A History of Level Capping
May18

A History of Level Capping

This weekend I sat down and finally got my first class to 50 in Final Fantasy XIV.

Of course in FFXIV, more than most games, the leveling isn’t over yet. I need to level up the other magic classes to get key cross-class skills on my White Mage, and there are a billion levels of crafting and gathering I could do if I was so inclined. But first I have so much to do at 50! There are many dungeons that I haven’t seen yet, much less attempted in hard mode. I need to make friends with the Kobold faction so eventually they’ll give me a palanquin mount. I can glamour my outfits now, and speaking of outfits there are a huge number of ludicrous hats available at level 50 and I need to obtain them.

I was under the impression that I rarely reach level cap in an MMO, but looking at the history that’s just not true. Allow me to share:

elfliore
Liore was the first character I made in World of Warcraft, and my first level capped character in an MMO. She’s gone through a number of races over the years, but this ooooold screenshot is from the Molten Core days. Liore is currently capped for Pandaria, but not for Draenor.

dwarflunedi
Lunedi reached level cap at the end of Wrath of the Lich King, during that stage of any expansion when you’ve finished most of the content and you’re just waiting for new stuff to do. She’s currently a troll, and capped for Cataclysm.

(Not pictured: Thursday the gnome mage who hit level cap at the end of Vanilla WoW and is still a mere level 62.)

accolade
Accolade was my first character in RIFT, and my first level 50 in that game. She’s a rogue, and was my attempt to get away from healing and explore the stabby, care-free world of DPS. You can tell how well that went, because…


Mercredi the Cleric was my true “main” in RIFT. She is wearing favorite outfit ever for any of my characters in an MMO.

panacea
Here’s a level-capped character that I forgot about until I started this reckoning: Panacea the Operative Healer in SWTOR. Although I haven’t played SWTOR in years, I remain smugly pleased with this character’s name.

rp_2014-07-07-22_34_55-WildStar-6760-214x500.png
Liore Mark 2! It took a loooooooooooooong time, but Liore the Esper did eventually reach the level cap shortly before I stopped playing. Honestly I’m still not sure why WildStar didn’t do a lot better, or even why I’m not playing it. It’s a good game that came out at probably the wrong time. My character is super cute.

Crescende

The latest addition to the level capped gallery, Crescende Yaeger the White Mage. Long may she reign!

Time Management and Gaming, or a lack thereof
May13

Time Management and Gaming, or a lack thereof

So here’s the terrible truth you guys — I’ve barely played any video games for the last couple of weeks. I feed my virtual cats in Neko Atsume twice a day, and maybe play fifteen minutes of Puzzles and Dragons in bed before falling asleep.

Part of the problem is just being busy. I went from having no job to what borders on too much job in a matter of weeks. I get up early now, and I’ve been going to bed earlier than I have in years in an attempt to be functional before 10 a.m. (Weird.) I have a long commute, and at the end of the day zoning out in front of a Let’s Play seems more tempting than being more active and actually playing a game.

The big issue, though, is that I have a hard time prioritizing my gaming. I think it’s partially a response to The Bad Old Days ™ in WoW, when I quite cheerfully let too many things in my life slide because it’s raid time and we’re totally going to kill Gruul this week. I think there’s a whole generation of us with this weird black hole in our lives around 2007, and while I don’t regret any of that I’m also sensitive to any signs of it happening again.

neko atsume

SO MANY CATS

Consequently, gaming is just about the lowest item on my priority list. I feel bad about playing a game when I have almost anything else to do. Somehow even wasting half an hour on Twitter feels like a better use of my time, which it certainly is not.

I mean, I could play a game tonight, but I also really should balance my checkbook and read up on hotels for my upcoming trip and catch up on the news and well I haven’t mopped the kitchen floor lately and if I’m just going to be wasting my time with video games I really should do that first.

All this would be fine if I was satisfied with my current game consumption, but I’m not. I miss games. We’re six weeks out from the FFXIV expansion and I still have 1.2 levels to go, not to mention starting the huge amount of story quests available after the cap. I started a new play-through of Mass Effect 2 and all I’ve done so far is scan 18 million planets.

I want to game more, but sometimes I can’t escape the little voice that tells me there are much better ways to fill my time.

So tell me, dear grown-up readers: do you ever feel guilty about your video game time? How do you organize your schedule to make guilt-free time for elves?

NBI Talkback Challenge #1 … sorta
May08

NBI Talkback Challenge #1 … sorta

As I mentioned earlier in the week May is Newbie Blogger Initiative month! One of the ongoing events is a “Talkback Challenge”, where a topic is chosen once a week for everyone to write about. This week’s prompt is:

How did GamerGate affect you?

Oh dear. How do you write about a subject that you’re still afraid to put in the title of your post? For the record I’ve written about the whole mess a few times previously:

However, the NBI is a good cause so despite being uncomfortable with the subject matter allow me to share my GamerGate experience with you… Friday style.

When I first started hearing about it I was all

wtf-gif

It quickly became apparent that this was more than just some dumb internet drama: war had been declared on visible women in gaming and any one of us could be next. My Twitter feed went oddly quiet for a few days while most of the gaming women I knew were like

scared-gif

The worst part was that no big game media outlet would talk about it for those first few weeks, much less take a stand. I felt abandoned by my hobby, like they were saying

media-gif

As I watched people I respect leave the gaming sphere, I stopped feeling intimidated and conflict-avoidant and instead started getting angry.

mad-gif 

GamerGate has been marginalized thanks in particular to the efforts of some very strong women, although they are still stalking, threatening, and ruining people’s lives. As for its effects on me, I stopped making YouTube videos about gaming, I chose to no longer register as media for gaming conventions, and when someone with “gamer” in their bio follows me on Twitter my first reaction is

rolleyes-gif

And that’s my story.

Cat Context 74: Valve’s Mod Debacle, SWTOR, Heavensward
May06

Cat Context 74: Valve’s Mod Debacle, SWTOR, Heavensward

cat-context-vertical

Usually Cat Context records on Sunday evening, but this week Liore, Ellyndrial, and Arolaide met up on a Monday morning to talk about MMOs and mods. We probably could have used some more coffee.

Elly considers getting back into Star Wars: The Old Republic and he gets the inside scoop from Arolaide. Do you need to subscribe? Is it worth buying the expansion? Are the space battle quests terrible? Whatever the answers, both Elly and Aro seem pleased at having a co-op Bioware RPG in their lives again.

Hey, it could be worse — you could be the person in charge of selling mods on the Marketplace at Valve. The gang talks about Skyrim mods, what “transformative work” really means, and GabeN’s disastrous “ask me anything” on Reddit. There is also a lot of arguing about copyrights and whether developers deserve any of the profit from mod sales. (Hint: Elly has the Wrong Opinion.)

Also now Liore is playing a weird Japanese mobile game about cats! Elly might have seen a famous person in Las Vegas! Aro is excited for flying fat chocobos in Heavensward!

Like to watch? This podcast has a livestreamed video version:

If you enjoyed this podcast, please “Like” or “Favorite” it in your media consumption method of choice! It makes us feel nice.

* A cool blog post on how to play Neko Atsume
* Free Music Archive page for our theme, in THE crowd by The Years

TV Credits That I Never Skip

Nope, still not a video game post… also when you’re short on time and energy, Newbie Bloggers, consider a post that is nothing but awesome YouTube videos. Ahem.

One of the casualties of our modern binge-watching television habits (thanks, Netflix) is the opening credits. Sure, they might seem interesting at first but after the first three episodes or so they’re usually just 30 to 60 seconds of time where I’m not watching the show. Yes, House of Cards, your trumpet is so somber. Yes, yes, DC at night, yes. Get on with the politics!!

There are rare cases though where I will always watch the credits, even during a marathon. Behold:

Dexter

I only watched the first four seasons of Dexter and from what I hear the opening credits may be the best part of some of the later seasons. And they are indeed really good — ostensibly they just show just getting ready for his day but there is blood and violence inherent in every supposedly innocent motion.

The Simpsons

Including The Simpsons on this list is a bit of a cop out, I know, but the fact is that they have a unique opening for almost every episode and occasionally they are works of pure art. Speaking of which, a recent standout was this version by cheeky artist Don Hertzfeldt. It pushes the boundaries of what viewers will accept from a show opener, and I really really like it.

Freaks and Geeks

Not only is the song amazing (I dare you to listen without getting the urge to start pogoing) but the cast is just so damn good even in the opener. You can pick up little nuances about each character just from how they sit in front of the camera, and it’s a nice reminder that Martin Starr was always a national treasure of acting.

American Horror Story (season 1)

I only watched the first season of American Horror Story, and while it was ridiculous, over-the-top fun it was the opening credits where the real scares could be found. Creepy dolls, weird patterns, and that “music”… the opening does an excellent job of setting the tone.

Sealab 2021

The visuals aren’t terrible interesting after a few repetitions, but the theme song is 22 seconds of pure catchy pop. I will always, always sing along to this.

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