What’s up? (Personal stuff, mainly)

I am going to spare you the “2020 sucks” opener here. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a whole lot of suckage going on. But everyone knows that.

So, moving on. I haven’t been playing MMORPGs much lately. That’s pretty out-of-character for me. I just haven’t been feeling it. It might be burn out, it might just be a mood swing. Who knows? I’ll undoubtedly be back in MMOs eventually. In the meantime, I’ve been playing just a little bit of a bunch of other games.

I have been playing Oblivion and Skyrim. (Yes. Oblivion.) And even though I finished the main story and many other quest lines in a playthrough long ago, I feel like somehow I have a better grasp on the game now. After countless hours in Skyrim, I have a better feel for The Elder Scrolls games in general. I definitely prefer the Skyrim controls, but it took me no longer than 15 minutes to adapt.

I have played a little bit of Among Us and some Phasmophobia as well. It’s not like me to be so close to “on trend.” I usually come around 2 or 3 years late. You can play Among Us on mobile for free. I bought it for PC after trying it on mobile. Both games are definitely worth the money and the download.

Rimworld is still occupying some of my late night playtime, but I am not playing it quite as much as I had been. I think when I get a new day job, I will get the Royalty expansion and start again. (I shouldn’t have spent the money on the previously mentioned games either, but I just wanted to play with my friends and family, so there are no regrets about that at all.)

No Man’s Sky has pulled me back in. I loved the game from day one, while other people were hating on it because it didn’t meet their expectations. Not having expectations, I loved it for what it was. The updates since then have been stellar, if you’ll forgive the pun. It was an ugly duckling but has turned into a beautiful and much more popular swan. And all of those updates were free. It is truly a completely different game. And I still love it. I just wish I could devote more time to it– longer play sessions, a little more frequently. That’s just not what my life allows right now.

And that’s about it. I have been feeling the urge to play more city/colony building games, so I may yet drop into Tropico 5, Frostpunk, Banished, and/or Dawn of Man. I already own all those and a few others that may yet be called up from the minors. I am in no position to shell out money for anything new.

Late at night when I am too tired to play anything, I check out other games on YouTube. Godhood looks like it might be up my alley. But first, I need to scramble around and find money to live on.

Re: YouTube — I also watch a lot of house building and renovation videos. I love some of the art channels. I like those channels where people make stuff out of resin. Watching ribbons of resin shoot off while they are spinning something on a lathe is just soothing to me. I almost feel like I want to shout out some of my favorite channels here, but then I would want to link them, and I am too tired to do that right now. I feel like one of my other blogs might be a better fit for that, though. My favorite game channels ought to be here, though. Some other time.

I am off to bed so that I can jump into the upcoming week with both feet. I would promise you that I’d post more often, but we both know that my good intentions aren’t worth much when chaos reigns in my home.

Why is finding a guild so hard?!

I have been in some good guilds, back in EverQuest, then World of Warcraft, then Jade Dynasty. At some point, though, I started playing irregular hours, and fewer hours total. That sort of thing happens when you have a lot of adulting to do.

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Maybe I am just really bad at meeting people these days. I just have the worst time finding guilds to join in games where I don’t know anyone else playing. (That’s pretty much all of them all of the time. Even when I know people playing, we end up playing at different times or on different servers or different factions.)

I do sometimes find guilds by answering recruitment messages in general chat. Sometimes I have good luck with that, but mostly I struggle to find a good fit. I like a chatty, social guild where people get together and do things together. I am just not going to be a hardcore player at this point in my life, and I can’t guarantee that I will play regularly or predictably. I just want to make some friends. I would probably play more regularly if I had a fun guild with casual chat to look forward to.

I am shy and socially awkward in real life. I carry those traits with me into games. I feel like I need a guild to adopt me as their pet in the games I play. You know, take me in, coax me out from under the bed, reassure me that everything is ok, maybe toss me some catnip. There should be an app for that. They could call it “Guilder.”

 

Testing out the new keyboard.

This entry is mainly an opportunity to try out my new keyboard, but it will get around to broader hardware issues. I am open to suggestions on that front.

My computer, the one upon which all my games are played, is a laptop. I have had it for a couple of years now, and it does just fine with most games. The thing is, I am not the only one who uses my personal laptop. Sometimes my 14-year-old daughter will borrow it to play games that her computer (my old laptop) won’t run. Sometimes my 4-year-old uses it to watch Netflix. And, to be fair, sometimes I eat and drink around my computer. So it should come as no surprise that my keyboard has a come to have a couple of little issues, the worst of which is a sticky, almost unusable space bar.

Maybe I just wore it out trying to jump up the side of mountains in Skyrim.

I have a flexible, roll-up rubber keyboard that I bought to convert for conlanging purposes, and it is both functional and waterproof, but the action on it is very soft (as one would probably expect) so it wasn’t sufficient for the amount of typing I do on a daily basis. I ended up ordering a cheap keyboard from Wish, and while the construction is obviously cheap, it feels pretty good.

I won’t be replacing this laptop for another year, but I am thinking about going back to a desktop the year after next. Who knows what the latest and greatest will be at that point, but I will be aiming for the high end of the mid-range in order to fit into my budget. I might build it, or I might just order one. I have built PCs before, and that can be cheaper, but there’s something to be said for the ease of just taking one out of the box and plugging it in.

Sad Bean and the MMO

CW: depression, mental illness

I have been told that I overshare about my mental struggles online. I just feel like not talking about them makes them seem like some unspeakable thing that should only be mentioned in whispers, and that doesn’t seem to do much to combat the stigma. Being open about things is a way I can take action to bring mental illness out of the shadows where it can be talked about without shame. That said, if reading about depression is likely to cause you any kind of anxiety or discomfort, I am going to write a second, less personal post that I will link to right here so that you can move on.

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sad bean

Hi. My name is Mia, and I am depressed.

That is to say that I have what the alphabet soup coalition calls MDD, or major depressive disorder, for which I am mightily medicated. Right now, the meds don’t seem to be helping very much, which is distressing on its own because every time I think I’ve found something that is going to work to get me stable and productive in the long term, I eventually have some kind of depressive episode that blows that theory all to heck.

What does this have to do with MMOs? Lots of depressed people play games, you might say. This is true. I just thought I would take a moment to talk about the relationship between gaming and depression for me. Everyone is different, and everyone’s difficulties manifest in different ways, so I am only speaking for my own experience here.

The first phase when I am approaching a depressive episode, but I am not down in the abyss yet, is the escapist phase. This is when I use games to escape my own mental state and my inability to negotiate the world when I am in decline. In its more mild form, this is similar to using games as a vacation from the grind of real life. In its more severe form, it is similar to the way people lose jobs and flunk out of school, using games as a distraction that lets them avoid real life.

The second phase is the part where I can’t and don’t play games at all because I struggle with making even simple decisions like what I will play or what I will do once I am logged in. I am not motivated to do anything really, and I don’t enjoy anything either. At that phase, I open the folder on my desktop where I keep all my games, look at them, and close it. I might look again after a few minutes, the way you re-check a refrigerator that you know is empty, but then I wander off and sleep or stare blankly at the TV or sit with a blank piece of paper and a pen in my hand as if I might draw or write.

I don’t draw or write. I just sit there feeling bad about not being able to think of anything to draw or write. I feel a little guilty about not really even wanting to draw or write.

Sooner or later, it fades and I resume being a somewhat normal person. I used to kid myself that the episode that just ended was really the last one, and I’d just be normal from that point on. It turns out that depression tends to come back, especially if your history with it is very, very long. I’ve had depression since I was in elementary school, so it probably isn’t going to magically go away. The meds minimize the frequency, intensity, and duration of episodes, but they still come around at varying levels a few times a year.  I also struggle with a couple of anxiety disorders, but the same medication that keeps me on a more even keel also ameliorates anxiety to some degree. Two birds with one pill. Or three pills, which seems a lot less efficient when I put it that way.

I am currently between phase one and phase two. If you’re the praying type, pray for me. If you’re the playing type, save my place in the queue. I’ll be back.

Eventually.

Mia MIA

I am exhausted and my eyes are burning from too much screen time, mainly at work. Needless to say, this is going to be short. It is not a writing or gaming night.

I have been playing some Aura Kingdoms and Neverwinter this week, as well as collecting my freebies in Riders of Icarus. Otherwise, my job and family are keeping me busy.

Anyway, I am going over there to my bed to write down a few ideas on old fashioned paper before I pass out for the night.

It’s APRIL. ALREADY.

2019 seems to be in a real hurry. We’re in the fourth month as of today. It is my youngest grandchild’s birthday, so happy birthday to The Grub! (Even her parents call her that. For real.)

For the record, I don’t do April Fools’ nonsense. I hate practical jokes. I hate how gullible I am even more.

March was a relatively light gaming month. I spent more of my evenings with my kids and husband, and I spend most of my days at the day job.  I’ve also been struggling with some depression. (Note to self, write about gaming and mental health at some point.) My most played MMO games were Riders of Icarus, Project Gorgon, and Black Desert Online. I played a lot of the single-player Dawn of Man as well.

My plans for April include playing a lot more Elder Scrolls Online. I have been thinking about buying Elsweyr, so I should probably actually play the game.  I will also explore Shroud of the Avatar over the next couple of weeks. And I will probably play some more Dawn of Man, just because I want to see how my current village turns out.

Oh, and Steam just now popped up a notification that it is done downloading TERA. So there’s that.

 

The Great (Re)installation

Since the laptop surgery, I have been adding games back onto my computer– games I was playing, games I haven’t played in a long time, and even a few that are completely new to me. It is very heavy on the MMORPGs, and some of them have been installed specifically so that I can explore and  then write about how that went.

This is what I have in my desktop folder for game shortcuts:

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(Yes, I organize my shortcuts and frequently used files into folders on my desktop because I don’t like too many icons on my desktop, but I do use them to launch programs.)

As I type this, I am patching Blade & Soul (not in the image above) because I want to collect my Hong Moon Ascension pack that I got for registering prior to the release of the new expansion. As I have previously revealed, I love the digital doodads. This one has some nice stuff in it:

hongmoon

In other news, I have been playing some Project: Gorgon. I will reveal a little more about that later. In the meantime, I am not sure it has actually been saving the screenshots it said it was saving, since I can’t seem to find them anywhere on my PC. I did a Google search, and it seems like this problem might be an actual thing, so that’s something I need to work out in the next couple of days.

And, on the topic of Project: Gorgon, I see that they’ve added a free demo (details here) and they have a store in which they are selling packages that include things that aren’t currently in the game yet, like horse riding and breeding.

I would like to support the game, but the packages are $50, $75, and $500. That seems a little steep for things that haven’t been implemented yet. And while I really enjoy the game, it is an early access game that I paid $39.99 for already.

Maybe they could sell some t-shirts. I have paid out some foolish amounts of money on t-shirts for podcasts that I love. I like to wear my fandoms.

That’s the news around here. Blade & Soul is still downloading stuff. I think I am going to wrap things up around here and then crawl into bed. The day job is expecting to see me in the morning.

 

 

Wailing and the Gnashing of Teeth

Sometime between when I played Riders of Icarus last night and when I got up this morning, my data drive, on which all my games were installed, bit the big one. Looking at the BIOS, I am not sure it is even finding that SATA port anymore. I have people who can look at it to possibly diagnose and fix the problem, but for now, The Gnarly Gaming Laptop is now just The Laptop.

I do have some room on my solid state (system) drive where I could install some things, but not with the wild abandon with which I installed things on the 1TB hard drive. I don’t have the room for that. This means that I will actually have to make choices about what games I install, and not just install everything with the intention to play at some point in the future that may or may not come.

So, I need to decide what is worth the space. I’ve been playing a lot of Riders of Icarus lately, and I may have found a guild to join there, so that might be one thing. I don’t feel like I can justify both Bless Online and Black Desert Online. I’ve been playing those both a lot less lately. I am possibly playing Bless more than BDO lately, just because there’s still more novelty there. I still have some time on my free month of FFXIV, and I also bought that game at one point; I have enjoyed it more recently that I remember enjoying it in the past. Which brings me to GW2– I was just talking about subscribing and/or buying expansions for that. It’s also still fun and novel to me. And, lastly, I was planning to get back into ESO, and was planning pre-order the upcoming expansion while this Khajiit still has some coin on hand.

On the non-MMORPG front, Stardew Valley might be good, but I have also been thinking really hard about buying Rimworld or Dawn of Man (the latter of which is on sale on Steam and also on Humble, where my son gets an affiliate cut of the sale). Civ V? Cities: Skylines? Dragon Age: Origins?

I just don’t have room for all those things. I must make decisions.

I know I don’t have that many readers, but maybe you guys could suggest what you might like to see me tackle and write about. It doesn’t have to be any of the things above, just any MMORPG you think would be fun or funny for me to write about. Meanwhile, I will think about it while I clean the kitchen.