No More Let’s Plays

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My original plan for my YouTube channel in 2015 was to come back from my four-month-long slump with a vengeance. I was going to get everything back on schedule, finish up series that had been dragging out, and start up new, exciting series too. However I also want 2015 to be a year of introspection and time management. So I have to ask myself, is doing Let’s Plays a good use of my time?

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First Impressions of the SteelSeries Siberia V2 Gaming Headset

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The past three or four years I had been using the same headset: the Corsair 1500 Vengeance wired headset. As a person with a small head and thick framed glasses, it is always difficult for me to find comfortable headsets that also provide good quality. So usually when I find a set that works, I keep buying that same set when the old pair wears out. Thus was the case with the 1500s. They provided good sound quality, didn’t try to pull my ears off my head, had nice soft velvet ear cups, and of course a pretty great quality microphone for a gaming headset. However the problem I always encountered with the 1500s was that the cable on either side of the in-line volume/mute button would wear out within a year or so. This last pair I had lasted two years, so they have been getting better. But when it came time to replace them I decided to opt for something different. The SteelSeries Siberia V2.

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New Kid on the Megaserver

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Starting a new MMO can be daunting. Sure, some things can and often are very similar across a number of games within the genre: class roles, the questing system, crafting, dungeons, etc. However each MMO does things slightly differently so that even MMO veterans may need time adjusting when delving into a new game. This is the place I currently find myself in with Guild Wars 2. I’ve been playing for a little over three months now and while I have certainly learned tons about the game in that time span, I realize that I still have heaps more to learn and figure out about the game. And for me, learning the game and discovering its intricacies and quirks can be very fun! Especially when I have other people to play the game and enjoy those discussions with.

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Guild Wars 2 Character Progress

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Since the last time I posted a Guild Wars 2 Character Progress report, a lot has happened for me and GW2. We started the Guild Wars Players site up and Drac (and eventually Ethelros, too) and I started podcasting as Guild Wars Players News. It’s been awesome and GW2 still has me in a tight grip. I’d play all day if I could. And I have some days, as you might be able to tell from my characters…

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I’m a Bad YouTuber

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I’m taking this week off videos in an attempt to get back to being a Good YouTuber. Because I have been a pretty bad YouTubuer the past few months. Back in August I was doing a really good job of putting out a bunch of videos every week on schedule and having a bunch lined up in advanced. Then I went on my near month-long vacation and my YouTubing groove has been off ever since.
It’s already late Tuesday afternoon and I’m behind on this week’s videos. Again. So I’m going to try taking this week off from posting any videos. Note: I said posting any videos. The rest of this week I’m going to be recording and editing and getting a backlog of videos going. I’m hoping that this gets me back into my Good YouTuber groove where I can post lots of videos every week on a schedule.
As always, if you have questions, concerns, et cetera please feel free to comment. I’ll answer to the best of my ability.
See you around the internet!

Guild Wars 2 Character Progress

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If you watch my videos or follow me on Twitter, you probably know that my current obsession is Guild Wars 2. What I thought would be an MMO that I would occasionally log in to on weekends for an hour or two has consumed me in a way I haven’t experienced since I started playing Lord of the Rings Online. The quality of the game really took me by surprise. In the past month since I started playing, I have already sunk more hours than I would care to admit into leveling, cosmetics, crafting, and general exploration of Tyria.

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The 5 Stages of Game Burnout

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I’ve played Lord of the Rings: Online for nearly seven years now. That’s a long time to be playing any game. Back in 2011 just after the Anniversary event (the one many refer to as the Grindaversary), I experienced my first strong, true burnout from LOTRO. For a year afterwards I would log in occasionally and try to get back into the game but it was never the same. I finally started logging in again regularly with the release of Riders of Rohan. My playtime has been steadily increasing since then however with the release of Update 15 I’m beginning to feel the tell-tale signs of game burnout once again.

I know many others are feeling the same way about LOTRO and other games at the moment so I wanted to outline the stages of game burnout. These stages are especially prevalent if you are playing a time-intensive, long-term game like an MMO.

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52 Weeks of Writing

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It’s impossibile to write 52 bad stories in a row.

Many of you probably know of November as NaNoWriMo – National Novel Writing Month. The goal is to write a 50,000 word rough draft within the month of November. It’s pretty nifty – you can use the official site to track your progress and earn badges. There are pep talks and events and lots of cool support networks to help you with ideas and motivation. Unfortunately, novel writing just isn’t for me, at least not at this point in my life. And even if it is, 50k words in 30 days isn’t my thing. It’s just too specific of a goal in a direction I’m not super interested in taking.

So instead I’m going to start something I’ve been intending to do for quite a while – since I was still in university. I’m going to do the Ray Bradbury 52-week short story challenge.

There’s a famous Bradbury quote that goes, “It’s impossibile to write 52 bad stories in a row.” The idea is to write a short story once a week for 52 weeks – an entire year. It’s definitely a much longer term goal than NaNoWriMo, but I feel like this challenge is much more within my wheelhouse than a crunch-time novel. I’m going to try to have each story be around 2000 words. If some are shorter and some are longer, that’s fine. Especially if they are shorter, I’m okay with that. The point is to write short stories so as long as the short story is complete then that’s it.

Some of the stories I’ll post here. Ones I think are really good or ones that I want some feedback on, probably. It’s going to be a long year. Wish me luck!

City 2048 – The 2048 game of my dreams

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I periodically browse the Play store hoping to find previously unknown (to me, anyway) gems – whether they be games, productivity apps, or anything else doesn’t matter. I’ll spend ages flipping through pages of apps looking for the next shiny new app. It was in one of these sessions this weekend that I found City 2048 and it has sated my app hunger, at least for a while.

Like any 2048 game, the goal is to combine like-tiles to create higher-tiered tiles. You continue to combine these tiles to get a larger score. However the challenge is to combine tiles in such a way that you don’t run out of board space and get a grid-lock. Endlessly swiping the tiles back and forth can prove to be quite an addicting time waster and there’s heaps of copies and variants on the web and anywhere simple, time-wasting games can be found.

City 2048 stands out from the sea of autumn-toned number pushers like a beautiful, vector lighthouse. Instead of the usual number tiles, City 2048 features an isometric grid of tree and house tiles. The tile that would normally be represented by a “2” is instead a lovely grove of trees.

How have I never seen or heard of this game before?

The “4” tile is a small group of houses. As you combine the tiles, the buildings get bigger – a mansion, a block of townhouses, high-rise apartments. The art style is truly superb in this game and makes what is usually a visual simplistic game gorgeous. The downside is that it does take a bit extra time to get used to the tiles. Numbers are straight forward and easily to follow but different building configurations is another thing.

I was surprised by the music as well. Cool jazz overlaid with the sound of birds chirping and wind blowing. Combined with the art style it really makes the perfect, high-end 2048 variant. And it’s free!

“How have I never seen or heard of this game before?” was my first thought upon finding City 2048 in the Google Play store. My second thought was, “This is exactly what I want.”

The only downside I’ve come across while playing is responsiveness. Occasionally the game will lag out on my Nexus 7 tablet – usually when the game tries to render a cloud over my little city. The game also occasionally freezes up and halts after I’ve grid-locked my board. It can take quite a few seconds for my final score board to show up and allow me to restart. Generally though it’s not a prohibitive problem. I also concede that my tablet is nearly three years old, which could be part of the problem.

While it’s not anything ground breaking or innovative, I highly recommend City 2048 as a beautiful new take on 2048 puzzle genre. You will not regret it.

City 2048 is available on Android and iOS devices.