Friday, December 1, 2017

Guild Wars 2: Path of Fire Review

If you want to get an MMORPG player passionately riled up, all you have to do is ask their opinion of one of three subjects (or all three—and be prepared to sit there for a bit): microtransactions, automated group finder tools, and mounts. Anyone who’s played any modern MMORPG for a length of time will have strong feelings about all three subjects.

It’s easy to understand why. All three are major game changers and can either dismantle or upgrade the worlds we’re comfortably immersed in. Let’s break it down:

Microtransactions: Let’s see. Do I want to click a couple buttons in a UI window and instantly pay real money to get a super cool item, appearance, or boost that could have been added to the game through other means (thus potentially taking away from the base game’s obtainable items and/or assets)?

Automated group finder tools: How about clicking a couple buttons to not have to communicate with players and instead be instantly and automatically paired with them to do this group activity that was initially created to encourage communication?

Mounts: Mounts look badass and make us feel badass as we’re romping through piles of bad guys on our way to Named Quest Mob #45, but they also act as a highway, letting us pass over and consequently ignore 75% of the world we’re invested in. Flying mounts are an even worse offender.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Year End Review and a Bright Start to 2017

Once-a-year blogs are totally okay, right? Sure, why not!

2017 is newly dawning, but I wanted to take the time to talk about 2016 first. 2016 in a lot of regards wasn't a fantastic year for my family-- especially the first half-- but the last half took a far better turn I'm happy to say.

2017 is looking to be an excellent year. I'm not big on resolutions, but I do have some definite goals I'm planning on achieving in the coming year. First, I wanted to talk about what I accomplished in 2016. Focusing on the positives is essential for looking and planning forward. Despite 2016 having a rough start, I achieved quite a bit.

I was hired for a position that's starting to open a whole lot of doors for me. I'm a digital marketing specialist for Legal InSites. We're a startup company that's had an extraordinary 2016 and have plenty of big plans for the future. I get to be creative, write, manage content, help clients get the word out about their legal practices, and take on some really interesting and challenging projects.

Here's one project I had the pleasure of working on which involved interviewing legal technology vendors and writing a fun article about artificial intelligence. Here's another where I babbled a whole lot about legal writing and the power of storytelling. I love diving into deep projects like these. I also love helping small practice lawyers get to do what they love-- help those in need have a voice.

I'm more confident than I've ever been regarding my writing skills, editing skills, project management skills, and leadership skills. Some projects I take on challenge me like nothing has in the past, and I find myself excited to take on new challenges each and every day. It's awesome.

I've also had my first professional rate short story fiction sale in 2016. It's one of my earlier stories (Trail of Stars) and one of my favorites. It's due to be published in an upcoming POC anthology that will be available in January on Amazon. It's science fiction and space opera-y and all kinds of fun.

I've written more fiction in 2016 than I have in the past couple of years. I haven't written as much as I would have liked to, but I'm happy to say I at least finished one new, large story, started a couple others, and continued submitting stories on a regular basis to professional-paying markets.

I started submitting Captive by the Fog to new markets as well. I've received two rejections thus far, but they've both been near miss rejections and include personal notes. That tells me that I will be able to find a permanent home for the novel if I keep trying. And I will. I'm getting very close.

On a more hobby-related note, I've taken up the reins of raid leader in World of Warcraft this past year. I've been a part of raid teams for years, but I've never actually tried leading. Leading lets me form the type of group I really want to form, plus it lets me bring together friends both new and old (shout out to Ben for the awesome pic edit above-- that's my bear!). We have fun, enjoy a truly cooperative, laid-back atmosphere, and we kick butt without taking the game super seriously. It's win-win for everyone.

It's also satisfying on a personal level. I never thought I could lead, but with the right company, a bit of help from my trusted friends (shout outs to Chantra, Megan, and Chris!), and a bit of courage, I find I do fairly well. Leading vocally also helps me feel less anxious speaking to others which helps in other aspects of my life.

Micah, Jeremy, and I have also started seriously creating indie 8-bit RPGs that we're aiming to place on the market. We're working on our first game with a few friends now. It's called Mender's Strife and will be available for PC and mobile platforms. I'm writing the story/script. I still sometimes wonder why the hell they trust me to write this stuff, but I just have to trust them. Writing a game script has always been one of my bucket list goals. It's awesome getting to see it through.

On that note, I've also made some decent strides in 2016 towards being "unapologetically me" so to speak. I've aimed to surround myself with those who support and care about me for who I already am-- not for some silly umbrella they think I fit under or want me to fit under. No one in the world is like me. I may as well be the best version of myself I can. That's the trend I plan on continuing in 2017.

Good things are to come. I can feel it.

Happy New Year, folks!