Archive for The Old Republic

The Good, The Bad, The Proteus Guild

Posted in Entertainment, Gaming, Life, Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 26, 2013 by urbannight

Before the server move, I was on a fairly small server. I wasn’t sure about the move but decided it was better to do if voluntary than wait until the end when the moved all the people who didn’t want to. There were always so few people on the planets. The most chatty was someone with a toon named Freya. I always wondered what happened to her. Her comments made it should like she was a her. I could be wrong. Some guys really get into playing female toons. At that time, if your name was already used on the server you were being moved to, you were the one forced to change yours. I was lucky and I didn’t have to.

The night I made the move, I got logged into the new server and there were sure a lot of people. I was on the pub fleet taking care of what I call house keeping. I go through all my stuff, see if I have anything new I can put on my companions, cycling through them all. Then sorting what I needed to save and what I could sell on the GTN, turning on RE to see which things I couldn’t auction that I could RE, and then finding a vendor to sell the rest of the stuff.

Skull face idea 3

How I feel as I write this.

This could take a while. I suddenly got this tell asking if I wanted to join a guild. Sure! I said. It was from Doc.

I was really quiet for a month or so. I have been playing MUD’s, MOG’s and MMO’s since the early 90’s. I’ve seen good guilds and bad guilds and relaxed guilds and fanatical guilds.

I loved Proteus. It was the best guild I had ever seen and I was amazed at how many years it had existed and how many games it crossed over. I had never seen anyone accomplish such a thing before.

I alternated my time between all my toons until I slowly stopped playing the lowest level ones and focused on my pub main and imp main. Once I hit 50 on my pub toon, I pretty much focused on her (Lindrossa) after that. I would pop on and do a mission on the imp side once a week. I would pop on to a couple of my alts and do a mission or two once a week. I was trying to level a healer and a tank, even though I’m not really fond of tanking. I figured I should learn it enough for an emergency back up, just in case.

So in those days, people would see me chatting for a few weeks and then I would be on imp a few weeks and come back and see a lot of different people chatting. But there was a significant core group that was always there, always chatty, and pretty darn nice.

And once I started playing Lindrossa nearly exclusively, people started to get more familiar with me. One day, when discussing PVP and Flashpoints, it came out that I had never actually done a flashpoint. So people volunteered to do the first FP mission we get with my new healer. After that, I switched to my main and people took me through an FP on her.

The Smuggler Class is my favorite class.  Lindrossa is a Smuggler  Gunslinger.  I got a real kick out of the idea that I could make an Orion Slave Girl in the Star Wars universe.  I know that isn't the race name, but thats sure what they look like to me.  Too much Trek as a kid????

Photo not up to date. Not my current gear.

I had avoided most PVP and FP because I never found them to be any fun in all the other games I ever played. Most of them were super fanatical and expected people to be totally geared the instant they hit the level they could start doing the pvp or raiding.

With SWTOR, I discovered that I really liked PVP. And with Proteus people, I found FP’s to be extremely fun. I was having a blast and I was told I was doing pretty darn good for not having run any of the FP’s we were running and being totally under geared. So they invited me along on various runs to help me start to get geared up.

I must have been doing okay because after a few weeks, I was recruited to a set raid group by a person who liked to find out about people before inviting them on a run. Mostly, has anyone run with them, what do they know of them, how do they do? My raid leader was a great person, really helpful, didn’t hold it against me that I hadn’t run a lot of the FP’s and raids before, helps me get geared up. Many people in my team were really helpful with pointing me in the right directions to find information on how to get the most out of my class when doing PVE.

We would raid twice a week and do random ones other nights. They didn’t mind that I like to do both PVE and PVP. I carried around both sets of gear so I could switch without having to find a cargo access. Sometimes, when people were doing random FP’s, they would throw me an invite. So I would sometimes still do runs with other people.

The guild meeting were surprisingly entertaining. Doc sounded like such a great guy and every meeting he talked about his ideals and purpose for Proteus. Sort of like a mission statement.

But then a few people were rubbing the wrong way, doing and saying things in general chat that were starting to give a bad impression for Proteus. Sometimes it was a bit embarrassing. And since some of them were high up in the leadership levels.

It finally came to a head and people who were not involved with the public drama but where trying to find solutions finally decided to leave. After all, allowing some of the really high up people to whatever they want that was contrary to Doc’s mission statements seemed like a sign of favoritism and selective application of some very basic and simple rules.

After this happens, Doc posted a list on the guild website that was terribly insulting and sounded like a drunk person wrote it. I even thought it was a bad prank. That he hadn’t written it but someone else did. But no, I later found out that he had even had people review it first. It was a list of people he wanted as officers and why. Not only did the letter sound drunk, was rude, but it was also insulting to half the people he said he actually wanted.

After that, I was very uncomfortable and concerned. Every day, people who were very active and were driving forces behind Proteus were leaving or being kicked. The letter caused several people who were mentioned as being wanted to leave. Like I said, it was highly insulting. Half my raid group left and some of the really active people stopped talking in guild chat. Vent got a lot quieter too. People were afraid to say anything just in case they were kicked for something they didn’t realize they said wrong.

It got to the point that every time I logged in, I pulled up the guild roster, changed it to show off-line members as well, and checked for certain people, to see if they were still there. There were no more random invites for runs and I spent most of my time doing PVP, getting more elite PVP gear, and doing some Gree missions.

Lilith and the Serpent.

Lilith and the Serpent.

And then somethings happened Monday. Someone who really was instrumental in getting raid groups going and helping me out personally was kicked. Just for being friends with someone else who was kicked. So now you had to be friends with the ‘right’ people and if you happened to be friends with anyone the powers that be want to kick then you too will be kicked.

I was upset about this but I was asked not to do anything. So I went to play on an alt that wasn’t in Proteus. One I almost never played. I saw two Proteus members get added to the guild she was in. Names I knew. Names of really active people.

I logged back into Lindrossa and checked the guild roster for certain names. Nearly every single one of them was gone. These were sudden kicks of people on Doc’s list of people he wanted to keep. Some for no reason they were ever told.

In the end, my impression is that a couple of people who were friends of the leadership, who had been on less often lately, came back to find a whole crop of really active people at the helm of Proteus. After all, Doc isn’t on much, Kitty is on more often but she isn’t on all the time either. So the people they assigned to look after things were doing so with a lot of input of the people who were really getting the guild active in end game content, raiding and having fun and keeping the game fresh, helping the lower level people, and really helping new 50’s get into the swing of ‘what to do next’. As a quiet person, who mostly observes, but would run with some of these really active people, and listen to them in vent, my impression is that these other people, who were spending more time on other servers or where otherwise occupied, suddenly came back and wanted THEIR guild back and THEIR power back and for people to look to THEM again.

Nearly all the really active people have been kicked or left before they got kicked. The people running raid groups. The people trying to get PVP groups off the ground. The people actively running datacron or pet/egg safari’s. They are all go. I log in and the chat is filled mostly with people I’ve never heard of before and don’t know anything about. I see trash talk about the people who left from people who don’t know what they are talking about. The people who left were the ones really working their asses off for Proteus. They weren’t out for power or glory or manipulating behind people’s backs. They did it for the love of the game and the love of what HAD been the best guild ever.

After finding out people were getting removed from the guild because they were friends with the wrong people, I realized that Proteus had turned into a guild I no longer wanted to be a part of anymore. There was nothing left of all the good things and everything that happened was completely contrary to all the things that Doc said at each and every guild meeting.

So Monday night I left the guild. It was sad to do so, especially such a long-lived and wide-spread guild as Proteus. It’s a phenomenon that I’ve never seen and may never see again. But it isn’t worth staying if you have to worry that you are going to get kicked because you are friends with, and still run raids with, the people who have left or were kicked.

A Little Bit of Gaming History.

Posted in Entertainment, Gaming with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 16, 2012 by urbannight

What happens when Exhaustion, Heat, and Gaming Grumpiness collide?

You find something old to play.

I played some Guild Wars this weekend because it was Winter’s Day in July. I also played some SWTOR this weekend. But both were kind of boring me. I was sleepy, cranky, uncomfortable, and channeling the outside heat. My AC was working itself to death attempting to drop the temperature from 76 degrees to 72 degrees inside. The external heat was so overwhelming that it was overwhelming my AC.

I realized that I was tired of running around killing things. Zeus: Master of Olympus was sitting there. City Building sounded more fun. City building with objectives and not just random city building like Sims City Social, or whatever it is called, the name escapes me right now.

As the names Impressions Games and Sierra Entertainment play by, I realize how much I miss Sierra and Impression games. I liked an awful lot of their games. I have Pharaoh and Cleopatra. I think I have one of the Caesar games as well. I never got the expansion for it, Poseidon: Master of Atlantis. I don’t actually remember seeing that anywhere.

I think that Pharaoh seemed a little more flexible and easier to control various administrative details. If you were short workers, you could allocate focus. Zeus tells me I can if I’m looking at the staffing for a particular building, but when I try to find the interface that lets me do so, I can’t find any way to control or change it. All I seem to control is wage and tax rates.

On the other hand, I like the ease of the military screen for Zeus better. There is also an interesting cheat code that allows you to go in and tell the tower archers to shoot cows instead of arrows. Some of the wandering citizenry have names such as Brad Pitt, Denzel Washington, Hugh Hefner. I’ve not clicked on those citizens so have yet to find them.

I am struggling with the current mission. I had two of the 4 objectives already completed when the mission started. I had to wait for the monster to show up before I summon the hero. Of course, I had all the supplies and didn’t have to wait on that, but it also took a while for the hero to actually how up, find the monster, and kill her.

This left me with one objective that is proving hard to meet. I have to have 11 trade partners and I have all 11 routes and piers/posts built. But two of them are not trading ATM. One is the one that lost contact w/ the world after the Maenads are first discovered. I thought that by defeating and killing the Maenad would cause them to open up again. Nope. And I don’t know why the other one isn’t trading. That city is on good terms with me. So I’m a bit bored just letting the city run until they change their minds. There doesn’t seem to be anything I can do to get them actively trading again. I searched. I can send gifts to the second city but I can’t interact at all with the first city.

It loses some of its value as a gaming alternative, for when I’m not in the mood for online games, if I can do nothing but sit and watch it run and wait for those cities to resume trading.

Impression Games I’ve Played:

Zeus, Master of Olympus,
Pharaoh,
Cleopatra, Queen of the Nile,
Caesar, but not sure which installment,
Lords of Magic, (which I didn’t really like very much)

Sierra Entertainment:

I liked Sierra a lot, in part, because one of the founders was Roberta Williams. The industry has very few women in it and very few successful women. She was a big name even in the early days of computer gaming. The name, Sierra, also speaks to the very beginning of pc gaming and gaming systems as it was started in 1979.

I had all eight of the King’s Quest games and both Shiver’s games. I think I also played Leisure Suit Larry. There were a few games that were advertised inside the games I got that I wanted but never saw in the shops. Space Quest, Phantasmagoria, and Homeworld might have been some I wanted.

It is now defunct, 2008. Through a series of sales over time, it ended up under Activision Blizzard. The same Blizzard we know and love for WoW and various types of ___’Craft games, Diablo, and other stuff. In fact, a list of dist of defunct gaming companies that were purchases and closed by Blizzard makes for an interesting read. 7 Studios, Activision, Bizarre Creations (Raising Hell Productions), RedOctane, Shaba Games, Sierra Entertainment, Underground Development, and Vivendi games.

I know many people who are much more into hard core gaming than I am. They think I’m a bit of a poser calling myself a gamer girl if I refuse to spend an entire month finding the solution to a puzzle by going through each and every variable or spending all my play time over the course of a week trying to get one datacron.

I, on the other hand, see the people who don’t know what a MUD is and who have no idea who these landmark gaming companies are and look confused when you tell them your first computer/game platform was a Vic 20 as the posers. I guess it is all a difference of perception and what you value.

I value fun and land mark games and systems. I don’t have a blind devotion to solving all puzzles myself and once the puzzle becomes a source of agrivation and frustration, I will see if someone has posted the solution. I am also devoted to the PC as platform and don’t want to buy other expensive game boxes when I have a perfectly good PC to run it on. Now it is hard to find games made for pc and other platforms. I remember when that was the NORM!

Other people value the skills and won’t accept anything short of solving it themselves. I have also noticed that these people are more likely to have multiple game systems and are always looking for the newest, latest, greatest of toys.

Sure, it is an over generalization, but one with a certain amount of truth to it.

A Golden Obscenity

Posted in Art, Entertainment, Gaming, Movies and Theatre with tags , , , , , on May 29, 2012 by urbannight

Some things should not be made into large gold statues.

So you think you can’t cook…..

Posted in Food, Gaming, Life, Writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 7, 2012 by urbannight

Here is another fast and easy recipe for those who think they are kitchen challenged or those who just don’t feel like cooking from scratch. Like when you decided to play Star Wars The Old Republic for May Fourth and you end up playing for three days straight.

1 pound

Start with a lb of ground beef. Brown up in a large sauce pan. Season with black pepper or cayenne (if you are like me) or both (something I also do). If you use beef with a high fat content (70/30), make sure to drain it. If you use beef that is too lean you sacrifice some of the flavor. Even thought I use seasoning I can still tell flavorless beef from flavorful beef. I use 80/20 most of the time because 85/15 has gotten really hard to find. I used to use it all the time.

Black Beans

Lets talk about black beans. These are my favorite. Even thought I’ve not gotten the knack of cooking with them from scratch. Canned black beans will save a ton of time and are great for fast, easy dishes.

Take one can and drain well. If you add water to the can, shake well, and drain again, repeating for a total of 5 times to get the water to run clear. Or put in a colander with small holes and rinse out the black stuff it is packaged in. They will cook up clearer (won’t turn your dish black) and it gets rid of a lot of the sodium it is packed in. Don’t worry, I will be putting sodium back in elsewhere. I use the rinse and repeat method to cut down on dirty dishes. I’ve been known to dirty a lot of dishes when cooking so I like to cut back on that when I can. Toss in on top of cooked beef.

Normally, I have a horribly low opinion of canned potatoes. Sliced and whole ones cook up horribly. I don’t have that problem with diced canned potatoes. Use one can and rinse but don’t worry about doing it 5 times. Just a couple of times to clear out the sodium. Toss on top of the beef and beans.

Now I add three cups of water and two beef bullion cubes. These are high in sodium which is why I try to get rid of it from the cans. I know there are other forms of bullion that are not so high in salt but I don’t know the amounts to get the results I want as I do for the cubes. Let simmer a while to heat beans and potatoes all the way through and to mingle the flavor of the cooked beef with the bullion with the beans.

Northwoods Fire

You can season this simply with black pepper. It will taste a bit like beef stew. Or you can use chili powder to have a chili like flavor. In that case, you may want to add a can or two of tomato sauce instead of water. I kept it soup like and used Northwoods Fire from Penszeys to season.

I would show you the end result but I ate it while I was typing this.   I just can’t keep it in the pan long enough to photograph.  It is too yummy.  There is more at home tucked up in containers for other lunches.  Yummy lunch.  I can’t wait until lunch tomorrow to eat the other bowl.    If you make proper servings with a salad and veggie side, you get 5 servings out of it.  I tend to put more in my containers and only get three servings.  It’s easier to do lunches that way and have a veggie heavy dinner.

The Monday Blahs

Posted in Art, Books, Education, Gaming, Life, Movies and Theatre, Tea, Uncategorized, Work, Writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 19, 2012 by urbannight

I’m feeling particularly Blahish today.  I was up too late playing SW’TOR.  I hoped to get my Sith Inquisitor up to lvl 16 and on her ship.  Her first companion would be a freaky looking, non-romanceble monster.  But that is my Dark Path character and he is a good guide for convo options that lead farther down the dark path.  I plan to play a Light Path Sith and a Dark Path Jedi as well to see what happens. 

Shadowrun is on hiatus for 6 weeks.  The GM’s creative writing course is ‘kicking him in the ass’ and he feels he can’t do both right now.  He is up to still getting together on Mondays, just so long as it isn’t a game he has to run and put time, effort, and energy into.  I know I shouldn’t end a sentence that way, but my brain just isn’t up to rewriting the sentence.  I think it goes back to staying up way to late on a Sunday night. 

But there will be NO Monday meeting tonight.  I do have a dinner tonight with my stitching group.  Petrow’s.  Yummy food.  Reasonable prices.  Good conversation.  And I get to give a scarf away.  If I finish it at lunch.  I should.  There is only a small amount of yarn left and then I just have to stitch up the tails.

I also got a Tardis all drawn out.  I may stop at the fabric store and try to pick something out.  I think I’ll make it up into a throw pillow.  I’ve pretty much decided on two forms right now.  A bluework piece on black and a blackwork piece.  The advantage is that I can use the same basic outline.  I’ll do the easier one first.  I’m leaning towards doing it on black silk, black velvet, or black crushed velvet.  Not sure yet.  I’ll have to take a look at the fabric first.

The morning is passing in extreme tedium and I’m dying here.  I’ve planned, plotted, and toyed with all sorts of ideas.  I re-organized all the desk top icons.  I read an article last week on why John Carter tanked at the box office and am thinking about writing a blog discussing those points and explaining why it was actually a good movie and people really ought to go see it.  But then my brain reminds me that it won’t be properly awake for a while longer and that is too much work right now. 

I would be so much happier if the phone were ringing off the hook with new claim calls.  I love busy days.  Well, sometimes I hate them.  But I always love how fast they make the day pass.

I’m trying to work out my plans for Saturday.  I have a wedding shower to attend and an Austinian tea party to attend.  Thankfully, it is not on Sunday.  I have a stitching group that day.  It would have been too much to juggle.  I don’t have appropriate period dress, but that is okay.  If I have fun, I can always make something up.  The hostess is short and large chested as well and has patterns she figured out for dealing with that issue.  I mean Austinian as in a Jane Austin recreationist group.  Just in case people didn’t figure that one out.

I’ve known for years that I have too many hobbies.  I wish days were longer but people still only needed the same amount of sleep.  Then I might find time to do more of them.  Or keep them all caught up at the same time.  I suppose I better focus.  Maybe some serious caffeine will help.

The Vanishing Voice

Posted in Entertainment, Life, Uncategorized, Work, Writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 1, 2012 by urbannight

I intended to write more last year.  I made the same promise to myself this year.  I am not getting off to a good start.  On the other hand, I’ve been knitting a LOT more this year and I started playing a pen and paper roll-playing game and I started playing Star Wars The Old Republic.  I have more hobbies and interests than time for them all.  Too bad I couldn’t clone myself. 

But that is not the voice that is vanishing.  It is my literal voice.  The sound that emerges from my throat when I make shapes with my mouth and pass air over my vocal cords.  I blame it all on Yankee Candles.

I love candles.  I don’t have a problem with them.  So long as there are not too many concentrated in one location.  I can’t handle candle stores.  I didn’t even go into the candle store.  All I did was walk past it while looking for a gadget store that is no longer in the mall.  On one hand, it was a complete waste of time.  On the other hand, it killed my cords.

The intense mix of scents that permeated the passageway in front of the store triggered a coughing fit.  One that continued all evening and all night long.  I would feel perfectly fine until I started coughing.  Then it cased a weird, sharp pain in my throat.  Not a normal sore throat. 

When I got up this morning, I sounded raspy and weird.  As the morning has gone on, and I work at a job that requires me to take calls and talk to coworkers, my voice is getting odder and odder.  I feel perfectly fine until I try to talk. 

The only thing I can compare it to is the time I got laryngitis about 21 years ago.  I should probably stop talking to my coworkers and save my voice for the phone.  But it is a tediously dull day.  I thought it might be busy.  Another unit has all of it’s compilers out, so we are covering for them. 

I was hoping for a nice busy day.  Busy days fly by.  If I’m tired after a busy day I sleep well.  If I am tired as a result of boredome from a slow day, I end up wide awake in the late evening and unable to sleep at night.  The sad thing is that I never used to get bored.  We had a reorganization and restructuring of departments and job duties and now I have started suffering that stange contion. 

It isn’t that there is nothing to do.  It isn’t that kind of boredom.  It’s a mental condition.  If I have nothing to do with my hands, I can find things to do.  But unlike the past, finding things to do no longer properly engages my mind and I start to drift off into a general state of mental ‘blah’ that I define as boredom.

The end result is that I can’t chatter at people (not that I’m all that big on chattering) and I have less to do than planned so it is harder to distract myself from my painful, vanishing voice and make the day end sooner.