Sunday, 30 August 2015

One Minute Gaming #61 - Endless Pacman 256

Endless Pacman

This week, I've been playing a game called Endless Pacman. It's the old Pacman game but with a twist - instead of individual maps to beat, this one just keeps scrolling and disintegrates behind you.

This makes it really difficult to clear a whole area of dots but the good thing is that the ghosts disappear too if they are in that part of the board.

There are all the original power ups and bonus items but in Endless Pacman, you also earn weapons and other useful power ups. The first one you earn is a laser so when you eat a laser dot, you shoot everything in a straight line in front of you. It's great fun seeing a whole line of ghosts die to your laser!

The graphics are true to the old game and so are the sound effects. It took me a little while to remember how to even move - I was trying to drag my Pacman around but of course, it doesn't work like that! You have to swipe a direction and he will take the next turn in that direction when he gets there.

I enjoyed it for the first 10 minutes or so but then it all came back to me why I never really liked the original game! I probably won't be playing this one regularly but for fans of old school games it's a definite 8 out of 10 at least. It's also a great way to show your kids some of the origins of video games too.

If you have a game you'd like me to try, you can contact me on Twitter @NevAHAddict or you can leave a comment below.

So until next time, have fun!


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Blaugust Day 30 - Wrapping Up Early

Almost Made It To The End of Blaugust!
Last weekend, I did a whole bunch of posts to catch up with the days I had missed the week before but this last week was even busier than the previous one so here we are on Sunday morning and I haven't posted for a week. I think it's safe to say I didn't quite manage to post every day but I'm not disappointed.

I knew the timing wasn't great, with my job kicking my butt as I'm flying solo there now (after just 4 weeks training!) and I'm sorting out all my stuff, ready to emmigrate to the USA. I've taken 2 bags of junk to the dump already but it doesn't look like I've touched anything! I guess I'm more of a hoarder than I realised!

The thing that has hit me most about Blaugust is the traffic boost. My best month ever here on She Rides Dragons was in April last year when I did the A to Z Challenge but Blaugust was on track to beat that. I'm about 6 days short of my best month ever which means that if I had kept up last week, going by average daily visits, this would have been best month ever.

But although that's great, it has made me realise that writing regularly for the sake of posting because my traffic is down is not a great reason to be writing. When I do my sporadic posts, it's usually because I think I have something to say on a topic or something I find interesting to share.  I started this blog as a side place for WoW stuff that wasn't gold making related like AH Addict but even that blog has suffered this mental block I have currently.

Having said all that, I'm not going to stop writing, this is just a bit of a brain dump today as I realise that when I'm in the right frame of mind, I can write for hours, just like I can talk for hours, given half the chance! I'm quite pleased with myself for writing 6 posts last weekend even if that isn't the idea behind Blaugust! I felt good getting them out and I didn't feel like I was waffling on.

Next time I talk about starting one of these writing/blogging challenges, someone please kick me - hard! I have enough going on anyway, I really don't need to be adding more stuff to my to-do list! lol

Big congratulations to all those bloggers who managed the whole month of Blaugust. I've found some interesting new blogs to read, followed a few new people on Twitter and I enjoyed the whole process - up to the point where I got snowed under anyway!

Image © Tim Norris under Creative Commons licence


Saturday, 22 August 2015

What If I Fall?

My Spitfire image, Erin's words.

What If I Fall? - Blaugust Day 22

I've seen this quote a few times now and it inspired me to dig out some of my flying related photos. I was going to put the quote on them and sell digital inspirational quote images in my Etsy shop so I thought I'd better check out the source first.

It turns out, it's from a short poem by Erin Hanson. I checked out her website The Poetic Underground and spent hours reading her poems. What an amazing talent this young lady has. Strong, heartfelt and pretty deep thoughts from a 21 year old!

I guess I'll need to find other quotes for my inspirational posters range but in the meantime check out her website. I still made a poster pic but I won't be selling it on Etsy! I'm hoping she won't mind me using that little bit of her poem for my image on this post as I'm pretty much advertising her stuff!

The other thing I like about Erin's site is that she has made her poems into images like the one above. Each is just a bit different from the previous one and makes for great pinnable images on Pinterest. So not only is she young and talented but she's got her brain working too!

I'm playing catch-up on my Blaugust posts but there are plenty of other bloggers still on schedule so pop along to the Blaugust nook if you'd like to check out a whole bunch of blogs & maybe find some new favorites.


Friday, 21 August 2015

One Minute Gaming #60 - Brawl of Cthulhu

Brawl of Cthulhu - Blaugust Day 21

This week, I've been playing a fun new game called Brawl of Cthulhu. It's a modern take on the old side scrolling platform games but with great graphics and a cool soundtrack.

You play a cute Cthulhu who is awakened from the deep ocean and comes to land to rain death and destruction on civilisation. You have to collect stars, keys, power gems and star maps as you run around punching things to death. If you collect the right power-up, you also get a cool tentacle whip to play with!

It's not just a side scroller though - the wonders of modern technology mean that it has more depth and you can move to the back or front of the screen too. That actually makes it kind of hard to control with the on screen joystick controller.

There's a shop full of power ups which you pay for with the stars you collect but there's also lots of fun hats available too. The hats are very expensive in stars so of course, you can buy star packs for real money. You can also get rid of the adds for 99 cents but I haven't actually seen any so don't waste your money there!

I found it fun but frustrating so I'll give Brawl of Cthulhu a 7 out of 10. Younger kids might love it but my fat fingers just can't handle the controls.

If you have a game you'd like to suggest, you can contact me on Twitter @NevAHAddict or leave a comment below.

So until next time, have fun!


Thursday, 20 August 2015

iPad Games I'm Playing

iPad Games I Play - Blaugust Day 20

Nonmail often asks how many of the games I review on One Minute Gaming am I still playing - well, here's a screenshot of my iPad just this morning. I had a big clear out a couple of weeks ago when I removed about 20 other games that I still played but not very often.

My morning routine is fairly simple - wake up, stagger to kitchen to start the coffee then PC on and head to the bathroom. Once I have my coffee in hand, I open my Twitter feed and whilst scrolling back to the previous evening, I open Clash of Clans to collect my resources, start a new build if I can & catch up with clan mates chat. Next, I open my Cooking Fever as there's a daily bonus of 2 gems - woo hoo! It's not much but it adds up over a few days to the next upgrade for whichever restaurant I'm playing at the moment.

Then it's on to my Mini Warriors - this one I've started playing a lot more recently. I find that I can gain almost a full level of XP in the time it takes me to catch up on my overnight Twitter feed. I only need to start each battle and leave the rest on automatic - I'm grinding levels a bit to get the upgrade materials for my army.

My Fallout Shelter is still a bit temperamental - crashing regularly but not so often as before. I'll probably be deleting this one soon - it just hasn't grabbed me like some of the others.

The game I'm playing the most right now is Twenty - I hit a high score of 20 about a month ago and I'm still trying to beat it! It's taking about 20-25 minutes for each match now though so I'm trying to cut back - I get dead legs after about 15 minutes (yeah sorry, maybe too much info there huh?), 1010 and 2048 are all games I can play while hanging out on Skype with Cold or on the telephone with my Dad - they don't take too much concentration so I can still hold a conversation.

I haven't reviewed the Mahjong Free game yet - I actually paid for the expansion pack when I first got the iPad so this is a game I've played for a couple of years now. I don't play it regularly but when I do, I tend to get hooked for a week or two then just stop playing it again.

The next tab on my iPad is full of games I haven't played yet but want to for my One Minute Gaming segment. You can check out reviews for all the above games and loads more too by clicking the tab in the menu bar.

If you have a free iPad or iPhone game you think I should try, you can leave a comment below or link me on Twitter @NevAHAddict.


Wednesday, 19 August 2015

My Perfect Day

My Perfect Day - Blaugust Day 19

Today we have another writing prompt - My Perfect Day - from Ariellalphabet at Comics and Cookies blog. This one was actually quite hard to do as there are so many little bits that would add up to my perfect day. I'd have to suspend laws of distance and time to actually achieve a perfect day so I guess it's more a list of perfect moments than any real possibility!

I'd start my day by waking up with the furry face of his cat in my face, even including the fishy breath. I've never had a cat before, I've always been a dog person but there's something comforting about waking up with a cat snuggled close to you or being woken up by purring & whiskers tickling your nose.

If the cat woke me at a reasonable time, I'd gently wake him up with a kiss & mumbled good morning. I'm not that good at mornings usually but I can make coffee on autopilot so I'd stumble to the kitchen so we can have coffee in bed, catching up on our twitters together - showing each other funny things to start the day with smiles.

In this day & age, the cellphone or ipad is everywhere so you may as well accept it. I'm just as bad as he is for grabbing my phone first thing - it kind of eases me into the day. Besides, I have several games that need logging into daily for bonuses so I kind of have to, you know? lol

After a couple of coffees, we'll probably be awake enough to think of food which is when I drag him to the Diner. It's just across the street and I've made friends with many of the staff there so it's my favorite place but he eats there regularly when I'm not around so tends to get bored of it a bit. This is my perfect day though so Diner breakfast it is!

If it's the weekend, we'll head back to the apartment and settle down in the computer room - he'll start making a mix and I'll be on my iPad just enjoying the music & watching him really get into his mixing. I love to watch him so absorbed in his music - I've never found a passion quite like he has for music so it fascinates me and I just love watching him when he doesn't realise it too! I'll take any chance I get to ogle my man after all!

Now this is where I'd ask Scottie to beam me up - I'd grab my scuba gear and head out for a lazy, tropical water dive. Just being under the crystal clear waters of the Maldives soothes the soul and with my trusty (make believe) underwater camera gear, I could easily lose hours if my air tank would last that long! The marine life is amazing even now although I would love to have seen it before the coral bleaching that happened back in 1998 and has hit again since.

Back to St Louis and time for a nana nap before our evening meal. My favorite place is Pappy's Smokehouse, the ribs are to die for but there are so many great places to eat, I'd chose somewhere we've never been before. We both love trying out new restaurants and finding a new favorite. A couple of cocktails with our meal and I'm ready for more music and lots of dancing!

Sadly, St Louis doesn't attract the really big names in EDM music but there are some great gigs happening more often now. Luckily there's a nightclub within walking distance of our apartment so for my perfect day, there'd be a big name DJ there and we'd dance until the early hours of the morning. Now you know why I needed a nana nap after my dive!

A long slow, slightly drunken walk home and drop into bed together would be the perfect end to my perfect day. Snuggled up with my man, I'd fall into an exhausted but happy sleep and look forward to doing it all again tomorrow. Sweet dreams xoxo


Tuesday, 18 August 2015

The Vanishing of Ethan Carter - A Review

The Vanishing of Ethan Carter - Blaugust Day 18

Another game I played recently is The Vanishing of Ethan Carter. I've never played a game like it so it was confusing to me but oh man, the graphics were fantastic! I think I spent more time taking screenshots than playing!

If I had to explain it, I would have to say it's a little bit like the old text adventures where you just had a black screen and text instructions, except in this game, you do have scenery to look at and you physically move around.

I played for about an hour (maybe a bit longer) but both Cold and myself got stuck on a puzzle at the first village. It is a single player game but we fired it up at the same time and were chatting on skype while playing so it was kind of fun.

It's a mystery, horror, detective story that's been brought to life by fantastic graphics. You play as a psychic detective, invited to a small town to investigate the mystery of the missing boy, Ethan Carter. You have to explore the area and pick up clues that will help you solve the mystery which doesn't sound too difficult but there are twists and turns to the story that will keep you guessing.

It doesn't look dark in the graphics but with supernatural and occult overtones to the area, it's definitely a dark story with some blood and gore to it too. To get the full story, you have to complete a series of puzzles. I've read a couple of reviews since trying this game and I think I may have missed the first one all together - perhaps that why I got stuck!

It's estimated as a 3-4 hour game but without even a basic tutorial and no experience of this kind of game, I have to admit, I got a bit bored. Knowing that I may have missed the first puzzle and I have to walk all the back doesn't really make me want to play it again either. I spent so much time just moving around the start area looking for clues that I got bored even before the game really got going.

It definitely got the photographer in me hooked too - I even have the sunrise screenshot as my desktop background. I'd love to visit this area in real life with my camera - I wonder if it was modeled on a real place?

For the few dollars that it cost me though, I'd definitely recommend it if murder mystery puzzles are your thing. The graphics are phenomenal, almost photorealistic and if you like that feeling of unease that H.P. Lovecraft created so well, you may well love this game too.


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Monday, 17 August 2015

5 Happy Photos

5 Happy Photos - Blaugust Day 17

Today I'm taking a lovely writing prompt from the suggestions over at the Blaugust Nook. This one was given by Ariellalphabet from Comics & Cookies blog and it's 5 Happy Photos. I am cheating again, just a tiny bit - 4 photos and a meme. That's not because I couldn't find my happy photos, oh no - I have lots that make me happy but someone might get a little mad at me because they are all of him! lol

Anyway, this first one is me at about 2 1/2 years old on my first visit to a beach that I remember. It's always been one of my favorite baby photos of me and I absolutely love the expression on my face. Cheeky, happy innocence before life got to me. We spent hours throwing pebbles into the sea, trying to make them skip across the water. I think I still have a pebble from that beach somewhere!

This next one was a tandem paraglide with a Cypriot guy called Oscar. It was an amazing experience and if I'm not smiling widely in the photo, it's because the wind was cold and found a couple of sensitive spots in my teeth! We had a slightly fast landing too so I jarred my back which put me out of action for a couple of days! My favorite memory of this one was looking down and seeing eagles soaring below us!

This one is much more recent - just the beginning of this year. Cold took me to the Melting Pot for my birthday meal. It's a fondue restaurant and I'd never had fondue so it was perfect. He'd also splashed out on a birthday package so there were balloons, a little cake, glasses of champagne and this photo in a frame. This isn't a very good copy of the photo as I just used my phone's camera to make a quick copy for myself. It's very rare that I like photos of myself - I hate being in front of a camera but I love this one.

This one is even more recent - just this last May when we went out for a meal at a Brazilian place with our friend Michael. There was a huge buffet and then the servers just kept arriving at the table with all sorts of different meats. After that we headed to a nightclub. Another first for me - at least for the last 30 years or so anyway! I never really got into clubbing when I was younger. Another photo of myself that I like - actually, this one is my phone wallpaper and makes me smile every time I look at it. There's just something about this man of mine that makes me look good in photos!

And last but not least, one of my favorite memes - just a cute little kitten, smelling a beautiful day ahead.


Sunday, 16 August 2015

One Minute Gaming #59 - game screen

One Minute Gaming - - Blaugust Day 16

This week, I've been playing a fun little game called If you remember the old Snake game where you eat dots to grow longer and have to avoid your own tail, it's a little bit like that. You are a blob (for want of a better word!) and you have to move around eating dots that are all over the play area.

This game is available for ios, android and online so be careful - it's easy to get hooked and then get your fix on any device!

Unlike Snake though, you don't grow longer, you just become a bigger blob. You can split your blob to become multiple blobs which means it's easier to collect more dots. That's only a short time though and the other blobs are soon reabsorbed.

There are other blobs on the play area too - avoid the ones which are bigger than you or they will absorb you and it's game over. You can eject some mass to capture blobs smaller than you so if you are small, you need to stay well away from the big blobs or they might shoot and catch you.

It's a fun game to waste a few minutes on here and there but it's not so addicted that I can't put it down. I'd give a 7 out of 10 - very simple to play but hard to master.

If you have a game you'd like to suggest, you can contact me on Twitter @NevAHAddict or leave a comment below.

So until next time, have fun!


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One Minute Gaming #58 - Ninjevade

Ninjevade - About to Die!

This week I've been playing a fun little twitch game called Ninjevade. It's very simple but oh so frustrating - the Flappy Bird kind of frustrating that makes you want to throw your phone or ipad out of the window so be warned!

Your character is in the center of the screen and you can either deflect or jump. Ninjas attack you from left, right or both at the same time and you have to stay alive.

It's best to jump when the two ninjas appear at the same time but it is possible to deflect both if you are really lucky.

The scoring system is a basic 1 point for surviving each single attack and 2 points for jumping to avoid the double attacks. You get a yellow belt when you score 5 points and the green belt is at 20 points. I will assume it develops further as my high score is only 10 so I can't tell you for sure!

It's a fun little game and it was recommended to me by one of the guys at Gamer Nation Radio - he may be a little biased though as his son developed it!

I'd give it a 7 out of 10 - it's annoyingly fun but I'm about all out of twitches for these kinds of games now!

If you have a game you'd like to suggest, you can contact me on Twitter @NevAHAddict or leave a comment below.

So until next time - have fun!

This is my post for Blaugust day 15 - if you want to join in, it's not too late. Check out the Blaugust details here.


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Friday, 14 August 2015

One Minute Gaming #57 - Contract Killer

This week, I've been playing a precision shooter game called Contract Killer. It's exactly as it sounds - you take contracts to kill people & collect cash, XP and energy for each successful mission.

You start off with a hunting rifle and a 9mm pistol. The controls are pretty simple - there's a take cover button, a zoom or scope button and of course, a fire button. The scope also has a slider which allows you to zoom in even further for those delicate headshots!

It's quite a fun game but it gets frustrating quickly. Most of the weapons are pretty expensive and you are limited by your energy supply as to how many missions you can take. It refills over time or when you level up. There is a huge cash shop too which is a big minus in my book.

There is a co-op option too which will allow you to play missions with your friends as well as daily challenges of various types.

I don't think I'll be playing this one much but if you like shooters then this may be a good game to check out. I'm giving Contract Killer a 6 out of 10 - too many cash shop items required to make it a fun play time.

If you have a game you'd like to suggest, you can contact me on Twitter @NevAHAddict or leave a comment below.

So until next time - have fun!

I'm cheating a little bit but I'm calling this one my post for Blaugust day 14!


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Dirty Bomb Review

London Eye & Waterloo Station for the Terminal Map

Dirty Bomb Review - Blaugust Day 13

Another game I've been playing a lot of is Dirty Bomb. It's a free to play first person shooter (FPS) set in a post apocalyptic London. I'm not very good at FPS games but I am really enjoying this one!

You get given your first character from a selection of three, I think, and go through a quick tutorial with it but each week, other characters are available in the free rotation.  They all have different weapons and skills and include healers as well as tank types.

There are 5 different maps, set in different areas of London and any Brits playing will recognise some of the war torn landmarks and areas. There are several different battle types too although I've only played the Objective mode with an occasional side foray into the Stopwatch mode.

You can auto-join a battle or select your map style from a server list. Each battle is instanced so when it's full, it still shows in the list but obviously you can't join in! The match up system needs a bit more work but it does it's best to level up the playing field. You are joined to either the attacking or the defending team but you can swap sides in the pre-match screen if there is an imbalance in number of players. You have to be quick though.

You also can't play with your friends easily. You can be in a group and join a map but the system doesn't automatically put you on the same team. That sounds like it might be a minus point but actually some of my favorite battles have been when I was on the opposite team to Cold. I always feel he is a much better player than I am so when I come around a corner and manage to kill his character, it really gives me the giggles and a nice buzz!

Another fun feature is your back up weapon - you get 2 gun-type weapons but for close up work, you get a knife or a cricket bat with pretty good sound effects too. You also run faster if you have your knife active rather than your gun.

You level up by gaining experience which you can get from playing the matches and completing various missions which refresh every 4 hours. You also get upgrade cards which allow you to change weapons and some skills for each character.

The best thing about Dirty Bomb is not only is it free to play but it doesn't feel like you have to spend any money on upgrades. You can if you want to of course but it really doesn't gimp you too much if you don't. Another great thing is that although you can play on US or EU servers, you are not restricted to only one region. You can even choose between east Coast and West Coast servers for the US region so your connection can run as it's best speed.

I've mentioned before that I struggle with confidence issues in small team games like League of Legends and raiding in WoW - I always feel like I'm letting the team down because I'm not very good. For some reason though, I don't have the same problem in FPS games so although I'm still not very good, I enjoy them thoroughly. That was a big surprise when I finally gave in and started playing Titanfall with Cold last year!

If you like first person shooters, I'd definitely say have a look at Dirty Bomb. It's not perfect but for a free to play, it's pretty damn good I think!


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Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Looking Forward to Blizzcon!

City Life in the Neighborhood

Looking Forward to Blizzcon - Blaugust Day 12

I have to say, this year I am really looking forward to Blizzcon but unlike so many Blizzard fans, not because I watch it or am attending! No, this year, I have my hopes high that my visa process will be done and I will be in St Louis at last!

In 2013, there was a fan-organised Blizzcon event that I was looking forward to but real life events meant that my trip to St Louis that Fall was delayed so I couldn't attend the London event and meet loads of UK based WoW players. That made me a little sad but I was in St Louis with my man and Blizzcon weekend was my last weekend of that trip. I watched the countdowns to Blizzcon on my Twitter feed and hated all of them.

So this year, I'll be watching the countdowns and panicking all the way at the amount of stuff I still have to get organised! I haven't fully unpacked since moving into my apartment - there just isn't enough storage space here so it was easier to leave a lot of stuff boxed up and stacked in the closet. Now though, I pretty much have to sell everything I can so before I can start packing, I have to finish unpacking!

I have lists of stuff to sell, to throw and give away to friends and family. I also have a huge list of companies and organisations I need to notify and it's looking scarier by the day! It's going to be a challenge to wait another 3 months before seeing my man again but I'm going to be so busy, I'm sure the time will just disappear!

Wish me luck and if it goes quiet here, just look for the pile of boxes - I'll be in there somewhere!


This post is part of my Blaugust 2015 challenge
Check out the guidelines here


Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Adventures in Skyforge Part 2

Skyforge Goddess
Adventures in Skyforge Part 2 - Blaugust Day 11

Yesterday I talked about the classes, the Ascension Atlas and other bits of Skyforge so today, I thought I'd tell you about combat and story details and questing.

The combat style in Skyforge is an active combat style. You have the usual 4 movement keys but you have to use the mouse for direction. Main spells are on keys 1-4 as well as keys Z, X, C & V with a couple of others in use too. I struggle with this type of layout as I don't have any muscle memory or agility in my fingers but I'm not doing too badly in Skyforge.

I'm pretty sure I'm not going to be able to play a tank class though! I can either move or fight whereas a tank needs to be up in the bosses face all the time, moving and fighting at the same time. I've chosen Kinetic as the first class to open up on the Ascension Atlas - I get to uproot trees and rocks to throw them with my mind powers which sounds really cool! I did think of trying for the berserker class - it was great fun to see a tall skinny girl wielding a massive sword like it was made of paper in the training area but realistically, I can't yet manage the combat style a melee class will require.

The storyline of Skyforge unlocks as you move through the quests - not in a prewritten quest text like WoW though. The premise is that on this world of Aelion, when some mortals die they become immortal - that will be your opening scene. There are higher ranked immortals and gods giving you your introduction to your new life and through them, you get involved in a storyline that has you chasing information all over the globe.

They are based in 3 or 4 hub areas - The Park, The Observatory, the Hall of Greatness and the Research Center. I haven't found any other areas like these yet so I don't know if there are more. The Observatory is the main quest hub/transport center. It has a huge virtual reality style globe which you use to jump to quest zones instantly.

There are several types of quest areas too - there are dungeon-like Squad areas designed for 1-3 players, open world areas for soloists although you can run with others and pvp arena style zones too. The open world zones are huge areas with multiple quests in them. You have to finish the whole area to get the good Sparks reward at the end but you do get rewards for each quest the first time through. If you go through again, you get different types of quest rewards and as you've opened up the transporters, it's much quicker to go through a second time!

Once I understand it myself, I'll try and explain the various currency systems as well as the followers - you are heading for godhood after all and all new gods need followers! But that probably won't be tomorrow's post - there's a lot of different stuff that is building up in my character tab and I have no idea what half of it does yet!


Monday, 10 August 2015

Adventures in Skyforge Part 1

Adventures in Skyforge - Blaugust Day 10

For the last month or so, I've been playing a lot of a new free to play MMO called Skyforge. The graphics are really good and the world we play in is beautiful. At first I was dubious about adding yet another MMO to my playlist but as time has gone on, I am getting more into it. Needless to say though, my WoW time has reduced greatly again - there aren't enough hours free in my day to play two MMO's.

You can only have one character but you start off with a choice of three classes - Cryomancer, Lightbinder and Paladin. I went with the Cryomancer for some reason - mainly because it's a ranged DPS class (think heavy duty Frostmage). The Paladin is a tank build and the Lightbinder is a hybrid DPS/support class - not a healer though, more shielding and buffing your allies than healing them.

That's one of the strange things about Skyforge, there aren't any healers! Instead some of the mobs and all of the bosses drop healing globes as they die. Their health bar may show x10 next to it during a fight so a 10k health boss will have 10 globes to drop. You see a full health bar which reduces as you fight but when it's down 1k, it will look like it refills but it's actually just another 1k health bar and will drop a health globe once it's empty. It's kind of hard to explain and confusing when you know you've been hurting the boss but he suddenly has a full-looking health bar again!

Class Atlas
The talent system is different too. It's called an Ascension Atlas and is made up of 3 colors of nodes. You collect crystals to fill the various nodes - minor nodes give you small increases in stats like might, strength, luck etc and the major nodes are mainly new talents or spells. I guess you could say that the minor & major nodes make up a cluster on a talent tree which you can see in the Ascension Atlas screenshot below.

Underneath the Ascension Atlas is a class atlas - this is the one that you start to unlock straightaway but you don't realise it until you get to the main node. When you get to the main node, the main Ascension Atlas opens up and you begin collecting class sparks as well as the 3 colors of sparks that you have been using up to now. This also has major & minor nodes in clusters. I didn't zoom in for detail on the Class Atlas, but it still only shows a tiny part of the whole tree!

Start of Cryomancer Ascension Atlas
You open new classes by working your way through the Ascension Atlas and changing class is as easy as choosing it from a drop down box. It's not quite so simple though - you don't gain XP in this game, each new piece of gear, new spell, new node collected in the Atlas gives you a certain amount of prestige. If you change class, you don't have your class specific Atlas unlocked yet so you are slightly gimped at first.

Other classes available include necromancer, knight, slayer, berserker, archer and kinetic to name a few. You can try all the classes out in the training area and completing the training will award you the class costume. There are also some quests that let you play as other classes long before you unlock them in the Atlas. I'd suggest going back to an easy area to play through though - it takes time to get used to the new combat moves and of course, you don't have level appropriate weapons either.

I'll cover questing, story and combat style tomorrow I think otherwise this post will turn into an essay! Have you tried Skyforge yet? What do you think? I'd love to hear your thoughts.


Sunday, 9 August 2015

Get Organised with Trello

Blaugust Day 9 - Introducing Trello

This week, I've just started using a new organisational tool called Trello. I'm still getting used to what it can do and how I can use it but my first impression is that it could be really useful to get my stuff arranged all in one place. Of course, it could also turn into a nice shiny toy to play at getting organised with. It's going to take some thinking and setting up to make it practical so that is yet more time when I won't be doing the stuff on my list!

I'm thinking of it as a giant whiteboard where I can stick my post-it notes and move them around as I need to. However, that's not how I currently work my to-do list so it's not as easy as just transferring stuff to Trello!

Trello can also do much more than just be a giant to-do list. You can invite other Trello users to a board where you can both add, arrange and edit the cards on a project. We used it for the first time this week to organise our show notes for the Journal of Marcus Ty episode 46 and it made it really easy to get our thoughts straight and in show order too.

It was Marcus that introduced me to Trello and we'll be using it for show notes going forward. I'll be able to add a card for any interesting bits of news I find in between shows and make notes for my week in WoW section too. As we record every two weeks, I sometimes forget the good stuff that happens just after a show by the time we get to the next show!

I've also started a board for each of my blogs - to pin post ideas, good articles and links and any other blog-related stuff. I definitely foresee a distinct reduction in bits of paper floating around my desk which should also help me remember stuff as I won't be losing the bit of paper I jotted it down on! I'll be using it straightaway for my Blaugust planning too!

You should be able to click the picture to get a much larger version if you'd like to read the welcome screen :)

Have you used Trello or something like it? What do you think?


Saturday, 8 August 2015

My Earliest Gaming Memories

Blaugust Day 8 - Earliest Gaming Memories

Being just a bit older than your average gamer, my memories of gaming seem to be very different to some of those I read about on other blogs and Twitter. We had one of the first home entertainment systems and I remember playing Pong and other games on it. When I checked the Wiki for Pong, it says the home version was released about 1976 so I reckon my Dad was a pretty cool dude back in those days!

I also remember Space Invaders arriving at the local fish and chip shop. It was a place the kids used to hang out at as it was connected to a cafe and the older kids hung out there, drinking coke and putting their pocket money into the juke box. Wiki says Space Invaders was released in 1978 which kind of tallies with my memory but I did think I was a bit younger when I played it but obviously not!

After that, there's a bit of a gap as school got a bit more intense and as I lived in a small village, there was nowhere easy for us to hang out and play games. I do remember Galaxians (1979) and later Galaga(1981) being installed at the local Bus Station cafe where we used to hang out before school. I was a bit of a demon when it came to Galaga and was often late to school because I hadn't died by the time my bus came!

My favorite game though was Mr Do - released in 1982. I had started skipping school and hanging out at the pub by the time it arrived in the UK. It was one of those tabletop versions and I quickly became addicted to it. I must have missed hours of lessons, just sitting there playing that stupid game and I held most of the positions on the Top Ten Leaderboard until it was replaced!

We never had another home based entertainment system after the Pong one though so there are loads of games I have only heard of. I'm not sure I ever heard anyone describe themselves as a gamer in those days and I definitely wouldn't have called myself a gamer back then, I was more of an addict!

Then real life took over and it would be many years before I started playing video games again. But that's a story for anther day.

What are some of the earliest gaming memories you have?


Friday, 7 August 2015

Yet Another Last Minute, Late Night Post!

Blaugust Day 7 - Time to Get Organised!

These blogging challenges are a great way to get into the habit of writing every day but I'm struggling to get everything done that I want to do anyway so I've kind of added yet another item to my to-do list.

I think I've had a little breakthrough though - I just realised I can't just sit down and write a few paragraphs about any old thing just to fulfill the Blaugust challenge. It's no fun for me and I'd guess it's a waste of time for anyone who pops in for a quick read. I need a plan!

When I did the A-Z Challenge last year, I had a lot less stuff on my plate so I sat down and used the Google calendar to jot down ideas for the days. I'm pretty bad at brainstorming alone though so a concentrated 'let's plan this' is not the best way forward for me. I'm more of a 'random thought at odd times' kind of girl so I've put a small notebook and pen in my handbag. That way, I can jot down my ideas when I'm at work at least.

I tried the 500 words a day challenge back in May too but I didn't time that very well. I was in St Louis for two of the weeks of the challenge and was hopeful of getting a post done whilst Cold was at work but it proved, yet again, that my planning skills suck!

So tomorrow, I'm going to sit down and try to plan some Blaugust posts. Even if I leave gaps in the calendar, it will give me something to work towards and maybe this time, I'll actually finish one of these challenges!

How do you organise yourself for blogging challenges? Do you just wing it or do you plan it out? Any suggestions?


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Thursday, 6 August 2015

World of Warcraft: Legion - New Expansion Announced Today

I missed the actual live announcement but I didn't really need it as my Twitter feed exploded with all the various bits of the new expansion that was announced today! At one point, I was seeing over 200 every 10 minutes so I gave up trying to read them all and just skimmed through.

So Blizzard have told us a fair bit of stuff that is planned for World of Warcraft; Legion but I can't honestly say I'm excited yet. I tend to get excited nearer release dates and for now, I just browse the news as it hits my Twitter feed and make notes of stuff to look into later.

They didn't give us much of a hint as to when it will be released but I did see mention of a beta later this year. My guess is that will happen at Blizzcon - after all, they will need to give the attendees something to make the trip worthwhile!

So my keynotes from the last few hours of Twitter reading include

  • Illidan's back (I'm no lore nerd so I have no idea where he went in the first place!)
  • We're going to be questing to level 110 in 6 new zones based on a region called the Broken Isles.
  • There's a new class called a demon hunter - only for elves though and it has only two specs - tank and DPS
  • The usual new dungeons and raids
  • New PvP system away from currency and honor points to an experience based system
  • New Artifact based weapons - one for each class & spec so 36 different ones in total. You'll have to go hunt down various bits to make a super-duper weapon by the looks of it.
  • Class specific Order Halls and followers - that sounds like garrisons but separated by class rather than location to me but I hope I'm very wrong on that. It could be a great way to learn or improve your class - rather like visiting class specific forums and websites but in-game instead
  • Improved transmogrification system - that will be a big hit I think - especially if they sort out the storage problem so many moggers have!
  • Instant level 100 boost with purchase of the expac - well, I still haven't used my free level 90 boost so that's probably not going to be a big selling point for me!
  • They are also planning on improving the social aspects of the game - that could be an important point for me - it's the social stuff that drew me into the game in the first place!
  • There's talk of a moose mount again - that would be fun but I think people are getting their hopes up on that one!
Not exactly the most enthusiastic write-up I'm afraid but it's been a long, hot day and I'm wiped! This is day 6 of my Blaugust posts and I bet I can guess what most of the others are blogging about today too!


Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Just a Quickie Today!

Blaugust Day 5 - Just a Quickie!

I left work full of good intentions to get some posts planned and some gaming done tonight but a bad accident on the main commuting route home meant I was stuck in traffic and was over an hour late getting home & then I had a lovely chat with my darling man. I was just just catching up on Twitter stuffs for the day when I got a chat request from Marcus and now it's 10 minutes until my fella gets off works and calls me again!

So I guess I'm not getting anything productive done tonight as it will be bedtime soon too! Jaedia asked how do you unwind at the end of the day in her post today. I think half my sleep problem is that I don't have a method to unwind. I usually spend the last half hour of my day on Skype with my man and as much as I love him, that's not always an unwind type of conversation!

It is nice to go to bed with his voice fresh in my mind though. I honestly can't wait for this damn visa process to be over. We've already had to wait almost three years so these last few months are really dragging. I'm keeping busy though and I have so much to do before my next trip that I'm sure the time will fly!

The whole packing up, sell everything & move to the USA is super exciting but scary too - I'm sure I'll be writing more about that this month as things start to move on the visa front but for now, it's business as usual at Casa Nev and Blaugust rolls on.


Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Multiple Identities Get Confusing!

Multiple Identities Get Confusing! - Blaugust Day 4

I was scanning down my friends list on Facebook today when it suddenly hit me that I don't actually know who half of those people are! If you've been involved with the Internet for any length of time, you probably have multiple identities and multiple groups of people that you've interacted with over time but do you know people by their real names or their online community name?

I first got access to the internet in 1998 and as we sat there on that first evening, we didn't actually know quite what to do with it! It was full 56k dial-up too so everything took forever but I found Ask Jeeves I think it was, and typed in Genealogy. That opened up a year or more of intense research and was my first online identity. If you follow any of my photography stuff, you may have seen Gala98 pop up. I kept that handle for a long while and when I started in microstock in 2005, I continued to use it.

So my microstock friends on FB know me as Gala98. Then I became involved with Etsy and needed a clever name for my photography shop there. I also intended selling various other stuff so it became Arty Allsorts and I still have friends who call me Arty! That was also my first introduction to blogging, Twitter, Flickr and various other networking sites.

Then I got stuck into World of Warcraft which brought me two new identities, basically because I was blogging about gold making and didn't want people to link my WoW character name with my gold making blog Auction House Addict. You guys reading this know me as Nev who was actually my banker for a while but I regularly delete my bankers to throw off any competitors who have 'found me out'. I chose Nev for my 'new' gaming Twitter account and it has kind of stuck!

Inside WoW, I'm Lyss to my friends and guildies even when I'm playing my other alts. There's also a few variations of Lyss & Nev around in other games I've tried. Nev is usually taken or too short so it becomes NevToo and most recently, I've put the two together to become Nev Lyssana in Skyforge! Feel free to add me if you're playing by the way.

So back to my Facebook friends list - the most confusing ones are the Etsy ladies - we all called each other by our shop names so now, 5 years later when I haven't been around Etsy so much, I've forgotten who's who. They've also changed their avatar pictures too and many have gone on to their own sites, started creating other stuff or just stopped the Etsy thing all together so effectively, I have a bunch of strangers on my timeline!

It's not so hard with guildies but some Twitter/WoW friends I've added are confusing too. I never used to have this problem so maybe I'm just getting old or my identities are multiplying too fast! So if I call you Jack and your name is John - be pleased that at least I got the first letter right ok? lol

How many identities do you have online? How do you keep them straight in your head?


You can head over to Bel's Blaugust page
if you'd like to join in or to find loads of 
other blogs who are taking part
 in this challenge.


Monday, 3 August 2015

Movies Unseen

Blaugust Day 3 - Movies Unseen

It's getting late in the day and I'm already half asleep so I'm going to be a bit lazy today and pick up a writing prompt from Jaedia over at Dragons and Whimsy. She wrote her Blaugust post about movies she hasn't seen yet and as I often hear the same "you haven't seen that yet!" comments as she mentions, I thought I'd list a few movies that people seem to think I should have seen.

Top of the list is Saving Private Ryan, followed closely by The Green Mile and The Shawshank Redemption. I also haven't seen Hannibal or Frozen and I'm not sure I've seen all of the Star Wars movies yet either! Another classic I haven't seen in full is The Rocky Horror Show - that always amazes people when I say that!

The last movie I saw at a theater was the first Avengers movie and before that, I think it was the first of the reboot Star Trek movies. I do have a soft spot for romantic comedies or chick flicks and I definitely love a good action packed movie. I love the Die Hard films - as unrealistic as they are, they are still damn good light entertainment.

I'm not a big movie fan as I always feel like I should be doing other stuff. It's very rare that I will sit and watch TV for an hour, let alone 2 or more! When I do watch TV here in the UK, it tends to be Masterchef or The Great British Bake Off - I absolutely adore cooking shows!

My favorite show recently is Vikings but I'm watching White Collar on Netflix at the moment. I've already watched all of Person of Interest and Lie to Me but my next show to watch is Sense8 - I saw the first episode but it got lost in all the new stuff they are releasing at the moment so I need to catch up there.

The one time I do watch a fair bit of TV is when I'm visiting Cold - with only one computer, it's impossible to game together so we watch some DVD's instead. I'm definitely getting an education in American comedies and after a glass or two of Kraken and coke or a glass of wine, they seem all the funnier.

Are there any movies that surprise people when you say you haven't seen them?


Sunday, 2 August 2015

Insomnia Sucks!

Blaugust Day 2 - Insomnia Sucks!

It's 5.45 on a Sunday morning and I have finally given up on trying to sleep so I thought I'd bash out my day 2 Blaugust post! I've never been a good sleeper - as far back as I can remember, I've had interrupted nights more often than not but in the last year or two, it's got even worse.

One of the side effects of breast cancer & mastectomies is the almost immediate start of your menopause. I don't know if that applies to younger women with breast cancer but mine was looming on the horizon anyway and within a week of my 2nd operation, I was overheating and freezing in 15 minute cycles, all day every day!

The downside is that I can't take any hormone related medication which is the usual fix for menopause symptoms but my doctor did find Clonidine which has helped immensely during the day. Sadly, it doesn't seem to help quite so much at night so it just adds to the sleeping problem.

I've tried so many things over the years - various herbal remedies that are supposed to help like Valerian and chamomile tea (yuck!) as well as cutting out coffee after noon each day. I even resorted to over the counter sleeping pills for a little while but they only meant I was waking up 2 times a night instead of 3 or 4 times!

I've tried yoga, meditation breathing, dimming the lights for an hour before bed, not being on PC or iPad for an hour before bed - all of them helped a tiny bit for the first night or two, then it was back to my normal restless night.

Funnily enough, I do sleep fairly well when I'm in St Louis which is surprising given that I'm sharing a bed not only with Cold but also his cat half the time! Add in to that the city light pollution and the constant traffic noises, it's amazing that I sleep at all!

I'm getting pretty desperate for good sleep time as now that I'm working, I can't nap in the afternoon to make up for the lost sleep and I'm constantly exhausted. It's affecting my work and more importantly (!!) my gaming too!

Do you have any suggestions for me to try? What works for you when you have a period of restless nights?


Saturday, 1 August 2015

5 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Me (Until Now!)

So Blaugust Has Started - Day 1

My first contribution to the Blaugust event is rather late in the day but I stayed over at my Dad's last night and everything has been out of synch since! So I'm cheating a little already and using one of the writing prompts from the Nook that is running alongside this event.

5 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Me Until Now

  1. I learnt to read when I was three and until I started playing WoW, I used to read 3-4 books every week. I even read Lord of the Flies when I was 10, much to the dismay of my high school English teacher who felt 14 was plenty young enough to be reading it!
  2. I'm a qualified scuba diver although I haven't dived for the last 4-5 years for various reasons. I also prefer tropical warm water diving - not because of the murky cold water but because of all the extra gear that cold water diving requires - I physically can't carry the weight!
  3. I'm a frustrated artist - I have boxes of art supplies that I can never resist but when faced with a blank canvas or pristine sheet of paper, I just can't do anything with it!
  4. Until I met Cold, I could never eat anything with chilis - now I'm addicted to them and add them to almost everything I cook for myself! I even bought some Ghost Pepper Marinade recently - it was ok.
  5. I don't have any known phobias and I actually love heights! I've abseiled off the roof of an 8 storey building for charity, I did a tandem paraglide off a mountain in North Cyprus and I would have loved to do a tandem skydive too. Sadly, my back just won't let me do that now so I guess I'll have to find other height things to do instead! Maybe a balloon flight will keep my height-cravings satisfied!
I'm hoping I can keep up with a small post every day throughout August - having a challenge like Blaugust running helps keep the momentum going but now that I've started working again, time just seems to have run away with me. I'm going to aim for 31 posts this month but honestly, I'll be happy with 15 - it will still be a challenge but perhaps not such an impossible one!