Blaugust and Chill

Zyngor | Thursday, August 04, 2016 1 Comment

Yippe, it's back! Blaugust has once again reared it presence upon the blogosphere. This time around, our mastermind Belghast has "loosened the reins" and is taking a much more casual approach to the month. It will not be an onslaught of daily postings (though you are certainly welcome to do so if that's your style), but rather a stress-free "Festival of Blogging on a Schedule," as Belghast puts it.

I respect the change he made to Blaugust this year, as I admittedly ended up falling into the same trap he discussed. My first year in Blaugust ended up as daily postings, and my second was more of an every other day thing (had something personal that came up that definitely had an impact on my frequency of blogging that year). However, once the month was over, it was like turning off a faucet. My posts (if any) the months after that would trickle in at a very slow pace, and eventually seem to dissipate.

That is to say, who knows what it'll be like once this month is over. Often I have the mentality that if I have nothing meaningful to say, I'll say nothing. I think this is why I love Twitter - you can say almost everything you need to say within the context of 140 characters. If you can't, there's usually a way to shorten it to fit the limits. If you can't, try again - get creative if you need to.

So this month, it'll be more of a celebration of me actually posting something and not leaving the blog stagnant. I believe I may have said I've got "some other schedule" set up for Blaugust. I suppose that schedule will really be "whenever I feel like posting." Hopefully it's more than this one post!

Keep calm and Blaugust on!

NBI 2016 - It's Fine

Zyngor | Monday, June 06, 2016 2 Comments

Well, apparently it's 2016, or so this laptop tells me. More importantly, apparently the Newbie Blogger Initiative (or NBI, as the hipster types call it) is unleashed upon the world once more. I've kept a semi-eye on its progress toward occurring this year - was it going to be celebrated or not? The Twitterverse is a tumultuous tide of thoughts and tomfoolery, which also includes plenty of gossip and goodness abound.

So I was elated to hear that the NBI 2016 was indeed to be celebrated and embraced. It's a good bunch of people helping other good bunches of people find their way in the world of blogging. Where to start, what to say, how to spread your auratic nature to others who may wish to check our that thing you do, oh oh. But was I personally going to sign up for this event? I felt that, as my last post was closer to the beginning of the year, I had once more slipped into the "wayward" nature of blogging. To me, I didn't really have anything deep or meaningful to say. As such, my writing mostly became the "microblogging" that is Twitter...and those glorious 140 characters kept me in check. And it was fine.

As such, I never stepped forward to join the ranks of other Mentors to personally assist individuals with their blog concepts and giving that "rah rah sis boom bah" to give them that push into the world of e-journaling. That being said, if you ever have questions or want to talk about blogging stuff (other than the technical aspects of paid hosting stuff - I have only ever blogged on free hosting places like Blogger, and had set up something on Wordpress but have not switched over as of yet), please feel free to ask here or on Twitter. If I miss your query here, I'd likely catch it on the Twittersphere as long as you @ me over there.

So far, I have caught a bit of the NBI blogging action, though I have remained silent so far in terms of commenting. I can't promise I will comment, but I also can't promise that I *won't* there. Two posts that have caught my eye for an obvious reason was over on Wolfy's and Mersault's blogs. Both spoke about taking breaks in blogging, and how it is perfectly fine to do so. Speaking from personal experiences, I completely agree.

According to the history on this blog, I wrote my first post February 2007. It kept on a fairly regular pace, then soon had one month breaks. Then three to four. After September 2009, it seems I ignored the blog for a little over half a year, then returned for two posts. Then WHAM back on break...for four years.

August 2014 started a whirlwind of posting for the month, as part of Belhast's Blaugust experiment. Somehow, I managed to post daily for the entire month, thus completing that challenge. For the next couple months, I was able to average maybe three to four posts a month - perhaps it was a result of possibly going overload on August, perhaps it was apathy. Going into 2015, it was looking to be a bleak and empty year for my blog - at least until May.

There, I took part in my first NBI, and managed to scrape up a respectable nine posts (at least, respectable on my part, considering my usual pace). After that, the pace dropped to zilch, until August 2016, where my second year taking part in Blaugust took its course. Partly due to a passing in the family, and all of the resulting traveling/etc, I decided early on I'd take it a bit easier than I had the previous year, and ended up posting roughly every other day (instead of the proposed daily). Since then, there have been one or two sporadic posts, roughly every other four months or so.

So there is my posting history since the inception of this blog. I basically crafted a roller coaster with my posting frequency - one that oftentimes seemed to have no passenger in the cart - and had its periods of unexciting lullness, mixed in with sporadic gut-busting climbs and drops. Now, I'm back on the chain lift, one taking me back upward. I guess we'll just have to see if it has some incredible inversions, corkscrews, and turns, or if it just drops to a flat end and fizzles out once more.

But you know what? As many times as I may have gone wayward with this blog, IT'S FINEIT'S FINEIT'S FINE. Do you want to only be blogging once a week, once a month, once a year? IT'S FINE. You wanna post daily? IT'S FINE (just look at Belghast). Post however often you want, and whenever you want. IT'S FINE. I swear. As long as you are doing it of your own free will, and are not under some oath or contract to be posting on a certain schdule, it's fine to post as you want, when you want. Don't be afraid that you must keep to a certain schedule, this is supposed to be something enjoyable to release some of those crafty words you got stuck in your cranium. Whether it's planned ahead, or some sporadic urge to post something suddenly hits you (even if it has been several months since you last posted), it's fine. Just start writing, keep saving your document, and when the feeling seems right to you, hit Publish.

Happy blogging, folks.

Minas Tirith - It's a Climb

Zyngor | Sunday, February 07, 2016 0 Comments
What's this strange sensation? A blog post? Oh, it must be some special community blog-a-thon month to incite this rare posting, right?


Just felt like doing one of these blog things, because, because. Anywho, it's been awhile, eh? Looks like my last post was talking about my foray into Guild Wars 2. Alas, I'm not sure I have even played that game since I last posted, but it remains as a back-up for those days that one of my more regular games is starting to feel a bit stagnant.

Most of my gaming time is currently being filled with Lord of the Rings Online (LOTRO). I have (hopefully) finished transferring my characters around as part of the eventual server closures that I assume should reach its peak some time this year. The current controversy is revolved around server stability after Turbine's recent move of the server hardware from their space in Boston to a new locale in New Jersey. Things are still a bit touchy, with random bouts of lag and scattered game crashes here and there. I'm hopeful they'll gets things back in ship shape, or at least enough to keep the population from capsizing.

My current LOTRO characters can be found here. My primary characters with my Riddermark kin all moved to Landroval, while characters on other servers were moved around a bit to basically have presence on all US servers. These characters are all those that have the unlocks granted during a VIP time (class traits, stable, etc), though I am officially just a Premium scrub.

I was able to end up with at least one of every class on Landy (there are currently 10 classes), so I decided to take a note from Twitch streamer Arathaert and try out the 1000 Level Challenge. Even my English degree can decipher that means I gotta try and get to level 100 with each class. There was even a plugin created for this very task to make it easier to track. Now, there are plans for a 105 level cap raise this year, so I suppose it might need some tweaking once that hits. I am currently around 68% through the challenge - still have about 30-40 levels each on a Lore-Master & Warden, and pretty much all of a Beorning, Burglar, and Captain to go.

Arkenstone has definitely become a more visited server for me with the transfers. I now have not only The Academy kinship (these guys make a great podcast with topic-specific & newbie-friendly subjects from which to learn some handy stuff), but also Twitch streamer Bludborn's kin, Du Bekar.

Anywho, on to the goodies that came with the latest major patch, Update 17. This brought us the Old Anorien region, which includes everyone's favorite city of white, Minas Tirith.

Minas Tirith, one of the last bastions of hope for many, and a twisted maze of crowded streets, reckless children, and fat, lazy men man

For some silly reason, when I was first approaching the city, Speed 2: Cruise Control was the first thing that popped in my head. That is, the ending where (spoiler alert!) the cruise liner plows straight into a small Caribbean town. Somehow, that piece of the citadel that juts out at the top felt reminiscent - can't you tell I'm a bona fide Tolkien fan?

Guess which one is Minas Tirith. I dare ya.

Anyways, it is pretty neat that the city is laid out in the seven tiers as the lore dictates. For our convenience, there are both swift horses that can instantly transport you to the middle of the first six, as well as regular stable routes (swift and slow) to the same six tiers, scatted around in location a bit. While the streets are a bit cramped to travel about, definitely check out indoor locations when possible - they truly highlight the details shown in the city of Minas Tirith. Oh, and if you're a collector in the game, I'd take a browse through the Houses of Lore on the south side of the fifth tier (Sage's Tier).

[l-r] The Old Archives; throne room in the Tower of Ecthelion
Quest-wise, it might be a bit of a drag during your travels within the city. Definitely use the horse travels to your benefit, as you'll find yourself travelling here, there, and basically everywhere (and back to there, and twice back to here, and everywhere a couple extra times for good measure). I felt very relieved when I finally was told to leave the city and continue my questing outside the walls of Minas Tirith - the same way some feel leaving the confines of Moria. The epic is also a good time - no spoilers here! You'll find yourself trying out the two new epic battles - Defense of Minas Tirith, and Hammer of the Underworld, both of which are pretty solid battles that slightly raise the difficulty for a solo player to complete with a platinum rating (especially Hammer).

Along with the Old Anorien quest pack came some other tasty tidbits. Tier 10 crafting, Anorien, rolled out. They opted to automatically bestow all recipes (so far) for this tier, though the selections are pretty skimpy at this current time. Tailors, Metalsmiths, & Jewelers can all craft essence gear (3-slotted, with passives). More awesomely-er, most all crafting ingredients across all tiers now stack to 500 (up from 100)! Pack rats rejoice!

There were some other little bits of changes here and there. Something this, something that, something legendary imbue-y. But now, for something much more important - bastardized song lyrics to fit the mood for all MMO players out there!

(Sorry, but it goes to the tune of Miley Cyrus' The Climb. Deal with it)

Always gunna be another level,
Always gunna be another quest,
Always gunna be another end-game,
With some baddie we will have to best,
While some'll just rush to get there,
And others gunna take their sweet 'ol time,
It's the Grind.