Category Archives: Fun!

Liebster Award x2

Liebster AwardAbout a month ago, I was already nominated for The Mystical Mesmer and almost forgot about it. However, I now received another nomination from Rakuno of Shards of Imagination. That’s 22 questions in total. Of course, I feel honored that they thought of me in their blog posts and I’m happy to participate now. :)

First, an introduction of the Liebster award: As the icon suggests, it’s a way to discover new blogs for the readers of your own blog, but this isn’t simply done by saying: Go read their stuff! If they accept the award, they agree to give 11 random facts about themselves, answer 11 questions that you give them and they will give out 11 questions to 5 people they nominate themselves. In other words, you can get to know them a little bit better this way.

11 random facts about me

  1. I’m a psychologist, and work in the field of special education needs.
  2. My first computer was a Commodore 64 and the seonc one had Windows 2000.
  3. I cannot choose a favourite colour, because there are so many great ones (though orange and green hues are on top right now. Red is great, too, but a rather boring colour at the same time, if you ask me).
  4. I used to be obsessed with rabbits when I was a kid. I had about 30 or 40 rabbit plushies – and yes, two real rabbits as well at some point.
  5. My favourite ice-cream flavour is “Straciatella”.
  6. I have one brother who is 5 years older than me.
  7. My brain tends to give me really bad nightmares whenever it finds something it can use to scare me which is why I tend to avoid watching horror movies.
  8. I find seafood disgusting (except for some kinds of fish).
  9. I’m afraid of heights, but bought two annual tickets for myself and bookahnerk for a ropes course in a forest nearby.
  10. I used to draw comic snails when I was a kid.
  11. If I’d been a boy, my parents would have named me “Matthias”. One of my younger cousins got that name then.

The 11 questions I got from The Mystical Mesmer

1. What are the three major elements of your ideal video game?

I’m not sure what exactly “elements” refers to. So, I’m just going to say what comes to my mind here. :p It definitely has to have open world PvP areas (without PvP being 100 % optional and not required for the game at all if you don’t want to PvP). Then it has to have housing. And it has to have interesting classes that are more than the standard ones warrior, mage, ranger etc.

2. Big city, suburb, or countryside?

Neither. Near the city centre in a medium-sized town (around 100k inhabitants). Basically, exactly where we are living now. :) Or Hamburg which is a city with 1.7 million inhabitants but it doesn’t feel this huge or even crowded with lots of green areas, a lake and more than 2400 bridges. :p

3. What’s the origin of your blogging name?

I chose “Paeroka” when I started writing about games. It just fit. Back when I’d written a story for Nanowrimo, one of the characters in that story was named “Paeroka”. I liked the sound of it, so I used it for my first character on Horde side in World of Warcraft. When I started blogging about games, I did not know which name I could use, so I chose my character’s name. So, I basically named myself after a character that is named after a character I created back in 2005.

4. Aeris lives and you’re hired to retell Final Fantasy 7. What role does she play?

I’m sorry. My knowledge of Final Fantasy ends right with that name “Final Fantasy”. No idea who Aeris is. I did try out the MMO once for an hour or two, but that’s really all I know about this IP. Oh, and chocobos.

5. What’s your favorite biome?

I can give you examples from games, because I always love the same kind of area.

6. Write a haiku love poem to this morning’s breakfast.

Three mugs of coffee
With a hot bagel to go
Not much time for food.

So this isn’t exactly a love poem. But my breakfast, even though it was yummy, was more a necessity, because I’d needed to take a painkiller and that thing also kills my stomach if I don’t eat something first. :p Still, coffee is a must. I should have maybe written a haiku on coffee.

7. What’s your preferred device for reading blogs?

My PC most of the time. It used to be my mobile phone on my way to work when I had a commute of 1.5 to 2 hours every day. But now that I don’t have that anymore, I prefer my PC with its large monitor and fast internet connection.

8. If you were to start up a video game company, what would you name it?

Erm… sorry, I’m totally unimaginative when it comes to naming things. I’d probably ask bookahnerk to think of something.

9. Which of the Seven Dwarves would you be and why?

I had to look them up now, I admit. ;) Probably “Grumpy” from that list. I do get grumpy fast when things don’t go my way.

10. What form of exercise do you find to be the most effective?

Jogging. I can’t do it at the moment because I’m still having issues with my skin and it starts itching like crazy when I start to sweat. So, for the time being, it’s my elliptical trainer. Probably not the most effective, but I can watch a TV series while exercising and that’s really motivating (and entertaining) for me… and everything that gets you to exercise and is fun is effective, right?

11. How long is a piece of string?

Huh? I don’t get that question. ;)

The 11 questions from Rakuno

1. Why did you decide to blog about your chosen topic (for instance, why MMOs or why your chosen game)?

I started blogging a long time ago. On Deadjournal, actually, and then Livejournal when I’d gotten an invite code from an acquaintance. Over there on Livejournal, somebody started a German community journal for World of Warcraft. I joined it, because I knew the person who had started the community and because bookahnerk had just started playing that game. I’d wanted to know more about his hobby and I also liked the world that the game is set in (from what bookahnerk had told me about it, at least). So, it wasn’t that I woke up one day knowing I want to blog about gaming. I kind of slowly shifted into it. I had written posts on that German WoW community after I had started playing myself and then wanted to have a blog on my own because it gives me more freedom. It took a bit longer until I decided to start a blog, though. I also like WordPress and Blogspot more than Livejournal as a platform to write about games which is why I came here, to WordPress. As for why gaming? Because I like gaming and I like writing. Additionally, I wanted to practice my English more and I needed something to write about.

2. What do you feel is the hardest part about blogging?

The constant self-doubt and inner critic. That voice inside of me saying: “Nobody wants to read that.” or “You should really rewrite this paragraph… no, better that whole post! It sounds like a little kid wrote that.”

3. What is your favorite part about blogging?

Having people approach me and start a conversation because of something that I wrote (either here in the blog or somewhere else). I also admit, it was awesome to have people approach us in real life to tell me and bookahnerk that they like our blog. That’s not our “favourite” part, but it’s at least a nice bonus.

4. How did you get into MMOs?

Bookahnerk. ;) Well, kind of. I’ve always loved fantasy worlds (in books mostly), enjoyed science fiction (Star Trek more than anything else) and I already played a text-based dungeon-crawling game that you play online with others. Then bookahnerk started playing World of Warcraft and he sometimes, slowly told me about that game (that was at the beginning of our relationship). It took a while until I asked him if I could try WoW. I was a bit anxious because I was just about to start preparing for an important exam and did not want to get sucked into this game. Two days after trying WoW, I got a call from him telling me the serial code of my own WoW copy. :D I also used it as an incentive after a full day of studying (same as with Rift and my final exams later).

5. Sandbox or Themepark? Why?

Sandbox with a bit of themepark. If the game is only sandbox with no direction, I can easily feel lost. But if it’s only themepark without giving me any freedom, it’s not good either. For example, Rift is a very themepark game in that it has quests, dungeons, raids, set classes which doesn’t give you much freedom in choosing which weapons to use, for example. But it does, at least, have housing which lets you freely build structures and so on. It’s definitely more than just placing a table here and a bed there. It’s still a themepark game, so some more freedom would be nice.

6. When you are starting on a new game what makes you choose a certain race/class?

Race is rather easy: The one I like the most visually. I usually do not create a human. For me, it’s the boring choice. Here we are, in a fantasy world where everything is possible – hey, let’s make a human because that’s what I am, too. ;) I tend to go with smaller races because they’re usually quirkier and funnier to watch. Also, dwarves. When a game has dwarves, I’m really happy. As for class, it used to be spellcasters as my first choice, usually one with a few tricks up their sleeve (frost mage or warlock in WoW, mesmer in GW2). But depending on the combat system, I actually prefer heavy-armored melee classes, mostly with a sword and a shield or dual-wielding weapons. I don’t like two-handed weapons unless it’s a staff. So this limits my choices down pretty well most of the time.

7. If you had unlimited resources and time what game would you make? This can be an original idea of yours or based on an existing IP.

I would make a game around the fantasy world I had started to create around the Nanowrimo stories I have written, with dwarves, boring humans who are always at war with each other and the nimari – a race that explaining would take too long here since I’d have to go into the whole background of how that world was created. :p It would definitely be a mix of themepark and sandbox MMO with housing, crafting (best items in the game would come from crafting only), PvE as well as PvP with the latter being optional (a bit like the RvR areas in Warhammer Online, I think). Sadly, I don’t think I ever will have unlimited resources, so I will just stick with writing the stories instead. ;)

8. What is your favorite book?

The Light Bearer by Donna Gillespie. During a particularly boring vacation with my parents, I had finished reading the three books I had brought with me within less than two days. It had been raining constantly, so we had basically been stuck in the house. We went shopping and I was looking for a book with lots of pages that would last longer than the ones I had brought, with a maybe interesting plot. I went for this one because it is about people from a Germanic tribe and Romans and it seemed like an interesting combination to read about. I couldn’t put it down until I was finished. I had to, my parents forced me to, but I really didn’t want to! I also got the original version (I had only read the German translation at first) from bookahnerk back when we had been “just friends”, but this very present first showed me that he is a very special person that I want and need in my life. So, this book isn’t only my favourite, it’s also connected with quite a bit of nostalgia by now.

9. What, in your opinion, is the best game of all time?

Hmm… A lot come to my mind for very different reasons. For example, Tetris, for being the game that connected me and my family back when we bought two gameboys. One just wasn’t enough for 4 people. ;) So we had two gameboys, two of us were playing Tetris, the other two were watching and cheering. World of Warcraft for getting MMORPGs out of their niche and into a broader market, maybe. For me personally, Cultures 1, because it brought me so many hours of entertainment. But best game of all time… probably not one of them. It always depends on what you interpret as “best” – best for what? :)

10. Someone challenged you to a duel at dawn. Since you are the one being challenged you are given the choice of weapons. What would be your choice? Keep in mind the challenger will be able to use the same weapons.

We’re talking about a gaming environment, right? Then a staff to go with my frost mage’s abilities. :p In reality: Nothing. I doubt there’s anything I could use as a weapon which would make me come out the winner.

11. The robot uprising happened at the same time of the zombie apocalypse. The robots see the zombies as a threat and the zombies react to the robots hostile actions instinctively. Who would win, the robots or the zombies and which one would be worse for the last surviving humans?

Another tough question. I find zombies annoying and overdone lately. So, I would vote for robots. On the other hand are robots scarier because they can probably hurt you more, seeing how they’re made of metal and with the latest technology, I assume. ;)

My 11 questions for the people I am going to nominate:

  1. What was your first gaming rig?
  2. Do you prefer games based on existing IPs (e.g., Star Wars, or that infamous probably never-to-be Harry Potter MMO) or new IPs?
  3. If you could resurrect any online game that is no longer (officially) available, which one would it be?
  4. Let’s imagine you’re put into a higher-up developer position of your favourite MMO with enough power to decide: Which one thing would you want to change about the game immediately?
  5. Is there a blog post you really would have wished you had written but haven’t (yet)?
  6. If you feel a writer’s block approaching, what do you do to overcome it?
  7. Blogging and gaming – how do you balance those two?
  8. What one advice would you give a new blogger?
  9. Other than gaming and blogging, what is your favourite pastime?
  10. How much time do you spend in the character creation screen for one character?
  11. If you could actually live in your favourite MMO, which place / town / area would you choose?

And now it’s probably time to actually nominate some people, right? I’m actually supposed to name 5, but eh, I was already nominated by two people. Jaedia, whom I would have liked to nominate as well, has just done this, too. All of this kind of narrows down my own choices. :p So, I will just say that I nominate a) the guys from Dragon Season (mostly TheValliant and Tilion, but all the other writers on there are welcome to join as well!) and bookahnerk – yes, from my own blog. So what? ;)

The annual question: Do I still want to write about games?

… Or isn’t a cooking blog what I want to do instead… Hmm… tough decision, really. While I’m pondering whether I’ll quit writing about games, I’ll give you a recipe of a lentil soup that I’ve known for ages. My mum often made it and even though our tastes in food are rather different by now, this is one of the few recipes from her that I regularly make for me and bookahnerk – and friends, too, of course!

Linsensuppe_Bild 5

Be careful, though. As is common for typical German dishes, this one isn’t exactly low on calories. I usually prepare it on days when I’ve exercised. :p Also, the amounts I’m giving you are just the amounts I’ve used when I prepared it the last time. But really, it’s up to you how much you want to add of which ingredient (e.g. much more potatoes, not that much sausage). The great thing about this recipe is that it’s easy, fail proof and it can be altered! :)

Ingredients:

  • Lentils (“Tellerlinsen” to be more precise)
  • (Waxy) Potatoes
  • Pork Sausage
  • Cabanossi (we tried Chorizo once, that worked as well. The pictures here show some other kind of red sausage, but I can’t find a good translation for it)
  • Water, salt and pepper

For the amount I use in the recipe, try this converter if you’re not working with grammes usually.

Put about 200 g of the lentils in a pot. Then take about 3 potatoes (300 grammes), wash them, then simply cut them into pieces and put them with the lentils. If you prefer, you can also peel the skin off first. I’m just usually too lazy and since we like it with the skin anyway, we just don’t bother. The potatoes we use here are waxy ones, by the way, so it’s not bad if they’re boiling a bit longer. Add about 3 litres of water to the lentils and the potatoes and then turn on the stove. Let them boil for 45 minutes. Very important: Do not add salt or the process will take longer! Also make sure the water isn’t boiling too much, so it doesn’t boil over.

Cut the sausages into small pieces (get rid of the skin if it’s not edible!). When the lentils are done, add the sausages, salt and pepper. Let it boil for a few more minutes.

And – that’s it. Really. It’s an easy soup. Nothing special or fancy, but as I said, I really love it. There are a lot of variations out there and I guess almost every household has a different recipe. Ours belongs to the “very simple” kind. :p You can also add carrot pieces if you like. Since my stomach doesn’t like raw carrots, I only ever buy them if we have several meals planned with cooked or baked carrots. Which means that most often, we don’t add any carrots to this soup. But it is a great addition. And some more vegetables never hurt, right? ;)

Related posts:

Foostival 2015 in Germany

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FoostivalSome of you may remember that I was not able to attend last year’s Foostival. I still helped out a bit with the organization, but not nearly as much as I would have liked to do. This year, bookahnerk and I did not only go there, I also helped organize a lot more.

But before I give you my written impressions of this year’s Foostival, let me reiterate what Foostival exactly is first. Foostival, as I wrote in the above linked entry last year, is a Guild Wars 2 focused event made by fans for the fans! Most of us are part of at least one fan site (in my case even two).

This year, the Foostival happened in four countries simultaneously (France, Belgium, Germany and the UK). In every country, it is organized solely by fans of the game. We were lucky that the European community managers joined us, but they did so not in an organizational position, but instead as our guests.

The purpose of the Foostival is to get to know each other. One the one hand, for us fansite writers to get to know the people who hang out on our fansites or community sites, and for our readers to get to know us, but most importantly: For players to get to know and meet other players. 

Since I was one of the organizers, I could not spend that much time talking to all those who attended the Foostival. But I still had a lot of fun. I got to meet the great guys from GuildNews again, I could watch the gw2community team organize a Tequatl run and I could see a lot of people enjoy themselves and smile – especially when it was time for our giveaways. :p

Unfortunately, this year the planned jumping puzzle that should have taken place in France and Germany simultaneously could not happen, because the French guys had problems with their PCs. By the time we decided that us Germans should do the jumping puzzle on our own, the time slot for the Tequatl run was almost there, so we switched to that one instead. I would say that this “dry spell” in between was rather unfortunate and especially disappointing for those who would have loved to do the jumping puzzle.

Altogether, I would say that this Foostival was a lot of fun and I’ve seen a lot of smiling people. In fact, even though I’d probably spent a lot of time checking my Skype messages that day, I did get to talk to a few participants and I hope to be able to do so much more at the next Foostival. I’ll just have to multitask a bit more. ;)

But you may wonder: What led to this day? What did we have to do before we even got here? Relatively easy answer: A lot of voice chat and Skype text message sessions, several emails, a lot of brainstorming and about a zillion Google Drive documents. :p

I really enjoy working together with others on a common goal, though. And while I generally prefer having this blog for myself where I can do whatever I want whenever I want without having to deal with deadlines or coordinating with others, doing exactly that for something like the Foostival is a lot of fun and a great opportunity to get to know others. I guess I can say I’ve also been lucky because the guys from GuildNews are not only down-to-earth but also easy to work with. We did not really have to tell each other to get any work done or force tasks on somebody because nobody did them otherwise. It just so happened that the work that had to be done got done by one person or another. At some point, I did what I do best and took over some of the organizational stuff in the background. The official website, the Facebook site and the Twitter account had to be fed with information for the German Foostival (in German, of course) and we had to make sure that everybody who applied for a spot at the Foostival got added to a list and, of course, some participants also had questions and I was happy to assist them and answer as well as I could. You can hardly find me in the front row holding a speech unless I absolutely have to. But I really enjoy keeping lists and sending emails to people. ;)

What’s difficult with something like the Foostival organization is that there is not one single person who is in charge and has “the last say”. I tried to do as much as possible without seeming like I wanted to be “the boss”, you know? But organizing this together also means that there shouldn’t be a boss who decides everything while everybody else follows. The point of the Foostival, and the reason why I really love this initiative is that all fansites work together to put something fun for everybody. It’s not about getting the most hits or views or followers for our own fansite. It’s all about the community. And I think I can say that we have been successful with our second Foostival and I can’t wait for the third to arrive. :D

Edited to add: If you want to organize Foostival in your own country, get in touch with us!

The following pictures were taken by Lord Walek, but he gave me permission to use them in our blog. :) If you want to see all pictures that were taken at the Foostival, go to the official gallery (which I will work on after publishing this very blog post here… so the link does not show pictures as of yet).

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Ein Hinweis: Im englischen Text findet ihr zwei Bildergallerien. Die wiederhole ich hier nicht noch einmal, sonst muss man zu viel scrollen. :)

Einige von euch erinnern sich vielleicht daran, dass wir letztes Jahr nicht beim Foostival dabei sein konnten. Immerhin konnte ich dennoch ein wenig bei der Organisation helfen, aber nicht annähernd so viel, wie ich gerne getan hätte. Dieses Jahr dagegen hatte ich mehr Zeit, konnt somit mehr mithelfen und bookahnerk und ich waren auch endlich vor Ort dabei!

Bevor ich jetzt aber über meine Eindrücke vom diesjährigen Foostival schreibe, möchte ich kurz noch für diejenigen, die das Foostival vielleicht nicht kennen, erklären, was das überhaupt ist. Im oben verlinkten Artikel vom letzten Jahr habe ich das ganze schon ausführlicher (allerdings nur auf Englisch) beschrieben. Daher jetzt kurz die längere Version auf Deutsch. Das Foostival wurde 2013 zum ersten Mal veranstaltet und zwar in Frankreich. Dort hatten sich Leute von den französischen Fanseiten zusammengetan, weil sie gemeinsam etwas organisieren wollten. “Von den Fans für die Fans” lautet das Motto des Foostivals. Im Jahr danach fragten die Franzosen in der Community herum, ob andere Länder sich nicht auch beteiligen möchten. Das Ganze war erstmal auf Europa beschränkt (keine Ahnung, ob Absicht oder Zufall). Ab 2014 waren wir in Deutschland dann also dabei! Dieses Jahr wurde es dann schon auf Belgien und Großbritannien erweitert (und somit fand das Foostival schon in 4 Ländern statt). Die größten Probleme gibt es tatsächlich meist, weil es sehr schwierig ist, eine Location zu finden, die bezahlbar ist und gleichzeitig PCs mit Internetverbindung zur Verfügung stellt, damit man auch spielen kann. In Großbritannien wurde das Foostival deshalb nur “offline” abgehalten ohne PCs. Fast alle Organisatoren gehören mindestens einer Fanseite an. In meinem Fall sind es ja sogar zwei.

Wie oben bereits geschrieben, wird das Foostival in jedem Land von den Fans selbst organisiert. Allerdings hatten wir glücklicherweise die europäischen Community Manager vor Ort. Ausnahmsweise aber mal als Gäste und nicht als Organisatoren.

Beim Foostival geht es vor allem darum, sich kennenzulernen. Auf der einen Seite ist das für diejenigen hinter den Fanseiten mal schön, die Leute zu treffen, die uns lesen, bei uns kommentieren bzw. sich in den jeweiligen Foren miteinander unterhalten.  Auf der anderen Seite ist es vielleicht für die Leser auch mal ganz schön, zu wissen, wer eigentlich hinter den Fanseiten steckt. Das Wichtigste ist aber immer, dass wir als Spieler andere Spieler treffen können.

Da ich bei der Organisation dabei war, hatte ich leider nicht so viel Zeit, mich mit den übrigen Teilnehmern zu unterhalten, wie ich es gerne getan hätte. Trotzdem hatte auch ich viel Spaß (und ich denke, dem Rest des Orga-Teams geht es da genauso). Ich konnte endlich mal wieder die großartigen Jungs von GuildNews sehen und ich konnte zusehen, wie das gw2community-Team den Tequatl-Kampf organisierte. Wo immer ich hinblickte, sah ich lächelnde Teilnehmer – vor allem bei der Verlosung des Loots. :p

Leider hat das “internationale” Jumping Puzzle dieses Jahr nicht geklappt. Im letzten Jahr konnten die Teilnehmer in Frankreich, in Deutschland und Rumänien (die sich allerdings nur für in-game Aktivitäten im Spiel getroffen hatten und sich nicht offline getroffen hatten). Jedenfalls gab es dieses Jahr Probleme bei den Franzosen, die mit ihren PCs nicht alle ins Spiel kamen. Irgendwann hatten wir uns dann entschieden, das Jumping Puzzle alleine zu machen. Leider war es dann aber auch schon Zeit für den Kampf gegen Tequatl, so dass wir das JP ausfallen ließen. Die Warterei war meiner Meinung nach schon sehr öde und dass wir es dann ausfallen ließen, war für einige bestimmt auch enttäuschend.

Insgesamt gesehen war das Foostival aber sehr schön und wir hatten trotzdem viel Spaß. Auch wenn ich an dem Tag wahrscheinlich viel zu viel Zeit damit verbracht habe, auf meinem Handy nach neuen Nachrichten von den Franzosen zu suchen, konnte ich mich trotzdem auch mit einigen Leuten unterhalten. Hoffentlich wird das nächstes Mal noch besser. Ich muss nur meine Multitasking-Fähigkeit stärker trainieren. ;)

Vielleicht fragt sich jetzt der ein oder andere aber auch: Was führte denn genau zu diesem Tag? Was muss eigentlich für so ein Foostival organisiert werden? Die relativ einfache Antwort ist: Es braucht sehr viele Voice Chats, Skype Nachrichten, E-Mails, viel Brainstorming und zig Google Drive-Dokumente. :p

An sich bevorzuge ich es, hier in meinem Blog alleine schalten und walten zu können, wie ich es mag, ohne irgendwelche Deadlines oder Leute, die mir sagen, worüber ich schreiben soll. Ich muss hier mit keinem koordinieren. Ab und zu “arbeite” ich aber auch sehr gerne mit anderen Leuten in der Community an einer gemeinsamen Sache (z.B. auch für “Pink Day in LA”). Man lernt einfach viele neue Menschen kennen und hat am Ende ein fertiges “Produkt” bzw. Event. Ich habe natürlich auch Glück, dass man z.B. mit GuildNews gut zusammenarbeiten kann. Es ist eben so, dass es beim Foostival nicht die eine Person gibt, die über allen anderen steht und sagt, was gemacht wird oder wer für welche Aufgaben verantwortlich ist. Wir organisieren alles gemeinsam und jeder sucht sich quasi selbst seine Aufgaben heraus. Man stimmt höchstens mal ab, ob man x oder y übernehmen kann oder soll. So bin ich auch nicht die Person, die vorne steht, sondern eher die, die im Hintergrund arbeitet. Ich habe mich vor allem um die offizielle Webseite gekümmert, um den Twitter-Account und Facebook, um die Anmeldungen, die reinkamen, die E-Mail-Kommunikation mit den Teilnehmern und dann auch die Anmeldung vor Ort. Ich führe gerne Listen, daher passte das auch ganz gut so. ;)

Wie gesagt, es gibt nicht den einen Boss. Das Foostival ist ein Gemeinschaftsprodukt und ich denke, darauf können wir dann auch stolz sein. Das Wichtige beim Foostival ist ja gerade, dass mehrere Seiten zusammenarbeiten und gerade deswegen mag ich diese Initiative auch so sehr. Alle Fanseiten arbeiten zusammen und am Ende haben wir alle Spaß. Ich denke, wir hatten auch mit dem zweiten Foostival wieder Erfolg und ich freue mich jetzt schon auf das dritte Foostival nächstes Jahr. :D

Die zweite Bildergallerie oben ist übrigens von Lord Walek, der mir erlaubt hat, seine Bilder hier im Blog zu verwenden. Wenn ihr alle Fotos sehen möchtet, die wir beim Foostival gemacht haben, besucht die Gallerie auf der offiziellen Webseite.

4 years of Nerdy Bookahs!

On March 12, 2011, we started this very blog here. I did not think that we would still be around 4 years later. I also did not think that the content of the blog would stay this close to its original roots. :p

4 years ago, we started as “Nerdy Bookahs and their travel guide”. We knew we wanted to focus on Guild Wars 2, but that game had not been released yet. “and their travel guide” fit at that time because we were looking for a new MMO home, so to speak, and tried out various MMOs. Rift had just released back in March 2011 and I had bought it for myself as a motivator for studying for my exams. This worked very well, by the way. :)

March 12, 2011 in Rift

March 12, 2011 in Rift

My main motivation to start writing a blog about gaming had been simple: I wanted to practice my English. Living in Germany, this is not exactly easy to do as German is such a strong language that in everyday life, you do not meet a lot of English. Films and TV series are completely dubbed, by the way. Over the years, my motivation has changed. I play in international guilds, so practicing my English skills isn’t such a big issue anymore. But I love being part of gaming communities. I enjoy communicating with others, sharing such a geeky hobby and making new friends (Greece… it will happen… soon!). The only thing I would wish for was an automatic – and good! – translation of all my English blog posts, so we could more easily have them in German as well. ;)

Let’s look at a few statistics: Throughout the past 4 years, we have published 385 posts (386 with this one). We used 576 different tags for our posts. The tags used most often are: Guild Wars 2, Giveaway, Screenshots, Rift, ArenaNet and Bookahneer’s Geekwatch.

The 5 most often viewed posts of all time are

  1. Guild Wars 2: Region by level
  2. How to switch between the starter areas in Guild Wars 2
  3. Guild Wars 2: A FAQ for new players
  4. Rift vs. LotRO vs. World of Warcraft – a closer look at all three MMOs (all entries in one) (possibly also the longest post with 11668 words)
  5. Rift vs. LotRO vs. World of Warcraft – a closer look at all three MMOs (Part 3)
March 8, 2012 in Rift

March 8, 2012 in Rift

The top 6 most often used search terms that led people to our blog are

  1. eligium
  2. lotro vs wow
  3. guild wars 2 map
  4. anno online
  5. guild wars 2 races
  6. guild wars 2 asura

As you can clearly see from these lists: Guild Wars 2 is not the only topic we write about in this blog. But some of those are actually quite surprising, even to me. As I said, I tried out a lot of different MMOs – some of those because of “Project 10/10“, but also because I just enjoy trying out new games. I actually had no idea I had ever used “eligium” in my posts, but I did find one where I wrote about that game: Bookahneer’s Geekwatch (February 18, 2012): Hype, where art thou? – Scroll past my whining about Warhammer Online and WvW in Guild Wars 2 and you will find the small part about Eligium. Quite obviously, I didn’t like that game. Anno Online is quite fascinating as well. I’ve written exactly one post about this game sharing my first impressions.

March 7, 2013 in Guild Wars 2

March 7, 2013 in Guild Wars 2

I am also surprised how many players are still interested in the question “Lotro or WoW?”. Oddly enough, I had seen this search term leading to our blog before I had written the blog posts comparing all the existing and/or missing features of Lotro, Rift and World of Warcraft. It was this search term that gave me the idea to write those posts in the first place. The rest is obvious, I think. And of course, I had to include the asura in the list… they aren’t really a focus of our blog other than them being part of Guild Wars 2, but apparently, we still mention them quite often. For good reasons, naturally. They are superior to all the others, after all.

Of course, Guild Wars 2 has always been the major focus of this blog. There’s no doubt about that when looking at the statistics above. At some point, we also removed the “and their travel guide” part from our blog’s name, because we declared Guild Wars 2 our new MMO home and had no need to travel anymore. After Guild Wars 2 had released, I wasn’t even sure if it was still appropriate to write about other games. But I decided that since we had started this way, we will stay the way we are. Guild Wars 2 is a major focus, but it’s not the only game we write about.

And with this, other MMOs came, were tried out and were left by us again. With one exception, other than Guild Wars 2: Rift. I had quit it while it had the sub fee and only returned once or twice, but jumped back in the minute it went free to play. I have been enjoying my time in the game ever since (while also giving them money. Don’t you worry! I love the game enough to want to support them, after all). The newest addition to our regular “setup” is Trove. These three games couldn’t be any more different from each other if you ask me. Rift being the “classical MMO” with the trinity and an extensive housing feature, Guild Wars 2 with its focus on living story and action-oriented combat (but lacking when it comes to housing, for example) and Trove the voxel sandbox game with blocky graphics. Altogether, a perfect mix for me as one of those three games always offers me something I want from gaming at any given time. ;) So here is to many more years of blogging… hopefully!

***

And In case you’re wondering why I’m publishing this post several days early: Real life. I will very likely be very busy next week and figured I’d rather write and publish this post now rather than later. At the same time, I can already give you a little “spoiler” of what’s going to be posted on March 12. If you’ve been here longer for a year already, you may remember that on our anniversary, we tend to start a giveaway. This year will be a little different. We will have two giveaways! One for Guild Wars 2 and one for Rift. Both ArenaNet and TrionWorlds were kind enough to give us some codes to give away (how about mini llamas or a hellbug mount or demon helms? Does that sound good to you?). So, make sure to come back here on March 12 if you want to win something! :)

March 7, 2015 in The Repopulation

…and their travel guide… – March 7, 2015 in The Repopulation

Fun with raptors

Lots and lots of raptors (or dragons, yes)… I love Trion’s humour here. The Dracolyte has a mini dragon as its familiar that fights with you. Additionally, this class can transform into a draconic form to deal some extra damage. This transformation usually only lasts a few seconds, but when you’re mounted, the transformation doesn’t end. As soon as you get into combat, you are dismounted and thus, you turn back into your usual form. But they added this as a feature not too long ago, so we can enjoy the view of the huge dragon form on a tiny mount for longer than just a few seconds.

Trove Raptors

Dracolyte dragon form, dragon ally, robo raptor mount and rascal raptor ally

I was lucky to win a robo raptor mount some time ago (Trove streamers on Twitch can get codes from Trion to give them away to their viewers) and I also have a “rascal raptor” ally. Allies are non-combat pets that give you a passive bonus. The raptor gives you a bit of movement speed.

Anyway, I just really loved this picture!

Bloggy XMAS 12: Connecting with friends through games

Blogg XMasThis post is part of “Bloggy Xmas” – an event where bloggers who signed up were assigned one day to provide a blog post about “Gaming and Community” and write about it.

At first, I didn’t know what I would want to write about, but then it hit me: I actually already had a draft sitting in my endless pile of unfinished drafts that fits the topic. It’s not that I didn’t like it, I simply forgot it was there.

Before Guild Wars 2 got released, we had wondered whether we wanted to create our own guild or join another one. We had also considered whether to make a German guild (seeing how we are Germans and us German-speaking folks often get their own set of servers to play on) or an international one. We ended up joining Dragon Season instead. With the exception of Lord of the Rings Online, we had previously always been in German guilds in MMOs. My game clients had usually been set to “English” (if that was the original language the game was made in), but within the game, I had played on German servers with German people. It’s not just because it’s easier to communicate if you’re all native speakers. It’s also because you do share a common culture and Germany itself isn’t such a big country. If you get to know people that you like, meeting them in real life isn’t usually too difficult to do.

So, being in the international (with mostly EU folks, as GW2 does separate their player base like that) guild that Dragon Season is, meeting people from the guild is much more difficult to do. We were lucky to meet a few fellow guildies at gamescom last year, but that’s about it. Still, you want to do more than “just” playing the game as you’re doing that every day anyway. Talking on voice chat is one thing and always fun. But what we do in the guild is to have a guild party at least once a year.

A few weeks ago, we had our summer party in Guild Wars 2… yes, it was just a few weeks ago, as we actually did it when it was autumn already or close to autumn. :p As is always the case with such things, a few people could not be there, but all in all, I would say it was a success as usual. I did not have as much time preparing as I would have liked, though.

We always celebrate by doing a few games and handing out prizes to the winners. Unfortunately, games always restrict you in what you can or can’t do compared to the real world. For example, I would love to put the prizes in wrapping paper to have a few extra seconds of the winner wondering what it is. But the games themselves are quite limited as well, as everybody who has ever tried to organize some or participated can probably imagine.

Costume Brawl

GW2 Guild Party 2014After having done three of those parties, I have found that costume brawl is actually a fun way to battle for a prize. There may not be much skill involved, but it’s fun to watch, at least. Some costume brawl items come with extra skills, though, especially the ones bought on the gem store. Also, some people may not have costume brawl items to participate (if that is the case, here is our only slightly old guide to get them without spending gems). So, I put down the cauldron that I can summon with the broom from the witch’s outfit (bought in the gem store). I love the cauldron, because everybody who just passes by can click on it, gets transformed and can participate in costume brawl. There are five possible transformations and this makes it a little more even.

Our rules for costume brawl: You become a costume brawl champion if you have scored 25 points. That champion then has to run to a predetermined spot to be declared the winner in our game. I chose to do it that way, because with the POWs and BAMs, it’s sometimes hard to spot who became a champion first. That way, they not only need to become a champion, they also need to realize they did and get their character over to the spot. Much easier for us to judge who is the winner. It may be a problem in larger groups or if you put the predetermined spot far away from the group, because some characters walk faster than others with special skills or items. So far, this hasn’t been an issue for us.

Find the NPC

This year, we did not play “Find bookahnerk” as we usually do. Bookahnerk could not actively participate in the guild party due to some exams he had had to study for. In the past, he went to a certain spot or a certain NPC in the town we were having our party in (Lion’s Arch and Hoelbrak were used for this). I gave out one hint (e.g., when we had our party in Lion’s Arch: “The sour loser…“) and the participants had to find the NPC and /bow at it. This is done, so we know for sure they aren’t just passing the NPC without knowing it’s the one they are looking for. Bookahnerk standing near the NPC also helps the participants because they know they are in the right spot – and it helps me to see who is there first without having to go there myself. Of course, nobody is allowed to party with bookahnerk or they can see his position on the map. It is also advised to turn off your commander’s tag if you’ve got it. ;) The downside of this game is that as long as the participants are looking for the NPC, communication is limited. You can use map chat or guild chat – but the latter only works if every participant is also in your guild and the first one means taking over communication space with people who may not be interested in what you are doing.

Trivia game

The classic game we always play is the easiest of them all: A trivia quiz. I think of questions I can ask, usually related to Guild Wars 2 in some way. Some are funny, some are lore-related, some belong to the “real life part” of the game – e.g. “When did Guild Wars 2 get released?”. The tricky part here is how to gather the answers. In-game mail gets restricted after sending two mails. So, if you have more than two questions at a time, you need to pause for quite a while in between. If you tell people to just use “say”, it’s less fun for everybody as one person shouts the right answer while the others may still be trying to guess. Another issue is typing speed. Some people can just type faster than others and I don’t really like having to exclude people from winning because they type slower than others. Latency may be an issue as well. So, no replying in “say”. I chose whispers during our last party and for me at least, it worked quite well. I sometimes missed a whisper, but altogether, it did not cause any issues: I have one extra chat tab only for whispers, so scrolling up, I could see all messages. Because of the aforementioned reasons, I also don’t take the first correct reply for the winner. Instead, I say that the first four or five correct replies will get thrown into the pool and the winner will be randomly selected. I know people have not been happy about this in the past, but I like to think it’s more inclusive and gives more players a chance at winning something.

Guess the NPC

GW2 Guild Party 2014This quiz also works quite nicely with NPCs: Instead of having players run to an NPC that I hinted at, they only need to tell me the NPC’s name. This also doesn’t limit you to NPC standing in the same map (so in order to avoid issues with people getting onto the same map again when they return). Last time, I changed that game a bit and gave out hints with decreasing difficulty. I started with some very vague hint: “We do not know that NPC’s hair colour.” – The next hint limited the possible answers a bit more: “The NPC is a human.” – For this game, I let players write in “/say” who they think I’m talking about. One guess per player per hint. So, when a new hint is given, everybody can write one more guess. This makes it a bit easier, as everybody can see the guesses that were already said and they know which NPC is not the correct one.

The problems with games is most of all the awkward limitation Guild Wars 2 poses on its players when it comes to communication. 2 mails only within a short amount of time and then you’re blocked from sending more mail for what seems like an eternity. Another issue I’ve ran into in the past was that I was muted from the public chats, because I had been too spammy, apparently. Of course, organizing and hosting the party and its games means that I write a lot in /say and getting muted quite frankly sucks. The alternative would be using a voice chat, but this would exclude those who cannot use voice chat for whatever reason and the random guests who were just passing by and decided to stop and play with us. Additionally, this is about building a community within a game.

In closing…

Playing games together would be much easier and probably also more fun if we could all just sit together in a room and do so. However, being in an international guild with players from lots of different countries, this is simply not an option. The second best is trying to work with what a game is giving you in order to play together and have fun. Guild Wars 2 could probably have a bit more to help with that, but it does have enough to make it a worthwhile and fun evening.

I think having guild parties like this does help to feel just a little bit closer together, even if we’re actually really far apart from each other. It’s by far not the same as being in the same room and playing a game like spin-the-bottle or whatever, you can still do something fun together. For me, these are always important events as they also remind me of why I have chosen this particular guild and why I’m still in there and help keep it running.

Away to game…

After some careful consideration – no, actually, it was an easy and fast decision. Something that’s still been on my mind for the last two or three days, though. I am going to quit NaBloPoMo. I like projects like these and I like setting myself goals and “rules” like these. However, it just doesn’t make any sense this year. Last year, I didn’t have a fulltime job yet. I did not do as much exercise as I currently do (actually, it was just more efficient but because of other health issues, I can’t do any “real” sports like jogging) and – okay, I still cooked as much and regularly as I do now. The end result, though, is that I spent most of my free time blogging so far. But it just doesn’t make any sense to blog about gaming when you can’t actually play any games. How am I supposed to write about the Silverwastes when I’ve hardly had time to explore them?

GW2_combat_silverwastesHow am I supposed to write down about my experiences with the Rift expansion when Meffanda is still only level 61?

I also have a few posts in my head that would take me longer than one evening to write them down or prepare them. But having to make one blog post every day means I can’t write on the longer blog posts while not having any content for shorter blog posts either.

So, I will stop with NaBloPoMo now. You can find me either there (*points Tyria*) or there (*points to Telaria*).

Rift_combat screen

It’s still been fun to write more often again! So I will keep up the increased activity, but maybe a middle ground would be the better choice. ;)