Destiny 2: Why Is It Free?

I’ll give you a quick answer to why it’s being given out for free: because it sucks. Well, at least it has a strong reputation for sucking and the hope is that maybe just maybe people will try it for free and then buy the expansion for it. Free is the best way to convince people that bad PR doesn’t mean the game is bad. So let’s get as much people to download it and keep the free game because at least then we can brag about how many people have downloaded our game.

I kept hearing people say “I won’t even get it if it’s free it’s so bad.” I like free things and I’m willing to give any game a try especially if it’s free. So I did. And I lasted just after the starting area to decide that there was nothing that I liked about the game. It had a rocky start, as I was trying to stream my adventures only to realize for some reason XSplit wasn’t working with it. Then it locked up on me.. maybe 4 times in 10 minutes as I was trying to get started on the game. Maybe I went into it with a biased point of view after those miserable first minutes, but I really really tried to keep an open mind about it.

I play FPS games. I’m not even too terrible at them. I found the aiming to be jittery even after messing with the sensitivity. (I’m a low sensitivity player when it comes to shooters). Maybe the game just wasn’t made for my pickiness when it came to sensitivity. I found the entire game to be jittery and I didn’t like it. I don’t like menus that shake on me when I’m trying to use them. Most of my problems with the game are probably UI related. Then I created what I thought looked like a really cool character, only I couldn’t figure out how to turn the character to really get a good look at her. Nope. Strike 2? (I’m losing count at how much I hate about the game even before I really get started playing.)

My son, who had already hit max level with his game needed to come over to help me. This was the down point of the game. The map wasn’t popping up with my objective on it and there was no indication of what I was supposed to be doing at several points in that starting area. By the 5th time he needed to come over to help, I had already given up on the game. Maybe I’ll pick it up when I’m bored sometime… but probably not.

So to those who are asking “Why Destiny 2 is free?”, there is your answer. I didn’t find the story compelling. In fact, I couldn’t even tell you anything about the story aside from your home has been destroyed. The graphics are mildly pretty and the landscape is decent to look at. I enjoyed that there was some difficulty in shooting the enemies and my patience wore out quickly waiting for them to come out of hiding so I could shoot them. I saw my son and husband play the first one and I thought I could totally get into that. This one is a shadow of that game; a money grab out of hopes that people would have the same awesome reaction as it did for the first one. Or at least purchase the second game just because they liked the first one without any concern if they were putting out crap because at least they got their money. It’s still free for a few more days (November 18th is the last day), so you can give it a try. But don’t say no one tried to warn you.

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On This Veteran’s Day

Normally, today would be my “Gaming” blog day. However, this is a special holiday that requires special attention. Tomorrow will be the “BluishOblivion Goes Gaming” day.

Today is Veteran’s Day, meaning that it’s time to recognize how we needed to celebrate our veteran’s by expressing gratitude to our veteran’s for their service. Some are lucky to return, but some aren’t as lucky. The families of these soldiers also do a service, supporting their loved ones as they answer a calling to defend their beloved country. However they end up in service, they serve and protect our rights. They risk the ultimate sacrifice to ensure that we can act like idiots when it comes to politics or dishonor them by showing disrespect by spitting on them or mocking their service. We have those rights because of our veterans.

Our veterans deserve better. The lack of healthcare, the high incidence of homelessness in our country, and the lack of mental health care for these people who sacrificed so much for us is appalling. I feel as though the biggest disrespect we give to our soldiers when they return home is how we seem to turn our backs on them. “Thank you for your service. If you need medical care, you need to wait 6 months. If you need housing help, good luck kiddo. But thanks for your willingness to die so we can do absolutely nothing for you when you come back home.” Isn’t that what ends up happening in a lot more cases than should happen?

I take this very personally. I’m lucky enough that I had family serve and come home without too much of an issue. I know people who weren’t as lucky. I’m even more fortunate that they didn’t have as many struggles as others have. They have jobs, homes, families, living normal lives. But what about the ones who don’t have that? What are we doing for them?

I remember when I found out my brother was going to boot camp after enlisting in the Army. I was only in elementary school, but I remembered being upset by that. He used to take me out to McDonald’s and to roller skating lessons. He was over 10 years older than me, but as a kid I just knew that I had a cool brother that bought me roller skates (blue and white, because I loved blue) and hooked me up with lessons. I nailed them, by the way, which is shocking considering how uncoordinated and accident prone I am. I remember being pretty inconsolable when he left.

It was a long time ago, so memories aren’t too fresh. I remember when he came home from boot camp, I couldn’t stay up late enough to welcome him. But I do remember making a sign. Then I remember waking up to him making us French toast. I stood next to him as he taught me the secret recipe to make the perfect French toast. We ate together. It’s moments like that you remember. He wasn’t home for long. He went out to see the world, even visiting Korea for a while. Eventually he ended up going to Texas where he was going to be stationed. We didn’t see him a lot back then. I also remembered when my sister-in-law would come up to visit and he bought all these toys for us, including an Army Barbie for me. (Though, I’m very certain now that it was my sister-in-law who bought that for me. She’s great with gifts.)

I was much older when he came back. But I remember how happy I was about it. That meant he was going to be safe. That I didn’t have to worry about something happening to him. It’s that worry that every person who has a loved one overseas has to be concerned with. You want them to come home safe and be the exact person you remembered. That doesn’t always happen. It’s a fear that’s constantly in the back of your mind. Today on Veteran’s Day, remember that. Remember to salute a soldier in uniform and thank them for your service. Thank their families for their service as well. Think about what you can do to help. Donate to the USO or write thank you cards to those who served. Write Christmas cards to soldiers overseas or in hospitals this holiday season. Donate to soup kitchens or volunteer time there because a lot more vets visit these places than should have to. Donate to help veteran’s get service dogs. Fight for their rights by talking to your representatives to see what legislation they are working on to improve the lives of these men and women who fought to protect our lives. These are seemingly small acts that will take only a little of our time, but will have such a significant impact on the veterans and their family. I’d like to also personally thank our veteran’s for their service. We can never repay the part of you that you gave up serving, but we can show you that we are grateful.

The Writing Process

When you work as a writer, everyone expects you to be on all the time. You’re not. At least I’m not, but the thing about writing is that you have to keep doing it anyways. Eventually something is going to stick and work, then you can run with it.  Not everything you write is going to be great. Even George RR Martin had “A Feast for Crows”. In fact, a lot of it will suck. As a writer, you may think more of your work sucks than your fans do but that’s just the nature of the job and who we are as people. Every artist struggles with that and the creative process. It’s not an easy business to be in, especially when you aren’t making any real money doing it. It’s a disheartening job. It’s a job that isn’t for the weak.

NaNoWriMo is a challenge that I attempt every year since I first discovered it. I like challenges. I love writing. It made sense. I’ve even completed it a few times, usually within the last few hours right up to the deadline. That’s how it goes. I never went in with an outline because my tendency is to just let the stories tell themselves. I think of each of my works as a living thing. I’m here to provide the guidelines, give it some bones, advise it as it goes along. Otherwise, I just let the words take off for themselves in the hopes that it comes up with something at least readable.

Then there are the walls. I hit an impressive 10,000 words over the first weekend, giving me the false impression that I was going to crush NaNoWriMo this year. That this was the year I wasn’t having an anxiety attack and working while one eye fell asleep to get those last few words in before the deadline. Then, the wall happened. My body is already craving sleep despite me being very sure that I have slept an acceptable amount. My body is shutting down in fear of failure. Because if I fail at writing, what do I have that I don’t fail at?

I’m a confident and capable person, until I’m not. I have days where I have a meltdown and want to just give up because I don’t think I’m resonating with people. I don’t care if I become rich as a writer. I’d be more than happy just making enough to help out a lot more with the bills. I want to reach people. I want to have people read something I write and think “I’ve definitely been there and I’m glad someone else has too”. I view writing as not just a way to inspire the masses but also one that will help at least someone else realize that they’re not alone. “My kid has anxiety and social development issues too. I’m glad I’m not the only one struggling.” Just hearing something like that pushes me to go forward. I love what I do.

It’s a process. My process involves eating a ton of junk food and hoping that it will kick something into gear. I’m a burst writer. I have days where I can crush 6,0000 words without batting an eye. Then I go a few days where I can barely write 1,000. Some exceedingly awesome days, I can get to 11,000 in a day without even feeling tired. Someone else’s process is to go in with a plan and an outline. I realize, maybe from all of my years “momming” one thing: Nothing goes as planned. When my friends first mention a birthing plan when having a kid, I told them they may as well throw that out the window because it’s not happening unless you’re an incredibly lucky person. Most of us aren’t. I went in with an outline and I strayed from it the first day because the theory didn’t fit the reality.

Until then, I hope that I can get through this wall and get back to creating. I’m already on shaky confidence ground writing in a genre that is way out of my comfort zone because my partner in life and my business really thought I should go for it. Here’s to hoping me and every other writer participating in this challenge makes it through.

Things to Remember on Election Day

Today is Election Day, a day where we celebrate our freedoms and go out and vote. We vote for change if we are unhappy. We vote to keep things the same if we are. With a simple stroke, everything can potentially change because of your vote. It’s a heavy burden to carry, when you think about it. But it is one you shouldn’t take lightly. People fought your right to vote and other countries may not offer you those same freedoms. But you know what? You also have the right not to. But don’t complain if things don’t go your way if you decided against voting.

That being said, I’d like you to remember a few things today.

Not Everyone Votes the Same Way… And That’s Okay

Probably easily the most important point I am going to make. I promise, your world won’t end if your friends and family don’t vote the same way as you. You can still be friends, it’s okay. It’s very hypocritical to tout American freedoms and patriotism while bashing someone else for how they vote.

It’s actually quite amazing how this works. There’s this thing called “political discourse”, where people calmly discuss their political views without the other spouting hateful insults that the other party wants you to say. Believe it or not, once upon the time people could talk politics without calling the other person a “libtard” or “racist”. In fact, in those amazing times people often would come to a logical point where the other side would hear you and see things from another perspective that makes them change their minds. Even more amazing, if they didn’t they would still be friends. It’s crazy, right?

Don’t Be a Jerk

But Brianne, didn’t you just cover this point? This is one of those points that needs to be emphasized. It still shocks disgusts me at how bad things have gotten. Any logical person can see that we are worse to each other than ever. We are more divisive than ever. The hate-fueled vitriol is spewed from both sides. “But Obama started it”. “But Trump started it”. As something that every mother has screamed repeatedly at their kids: I don’t care who started it, you need to end it. Did things get bad under Obama? Sure. Did things get a hell of a lot worse now? Abso-freaking-lutely. Why? Because rather than stopping it, both sides are going bat-poop crazy trying to out insane the other side. And they wonder why so many independents avoid politics? And they wonder why so many people have started to consider 3rd party options, thus hurting elections because we live off of an out-dated 2-party system that only seems in control to further brainwash the masses? I needed to take a deep breath after that one.

I will make a complete rundown on how you can not be a jerk today.

“Vote on Tuesday if you’re a Republican; Vote Wednesday if you’re a Democrat.”

This isn’t being clever; this is being a jerk. You must feel pretty proud of  yourself for coming up with that, despite the fact I have seen this exactly phrasing probably 100x since yesterday. I’m sure the Democrats have said this too, but every time I have seen it over the past couple of days it has been a Republican to do this. It’s dumb. It’s not funny. What if a person is new to voting? That’s called “voter suppression”. You’re being divisive and unoriginal. And being a jerk. This genuinely makes me angry to hear it, because this is exactly what I’m talking about when it comes to how divisive we are.

“Vote Democrat if you’re not a discriminatory racist.”

I can assure you there are plenty of non-Democrats who aren’t racist or discriminate. However, I can assure you that saying that exact phrasing actually makes you a discriminatory jerk. I didn’t just vote Democrat, and I’m certainly not a racist. I voted for a couple Republicans, I fully support Governor Baker, and I voted for a Libertarian for State Auditor. I voted for some Democrats. I voted for people who I liked for the job (or really the best option I was given). How you vote doesn’t automatically make you a racist any more than it makes you an idiot snowflake. Crazy, right? (Yes, I’ll probably say this a few more times. No promises that I won’t.)

“If you vote Republican, you hate women.”

Here me out. Republicans don’t “hate” women. There are people who make crude and discriminatory remarks who are also Republican, but I refuse to make a sweeping generalization about the party as a whole or any group for that matter. If those people are saying cruel and hateful things about women or anyone else, they should be voted out individually based on that. But it’s always a bad idea to lump the entire tree with a few bad apples. You may be surprised at what other apples may be on that tree.

“Snowflake libtards should just stay home on Election Day.”

It has been my observation that the people who are most likely to use the phrases “snowflake” or “libtard” are generally an overly-sensitive unreasonable person themselves. They are the equivalent of the people they are making fun of. Think about that next time you say this phrase or one similar.

Don’t Be a Jerk

I cannot stress this enough. It’s pretty easy to not be a jerk, I promise. Instead of berating someone for how they voted, understand why they voted that way. More often than not, you may be surprised at what you find out. And if their answer is just because someone had the right letter next to their name? The problem isn’t them; it’s the divisive world we live in where people are happy to follow like lemmings rather than form their own opinion. The world created those voters and unfortunately they won’t change. So you can change how you view them or you can bite your tongue because that is much better and easier than just being a jerk. Crazy… right?

 

 

 

Was WoW Classic the Home We Were Promised?

Prior to this weekend at Blizzcon, we knew that there would be a playable demo that digital ticket holders would receive. When the demo was first unlocked, there was a time limit to play. Now there isn’t. I played about 2 hours of the demo, a little on each side. I’ll continue to play to enjoy the demo while I still have it. But the question that we all were wondering was “Could we really go home again?”

The first toon I created was a Human priest, the OG Leighanneore. I did have a couple toons that I created before settling on her. One was an Undead rogue, but that got boring quickly. I went to the Alliance side to those cool looking elves, trying out the druid. Again, I wasn’t quite feeling it. I was starting to think that maybe this game wasn’t for me when I first got the game. I was ready to give up. I decided to try a Human priest. I wasn’t quite sure what made me go that route, but my gut told me to. Since that time, over a decade ago, I have remained loyal to my Human priest though the Void Elf makes it really hard to stick to. But if nothing else, I’m loyal.

Naturally when trying out the demo, my first character was a Human priest. After creating (recreating?) Leighanneore, who looks much different back then (maybe it’s all the war and saving the world that has made her younger and prettier), I was boosted to level 15 and dropped down into Westfall. I groaned. I really hated Westfall. Those gnolls and murlocs have a way of never stopping their chase after you and aggroing entire camps of them even if you’re not even close. At first, I took the same approach that I did leveling her as holy. I slowly grabbed one mob at a time and slowly holy’ed them to death. Until I remembered that I had Mind Blast at that level, which made things go a lot quicker. I would dot something to pull it only to remember that back then, dots didn’t matter. My mobs would get stolen left and right and no one would group with me to help. They didn’t care. It was just like Vanilla.

Then there were the people who you could instantly tell never played Vanilla in its true form. They were mass pulling entire camps as hunters, only to die because this is Vanilla not BFA. It was all fun and games until the hunter would feign death and the innocent bystander killing gnolls in my own little corner would die because of their stupidity. They didn’t learn; they continued to do it. Those guys are never going to last when Classic does come out. It’s going to be great.

I did die a lot. It felt like home. There was something comforting in the frustration that I had to actually read quests now. Mostly because back in those days, we didn’t have the quests pop up on the map to tell us where to go. We just had to read to figure it out and when we couldn’t, there was this really awesome site called “thottbot” where we would stalk to figure it out. Or, the classic dungeon guides and books. Yes, we had to read back then. It was awesome.

Then I realized that it was exactly what I had hoped it would be. In the live game, I can mindlessly grind without any real effort being put into the game. You can see that from how quickly I level my characters up. People didn’t have 20 alts in Vanilla. You barely had time for the 1 that you had. You couldn’t hit 20 levels in a day. You couldn’t just spam dungeons in the LFG. You actually had to go to an LFG channel in chat to look for groups. You actually had to zone into a dungeon, which sometimes meant killing elites to get into them. You couldn’t just pull every mob in the area, even with a group especially at lower levels. It was hard. You had to farm and farm to get money, not just have 1000 drop from completing world quests. It was exactly what I wanted.

I was scared that they were going to give us something half-assed; something that would appease the people who only heard of Vanilla in stories. I desperately wanted them to give us that experience that made fans fall in love with the game. Where you formed friendships and bonds with people from all over. Where you need to work together for goals. Being an introvert, I like being able to do my own thing on my own terms with people I just like hanging out with. Back then, I was forced out of my comfort zone to complete “end-game content”. It was great for me because I had to communicate with others to complete goals. I created friends in the later part of Vanilla/early BC, some of which I still talk to all of the time.

They didn’t. They stayed true to the spirit of Vanilla with WoW: Classic and as a long-time fan of the series, I’m so excited. I could play the demo all day and not get bored. I like being frustrated every time a mob kills me out of nowhere. I like that I can’t just keep dotting everything until they die. I’d like to thank the team for being so passionate about doing this for fans. I’d like to thank them for reminding some of us veterans of the game why we love it. Even when we hate it.

In case you’re wondering, I’ll probably be streaming a little bit more of the demo while it’s still around. Right now the first stream is archived on Twitch but it will be uploaded to YouTube by tomorrow.

Finally, Question 2 on Mass. Ballot 2018

Are corporations people? That seems to be the question behind the thoughts on Question 2. As you probably have learned by now, I have a distaste for the current political process. I always discuss about how our politicians lack any concern for the every day person but rather sell themselves off to the highest bidder. The highest bidder is generally corporations that know that the best way to get ahead in the world is by fixing the game to your advantage. That’s how it’s been done for a long time. Maybe I’m a skeptic or maybe I’m just a conspiracy theorist that thinks this way. I’ll leave that opinion to you.

What is Question 2? Per usual, I have this up here for you to see for yourself. I will summarize, of course, but using my understanding of the law. The point of this question is to create a commission about voting in the Commonwealth and whether contributions can impact the political process. A report would be made, using people from various demographics, which would be presented to the political powers of Massachusetts so that they can determine their next move. One of these remedies would be to limit how much a corporation can spend in elections.

What this ultimately means is whether or not you agree that corporations should have more of a say on laws and regulations than you do. If you think that corporations should be able to pour millions into political campaigns and the government, than you will likely want to vote “No” on this. If you don’t, than you will likely want to vote “Yes” on question 2.

My thoughts? Much like Question 1, I’m a bit torn on this. (Though I did decide to vote “Yes” on Question 1 after getting the opinion of people who I trust and are more knowledgeable on this topic than I am.) On one hand, I agree that by allowing corporations to dump so much money into the elections that they are really just buying advantages for their business not trying to help us lowly peasants. I feel as though allowing this to happen does give unequal representation and that their should be limits imposed on spending. On the other hand, this is all about Citizens United which is a federal matter not a state one. Even if you vote “Yes”, it may not even matter because the federal government needs to change the law. It’s really just a symbolic vote of what you believe rather than one that will actually have a meaningful impact on the grand scheme of things. This is another call that I will probably make last minute, but I should decide soon because I am participating in early voting. (By the time this posts, I may even have already voted.)

Why I Let My Teen Trick or Treat

But Brianne, Wednesday isn’t a blog day according to your schedule. Except, on my favorite and arguably only holiday I don’t complain about celebrating, I have decided to honor it with a lesson in parenting teens. Tomorrow, you’ll get your blog on Question 2. Today, I’ve decided to talk about another hotly debated topic: teenagers who go out trick or treating

I always leave the decision of whether he is “too old to trick or treat” to him. There are a few reasons why I do this and I will defend it forever. The biggest reason why, just shy of his big 16, I let him trick or treat is because there are worse things that he could be doing. He could be vandalizing someone’s house or at a party getting drunk or high. (I’d like to think that he would never do those things, but I’m realistic. I can’t be around him all of the time and you really never know what can happen.) Instead, I know the only thing he is getting high on is sugar. I feel as though that is a much safer option, especially considering he’s an athlete without an ounce of fat on him.

Then, there is the control factor. A major reason why teens lash out is because they feel as though they have no control over anything in their lives. Even though he is a teen, the general rules of child psychology and child development still apply. By giving choices, you are encouraging your child to grow up confident with the ability to make decisions. Even something as small as letting them decide that they want to trick or treat helps encourage healthy mental and emotional development. They feel as though they are in control over areas of their life and you don’t have to worry about everything being a power struggle. It shows them that it’s all a give or take.

Then, there is the point of letting him be a kid. I’m not sure why parents are always in a rush to make their kids grow up. I’m not sure why we put those pressures on them then wonder why kids are always in a hurry to grow up. I have the sobering realization that my child will be going off to college in just 2 years. If he still sticks to his choice of schools, one of them will take him out of state to New Hampshire. I’m not going to already have his bags packed. I’m excited that for at least another year, he’s still my kid. He’s going to grow up fast enough as it is. I’m not going to deny him his childhood while he still has it. I was a mom at 18. I didn’t have that luxury, but I’ll be damned if my kids don’t get that chance.

You may think that last statement means that I have an emotionally immature child that I baby even though he is almost 18. If so, you obviously don’t know him or read this blog closely when I talk about him. My son is the type of kid who goes to the dentist and asks for stickers so that he can bring them home to his little brother, because my youngest loves stickers. He’s the type that is always willing to help his friends or do something to help the world be a better place. He’s excited to help me cook or even prepare supper himself. My child isn’t stunted by my decision to let him still go out on Halloween. I’d like to think that maybe he’s just a little bit better because of it.

Remember these things when you see a teen roll up to your home. Think about how they could be egging your house instead of asking for candy. Think about how they could get alcohol poisoning at a party, or even worse drive home. Think about how quickly our babies become apathetic adults. And smile that for at least 1 day, they can enjoy what’s left of their youth.

Happy Halloween, readers. Be safe and have fun eating your candy tax.