Tuesday, April 26, 2016

My Journey Into Azeroth Part 1

Whispers to husband: It's Azeroth, right? Do I have that right? That's not the name of the place we started though. Azeroth is the "big picture" place yes? 

So, that will give you an insight in to how my journey in to playing Blizzard's World of Warcraft. I will break it up in to different parts, so hold on to your hats, we are going on an adventure!

DISCLAIMER: I am no expert in World of Warcraft (WoW). This is written from a "noob" perspective. I will call things the wrong name. I will make assumptions that are wrong. It is meant to be a good read.

To give you a little insight, I am mostly a first-person shooter game kind of gal. I do thoroughly enjoy Hearthstone though, so many characters and items/objects I recognize.

So one night, after years and years of pestering, I finally got a trial version of World of Warcraft. Why you ask? Well Hearthstone was running a promotion that if you reach level 20 on a new character in World of Warcraft, you get a new hero in Hearthstone: Lady Liadrin, a paladin.

I have a mediocre Murloc Paladin deck. Not necessarily the level of my Dragon Priest deck, but it was reason enough to dip my toe in the waters of WoW.

So for weird reasons, I folded. Told my husband I wanted to try it out. 

Logging in, we had some connectivity issues, which we will find out why later. Once logged in, we decided to go with Night Elf for our ..... race (asks husband...it's race right?), yes race. I decided to be a Priest class. Meaning I do the healing and damage stuff from a distance. Plus, got to rep my priest and stay consistent across most Blizzard games as a healer (I play Mercy in Overwatch).

Now this does mean my husband is playing as Alliance instead of Horde, which, considering he wanted to burn an Alliance shirt I owned when we first started dating, is a big frickin deal.

So we started. Since there is no tutorial, but instead hints and help as you start, I relied pretty heavily on my husband to fill me in on how to play. First and foremost how the hell to make my character move. Clicking, right clicking, left clicking etc... on top of the usual up, down left, right key bindings. I found myself often getting stuck because I couldn't figure out how to adjust my view and making my character do what I need her to. 

First impression? A crap ton of things going on. Lots of things to read, if you want to follow any kind of story line or get history/lore. Since Breaky has done this already, it was kind of go-go-go. Often times I had to be like, "Hakuna your Ta-Tas dear". I want to read why we have to pick these flowers to get experience. Although, in that "quest" I did figure out that we can swim! Which, I must confess, I did for a good few minutes. It was just fun. I think on that quest I lost my husband having too much fun swimming. 

I found that my biggest challenge once conquering the whole getting my character to move the right way, was binding spells and items accordingly. There just seemed like there was soooo much to read and consider and little time to do it. How was I supposed to know I can't use leather and plate? If my husband wasn't around, I would be picking up everything and be completely lost. Where is it said that it was a leather object? Do I need stamina? What's the difference between stamina and intelligence? The learning curve is intense. Or we went through everything far too quickly, which is possible. Actually attaching things to me (I believe the word is "bind" it to me, but I could be wrong) took me a long time, because I'm the kind of gal that wanted to sit and read and figure out what would be best, strategically. Look below, those are so many things I don't know what they do. 

(NOT MY BAG! Picture from the internet)

Visually, the artwork and the characters, the landscape, the animals, etc... were all very well created and appealing. Lots of fun to take a look at all the different artwork representing the different mechanics. 

I finally got the basics and Breaky and I did a great job of working together. Eventually. In the beginning, I would get annoyed when I wanted to kill something and he jumped in and did it for me. Mind you, we were on the same "team" or what ever, but I wanted to learn dammit! Anyway, we did find, however, that because of the promotion (we believe), there were WAY too many other people where we were. Everyone trying to level a new character super quick to get the Hearthstone promotion (again, we speculate. It's not like we asked anyone). We would get to where we had to defeat someone and there would be like, 4 people waiting to do the same thing. Because this is the internet, it wasn't exactly like they were going to wait in line according to who got there first. So that was fun. Honestly, it had more to do with me still figuring out how to target people and missing than it did with the amount of traffic for that one quest. 

The next step was going to another location. We flew on hippogriffs -PS, why did auto-correct want to change it from hippogriffs to hippodromes? What is a hippodrome anyway?

I couldn't tell you where we flew to, but the view was stunning. Such detail to the landscape. We did a few more quests, which usually involved me being about 10 paces behind my husband, healing him and doing some damage from afar. Fine. With. Me. 

My takeaways: 1. The art and the landscape and the characters were all very well created and visually appealing. 2. The actual play took some getting used to and sometimes caused me some frustration. 3. thus-far was playable and fun when we weren't waiting for other people (who have obviously played a ton already) to do what we were trying to do. 4. I am no expert in what certain things are called and we should have written down some of my attempts to communicate with Breaky what I was trying to say. It was hilarious, I'm sure. 

Part 2 will be about my travels into "Dungeons" which, from my experience thus far are "caves" not dungeons. And yes, I'm being pedantic. Sue me. Well, don't *actually* sue me. I don't have money. 

Till next time! FOR THE ALLIANCE!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Email Boss Fight

Like those Law & Order episodes, this blog post is based on real events. Names have been changed to protect the innocent...or was it the guilty?  Anyway. Everyone is assumed innocent until proven guilty. Wait, wrong kind of story.

Anyway. Story time.

A large group of friends got together for dinner at a sushi place in town.  There were a good 10-12 of us in attendance. Everyone except for me and two other "geek wives" worked for a video game company in some capacity. Ironically, two of us "geek wives" work in higher education. Small world!

Of course, being of technical minds, many phones were out throughout the night. Our friend was showing my husband a picture of a house project he was working on. Breaky noticed that our friend had over 45,000 unread emails. No joke.

(not actual picture obviously)

Of course discussions about preferences ensued, with everyone believing they were right. For example, I HATE unread or "new" notifications of any kind on my phone, computer or tablet. I will wade through hundreds of emails to clear everything out to get rid of that pesky little orange or red number. Others, it doesn't matter.

Our friend mentioned how, when he tries to select all unread messages to change it to read or delete that gmail freezes and crashes the browser.

Lots of back and forth occurred, including creating formulas to select, group, delete, read etc... and all these creative solutions that were absolutely plausible.** End result was our friend not being super interested in making that kind of effort to fix it. This of course resulted in a small uproar from us "read email" purists.

Then, someone told our friend that he, who is a video game enthusiast, should treat this as a video game. Work on it to get the number lower.

Here is a small snippet of how that conversation, which ended up including the whole table, devolved:

"Dude,  you're a gamer, treat it as a game!"
"Wouldn't that meant I want that number to be higher? I should go for the high score!"
"No, no, a lower number! Like golf. Golf is a game!"
"Or like a boss fight!"
"Yeah, the health of the boss needs to go down"
"But how do you get XP though? If he really wanted to, he would go for the high score and get it to 100,000 unread emails. "
"Hey, don't encourage him!"

Yes. Someone's unread email got compared to golf, a boss fight, and XP.

I have to say, if anything our dinners are rarely boring.

** For those encountering the same problem with email, here's the link I have above regarding clearing out those unread emails: http://www.zdnet.com/article/how-to-mark-all-unread-emails-as-read-in-gmail-and-more/

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Adulting is hard

Adulting is hard.

Take for example these two conversations my husband and I have had within the past 24 hours:

Husband (H): Babe, do you know where my keys are?
Me: No. Have you tried your pants pockets? Bedroom table? Kitchen?
H: I've checked all of those
Me: hhmm.... Do you need me to come home and help look for them?
H: Nah. I'm sure I'll find it
Me: You came home last night, greeted Lily and then joined me in the kitchen while I was making dinner.....Did you maybe leave them in the door


not 4 hours later:

Me: You are not going to believe what I've done
H: Oh God.
Me: I brought a bag of Lily's treats with me to work. I had them in my pockets from leash training.
H: Lol
Me: I wondered why I smelled like dog.

Couple notes. Lily is our dog. Hence the leash training. Weirdo.

Also, I refuse to use "lol" I can't do it. My husband does. I will not use it in my blog except to quote him.

If that doesn't give you a pretty darn good look in to our lives, I don't know what does.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Clever Girl

Quick blog post about our day so far. 

DogCPK (aka Lily) some how got out of her collar and made it a chew toy. How? No clue, we weren't home. But I did notice that she was a little more subdued than usual when I came home, like she had done something she knew she shouldn't have.

I don't know whether to be impressed or angry. Since it happened and I can't change it, I'm just going to be impressed. 

Here's the picture of the evidence left over: 

Friday, April 8, 2016

Food Friday-An Introduction

Hello all!

A part of what I want to incorporate in to this blog is a few recipes from me and my family and friends. I cannot guarantee you they will all be "geeky" related, but I will try my best to make it such by injecting some humor and some huge "fail" moments I have.

I have a pretty decent system that allows me to create a meal quickly, so I can enjoy gaming with Breaky, and also my meals are able to be enjoyed while at a computer or around a table with a board game or two. .

Fair warning, fails will more likely happen if I try to bake anything. I can cook! But I don't bake. I am not a scientist, I don't like "measuring" or "following directions" or "not substituting" things because I am a cheapskate.

By the way, unrelated to Foodie Friday, the word "cheapskate" looks funny to me. I had to even google it to make sure I spelled it right. This may be one of those words that is easier to use in speech than in writing. Or maybe it is one of those instances where if you look at any word long enough it looks funny. Cheapskate.... cheapskate.....

But I digress (I do that a lot...)

I did not have time this week to formulate which recipe I should actually write down the specific ingredients for, so this is going to be an introduction of sorts, so you can figure out what to expect every(ish) Friday.

As an introduction, I will briefly go over what our kitchen always has on hand.

1. Rice. It is cheap, easy to make and can be bought in bulk. It helped me survive in Norway when I was studying abroad and no businesses over there took Visa. What I'm trying to say, it is a great poor college student staple.

2. Chicken or beef stock. This is a must! Can be used in so many different recipes.

3. Olive oil. I sent a question out to my Facebook friends about what olive oils are the best. Got a ton of answers that I still need to go through. Will follow-up with a blog post on Food Friday I'm sure.

4. A good pot and a good pan. Kind of seems like a no-brainer, right? Well, from someone who had some pretty cheap pots and pans in the past, this is a bigger deal than you think.

5. Pre-cooked frozen chicken. Cooking with raw chicken makes me nervous. And thawing frozen chicken is a hassle. They make pre-cooked frozen chicken that is available in any grocery store in the frozen section.

6. A cheese grater. Breaky has taken to only buying block cheese, which means we have to grate it. Which means Breaky grates it because I once took a good chunk of my knuckle off with a cheese grater. No thank you.

Not a "necessity" but I really like having Alexa in the kitchen. I bought the Amazon Echo for Breaky at Christmas, and I absolutely love it. From playing music while I cook, to asking her how many oz are in a cup, to having her turn on the living room lights on, she is an absolute help in my kitchen.

So what should you expect from Food Fridays?

How about my recipe for Jambalaya? Or my sausage dip that gets requested every time I make it for a party? How about helping me name something I threw together with crap that is in my kitchen because I didn't want to go out and buy things? Or seeing what failures I produce when I attempt to bake?

Sounds like a party to me.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

A Whole New World: An Introduction Post

"A Whole New World"

Means something a little different when Aladdin and Jasmine sang it in that one Disney movie, but the overall idea is about the same.

When I started dating my now-husband, I had very little to no knowledge that "competitive video gaming" was a thing. At all. Heck, I didn't really understand the really big picture of video games in the first place. I thought I did! I played a ton of Halo and Super Smash Brothers in the dorms at my university. Even beat the boys in a Halo tournament my sophomore year.

I didn't understand the lore, but appreciated that some did. I didn't spend every second on the computer playing games, though realized that some did. What I did not understand, however, was that when you have a group of individuals who make it their life to create, research, play and breathe video games, a very specific and identifiable culture emerges.

I had dated a gamer before. He played WoW and a few other games while we were dating. We had a tricky break-up but remained friends. But I digress. I thought I was prepared.

I was wrong.

When BreakyCPK and I first started dating (how we met will be a separate blog post. It's too cute not to be), I was relieved I finally found someone that I was entirely compatible with. A self-proclaimed "geek" who was also a bit of an extrovert and had many similar interests that I did. It helped that he was my type and very attractive.

For those of you reading this who may not know who BreakyCPK is, let me explain super quick. He came from California, where he started delving in to the new world of "shoutcasting" or broadcasting video-game sporting events. He did this independently, while going to school for sports broadcasting. People started to notice, and really long story short, was hired by a video game company in Michigan to do this full time. Eventually, he would become the Video Production Lead for a video game called Heroes of Newerth, where he not only continuing to "shoutcast" but to produce marketing videos for the company. (TL;DR He works for a video game company)

My first glimpse in to the culture that revolves around video games was actually on our  second date. He took me to a movie, where a bunch of his friends showed up. I could tell he was embarrassed and didn't arrange for that to happen, but I found it so endearing. I met an eclectic group of folks around the same age, and even younger than me who were so supportive of Breaky and his new love interest. I couldn't help but plaster a huge smile on my face. Very interesting people and I knew and hoped I would see more of them soon.

Some brief things I found out about the culture of those in the video game industry.

1. You will not find a more passionate group of people in any other industry. Arguments could be made for many different fields and I know many fields have very, very passionate people. However, those in the field of video games are hard-working, pseudo-obsessive individuals who spend their work time and play time revolved around their craft. Not just their craft however. Once they find a topic they find interesting, they become the experts on that. Politics, music, board games, etc. Makes for absolutely fascinating conversations

2. The stereotype of the "gamer introvert" is false. So many video game professionals have outgoing personalities and are extremely social and involved with the community. As with any group of people, you will have both extroverts and introverts, but in the video game industry, regardless of which you are, you are family. Many social events revolve around work friends, and include everyone.

3. The lingo is.... different. Because of the sheer amount of time spent with others of their craft, video game enthusiasts of all professions have created a sort of new language. I can say with pride that I have caught on to this and even find it leaking out while in "normal" situations. I may do a blog post on that one.

4. You find and make forever friends. About 80% of our wedding party were from the "video game industry." Many others actively play the same games we do, creating a sort of family. I could not have asked for a better wedding party on our very special day. Many of my female friends are either working in the video game industry or are girlfriends/fiances/wives of those in the video game industry.

There are so many other little nuances to this world and culture. Way too many for one blog post. When I started dating Breaky, I didn't realize how different my world had been. I also didn't realize there were others in my position who were new to the whole professional video game culture, but wanted to belong.

That's the basics of what this blog will be. Also recipes that many have demanded I share, as well as I'm sure, insight in to the ever changing and evolving world of competitive video games, and maybe life in general.