Monthly Archives: October 2013

Squeaking in with advice at the last minute! (NBI)

I’ve been thinking about the NBI2 a lot, though I’ve not had much time to write this month. This month I have mostly been tangled up in flatpack furniture. As I poke at the keyboard right now, a half-assembled bookcase is attached to one foot – and I’m not joking. I need to hold this one end down while the daughter affixes a dowel.

Thinking hard before you write does allow you to condense and pre-polish to some extent – so I’ve got that going for me. (I’m happy.) I have three pieces of advice for New Bloggers that I think I’d tell myself if I was starting again, and here they are:

  • Get comfortable
  • Have fun
  • Your voice does matter!

Of course, I’m a blogger, so I’m not going to leave it there and spare anyone :). It took me a while to get comfortable, but it might not take you as long. My problem is I prefer doing things to introspection, you see. So I’d write something, feel vaguely squidgy about it, stop to figure out why, then go and set that right, and then try the sentence again. Which worked. But you can probably spot the flaw.  Yes, blogging is why I am now trying to assemble furniture. I started blogging about raiding, but something wasn’t right. I discovered, that my joy in raiding was already on the wane,  and it all began there. The whole life-change. I stopped raiding, I stopped playing WoW – I realised that much as I’d enjoyed leading a guild, that guild could do by then with some freshness, and handed that over to someone who could take it to the next level. I started playing other games – I started enjoying myself doing what I wanted, when I wanted too! And that was muuuuch easier to write about – but I did need to change the name of my blog.

So a false start or two or many even isn’t a bad thing, and finding something you’re comfortable writing about – like chatting to a friend-comfortable makes writing a lot easier.

But wahey, having renovated my gaming life, I found that when I mentioned real life in my blog I hit some squidgy patches that felt insincere again and (here we go again), next it was a giant life declutter and rethink, though I didn’t think it was at the time so much. I kind of realised it somewhere in the the middle. Making sure that I was comfortable with what I wrote helped me to rediscover my options. (Life isn’t set in concrete, ruts aren’t graven in stone, all that.) I actually found living more fun, because I was blogging about it, and blogging more fun because I could refer to life.  A sort of circular feedy thing. Then there was that games are so interesting, that I wanted to get more involved in the nuts and bolts of making them too, so that started happening as well, adding to the mayhem and interest. Fun is hard to define – but if you can be honest with yourself, you’re likely to know if you’re enjoying yourself. I am most definitely having fun when I blog.

Then that last bit about your voice mattering. We’re in an extremely interesting time when they world can connect up, share and compare. It’s like mechanical telepathy. Not everyone agrees about everything – we already know that, but how valuable it is to see other people’s point of view. In general it’s good. It also, of course, points up some pretty nasty things. The challenge of dealing with nasty things is with us from our first breath though, and never goes away. That’s life. I personally prefer to go through it all knowing other people are around, are experiencing the same or similar, are having a discussion about stuff, have something to say – that’s why I love to read other people’s blogs. Everyone’s voice does matter – even the dissonant voices matter, just because we’re all us.

So there you have it.  That’s my blogging advice.

The only very very last thing I have to add is how glad I am to see this initiative alive, kicking and it’s really quite fancy now! Thank you to everyone who got involved from me. I do hope the boards stay up for a while – I’ve had even less time to read than to write, and I know there are a lot of blogs, new and old awaiting the time when this house is fully settled again. Oh…. do you know, I also need something to look forward to – for after all this flatpacking and unpacking is over, and catching up reading blogs is going to be up there near top of list.

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Currency based on Joules (game design, real? Neverwinter)

This is another aide memoire, sorry – it’s going to be a blob (its a tl:dr this one)

Hmm my NBI pic got lost – another little task to deal with.

Economic models work best with some absolute so you can measure things – I like to call that value. The joule is fine as an absolute unit of value, it relates time, energy and matter in splendidly various ways (remember I’m talking models here for now).  While value remains static and absolute, price (money in units)  fluctuates with every input under the sun, “supply and demand” – people do know that one, but a load of things can affect price – “novelty”, “whatever it is about the mona lisa”, “health scares””demon governments”, you name it.  Price does however have a natural and concrete limit in it’s own terms (ie measured in money) – that being how much people/collectives can spend.

How much people/collectives can spend includes borrowing (and here we are!). The “how much people/collectives can spend” limiter is also chaotically affected by currency fluctuations. Money, as a unit, is horribly open to abuse.  For as start it’s totally imaginary and as a finale it doesn’t relate to anything.  Even if everyone can keep straight on what they imagine money is worth, there is never any way of knowing. Trying to tie money to something real hasn’t worked too well so far, it’s an obvious thing to try though and probably worth another go, this time, using an absolute rather than a resource. The world could try using the joule as a unit – I do, it gives me a firm base and yardstick for measuring value in real. It’s not perfect, but it automatically takes care of any time/distance/temperature… – actually it’s quite useful in a lot of ways – factors that otherwise would end up in the already crowded space occupied by “things that affect price”.  (There might be someone else out there who already thought of using joules as an absolute currency value, I’m not desperately keen to claim a first – (let me know, I’d be interested how it turned out)).

In game worlds matter and energy are somewhat malleable (you can build/destroy, travel fast/slow without usual physical limits)  so it would be time that could provide the absolute factor on which currency could be based. Doing that means I can use a much simpler model, which would be easier to audit. Neverwinter has a really interesting currency structure in which time has value and which uses ceilings and floors to limit currency fluctuation.  You can input real money or real time into their model – it’s quite clever really. And their floor/ceiling values are nice controls that compensate for price fluctuation. They’ve added other currencies which add variety and extra control and that tells me someone thought about all this in some depth. It’s got that joy factor too (oooh lets add a few more doohickeys!! ) Well, it’s nice thing – lovely model for a game.  And it seems to be working for them, which I’m glad about because it’s so cute.

P.s. In real life price can be overturned by use of force  (i.e.don’t bother paying, just take it), so given that we use imaginary money and given that force can be used to take things: law is us agreeing what is permissible.  Adherence to the rule of law underpins the economy as well as our efforts to be civilised.  Games have rules, so that bit fits ok, except the rules are usually applied top down, the devs make them up.

Well,I suppose someone could try player-made rules, but it won’t be me 🙂

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Yay NBI! (New Blogger Initiative 2)


To my joy and delight, headed by T.R. Redskies ( and Contains Moderate Peril ( the gaming blogosphere is lit up like a welcoming galaxy for this month! I did a little “party” earlier to remember last year’s NBI because I thought it had been such a good thing, but THIS is what was really needed – these guys are doing it proper! And I am more than happy to add my voice in support, and my blog in favour.  So, if you are new, newish, not so new, old, or even fading, head on over to “Headquarters” : where there are many many goodies, and much advice, and helping hands, and of course … a buncha really nice bloggers!

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Good news in the Comfort Zone (EQ2)


Level 1 Fledge-Iksar about to leave The Zone!

As you can tell by the intermittent blogging, I’m not really settled back in yet. All my little routines and systems still need to be reinstated, it is like a dashboard gradually lighting up as things are put back in place. It’s lovely and all, being refurbished, but it’s very dislocating. Things are the same, but not the same. Nooneeenoonooo (twilight zone music) – and the house-moves were just plain disruptive.  Plus of course for some reason I’m having a whole-life type rethink and re-balance that bubbled up from somewhere in my depths about two years ago and has just gathered more and more momentum as I go.

There’s a very good reason for comfort zones! They promote inner stability in times of disruption.  And right now, I’m magnetically attracted to my comfort zone. I do know all this change is good, I’m pretty sure where I’m headed. I’m now millions more flexible and fitter. But I’m making full use of my comfort zone!  A year or two ago for gaming that would have been WoW or Wurm, but I’ve moved on. I like EQ2 now.

And with one of those miracles of serendipity that I’m prone to, EQ2 has decided to pick now to give us all one free Heroic Character, plus gear that I wouldn’t have to pay to unlock if I was silver just now, and sundry deals to do with buying expansions. Oh yes, and you can buy mercenaries and tradeskill apprentices for SC. There are many goodies. Cosmic thingies strike again!

Now, I do like plittering about and levelling really slowly so I wasn’t sure what to do with an 85 character. I’ve settled on trying out as many classes as I can squeeze into the 14 day free trials. You can try out a new heroic character before you heroic it for good – that’s the part I’m mostly taking advantage of.  So far the favourite is a froglok warden. There are so many classes though, even if you take away the classes I already have, that leaves some err… mental arithmetic isn’t in the Comfort Zone… um dunno …17?

Plenty to play with. The creation of a character is pretty much painless – do mind though that you only get one fully made heroic per already existing account, so if planning to delete, make sure you go for the trial option. One thing I did have to do every time was hit f10 and  pull the right hand of my bottom menu bar onto the screen – for some reason my bags, character, knowledge etc icons were offscreen.

And you start out in some icy place I never visited before, with quests and it’s great! And new and exciting and you feel so very powerful and all the spells and stuff! Yes, I am definitely enjoying. But why the Iksar, I hear you cry, why a pic of a level 1 Iksar? Well because although the Heroics are really fun to play and exciting, Level 1 is in firmly my comfort zone and right now the little Iksar’s journey is a way of internalising my own life and times.

So here I am rubberbanding between mighty and powerful mighty, powerful powerful characters and  …starter-Neriak 🙂

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