39 year old conquers fear of Dungeons & Dragons

I waited 39 years to get over my fear of math and dice to finally attempt my very first Dungeons & Dragons game with internet friends I have known for ages. I have conquered part of my fears, but not all of them, as Roll20.net makes die rolls 100000% easier to beginners! Our DM decided since we were all practically new, we’d start out with level 10 characters because she decided to run City of the Spider Queen. She adjusted it for 5e as much as she could and also tossed in a lot of home brew elements too.

I have been having an absolute ball playing Anthracite Ironbelly, my cleric, with my husband, Shawn, who plays Boddlur’s the Germanic-sounding bard, our DM Lil, and our Rogue Zalima with the Paladin, Corvin. I sure hope this highlight of our game play amuses you too!

If you dig it, you can usually check us live streaming our D&D games every Saturday (when health and life participates) on my twitch channel found here: Pinkatron2000. You can also follow me on twitter here: Pinkatron2000, for live stream announcements and schedule updates. <3

Beautiful Gold Spam: Age of Wushu

Quick and Dirty, ladies and gents–a why and why for, about Age of Wushu: a free to play world PVP kung-fu MMORPG.
(Immature giggling goes here)

Does this dress make my flowers look big?

Does this dress make my flowers look big?

Why you should play Age of Wushu

  • If you are a fan of ancient china, chinese mythologies, the ancient kung-fu movies or wuxia dramas then you are going to enjoy looking at Age of Wushu.
  • Despite being run on a graphics engine a bit out of date enough to rely on bloom, it’s still gorgeous and many places feel as if they sprung out of painted scenes.
  • One of the better kung-fu/Martial arts F2P out there
  • World PVP (after a certain level) adding an edge to danger to everything
  • Crafting is a viable source of income and helpful to progress
  • Team Practice your Kung-Fu with fellow Kung-fu practicioneers to ‘speed’ the experience of your deadly arts
  • Belong to a school (Wudang, Emei, Shaolin, Beggars, Royal Guards and so on) and enjoy benefits from belonging to a group
  • Spy on enemy/different schools and earn rewards and experience.
  • Be evil: Kidnap people and sell them, all while maniacally laughing and stroking your whiskers.
  • Pay for being evil: repent your sins (if you are part of a good aligned school) at the temple or go to jail to pay for your crimes of PKing and kidnapping!
  • Pick up the arts: learn calligraphy, learn painting, learn chess, poetry or music
  • Protect and escort supplies between important families or individuals of import
  • Save the girl or guy
  • Win friends
  • Farm, mine, fish, chop wood, skin animals, cook food, make poisons, heal through herbs, weave clothe, make legendary weapons
  • Find a guild: go to war, make an alliance, group up and roll out
  • There is never nothing to do.
I could, like, sit here all day, man

I could, like, sit here all day, man

Why you shouldn’t play Age of Wushu

  • It’s a free to play game and so some of the unique issues that always seem to crop up in f2p’s do.
  • Gold spam everywhere. In all the channels so far except school channels (as far as I have observed). You can put them on ignore (add them to blacklist) but that gets full in a day. That solution isn’t viable.
  • Punks everywhere: f2p seems to bring out the best and the worst more so than anything else. You will get punked at sometime, anytime, especially by yourself. There will always be those guys that smell new player from a mile away and swoop in on their epics and kill you in one click thinking they all that and a bag of tea.
  • With that in mind: if you get upset easily by being pk’ed by kids or people having a bad day, right off the bat “open pvp world,” should turn you away.
  • The cash shop isn’t pay to win–it’s pay to level faster basically. Mounts, bags, extra warehouse, all of this isn’t permanent. Mounts and bags last a set amount of days (100, for example.) Bags currently are purchased from players or picked up from drops only, mounts are cash shop or random quest rewards (as far as I can tell), and the only current way to get extra warehouse space (bank space) is to pay Snail Games real cash money dollar bills for in game gold to become a VIP member to expand it. Plus, as a VIP member, you “cultivate,” your Kung-fu off line and faster than those who play free. (Cultivate = experience = level it up, pretty much.) Right now, there aren’t any pills, buffs, exp medicines or the like in the shop either. So like I said, it’s not so much pay-to-win as it is pay-to-get-to-win-faster. (I could be wrong! Feel free to let me know in comments!)
  • Solo play is going to be difficult. Without a guild to help you with instances or fighting off random player killing, the casual gamer or gamer who likes to explore all the areas and things might find it a challenge.
  • Grind fest. No matter how fun everything is–or how fun I find it–I know it’s going to be a grind to get it anywhere better. I know it, and the game doesn’t even bother to hide how many hours of repetition I’m gonna put into it to get it there. I guess it’s almost a positive the game doesn’t hide it?
  • Lost in translation: I believe that some of the better aspects of the game may have been lost in the translation from Chinese to English. Quest descriptions are abrupt and in some cases appear to have nothing to do with the quest they are giving you. Your quest tracker and the ability to click-auto-path is going to be awesome for some.
Within the school of Emei

Within the school of Emei

So should I try it or not?

It’s a free game that despite it’s very real and very obvious flaws to an American market; is trying its best to carry its weight. And it’s doing okay. I think that Age of Wushu is one of those free-to-play games that fits a niche market and not a broad one to appeal to everyone. And that’s okay, I think that there needs be more games happier to cater to a wildly loyal few than try and appeal to a broad mass and fail. Whether Age of Wushu will collapse under it’s gold spam and free to play is something we will have to see. As it stands, I think it’s a remarkable game for free to play and Martial Arts and one that it cannot hurt to be tried.

How to bribe a vet: Estates, houses, and grrrrl, is that a cherry blossom couch?

Seven years.

Seven years ago Shawn and I beta tested a little game called Everquest 2. Years before that, Shawn had beta tested a game called Everquest and said to me, “I liked it–but at the time I felt like the game and what it was trying to do was limited by technology at that time, and thought that in a couple of years it would really shine.”

Well. Then they made EQ2. And we were hooked.

EQ2_000042

Purple angry unicorn with wings? HELL YEAH!

When we played, we were crafters by heart. Without a group, there was very little content that could be soloed for some of the classes–Of course, I was a Templar and he a conjurer. He had better luck at it than I would, so gathering and crafting called to us much stronger.  We played before there was imbuing, gems, and during the time that any crafting station–the stove, forge, engravers table and so on could kill you if you screwed up. Crafters were entirely dependent on one another too. A carpenter couldn’t make certain things without nails and metal parts. These were made by armor or weapon smiths. Nobody could make anything without the help of an Alchemist–which is what my husband was.

Then EQ II changed that. For a while there, being an alchemist was worthless. Everyone could now make all the parts they needed for themselves and no longer did they need to depend on one another. They were phasing out the being-ship-wrecked-on-an-island-everyone starting as either warrior-mage-priest thing, and it was painful for us. We stopped for a while.

Then, of course, with age? Things, in my humble opinion, got better. Yes, even moving to F2P seemed like an improvement–for even though general chat was always a lot like Barrens chat–there are still people everywhere in that game, seven years later.

And that’s how long we’ve been playing, off and on, too. Though EQ II sweetened the deal for me by handing me an entire Mistmoore Estate for my 7 year anniversary. Let me tell you, there is nothing better to bribe me into coming back, or playing a game forever, than giving me something I can decorate myself, make unique. Housing, mounts, clothing, decorations….this is the way to worm money out of me. Pay attention games! I logged in, looked at my vet rewards, squealed like I’d just been given a unicorn and ran to claim it. Now I have a huge estate with nothing in it. Now I have to run around the game trying to find the just right things I want in it. Some of it I will craft myself (being a carpenter), others I will have to level in order to get it from certain quests and or as drops from dungeons.

See what u did thar, EQ II.

And, it worked.

Mistmoore

Facing front door: Mistmoore Estate OH GOD HOW DO I DECORATE

I think that EQ2 finally found the perfect balance for all kinds of gamers finally. Do you want to craft? Great, go for it. Do you want to craft and solo adventure? No problem, there’s a quest for that. You want to ignore crafting and power level and just get All The Things? No problem. You want to do all of this, at any given time, and just spend a day collecting shiny things to play the market? Go for it. And now–you want to design your own in game object and earn real life cash money money dollar bills from it? Yep. Do that too.

So–I’ve been having fun with my Dirge, Ssinjin, and her guild since ’04 (Queens Guard, hoooo!) exploring new regions I never got around to, quests that are fun and frustrating. Gathering shinies and resources. And it’s funny, because, I have also had my time eaten up by searching for my own home. In real life. Yes–the husbanator 2000 (That’s Shawn, or bariguy, by the way) and I have finally decided that no better time than now to take advantage of things and try for a home. It is both awesome and frightening. Wish us luck.

P.S. If you know any epic quest lines that will help us furnish it….

The beautiful, calming sounds of a crazy fat man. Now for your phone!

I slept in on Thursday. Like, slept in a lot. Every once in a while I get hit with the sleepy bug, especially when Shawn is home. I just…sleep better. A lot better. Lots and lots better. Sometimes it borders on it being a coma.

Imagine my surprise however, when I woke up to plug in my phone and noticed that when I did it didn’t make the normal noises my phone should make. Oh no. No, see–my phone emitted my husbands voice. My phone went, in Shawn’s voice, “boopBeep!” In my stunned silence as I stared at my phone my husband began chortling like a twelve year old boy proud of hiding the frogs in my desk. Going through my phone I had to give it to him, he was really, really thorough. All of the sounds were replaced.

So I thought I would take this one step further.

Here are all of the sounds Shawn made, for you to listen to. And to download to your phone if you wish. Just right click and save as. So you can always have a little piece of 2phatgeeks inside you. A piece of us. Alwayssss. Inside youuuuu.

[box type=”download”] The Shawn Alarm: Shawn reminds me to do something: shalarm[/box] [box type=”download”]The Shawn Beep. Far superior to your regular beeps. Good for a notification or button press. shbeep[/box] [box type=”download”]The Shawn Reminder: If your name is Mel, this event reminder sound if PERFECT for you! shreminder[/box] [box type=”download”]You’re not hip, trendy, or classy until you have the Shawn Ring Tone. shring[/box] [box type=”download”]Shawn lets you know you have a text. With this text notification by Shawn, you’ll never miss another test again. Ever. For the rest of your life. FOREVERRRRRRRR.shtext[/box]

SWGEmu fills the holes some of my favorite MMORPG’s leave.

afteshow bar

The Aftershow bar, player decorated room

While I love SW:TOR, while I love guild wars–the game that has always held my heart the most has been Star Wars: Galaxies. Never before has a game allowed me to play a completely non-combatant, socially driven character relying on interaction in order to survive. Outside of (and perhaps equal to) EQ II has there really been a game that has offered the same sort of character home customizing and decorating. The game catered to and pandered to people who liked a challenge (Pre CU and NGE to be specific) and who wanted to make their mark–however small or large–on the game.

SW:G was the first game that showed me how amazing a game community can be. And SW:G keeps calling me back.

Thanks to the SWGEmu project (Star Wars: Galaxies Emulator), I have had as well as enjoyed coming back to the pre-CU and pre-NGE game I loved and remembered. It was quite a damn trip remembering how to do some basic things. The game is not for WoW gaming mentality. If you want results and you want them quick…you’ll be disappointed. There is no such thing as quests; welcome to a sandbox game. Tailored clothing, player housing, player vehicles with work being done by hand and by scratch to bring the features and additions we all adored back to the game.

I’ve been  following for several years. First as LittleSparrows, where I logged in when they had one planet and a blue frog. I drifted away and lost my log in and pass, replacing it later with my usual handle elf_fu. I’ve been playing a pink twi’lek there named Ameria’ for a bit.

Theed Invasion

Large crowd gathers outside of Theed Starport hearing rumors of the Royal guard’s restlessness.

The community is the same and yet different. There is a lot of the same sense of helping, but also a lot of the sense of a lot of players doing their own thing by themselves. Of course, the release of GW2 also scattered

the community a little bit too. Yet it’s the same game I fell in love with. The same game I adore. I have a guild there, it’s an RP guild and a city. It’s been fun to be back.I sometimes wish when I play newer MMO’s that they would give a nod to what worked here in SW:G, the total non-combat classes, the merchant system, the player homes and decorating–I think that a lot of the MMORPG’s out there today would be able to appeal to an even larger audience than usual. The one MMORPG in the works that reminds me a lot of SW:G is The Repopulation, which I am very, very, very much hoping to be able to beta test and play.

SWGEmu just fills a lot of the holes I think are missing in the MMORPG’s that have come out recently. It’s a hankering to come home to a place that catered to the imagination and asked its players to explore and do on their own, without being hand held or directed. It’s…a long, long time ago, in a game galaxy far away that keeps drawing me back.

 

I can’t imagine

I can’t imagine loving me.

I am a difficult woman to understand. For the longest time in my life I was nothing more than a ball of smothering love and sulfurous self-hate, mingling together until neither side could determine who would win and one moment I was loving the world and the next minute I was sobbing over broken incense burners.

How do you love someone like that? How do you dedicate—willingly—your life and spending it with someone who’s apparently emotional maturity is that of a confused and angry seven year old?

I don’t know.

For the longest time, I couldn’t imagine loving myself, let alone anyone else.

And yet, there is Shawn.

Shawn has seen all sides of me. All the sides. ALL THE SIDES. The sides which people don’t get to see. The angry, the jaded, the hurt, the insulted, the temperamental. He saw me at my worst—when everything in my life seemed like an argument waiting to happen. When I was so lost within myself I was sure everyone and everything was out to get me. When I was angry for no reason. When I was depressed. When I got so depressed that I was actually blind to my own depression.

I cannot say that I have been a good wife these last ten years (officially married and not officially married.) I forgot to iron his clothes. Sometimes I forget to wash them. There are dishes in the sink and crumbs on the floor. Some days I roll out of bed in a pair of pajamas and shuck them to put on another pair and my idea of primping myself up is making sure I am clean and my pony tail isn’t too messy.

I have never heard him tell me he was giving up.
At the worst of me, he never left. He never, ever, gave up.

There were times in the beginning where he had to simply get up and go for a walk—but he never gave up. He always came back. He always tried. He has always tried to understand, to be supportive the best way he can be, and he has always, always been in my life.

For the last decade I have never truly been alone even when I have convinced myself to think I am. If I fall, he laughs at me for being a goof and picks me up. If I yell at him for no reason he yells back to inform me I’m yelling at him for no reason. If I cry, he wraps me up in his arms and holds me. And if he finds out I cried without him he chides me for crying alone and reminds me that he loves me and I can cry whenever I need to.

I don’t know what I did to deserve a man like this who has been patient in the storm that I am. Who sighs and picks up the socks I promised to pick up two days ago but I forget because I am busy trying to get to level 50 in SWTOR.  My house and my life and my insides might be a mess—but that never mattered to him. All that mattered was whether or not I was happy.

It took a long time to get to that point. But I am. I hope he knows it—I am happy.

I can’t imagine loving me like he has through all of this.
But he does.

And for that, there are no words eloquent enough, pretty enough, or poetic enough to say: thank you.
I love you, too.

2phatgeeks: Tera Online not (yet) worth it.

 

D:

The boobies...so many...so many boobies...

Tera online is a fantasy-ish MMORPG in beta, with no NDA restrictions currently even though it’s still in closed beta. This weekend I had the chance to try Tera Online.

The best I can do to sum up my experiences (and forgive me, those of you who have me added to your Facebook or Google+, as this will be a repeat performance) is: overtly sexualized child characters, jiggly tits, and Aion with a different UI and slight difference in combat.

I played roughly an hour, hour and a half. I played my first character, an Elin–whom I originally thought cute (one of the child-sized immortal characters)–and got her to level 4. That’s right. Level 4. It was a massive struggle to even play that long and level her that much. The game to me seems like such a blatant rip off of Aion (with some reminders of Rift graphically) and I found it  intensely boring immediately within the starter area.  I spent more of that hour time in the character creator than playing, and I enjoyed that more.

And I couldn’t fail to notice by the way, that the character creator is pretty much Aion’s character creator with a different background. Stunning jolly good first impression, if I do say so myself.

There’s no sympathy for clickers in Tera Online, either.  If you are a mouse clicker you’re out of luck. The game gives you WASD for movement, but your skills/spells cannot be used without pressing a key. You can map two skills to your left and right mouse buttons, but that’s generally only good for base skills. Everything else is key press.

And before I get the comment, “But key pressing is more efficient and fast!1!11one!” I know it is. But the plain fact of the matter is, there are people out there that mouse click. It’s what they are comfortable with. As such, they are going to hate Tera Online, a lot.

Another key ingredient into this sour tasting recipe of my early squick into my closing the game after and hour? Intensely uncomfortable playing the Elin race. It was my first choice out of–well, I admit it–cuteness factor. The cuter

Pink tree

A pink tree. Well...that's okay I suppose.

the character is in game the more I want to play it. Enlin are a childish looking, child-sized, well…child character (Hey. Did I say child yet?) with some uber sexualized poses and movements that ended up jarring me out of wanting to play them.

Story wise I found it lacking right after character creation as well. Players are given a bit movie that I’m not sure how it factors into anything once the game starts. Then a short movie of you flying into the starting island with, again, no backstory given as to anything other than “:D YEAH! GO DOWN THERE AND FIGHT 😀 😀 :D”  The quest NPC’s are the old fashioned “click & kill.” Click on the quest. Skip reading any of it, accept. Glance at your quest log on screen to go see what you have to kill and how many. Do it. Turn in quest. Rinse, repeat. I did see one cut scene that panned out to an enemy I had to kill with a 30 second voice over–but I gotta tell ya babies….SWTOR and Mass Effect and Skyrim and many other games have spoiled me when it comes to lore and backstory. To sum it up in an overtired, over used internet meme: Son I am disappoint with Tera Online’s idea of story and quest writing.

HOW

This really was the most modest female garb a--HOW DOES IT STAY ON??

The nail in the coffin for me were the gravity defying, jiggly, nipples-pointed-at-their-chins  female models all in horrible comic super hero postures. The most modest suit, frankly, was an outfit for the female archer that was slit from the top of her knee and open all the way past her side-boob to her neck. With no discerning explanation as to why every time she bound across my screen like a sparkly princess with a bow, everything didn’t just flop out all wibbly jibbly. I can only think these breast-defying suits are being held up with MAAAAAAAAAAGIC 😀 Picture me doing jazz hands sarcastically to accompany this.

In short?

2phatgeeks gives Tera Online a big fat no thanks. Perhaps things will change for the game in a couple of months of patches, member feed back and such. But right now as it is: I think it’s a pretty disappointing game given MMORPG’s this day and age.

If this game doesn’t go free to play in a year I will be pleasantly surprised. It’s definitely not a game tailored to a broad audience and it’s reallllly not for me. I’ve played a lot of free to play games over the years that have had more story and more thought given into their style than this. If you want a game that looks like Tera Online? Aion did it years ago and better. I actually recommend people trying out Aion instead of this.

This post an opinion based on personal preference of the poster. It does not represent everybody in the entire universe and 2phatgeeks doesn’t imply to be everybody in the universe.

We’re full of Sith.

 Along time ago, on a blog far, far forgotten…..

There were two phat geeks who made posts, but life and distractions (Like Google+) came and endangered the meandering writing habits of two huge nerdlings.

It’s been a long time since we last joined our heroes, Mel and Shawn for their epic adventures in cooking, life, loving, laughing and things they liked. What could possibly be worthy enough to keep us from updating frequently? Other than Shawn having a full time job of course and his wife having a severe case of oooo what’s that? 

Star Wars my friend, Star Wars. 

Specifically both Shawn and I were lucky enough in August to be invited to beta test Star Wars: The Old Republic. If you aren’t familiar with what that is, it’s an MMORPG created by Bioware. The delicious people behind such classics as Never Winter Nights, Jade Empire, Knights of the Old Republic and my personal fan-girl favorites: Dragon Age. Shawn and I have been following Star Wars: The Old Republic, like many Star Wars and Bioware fans since it’s announcement. We both have accounts created on the official site that have been there since 2008 (as probably many people there do too.)

But…due to the NDA I cannot say anything else. I mean, I love you guys and those of you that have stuck around with us for so long–in between forever posts and through all our craziness–I do. But I love Star Wars as much and I can’t tell you anything else.

It’s killing me, let me just say.

Bioware’s publicity department has been doing a fantastic job eeeeeking out class information, videos, planets and so much more information from their official site: http://www.swtor.com/  And then of course there’s my personal favorite site to get further information: http://www.greetingsmeatbag.com/. Greetings Meatbag just isn’t pure info–it’s pure fun. There are interactive quizzes, well written break-downs of videos and articles as well as super friendly administrators. *Waves her hand,* You will go visit and tell them 2phatgeeks sent you.

Shawn and I would like to highly encourage you to give this game a chance. More and more these days, people tend to judge a game by a screenshot of a single video and that really makes me head tilt. Good games are going untouched by the tendancy to spout negativity about them well before testers or players get their hands on them. Sign up for the site, apply for beta testing and wait until the NDA is lifted before making the call.

And so–there you have it. Where Shawn and I have been all this time and where we will–no doubt–be for a long time yet.

What games are you playing at the moment and what games are you waiting for?