The Reward

An interesting short animation my friend Jag shared with me that i'd like to share with you all.

When I was watching the two adventurers quest together, it made me think that its just like when I quest with my girlfriend.


Frost and Flamers

So. New content: Flame and Frost. Go read it.
Whats with mini pets? So much for a cat with a hat, and a mini wolf.. that reminds me of a fox/dog. I hope alot of people spend their laurels on that instead of gear. I like the new dailies you need to complete CONCEPT, but hate it in practice. If you asked me the thing I hate most in GW2, I would shout out: underwater combat. While better and more immersive than other mmo's, underwater combat sucks imho. Having do a certain number of dodges to complete your daily, while easy.. is also a bit annoying to complete as well. Lets give it a few weeks and see how it turns out before we start flogging ANet on trying something new.


Somewhere Else

Goodbye old server.. you were good, but some of you are a incredibly immature and short sighted. I wish those that caused such problems, to see how heavy the burden of leadership really is for you and realize how lucky you were to have  our GM facilitating everything. I know you'll just give up and leave the community anyways. I truly hope to find you on the battlefield and we shall camp you incessantly.

On a better note, love the art from Magic: The Gathering. This picture makes me want to keep playing my Ranger.. but for the third (yeah) time, I can't learn to love the class. For more art, checkout the article and the official site.

Kinda wish I felt the enormity of the game as strongly when I look at this photo compared to the actual GW2 cities.


You're as loud as you are Ignorant!

Yesterday I did something I didn't think i'd ever do after a long day of training merchants over the phone at work: spend 2.5 hours in a Teamspeak guild meeting discussing our future. While enjoyable (to interact with everyone), it was also intense with many strong opinionated people.

With the time coming to a close for free server transfers, the officers and GM was contemplating whether our server was a good fit for us. This caught me off guard slightly, for while I did know about this, it was coincidently at a time in which other guilds were playing politics and (essentially) backstabbing our GM. I don't know how he does it, but with inhuman strength, my GM has pulled the server community together and facilitated cooperation with the rest of the guilded and non-guilded alike, with both high professionalism and grace. And while nearly everyone (both our guild, other guilds, and non-guilded people) was happy and thankful of his massive contributions, there were some not being honest and instead growing with resentment. They suddenly felt that this facilitation was bullying, disorganized and that instead of including the whole community in organizing our WvW, that only a few guilded representatives should make the decisions for the larger group.

It kind of hurt me to see our guild in such turmoil; there were ones that wanted to stay and others that wanted to leave, both for very valid reasons. For the longest time while I listened, I couldnt make up my mind what I wanted. Some were hurt that after putting so much effort in bringing the community together, the vocal minority was looking to tear it all down. While this could be seen as the community sharing the load of responsibility, it (wasn't said, but implied) didn't seem like this minority would spend the time to grow AND maintain the community. These people seemed like the ones that seek instant gratification and couldn't bother with the day-to-day constant issues my GM had to deal with. There were two sides of the coin for this issue (to stay or leave) as 'we' (everyone: the GM for all his facilitation, free TS, monthly meetings, coordination, the commanders for leading and having a presence, and the other guildies friendliness and professionalism which is the culture of the guild) had put in alot of time and effort into this server. To leave, we would say good riddance to these ungrateful people, in the hopes they see how hard it is to lead a community and revel in their own misery when it all came apart. The risk would be that while other servers may APPEAR to be filled with fantastic like-minded people, it is all a facade; people WANT you to come to their server, so of course they will appear that everything is ok. But there are internet trolls wherever you go, and we run the risk of being in the same situation again, only this time, if we want to move, it will cost us money to transfer.

If we stay, maybe these people will fall into line, stay the same, or even get worse. No one really knows, but in this case, atleast the guild is fully intact and there is no painful process of trying to enter very full servers and having them coordinate blackout periods.

I see it that there are two communities in MMO games: inner and outer. The inner community is you, your friends and your guildies. The outer is the other guilds and nonguilded (pugs, is derogatory). I wrote a very opinionated entry on #savecoh a while back and I stick with it as it now affects me. I care about both my inner and outer community, but it is also a fluid entity: just because we move servers, doesn't mean we lose the community. Even if ArenaNet closed GW2 tomorrow, we wouldn't lose our community as we could always talk on TS, have our forums and knowing the kind of people we were, we'd find a new game we could all play together and continue. We'd lose much of the outer community, but what imho matters is the inner community. The inner community is much more flexible as the lines of communication is stronger, allowing us to exist and not be required to stay rooted to one spot, whether it be one server or one game.

"I'll follow you (the guild and GM)through the gates of hell" ~Billy

So while a toxic community was one of the main factors to choosing whether to stay or leave our server, there was another major part to consider: WvW competition and coordination. Our GM described us as a PvX guild, where the X stand for "everything." So we weren't necessarily (altho many people sound to want it) a WvW-centric guild, but one that did a little of everything, both Pve, Dungeons and WvW. People seemed unhappy that due to the toxic community and other factors (including low oceanic presence) that their World vs World experience wasn't as fulfilling. This was a tricky subject because while everyone felt the aforementioned toxic community part, not everyone was deeply vested in WvW. Now this is an important part b/c if you're not affected by WvW, then a toxic community MAY have a lesser effect. Imho these PvX people would feel less impacted by a server change as most of their normal routines wouldn't be affected. 

This is what I understood from the more hardcore WvW-centric concerned guildies: our server lacked (enough to be more effective)coordination, technical expertise and dedication (numbers-wise). Coordination is affected by the community; if it is toxic, that creates a barrier, but no community is perfect and there will always be those that seek instant gratification in WvW/whatever they do. The closest thing to this is a zerg that constantly flips control (camps, towers, keeps, etc)points. The other half of the coin of WvW is defending, which is the polar opposite of instant gratification. It is that feeling deep down that you are contributing in a different way, looking towards the long term. It IS a balance tho, a server cannot always be attacking or always defending and be successful as you'll always have multiple variables, the two big ones being the two other servers.

Technical expertise can be taught but only learned by those that want to. Once again, it goes back to instant gratification, if a player just wants to go in, grab camps, be mobile, get loot, badges and experience, they will follow the zerg and do what they feel like. They won't spend the time to learn  how to play their class more effectively unless it somehow will lead to even greater rewards. Even if they possess the skill, they may not possess the patience that it takes to defend positions. We (as players) can never escape this; while we may go to another server with a higher pool of players with skill, they might be disorganized and 'selfish' and it would be even worse than being in the original server with less skilled players.

So our choice was clear, either stay:
- deal with our growing toxic community and let the vocal minority get their way, or split the community into two factions; those that like the way we lead which is inclusive although a bit hard to control, or let it become a more exclusive club which can alienate the ones exluded
- stay with the guilds we've built relationships and influence with, as they don't intend on leaving the server
- continue to build upon everything we worked so hard on
- deal with the issues of WvW

Or leave for greener pastures:
- hoping that everyone can make it through the blackout
- that we can afford to rebuilt/rebuy influence for the guild
- that it isn't a facade and that people are genuine and cooperative
- that it won't just eventually deteriorate due to the fact that (vocal)trolls exist on every server
- the possibility that it is even worse (community and WvW-wise)than the current server and what we intend on doing if that is the case
- with the possibility that WvW will be more gratifying  (typically anything new, always is INITIALLY)


Release the Flying Kraken!

I asked for it and then a few days later it was up on an article at the Wizards Website.
This will be perfect.. as I typically lack fliers in my Kraken(slash Leviathan) deck. Coupled with the fact that my Kraken has a high emphasis on mana ramp (I use up all my lands).. we could be looking at an impossibly huge creature. I do miss the unblockable or shrouded krakens though as it'll be a juicy target to be used against me.

Just an updated pic of my mesmer.. I like how the Midnight Fuscia matches my skin color.. but I personally like the white and gold color combination better.. white looks great tho. I understand the reasoning to it, but I would prefer to be able to see my enemies dyed in the color that they chose and not depending on the color of their server side(fully red, green or blue). Its cooler to make a name for yourself if they can identify you by your look and color: "oh no, white and purple? thats probably that unkillable mesmer!" or "hey guys! easy kill! its that kamikaze mesmer!" Fyi, currently its the latter lol.


A Whole New World

Guess what?
I really never understood that 'joke' or reference when my coworker told it.

Anyways; great fantastic, amazing news: We've switched to cable internet and its as fast as it was advertised. No longer does one need to start a video, pause it right away to let it buffer. No longer do I avoid Steam purchases for fear that it'll take over a day to download. Now there is no pressure to sneak some gaming in before one of my siblings come home and causes massive lag. Welcome to the future; i'm never going back to the type of internet plans I had before.

My good friend Kossi sent me some mail yesterday and she wanted me to post a picture of how I look; it was Midnight Fushcia.. which as you can see is a wicked dark purple. Still trying to find the right color that will mix well with it. Maybe a red.. or gold. Maybe its just the cheapo armor I have on where the color doesn't seem to pop out at you.

 By the way, one of the coolest (and unique) features of Guild Wars 2 is the ability to both chat and send mail to people in different servers. So altho Kossi and I are in different servers, we're still able to send each other mail (her dyes to me, and I sent her some birthday cake). Come the 28th, ArenaNet will be implementing guesting, meaning you no longer have to change servers to party with your friends (if they're on all different servers), and can just join their server for that session of gameplay.

Don't know how many people (doubt any of my friends are) following the card previews for Gate Crash.. but there are some wicked cards.. although i'm waiting for a cool Kraken-type card to add to my Kraken themed deck. Krakens totally fit the Simic (green-blue, watery experiment) theme.

Elusive Krasis! I choose you!



Its been a lonnnng time since i've written an entry (in my blogging world) and I attribute it to a very frustrating experience i'm having with my internet. Last week, we were without internet for two days and I spent it watching episodes of Homeland with Claire Danes and the guy who played Captain Winters from Band of Brothers. I absolutely love Guild Wars 2, but am thankful that i'm not addicted to it that it was only slightly missed versus some sort of crippling experience. In the times that it WAS working, I have been able to swing dungeon runs with guildies (a good reason, but not the only to be guilded), Twilight Arbor and Citadel of Flame when not beset with lag that would make you cry in a pool of your own tears.

Fear not though; my household is switching to cable internet this week which could increase my speeds anywhere from 3-18 times faster than what it currently is.

 I've always been a solo mmo-player, as ironic or counter-intuitive as it sounds. While it doesn't seem to be an uncommon case, an mmo is meant to be played with people, rather than as a solo experience. I've always generally partied with my girlfriend which always increases the enjoyment tenfold. After all these years, we've taken 2 more steps that have enhanced that enjoyment: 1) using skype/teamspeak, 2) becoming guilded.

It might surprise many of you, but I personally haven't ever felt the need to use skype/teamspeak or some kind of voicechat while playing mmo's as my job 8 hours a day, 5 days a week is purely technical support on the phones. So any time not being chained to a headset is relief. But if you haven't done it yourself, its something I'd highly recommend trying with your friends. Its easier to communicate to your party members (say if they go in the wrong direction, or explain things quicker) and it leaves your hands to play the game instead. It really changes the way that you play and makes you more effective.
I've been in a few guilds in mmo career and was the GM of the one in Warhammer Online but i've also never felt the urge to be in one. Probably stemming from the part that I've played all the time with my girlfriend, so I always had someone to travel and quest with. We normally weren't interested in dungeons, but had we been, it would have been a bit difficult(if not a unpleasant experience) to pug. With all the responsibilities (and they aren't even that stringent) of being guilded, the benefits far outweigh them. They are not only a group you become close with but also become a great resource; you'll never be alone essentially. Someone is bound to have the answers to your questions and there will be those that will join you in questing, dungeons or organize pvp.


Like Everyone Else: Highlights 2012

I liked MMOGC's (why do I want to type mmogoc?) format to the highlights of her year of 2012, so I thought I'd have an entry myself on it. 2012 was a great year for both gaming and photography, for me and in general.
I had my first official photoshoot in 2011 and I loved it; I had spent 8+ hours doing something I absolutely loved. I was creative.. tried new things.. struggled with lots.. (beautiful women! lol)but was very successful with many of my photos. I craved more (photo)shoots in 2012. My vacation coincided (luckily) at the same time when my parents were away, so for 3 days in August, I had 4 photoshoots at my house. I had one of my oldest friends, my photoshoot stylist, with me, helping me build confidence, so that I had the mental fortitude to have 3 additional shoots all one my own. 
I'm afraid though; there i've said it.. or atleast this is the first time that i've written it out; I'm afraid of making photography a full time gig. I've seen my photos and think they're good, but I see what other photographers have done and theirs is very good as well and it makes me wonder if I can make that a full time job.
With that said, I hope to have even more photoshoots and even better quality photos this year.

As my friends have gotten older, we've stopped doing outdoor activities (frequently) and clubbing (thank god) and have transitioned to having game nights. We used to play Trivia Pursuit.. Settlers.. Agricola, but this year we changed our retinue and had a whole slew of new games that we tried. Dungeon!, Ticket to Ride, Guillotine, Bonanza, Risk.. tons of new games. I like how we have so many different kinds of games available to us.

MAGIC! lol. In the first half of 2012, we (my group)must have played Magic: The Gathering, every. Single. Weekend. And from the stories, one of my friends played it with her husband, every. Single. DAY. But the start of the football season, came a waning interest in Mtg and a new passion (for all the guys except myself[I like watching, not doing]) for fantasy football. I love the multitude of strategies, rich story and could literally spend hours on deck building; probably something you can do with fantasy football, but as I wrote, I would rather watch the game, than do anything more with it. Its not the main reason, but a big thing that kept me even thinking about fantasy football was:

All the video games that came out this year! Borderlands 2, X:Com Enemy Unknown and Guild Wars 2. Borderlands 2, Game of the Year, by the way by some people's count, is a fantastic game.. very similar to the original, but improved across the board. Still a few issues/bugs.. some incredibly hard parts.. *cough* people duping (not me but friends, which takes the fun out), and it was partially GW2 and a crappy 1st dlc that kind having me let dust settle on the Borderlands 2 cd. I used to play (10+ yrs ago) X:Com: Terror from the Deep. An incredible, but punishing game that never let up on you and made no apologies if it beat you. I was almost deathly afraid that 2K would either keep the insane difficulty (I basically never won and lost 75% of my squad on every mission) or/and ruin the game and the nostalgic parts that made it a great game. And I was so surprised that not only did they do a fantastic job (although a bit shortish, research-wise), I was able to finish the campaign! The only problem I encountered, once again due to GW2, was I didn't have an urge to play another campaign.. whether for keeping my perfect record.. or just boredom from a completionist first-time play-through  For the longest time, I was trying to resist GW2.. mostly because I don't have the willpower (yet) to become addicted. I have good enough willpower to do daily self improvement (stock research, career opportunities, learning a new language, blog etc), but I still spend more time than I want to.