centered to post without having read what everyone else had to say recently.

So I just dived more deeply into my renewed interested in WoW, and am just now reemerging to say, “Hi. I see the error of my assumptions. How have y’all been?”

I plan to continue by posting as I can, and by appreciating what others have to say as I can.  So many of you are among the kindest, most inspiring folks I “know.”  And I thought that before Blapril ever started.




Blapril: Day 19   Well, I’ve been playing games and…uh…didn’t notice the time

April 17, 2020 - Leave a Response

I stepped away from digital engagement for Holy Week (the week preceding Easter) and chose to just be “quiet” in the face of the enforced “fast” from most of the people I love. It was really all I could do.

However, this week  – all week long – has been Easter week, and that means every day is a feast day! Yes! You hobbits know what I’m talking about.

In honor of the many folks in the Blapril group who wear their WoW hearts on their sleeves, I’ve resubbed for the first time in a while. I’ve never been more that a casual player, but that’s true of everything I play.

Anyway, imagine my delight to find a 100% XP bonus. New toons, let’s go!

Aww, it’s going to end in a week.

Oh wait. (Thanks, Krikket!) Blizzard is going to extend it until Shadowlands releases!  That’s a relief. Now I can stop for a moment to say “hi” to any Blapril friends who stop by.


Blapril Day #9

April 7, 2020 - 2 Responses

I’ve been MIA from my little blog and my resolution to post daily. I’ve decided to not feel guilty, as I’m sure no one else does when they have to miss a day or two. The goal is to have fun and to connect. So…Greetings, dear Blapril friends!

I have been playing Project: Gorgon and DDO the last few nights. There’s really not as much free time during the day as I would have expected.

Playing a “beast form” (in my case, a deer) in P:G can be a little challenging, though I prepped her before I drank that deer juice potion. I had built favor with NPCs in Serbule, the starter town, so I could would at least have decent storage space. However, there are still a few resources I cannot gather and skills I cannot train directly.

A short-term goal is to make a few lists of NPC related obstacles in important locations, prepare a few Word of Power “illusion” spells, and then, during the 90 seconds or 2 minutes the NPCs think I’m an elf or a human, work fast to raise favor or buy an ability, or whatever is needed.

This is something of a chore. First, I have to gather resources for the Lore level of the desired spell, and then make the “recipe.” Then I record the resulting Word of Power in my in-game notepad. Later, that word is “spoken” in chat, the spell is cast, and can’t be used again.

Further, which spell I get for a particular Lore level’s recipe is random from a pool of about a dozen possible spells. Sometimes, I have to make the recipe a number of times to get the desired spell. Fortunately, most of the spells are useful, and can be saved for other tasks, such as teleports or temporary stat bonuses. The whole process will become a little easier once my doe is strong enough to enter tougher zones, and gather the materials more quickly.

For a different kind of fun, I’ve finally started sewing a few face masks, at my husband’s request. I’m surprised, and pleased, that he wanted them since we have a very small stash of the N95 masks at hand from a home improvement project last fall. As infrequently as we go out now, they would be enough for a few more weeks. I never dreamed he’d want to wear my handiwork abroad, though he is still picky about the colors and designs. “Solid blues and greens, if you please, no garden flowers or paw prints.”

Blapril: Day 5 Nice to Have Friends

April 3, 2020 - Leave a Response

Though she drank the Deer Juice on purpose, with full intent and knowledge, my platinum blonde elf Tiphonay is still considered “cursed” with a beast form in Alharth, the main continent in Project: Gorgon.

Even to those NPCs willing to talk with her, the thought doesn’t seem to occur that her status might be a choice. These are kind, helpful acquaintances, but patronizing.

Some friendly types don’t give her that much credit. Many sentient animals figure she’s just another escaped wizard’s familiar, or, possibly, an animal that was “enlightened” by a stray bolt of lightning. And, honestly, it may be best not to disabuse them of their error.

Tiphonay with Winter Court fairy Flia and Tiphonay’s companion, Tizzy the Rat (partially hidden by meadow flowers)

Besides leveling up her Deer abilities, Tiphonay has embraced the art and science of Animal Handling, hoping the synergy of this skill pairing will be adequate to ensure her survival in an unpredictably perverse world.

Tizzy, her first pet, has been a faithful little companion, willing to throw herself into the heat of battle to aid her mistress. One of the great joys of this relationship is that Tizzy accepts Tiphonay as she is, and seems to revel in their time together. After miles of running, doing favors for NPCs just to gain a few more storage slots, it’s gratifying just to relax in the company of a real friend.

Blapril: Day 4 More on goals

April 2, 2020 - Leave a Response

My remark yesterday about my April goal was just silly. I am that “conflicted.” Even so, I plan to start off week four of Blapril with my appreciation of the Elder Game dev team.

I know very well that I enjoy early-access Project: Gorgon.  However, I find certain elements annoying, even distasteful. In the past several years, I’ve rage despair quit several times, staying away for months, only to return for another fun-spree.  I don’t know how long I’ll keep playing this time.  I expect I’ll be repeating the cycle.

However, I’d like my little fire-mage-turned-doe to become a frequently sighted face among the denizens of Animal Town. I’d like her to develop the confidence to shrug, not cower, when confronted by an NPC with species prejudice. I’d like to her to romp through the Kur Mountains with a polar bear companion.

To accomplish all that, I’ll need to stick with the game throughout the month. I’m saying that “out-loud” for accountability.

One more adventure in which I’d like to invest time is D&D Online. Since Standing Stone Games has opened up access to most content this month, I feel I really need to take advantage of it, having only sampled a little F2P in the past.  I appreciate their generosity, and that of so many others, in these times.

I may have gaming goals…

April 1, 2020 - Leave a Response

About 1995 or so, my family embarked on our first internet adventures. However, it wasn’t until 2004 that my grandson introduced me to online gaming as we logged into RuneScape together.

While he visited that summer, we didn’t need a chat app (did those even exist then?) since our computers were in the same room. When his vacation ended, we kept up frequent “play dates,” though he and his buddies progressed much faster than I did. Memories of those early gaming years are my special treasure.

That experience marked the birth of my first online “life.” I’ve since been many other “people” in many other games, many forgotten, but not all. Like most gamers, I return to old favorites occasionally, dust them off, and take on that life for awhile. I’ve never maxed any character in any game, so they’ve all got plenty of living yet to do. (I’d call them “toons,” but that sounds like I’m objectifying them.)


However, after an absence of many years I returned to a RuneScape character last summer. I decided try her out in Old School RuneScape instead of the current RS3. My first day back, another newly returned player asked me what my goals were. If you can mumble in the chat box, I did, something inane like, “I think I’ll focus on combat instead of just skilling.”

Actually, I’d never given thought to long-term “goals,” beyond just leveling up a skill to unlock a zone, or some gear, or some other desirable. In games more structured and less, I’ve always just coasted along, exploring the sights, sounds, and “culture” as I went, enjoying the baked-in sense of burgeoning competence.

Games like LotRO or ESO have been enjoyable like that, since I figured I would never get close to endgame anyway. Sandboxy games like early-access Ascent: The Space Game or Minecraft servers required a great deal more work to make “role-play” succeed, yet my goals were of approximately the same scope.

Another day, I’ll reflect more on what it means to me to have “goals” in games. In the meantime, my goal for April is to keep playing Project: Gorgon until I can decide whether the value I receive is worth the sacrifice I make to continue.

Blapril: Day 2

March 31, 2020 - Leave a Response

When I saw the Blapril logo, even before reading the announcement post, I knew this would be the “campaign” to finally jump in.

I could use a good dose of community right now. Many of the Blapril participants pen my favorite blogs, ones I’ve enjoyed for years. I’ve hung around the edges, an infrequent commenter, at best. Now, having actual conversations with others seems much more fun than jotting down a note in my journal.

Good medicine, indeed.

That’s how I’ll approach this blog, reflecting on what others have said, sharing my own episodes of casual gaming, and other sorts of serious fun. (Important note: I am delighted to see yarn folks in the group. I’m sensing an inexplicable tug in that direction!)

However, regarding the real work of “blogging,” I really am a newbie. This site was previously reserved for classroom posts for parents of my elementary school students. I’m not sure anyone ever visited before now.

Nice to see you. Thank you for dropping by.

The 1st Day of Blapril!

March 30, 2020 - 2 Responses

So, we move from winter to spring, from an old life to a new. It’s a good time for reflection, for allowing joy to burst forth from the ground.

This is a new blog on a site abandoned, but not forgotten, now dedicated to serious leisure, or more precisely, to serious fun…to digital (and analog?) games, but most especially to the wonderful people who design them, play them, and talk about them.

Thank you, Belghast, mentors, and all bloggers who are taking up the challenge of blogging every day in April. I hope my formatting and chatter grow up into an engaging little bloom of their own.