Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Test Driving the Overwatch Healer/Sniper: Ana

When I play games, I usually with choose either a sniper or healer. So you can only imagine my enthusiasm and excitement when Overwatch announced that the new hero would not only be a healer, but a SNIPER, I got super excited. It was like it was MADE for me.

For those that have not played Ana, or Overwatch and have no idea what I am talking about, Ana is the new hero in the multiplayer first-person shooter video game created by Blizzard available on PC, Playstaion and Xbox One. The newest hero is Ana, who is a sniper, whose weapon also heals her teammates. She also has a Sleep Dart for enemies, a Biotic Grenade which heals teammates and does damage to enemies. Her "ultimate" ability is a "Nano Boost" which is given to an ally and allows them to move faster, deal more damage to enemies and take less damage.

When I first logged in to try her out, I found out I was not the only one who wanted to play her. Funny thing, it is not a good test to see how a hero will work with others when every.single.other.person.is.that.character. How dare everyone else in the world try the character * I * wanted to try (sarcasm font not available, so use your imagination).  I swear, if I hear another chorus of "warihum quwitak" I may lose my little mind. Did not really give me a feel of the character. Got me a little frustrated, and I was sure the experience had soured my preconception of the hero.

I had actually had a draft of this blog post now for at least a week. I wanted to have a little more to write other than bitching about have 4-5 Anas on a team and how I didn't like the hero like I thought I would.

So. I took a "time out" and waited until I could fully appreciate the hero, aka trying Ana with a team of non-Ana heroes.

My opinion, now that I have taken the time to actually try it, is that the hero is very much map-specific. She does not have a way to get to "safety" like the others do. For snipers, Widowmaker has her grappling hook, and Hanzo has his spiderman-wall-climbing-thing going on. For healers, Mercy has her guardian angel left shift, Lucio has the whole speedy thing going on. So Ana joins the ranks of Zenyatta in the way that they both are healers without a way to get to safety. At least Zenyatta's orbs get fired in a more rapid sequence than Ana's sniper rifle.

However, if you get a map with a few strategic corners and accessible hiding places, I found Ana actually a lot of fun to play. It took a few games to really get used to the idea of sniping your allies, and good players are always moving, trying to avoid the enemy, which makes it a little more difficult. I found myself often saying "hold still you little sh*t, I'm trying to help you" and then just end up throwing a biotic grenade instead.

Her biggest plus is the Nano Boost ultimate, especially on specific heroes (coughcoughGenjicoughcough). I find I hardly am able to use her sleep dart, as when I am close enough to an enemy to aim and fire, the piddly 200 health of Ana is quickly diminished. I use her biotic grenade and sniper heal thing more often than not.

So overall, pros of Ana are her ultimate, and the biotic grenade, and overall sniping/healing abilities in the right map. The cons of Ana are the aiming for the Sleep Dart, the inability to get to higher ground and aiming at better players who are always moving.

I would have to say, Mercy or Lucio will probably remain my "main" support healers.

If there are other healers on the team, and it is a quick play or against AI, I may play Ana again, but the map and the situation would have to call for it. So not quite the "made for DuchessCPK" as I had hoped it would be.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

The World is Nucking Futs. A monologue from someone who copes by distractions.

As many of you know, this world is fucking crazy.  Things are heavy and morbid and made worse, not better, by politics and disagreements.

That, compounded with local news, I am terrified to open my phone to see what international city was the next target of a shooting, a bombing, or what ever new way evil people have come up with to end the lives of innocent people they have never met. I cannot, and refuse to try to fathom how much hate it would take to be so completely blind to believe wholeheartedly that the illogic death of innocent people is the only way to go. My heart breaks a little every time I read about any death, be it by intentional hands, accidental or otherwise. This is because I am, by nature, a compassionate person. I would not have it any other way. I never want to wake up and hear, yet again, tragic news and not care. To not have my heart break at the announcement of innocent lives lost would mean my humanity and compassion is gone, That scares me more than anything. 

How do we survive? Some people endure by fighting. With riots, or petitions, or a bombardment of Facebook posts. Some people cope by finding other things to occupy their time, like video games, or reading, or simply escaping in to a new world by watching unrelated T.V. Others take the light hearted approach and distract people with humor and jokes, making people laugh and smile.

I am one who copes by finding other things to do and occupy my mind. Did so when I found out about 9/11. Found out about during 2nd hour of my Freshman year of high school. Obviously, school still happened, and people wanted to talk about it. Some made some jokes, because that was the only way people knew how to cope. By the time I got home, I was an emotional teenage wreck, and wanted nothing to do but go downstairs and watch some T.V. But wouldn't you know, all the channels had coverage of the event or weren't broadcasting at all. I went upstairs to tell my parents and ended up losing it. Just broke down crying. It was too much to care about all those thousands and thousands of people and to realize that someone (multiple someones) did this on purpose. 

Same with the events today. People wonder why video games, augmented reality and other delicious forms of distraction are so appealing now a days. It is because the world is a fucking scary place now. People hating other people for reasons that still do not justify homicide of any kind. My heart and head would not be in one piece if I did not have distractions like gaming, or my dog, or my house projects. 

I don't post about it, I don't routinely blog about it. I will have an intelligent conversation about it if it comes up, but it is not my favorite pastime. This does not mean I don't know what's going on, and it doesn't mean I do not care. 

People have different ways of dealing with tradgedy and conflict on a national and international level. 

I chose to catch Pokemon in an augmented reality or heal my teammates in Overwatch. I chose to snuggle with my dog and be amazed at how soft her ears are and how proud I am when the training we've been working on sticks. I chose to, in silent moments on a late Saturday morning to appreciate my husband, who is on his side snoring, by gently rubbing his back and shoulders, thinking about how he is the best thing that has ever happened to me and how much I love him. I chose to throw myself in to my work, helping people continue their education. I chose to write about gaming and nerdy things because it makes me smile and I would like to think others like it too.  This isn't wrong just because it isn't what you would do, or someone else would do. It is my coping mechanism. Embrace your own, you do not need to explain yourself. 

Nice matters. Be good to each other, people.

Love you all!

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Pokemon Go or No Go? Decision Time

For those uninitiated, Pokemon Go is a free-to-play mobile game that allows players to capture, battle, train and trade Pokemon in the "real world" in an "augmented reality." Meaning, you have to walk around neighborhoods and your area to get Pokemon, Pokeballs, eggs, etc....

Honestly, I had no idea this was even coming out until I saw a bunch of stuff on Reddit about it. Then I came home and Breaky had downloaded it and was playing. So of course we went for a walk and he was showing me how it worked and what he was catching and all that fun stuff. He also got a picture of one of the Pokeballs and DogCPK:

But then I listened to the news about all these horrible things happening to those who were playing it, like people walking in to the street and getting hit by cars, or getting robbed for their phones because they walked in to the wrong neighborhood. The media has also spun this so for every pro-Pokemon Go post I see on Facebook, it is followed up by a negative post by a curmudgeon griping about how prowlers and thieves will use this as an excuse for being outside your house, and how kids should be at libraries instead of playing video games or how now parks are too crowded and everything is the end of the world. (Side gripe: you cannot complain about how your problem with video games is that it makes kids fat and lazy because they are sitting inside all day and then turn around and bitch because now they are playing video games outside and getting exercise. GRRR).

 But I also saw how much fun everyone else was having with it and the local Pokemon Go Facebook group Breaky had organized. I was torn. I also use Fitbit, and this would be great to get my 10,000 steps in a day! So I asked my Facebook followers if I should play or not.

It was a resounding "yes!" which made me realize that maybe I was being sucked in to the media machine that simply spit out the negative to get viewers to listen or to click and giving the Facebook drama fire more fuel.

So I downloaded it.

I am close to level 5 and have caught a bunch of Pokemon on my walk to and from work, which passes by 3 checkpoints, including one in front of my work place. DogCPK loves it because all of the sudden she is going on so many more walks with both of us and she gets to stop and sniff everything while Breaky tries to catch the 232th Rattata (omg I think I spelled that right on the first try!)

I came up with several points and suggestions that would allow me and hopefully others to enjoy the game while being safe and courteous. This is from a perspective of someone who watched people play and listened to the media.

1. Always be aware of our surroundings. You may have heard about some of the more dire things from the media I had mentioned above. Where there are good, fun, normal people, you will have ill-intentioned jerk-face people. Balance is needed, but that doesn't make it any easier. Be cautious, but still remember to be appropriately friendly. Do not be a jerk.

2. Being outside means we are increasing our chances of experiencing life in its uniqueness. Read about the teen that found the dead body? Usually those kinds of discoveries are left for joggers and hikers, not gamers. But now that we are out and about, realize that life and the outdoors is full of surprises and real-life drama and heartbreak. Maybe someone finds a dead body, but maybe you find a 20 dollar bill!

3. Do not drive and play Pokemon Go. I REPEAT DO NOT DRIVE AND PLAY POKEMON GO. Similar to driving and texting, it just is not worth it. I don't have many "rules" when it comes to my relationships. But I will throw your damn phone out the window if you are driving and trying to do anything with your phone. Please just wait until you are safely parked, then walk around to those checkpoints and Pokemon. Meeting people while walking is a lot better than meeting the undertaker. 

4. We need to watch where we are going and be courteous to people's privacy and property. We do not need the media outlets and people my parents' age to have more ammunition about our generation being zombies buried in our phones as it was the end of the world. Enjoy your walk. Take those pictures of the Pokemon in weird places. Just please look up more than you are looking at your phone. Also, if there is a Pokemon in someone's private property, either get permission to be there, or just keep walking. I do not care if it is the most rare one in the world. I don't need more of my former teachers griping about how "kids need to stay off their lawn".  We can't win. I don't want to hear about it. Be smart. Oh, and do not walk in to traffic. Seems like silly advice, but I, on several occasions will look up from my phone and be a lot further along than I thought I was. Didn't run in to traffic, but it could have happened. 

5. We probably shouldn't play during work (depending on where you work). Please be aware that your employer may not want to pay you to catch Pokemon in an augmented reality. If you are not exactly sure if your employer is cool with it, chances are they are not. Save it for breaks and lunches. Walking lunches are the best anyway! 

6. Don't get discouraged. Have fun!  All the negative news, disclaimers about safety, rude comments, scary stories and just plain bad media coverage shouldn't deter us from enjoying ourselves. I often feel personal shame and guilt if a gaming community I am a part of gets negative media attention because of one or two trolls or a bad decision or two. Let us not let a few bad stories ruin it for everyone else. Let's make this gaming experience great for everyone! 

Friday, July 8, 2016

Food Friday: a F^c$ Up and a Fabulous Fix

So this is more of a story than it is a recipe. Because, honestly, I had no intention of making "scrambled eggs" a "Food Friday" blog feature because, you know, it's scrambled eggs. I'm not saying everyone knows how to make scrambled eggs, but honestly, I simply follow Gordon Ramsay's YouTube Video as to how to make good scrambled eggs, so the blog post would have been simply a link to his video (I suppose I should probably link the video anyway)

Anyway. As a part of a new "budget" and money-saving initiative, Breaky and I decided it would be advantageous to make breakfast one day during the weekend. We used to just go to this small little country breakfast place down the street both Saturday and Sunday, but decided because we have been spending too much money at restaurants that I could, instead, make breakfast one of those mornings.

I will be the first to admit, breakfast-making is not my strongest skill. My Mother made the best over-easy eggs when we were growing up, and still does when we come to visit, and my Dad and my sister make great pancakes. Me? I make my breakfast for myself, which is usually yogurt and granola or toast and peanut butter or just fruit. I have made several breakfast casseroles for company brunches which have turned out o.k., but were pretty much just scrambled eggs and hash browns. Pancakes? Last time I tried it was a complete disaster. Burned on the outside, uncooked on the inside, in shapes that screamed "please kill me." Hey, I said I was the Good Geek Wife, not the Great Geek Wife. The Great Geek Wife would be able to make pancakes I'm sure. My "good" status comes from me at least trying! To Breaky's credit, he doesn't complain when food I prepare is.....meh....or burned. He usually will just sneak cereal as a "snack" later. True love right here.

But this blog post is not about my pancake debacle. This blog post is about my scrambled eggs. Both Breaky and I are fans of Mexican food, and had salsa, cheese and tortillas in stock in the kitchen thanks to a recent Costco run. So, why not breakfast burritos! As I'm seasoning the eggs, in goes the onion powder, garlic powder, sea salt, cumin....... wait...... why do I smell cinnamon? *looks at what I thought was the cumin* oh sh*t.

If you have ever used cinnamon in cooking, you have used just a little shake of it. It is pungent and sometimes overpowering. I, of course, put A LOT of what I thought was cumin in these eggs. So, as a result, I had put a lot of cinnamon in our scrambled eggs. Our breakfast burrito scrambled eggs.

In my defense, I had not had my coffee yet.

Luckily, Nick wasn't up yet and I did some investigating in our fridge. Mango salsa. Hhmmmm..... maybe like a sweet, spicy and savory breakfast burrito with cinnamon eggs and mango salsa.  So I finished up with the scrambled eggs by adding some sausage I had cooked up and added some hot sauce and a little bit of sour cream to soften up the eggs. Served it with the mango salsa and cheese in a tortilla. Held my breath.

Breaky had no idea. Still doesn't (well, until he reads this I suppose) He thought they were fantastic. Honestly, so did I. The cinnamon added a level of spicy that was unique and tasty.

Not a pancake-level disaster that it could have been. Yay! So I suppose if you wanted to try my "accidental" recipe of sweet and savory breakfast burritos, you could follow along with the story. Maybe one day I'll try it again on purpose and post it. It could use a better title though.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

GGWP: Gaming Glossary

While playing games or hanging out with friends, does your boyfriend speak weird words you wish you understood? Does your Grandmother get on your case because she doesn't understand this "funny" language you let slip out during dinner? Are you new to gaming and wish to know what the heck everyone is talking about? Why is everyone spamming "GG" at the end of every game? And what is "spamming"? Then bookmark this post and it will save your life!

Ok, ok, ok, so I may be exaggerating a little bit. Please excuse me for adding a sales-pitch-like dramatic flair for my introduction to my post. 

When I first started dating Breaky, yeah, there were terms and acronyms I had no clue about. I'm not shy, and am confident in my vocabulary abilities to not be ashamed to admit naivety about what the heck they were talking about. So I just asked. Obviously, by consistent questioning didn't bother Breaky, because that was 4 years ago and we are still together. Married, even.

Now, if I were to have tried to write up my own definition of what these words mean, it may seem a little like:

So I asked a few people who are respectable in the gaming world and whom I have heard use these words before. AKA "experts". So if  you have additions, please feel free to comment below.

Aggro: When something or someone is focusing on you OR you or someone is focusing very hard on something

BM: Bad Mannered, a label given to someone who is considered mean and unfriendly.

Buff: When changes are made to someone or something to increase its effectiveness

FTW: For the win!

GG: Good Game

GGWP: Good game, well played

GLHF: Good luck, have fun

Grind: Doing a very tedious task to get some reward in the end

GTG: Got to go

Lag; When something is causing someone to be slower than usual, late reactions

Meta; What the current state of said topic is. Similar to "trends" but more gaming related

Nerf: When changes are made to someone or something to reduce its effectiveness

Noob: Term used to refer to someone being bad or just generally new to something

OP: Original poster OR Overpowered, meaning something is considered too strong or powerful

Salty: Being very upset about a person or act with little logic behind it

Spam/Spamming: Typing over and over again in a very rapid manner, often times the same thing repeated

Troll/Trolling: An extreme form of being sarcastic or mean, usually with the intention to upset someone else

Hopefully this will help someone understand what people are talking about. I could have used this when I first started dating Breaky, but if it can help one person, or even is entertaining to a few seasoned professionals, then I guess it was worth it. :)