Newbie Blogger Initiative 2016 in June!

nbimediumNot too long ago, I saw a short conversation on Twitter about how NBI would most likely not be taking place in 2016. Not because nobody wanted to do it per se, but most of all because it requires time and dedication to get this initiative off its ground. That dreaded real life again making us unable to do the fun things we would really love to do. ;)

However, there is a happy ending: We are going to have another round of Newbie Blogger Initiative this year! Doone from XP Chronicles announced the NBI 2016 starting in June on May 12th, actually. This totally went over my head here, but I’m so happy to see it happen either way! I really love this initiative and I love that it makes people come together and support others, because blogging can be an awesome and fun hobby!

The person running it isn’t alone, though. As with all the recent years, a lot of us “veteran bloggers” are joining, lending our helping hands and answering questions to those of you who want to start blogging, who recently did start or even those who want to get back into blogging. While most of us, if not all, blog about games, it is not a requirement for you to do so as well. If you’d rather blog about cooking recipes or your daily life, then do so! We will be here encouraging you to blog either way.

 Tyrannodorkus has a great post introducing you to the most basic questions like “what is a blog?” and links to where you can get in touch with all of us and with each other, because I do hope that we’ll be able to greet a lot of new bloggers this NBI! Just so that you will not miss the most important links, I am going to put them in here, too:

NBI forums
NBI twitter
NBI Discord

Others have joined Doone by now with announcing the NBI and welcome prospective new bloggers: Eldaeriel from StarShadow, jewel from Healing The Masses, Aywren – and probably more that I forgot now or haven’t seen yet (sorry if that’s the case!).

On a personal note: I was looking through my blog to find the posts from the previous two years only to see that I have tried to support NBI since 2012 already making this the fifth year it’s running. Back in 2012, this blog here had only been around for one year, so I felt a bit newbie-ish myself!

So, if you ever thought about starting your own blog, now is the perfect time! Get started and join us. Don’t hesitate to ask your questions! :)

Impressions from Foostival Germany 2016

NamensschilderAs some of you may know, I am part of the organizing team of the German Foostival. It took place yesterday, on May 7. In the previous two years, we had a location in Hamburg which is in Northern Germany. As amazing as that city is (seriously, there is no better city in Germany than Hamburg if you ask me), it’s just not easy to reach especially for residents in the southern parts. So this year, we switched and had Foostival take place at the esports bar Meltdown in Cologne.

The location was very fitting, obviously. :)

The only downside of this place was that it was dark inside while Germany is currently experiencing a very unusual early summer with temperatures up to 25 °C instead of the usual 15 °C. If we had known that in advance, we could have looked for a beer garden instead. :p  But seriously, it was a very really nice location with good drinks and the pizza place on the other side of the street even brought some of the ordered pizzas in!

What I liked more in comparison to the location in Hamburg was the absence of PCs – well, mostly. The Meltdown actually has PCs and consoles that you can play on, but those were ignored for the most part and did not play a role in our organization of the event (they were used after Foostival was over, though. Gamers will be gamers, after all!). We were also all in one room sitting around a couple of tables whereas in Hamburg, the group had been split in two rooms at times. This way, we could all be together and mingling was a lot easier. It being a bar, we could also enjoy lots of beverages including drinks like a “Headshot” or a “Stimpack”. Not that I think we need alcohol to have fun, but it was still very convenient to have drinks around. :p

So, without PCs and all of us being in one room, it was also much easier to get in contact with the others and as such, I met a lot of new people and had a lot of interesting conversations, not only about Guild Wars 2, but also about other games and “The Dark Eye” (a German roleplaying game similar to “Dungeons & Dragons”).

Once the event was over, the bar opened to the general public, but not all of us left. I really enjoyed just sitting there together with the others who had stayed behind and talking. If you ask me, we wouldn’t even need any programme, quizzes or games. I could just spend that whole day talking and getting to know the others! And as such, I hope to see them all again soon – maybe at Gamescom, maybe at the Foostival 2017! :)

Please excuse the crappy quality of the pictures. I took them with my mobile phone, but I know there will be much better pictures soon and I will of course link you to the picture gallery then!

As always: A huge Thank You to everybody who organized the Foostival with me and to all the helping hands! Foostival would not be possible without us all working together the way we do. :)

5 years of Nerdy Bookahs!

5 years ago, I certainly was not expecting this little “blog project” to be running for such a long time. I did not even know whether it would last for longer than a month before I would lose interest. But here we are and the blog is as alive as it was back then. Let’s have a closer look at those 5 years…

The archives show that we did publish something in every single month since March 2011. Of course, there were also some “slow months”.

Guild Wars_Dancing Derwish

January 2013, December 2013 and July 2014 were the laziest ones with only two blog posts each. January and December are usually pretty “busy” months for me. There is often lots of work left to do before I can go on Christmas break and then, of course, there is Christmas and New Year’s which is always spent with family here and travelling to visit part of said family. So while I do theoretically have lots of free time at the end of December and beginning of January, that time is often spent away from the PC. July 2014 is easy to explain. It was both an awesome month and a really annoying month. We had moved into our new flat and at the same time, I had to fight off several nasty colds and a really bad rash covering my whole face which led to countless sleepless nights. Due to all of this, I had also decided to go on “summer break” with this blog. The first and only time I did that while running this blog. Hey, in hindsight, I should have probably used those nights to write some blog posts. Something fun and productive to do in the middle of the night. :p

The busiest months were November 2013 with 31 posts and August 2015 with 33 posts. Both those months were part of some blogging month-campaigns (NaBloPoMo and Blaugust).

Altogether, within those 5 years we published a little bit more than 500 blog posts. So, about 100 posts per year.

Our top 3 posts are:

  1. How to switch between the starter areas in Guild Wars 2
  2. Guild Wars 2: Regions by level
  3. Guild Wars 2: A FAQ for new players

And our top non-GW2 post is Trove: Biomes and their map colours.

We don’t publish that many guides, but apparently, if we do, they have staying power. :) The FAQ is the only one that is horribly outdated by now, though. I try to keep the others up-to-date because they are still very popular and I would hate to have people come here and be disappointed to only find outdated guides.

Now, as you can guess, Guild Wars 2 and Trove were part of my blogging life. Other than that, the main games I’ve been writing about are Rift and the newest addition, Wildstar. Lord of the Rings Online and Warhammer Online only got a few mentions with lots of eye-rolling on my part as I had already fallen out of love with both of these games.

My favourite “project” here in our blog has been and still is the Guild Wars 2 Screenshot Gallery. I don’t think I will ever be done with it, though, but at least, it always gives me something to do!

My favourite “one time” blog post was the Underwear Fashion Show. Unfortunately, Guild Wars 2 is very boring when it comes to underwear with no differences between classes as we had in Guild Wars.

GW2 male asura in underwear

And then there are my favourite “off topic” blog posts, the cooking recipes: Tiramisu Cheesecake (still a favourite among my friends and family), Flammkuchen and lentils soup. I wonder when the muse will hit me again to publish another cooking recipe… :p

The best part of this journey, however, has been getting to know so many other people and making new friends, some only online so far (one day, Nick, we will have breakfast together on your terrace!) and even more so those that we have been able to meet in person. Then again, this is not “just” the blog, this is the strength of the internet which enables you to make friends that you would have never even met otherwise.

Fireworks 2nd anniversary

And last but not least, a big thank you to all the readers – yes, all of you! The ones who come here regularly, the ones who just come here once in a while, the ones who only stop by one single time, those who leave comments and the silent ones! While I really enjoy writing and would keep this blog even if nobody read it, knowing that out there in this huge big world are people interested in what I write is awesome and some extra motivation for me to keep writing and sharing my thoughts! :)

So, here is to another 5 years… at least!

Brains, Brawls and Bravery

GW2_Brains Brawls and Bravery

“Show yourself right now!”, she loudly exclaimed and looked around frantically. He had been here a moment ago, but now she had lost sight of him. These dreaded shrubs everywhere! She skillfully twirled the staff that she had been holding in her hand and let out several beams. It took a few seconds, but then the shrub right in front of her was ablaze. It had not rained in days and the twigs made some nice crackling sounds, but nothing else could be heard. “Not here”, she mumbled, and while she already knew she had lost his trace, she was not yet ready to accept that. She had been so close to catching this blasted empty-headed Skritt thief! And now he probably found a hole to hide in and there was no chance for her to get her revenge – and her stolen goods back.

“One more and I can go home”, she had quietly said to herself prior to that incident. She had been saying the same thing for the past couple of hours, which was why she had needed the constant reminder. Of course, she could have sent somebody to do the work for her, but she preferred collecting those precious plants herself. One could never trust those idiots in the lab to do this work, especially not when it came to such a delicate plant which needed to be in pristine condition with not even the tiniest hint of imperfection on it. One single flaw and her carefully brewed tonic would taste like rotten chickpea salad. True, the effect would not be extenuated, but Gechii was a perfectionist.

And now, instead of “one more”, she would have to start all over again. Since it had already turned dark, she decided to call it a day and head back now. She would probably have to send somebody to collect the plants after all, as her trip to Verdant Brink could not be delayed much longer. Her expertise was desperately needed there.

“Graarrrr!”, she suddenly heard a growl from her left. Quickly, she raised her staff again and turned around to see where the noise had come from. She could not hold back her chuckle: There stood a little Charr cub. His beige striped fur was bristling in the wind. He – or she… it was hard to tell, especially at such a young age, but she guessed it was a male – had raised his paws ready to attack. His tiny claws were reflecting the light of the flames from the shrub.

Now there were two. Then three. He tried to stand steady, even though his reflexes wanted him to take a step back and possibly even try to find a hole to hide in. ‘Never show fear’, he heard his Primus’s voice and he straightened his posture slightly more. The figure chuckled again… or rather, all three of them did. Then he realized, “You’re a Mesmer!”, he exclaimed clearly impressed, but he did not let his paws sink even an inch. If only he knew where he had put down his sword before he had fallen asleep. The yelling and the fire had startled him and he had gotten up and prepared to fight for his life, but now he was not sure whether this had been such a smart choice. The attack had obviously not been directed at him and the figure may not even have noticed him.

He did not know where to look and which one to address. A moment ago, there had been just one and now he looked at three identical copies, all standing in a different position, so that he could not figure out who was the real one. She – or he, it was hard to tell, but he went with “she”, mostly because of the way she had styled her hair – was roughly his height. Her dark brown hair had carefully been braided. Her yellow eyes and her pale skin seemed even brighter with the reflection of the fire. Some spots around her eyes were darker skinned as were her ears which were surprisingly short. This paleness stood in stark contrast to her clothes which were a weird mixture of gold and orange. The only accessories she wore were two beaded chains in front of her ears which seemed to be connected to the braided hair somewhere.

All three figures had their staves still raised, ready to shoot more fire, but their facial expressions suggested they may not kill him right away.
“What are you doing here? Did you see a Skritt?”, asked the voice on the right.

“No, ma’am”, he replied as politely as he could to her second question. “It’s just me.”

She snipped and her two clones disappeared leaving only her and the cub. “Then what are you doing here all alone?”, she asked again with a slightly more pressuring tone in her voice. ‘Charr are rarely ever alone’, she had learned. They were with a group of other Charr from the beginning on and this little one seemed old enough to have such a krewe already.

“We got attacked. Giant earth worms! They left me. Ran away like cowards”, he said with disgust in his voice thinking of his former warband. He still could not believe they had done that! “Once I realized I was alone, I decided to run away, too. I am brave, not stupid!”, he added, puffing his chest just a little bit.

Gechii nodded and chose to believe him. She was certainly not scared of having to fight a krewe of cubs. Of course, he, just as all Charr, was far inferior to any Asura when it came to intellect, but some Charr possessed qualities she had come to value lately. Intellect only gets you this far. She made an almost inaudible noise thinking of the Inquest and their latest effort to try and steal one of her inventions. So much intellect wasted – and worse, combined with sheer foolishness. It was simply nauseating. For her, being this intelligent came with a huge amount of responsibility. Not only did she think all Asura had to try and strive for the best, she also thought that they were responsible for the wellbeing of the races below them, just like the little furball in front of her. On top of that belief, what she valued about Charr the most was their loyalty towards their krewe – something Asura certainly lacked – and bravery!

“And now you’re lost and scared, right?”

“I’m not scared!”, he yelled loudly with pride in his voice. “I can defend myself!”, he added to make his point clear.

Gechii slowly took a step to her left and shuffled with her foot. “Is this yours?”, she asked after she had moved a tiny blade closer to him.

“Yes”, he said, slightly embarrassed. He did not recall putting the blade that far away from him, but it was definitely his.

“What’s your name?”, she asked now, her voice being a lot gentler.

“Oci.”

“Good, Oci. My name is Gechii. Pleased to make your acquaintance. Now please tell me what exactly you are planning to do now, except for becoming devourer breakfast if you stay here sleeping with no further defenses set up?”

He was thoroughly ashamed now. For a few hours, he had wandered already before laying down here close to the shrubs, just to rest a bit and close his eyes for a few moments, of course! He decided to make one last attempt to show her he could handle himself on his own: “I was on my way back to the Black Citadel!” He puffed his chest again and pointed ahead into the distance behind her.

“The Black Citadel is that way”, she pointed to her right.

“Oh.”

” I know of a portal that is not too far away which should bring you to a safe town. From there, you can go back home.”

He scoffed. As far as he was concerned, he had no home anymore, no family. They would have let him die here, after all. Such Charr could not be a family. Then his gaze brightened. “Can’t I come with you?” He looked at her excitedly. Surely, such a bright Asura was leading an exciting life and he had always found mesmers fascinating! Maybe he could even become one himself one day…

“No.”

The answer came out of her before she had even thought about it. Then she shrugged. “But…” She paused again. What was she doing? Her mind had certainly had enough time to process the thought and think of at least a dozen possible scenarios for every possible answer should could have now. Adding a Charr cub to her krewe… – but there was something special about him! He had touched something inside her. Certainly no motherly instincts! She knew she did not have those. But there he was, such a young little cub – and even though she could have killed him with just a little snip of her fingers earlier, he had not even blinked, yet alone moved away from his spot. He could prove useful. Yes, she reassured herself. That was the only reason she had hesitated. He could prove useful!

Oci stood in front of her with big eager eyes. He had almost jumped up and down excitedly when she had hesitated, but had resisted that urge as it might have made him look childish.

“But you can’t come with me right now”, she finally added. “I have important business to do.” She could not imagine Oci in Verdant Brink, not with the recent happenings over there. “I will bring you to my krewe and you can stay with them if that’s alright.” Oci nodded and smiled.

This would be interesting. A young Charr being instructed in Asuran fighting techniques. Stepping a bit closer to him, she finally patted his head. The sound that followed could have either been a purr or another little growl. It was settled then.

GW2_Charr cub

***

This story is part of the Story Contest hosted by Kit the Traveler. The prompt is easy: Write about an adventure (set in the Guild Wars 2 universe) with at least 300 words and publish it in the GW2 Community subreddit. The contest is open until February 26, 2016, so there is still plenty of time to participate! You can win gems and weapon skins. :D

I decided to post my entry here as well, so I can save it for eternity (we all know how Reddit works, right? Things will get lost there over time) and to point you all to that contest, because I like such contests!

Bookahneer’s Geekwatch: MMO+

Guild Wars 2 Bookahneer's GeekwatchWelcome to Bookahneer’s Geekwatch! This is the place where we talk about miscellaneous things like little pieces of gaming news that have attracted our interest or what’s recently been in the spotlight of other fansites and projects.

Back in August, we received a mail from the developer behind the website MMO+ about his/her project. I am always a bit skeptical when it comes to people asking to have their projects promoted, because I don’t want to recommend something to you which then turns out to be a scam site trying to steal your game accounts or a website that ends up in the gold-selling business. So, I let those mails rest for a bit and check out the website before I make a decision what to do with it. In this case, I actually forgot about it. Blaugust had been really busy and then we’d gone on a short vacation.

Anyway, I just remembered it and looked at the website. It still looks as good as it did when I first visited it. In fact, it looks better. On top of that, several other sites have written about this project by now and the developer asked about feedback on Reddit. So now I can say that it really is a legit project and with that, a really great one, too!

You may – hopefully – now wonder what that website actually is? It’s an MMO search engine! Quite simple, but very helpful. I know from the search terms of our blog that people regularly try to figure out if one MMO suits them or which of several MMOs they might enjoy trying out. This search engine can help you with that. It’s got quite elaborate filters letting you decide what you want, what you don’t want, what’s irrelevant and so on. The MMOs are also colour-coded by their release status (released, beta, development, cancelled).

MMO+ website

I tested it trying to find upcoming MMOs that may be interesting for me and the search engine showed me Black Desert Online and Wild Terra. I don’t really know what I would need to change to get Project Gorgon to show up for me. :p But here is Project Gorgon’s profile on MMO+. At the very bottom of the game’s pages, you can find a button that lets you send in a suggestion in case you find something is incorrect with a profile.

So, if you’re looking for a new MMO to try, maybe this website can help you!