Posted in Gaming, Second Life

Second Life: Finding Gold at the Fantasy Faire (A RFL Event)

Second Life’s Fantasy Faire, a 10-day charity event to support Relay for Life, has been going full-swing since last week. Spanning 15 sims, each with its own theme, too many shops, and so much entertainment, there’s just a lot to see and do. You’ll find music, great avatars, writing discussions, role play – table top and virtual, both – and even a George R.R. Martin day.

As of this moment, the event has raised over $22,000 in donations for the American Cancer Society. This event will last until Sunday, so there’s still lots of time to explore and donate!

This is the 10th year of this annual event, but the first time I’ve actually attended. I was really blown away by the quality of everything I found there. Some of my favorite creators were supporting the event, and I even picked up this awesome Tiger Mod for my Bento Water Horse!

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One event that I was looking forward to was the annual quest. I’d heard about it, but didn’t know how it worked until it released on Sunday afternoon. I’d never gone on a quest in Second Life, so I wasn’t sure what it’d be like.

While there were a ton of prizes to win, I was really there for the experience first and foremost. I was quite delighted by the quality of this quest once we got into it.

To start, you did have to purchase a HUD, which directed you in every step of the way on the quest. There were two versions – one that included an outfit and one without. All proceeds from this sale were a donation for Relay for Life.

We started by meeting up with the fae dragon, Cheer… whom we actually got as a cute shoulder pet!

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From there, we got a well-written little quest line, with fully voice-acted cut scenes, and story that took us to each of the different sims to meet various NPCs and gain their wisdom. There was a pretty strong William Shakespeare vibe going on throughout the quest, so the ending of the story didn’t disappoint.

It was super helpful to have three of us – Amoon, Xaa, and myself – working on this together. That way, we could split up and better find the quest locations and NPCs. That’s probably the only way we finished it the first night. And because this was something happening in real time, we didn’t have any hints on how it worked (which was fun and sometimes frustrating).

I was really surprised at how much time and detail went into these quests. The HUD could actually house and serve up all the videos (hosted on Vimeo), or you could watch the cutscenes outside of SL from the video link that the quest gave you. This was nice for the moments when the lag was just too much.. or if you didn’t want to give SL media permissions.

The creativity that went into all of the different fantasy themes and sims was amazing to start with. But coupled with a search for NPCs and an actual quest, it was really enjoyable.

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There were a few small snags, as there tends to be in SL (or any game, for that matter). One of the sims was having technical difficulties, which made it nearly impossible to search for the NPC there. That’s been fixed as of yesterday, however, so hopefully those coming behind us will have an easier time there.

I haven’t sorted through all of the rewards I got (and man, were there a LOT of them in that pile of gold) just yet. However, I greatly appreciate all of the gifts, time and love that went into this quest line.

This was one of those times I’m glad I gave SL another chance. The residents there can really do great things… and for a good cause!

Posted in FFXIV, Gaming, MMORPGs, Uncategorized

FFXIV: Tales from Tells – Ask and Ye Shall Receive

Over the weekend, I was actually working on finishing some of my many job quests I’ve ignored for far too long in FFXIV (gasp!). Man, Black Mage quests are a pain in the tail… but that’s not what this is about.

So, I’d just returned to town to complete one of my quests, and hit the normal cutscene…. when I heard the ping of a /tell pop up. At first, I figured it was a friend or a FC member poking me for something. But when I went to read the tell, it was from someone I’d never met before.

Their question was cryptic.

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I pondered how to answer this, since I didn’t actually know why. Then, me being a writer who loves words, I became curious and decided to Google it. After reading through a quick article, which I thought was pretty interesting, I shared the info with this questing soul.

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There was a bit of a pause… and I got this in return:

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I guess he asked the wrong person if he didn’t expect an answer.

Just when I thought that was the end of it, I heard another ping:

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Oh, dang. I didn’t know this one either.

And to Google I went. When he realized I didn’t respond immediately, it dawned on him that I was looking this one up, too.

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But, “bruh”… if you can type these things to me, you can type them to Google for yourself. 😉

Posted in FFXIV, Gaming, MMORPGs, Uncategorized

FFXIV: Summoner & Scholar Level 70 Get

I’ve had a pretty crazy week IRL with work and stuff, and I’ve mostly been in my MMO holding pattern again this week. I did finally reach one of my monthly goals, which was to level my Summoner/Scholar to 70.

This was mostly through doing my normal stuff — beast tribes and Alliance roulettes. Nothing fancy.

The main point of leveling this job was to finally consolidate all of my caster gear into the one level 70 set. It felt pretty good to clean out my inventory last night and to sort through which items in my piecemeal level 70 stuff for healer I wanted to keep as well.

I think I may be taking a break from roulettes for a little bit since Syn is going to be away for a few weeks. I’ll try to focus on getting my Ninja to 50 and finishing up my job quests for many, many jobs.

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Posted in Gaming, Second Life, Uncategorized

Second Life: Modding My Arabian Horse

When I was growing up, like many girls, I loved horses. And there was one series of books that fueled that love — Walter Farley’s The Black Stallion. We had a small bookmobile that came from our main county Library and stopped by my neighborhood. They almost always carried a book from this series, and if they didn’t, I could put in book requests to get more.

I devoured these books as a child, fell in love with the Arabian horse, and the art on this book cover in particular was my measuring stick for all horse artwork I drew:

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I probably still have a box set of these books somewhere in my closet. And if I don’t, I might just take it upon myself to go and collect the series with this particular cover art just to keep for myself.

Anyhow, what does that have to do with video games? Well, a few weeks back in Second Life, I stumbled upon the Water Horse Riding Horse… which isn’t really a horse but a fantastic, realistic bento add-on to your SL avatar. The Posse has been getting a lot of mileage out of our horses as we explore some really awesome places on the grid.

That little spark of Arabian horse love still burns in me, so I knew when I saw the Arabian Horse Mod for the Water Horse weeks ago that I’d be making that a project of mine. Over the weekend, I did just that.

While I think that my original Warmblood bento horse is very lovely, I have to say that the Arabian mod has transformed it to something above and beyond.

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A lot of work from talented creators went into this horse. I wanted to take a look at how all that comes together and give them my props for wonderful creations that bring me joy!

It Started With a Skin

I’m a huge fan of Hap’s work at Painted Pony. There’s a lot of great content out there for these horses, but her skins and content keep pulling me back in. She develops a lot of work for the Arabian mod in particular.

When I saw the new specular silver coat in her Highlights section, and noticed it could be used with the Arabian, I was struck by it immediately. I can’t really explain how this coat catches and reflects the light, but it’s amazing in person. I can just sit here and look at the way light plays off of my stallion… Beautiful work!

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So, this prompted me to head to the Jinx store (another creator I really love) to pick up her Arabian mod. This was the most expensive part of the modding process, and also the most tricky.

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This is a full body replacement for the Water Horse. This means when you add this to your avatar, you essentially have two horse bodies. You make the original horse body and tack transparent, and somehow this mod meshes beautifully to show instead.

It uses the Animation Override within the original Water Horse tack, so it moves and controls exactly like the original. Here’s a video of this horse in action (Note: lightly dressed female avatar warning):

If I had to nit pick about anything in this mod, it’s the tail portion. I’m not sure what it is about the tail, but the textures in the originals just don’t render right for me. Especially the white tail.

But that’s easily fixed with a texture replacement from Painted Pony. I picked up the Arabian Tail Fat Pack 1 and the Happy Tail add-on (which makes the tail swish from time to time like a real horse).

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And the final cosmetic piece was, again, from Painted Pony. I already had this from making my Miss Daisy setup — a lovely Tropicana Blue eye.

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Syn and Amoon like to tease me that the eyes make my Arabian look spooky, so I’m almost tempted to name him Specter. XD

Anyhow, I needed one final touch to really make this all come together. If you watched the video above, you’ll see the custom Arabian animations created by Mythril in action. Great stuff!

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So, I learned how to mod the tack AO to replace the standard animations with these. They included a very regal idle standing pose, a floating trot, and a lovely canter replacement. I also picked up a new gallop animation that I really liked.

What’s even better about this animation set is that it includes sidesaddle animations, which I was looking into picking up to fit a medieval dress that I bought. So a medieval warmblood project might be my next focus — we do have the Fantasy Faire coming up this week in Second Life!

And finally, the tack. I chose the new Sultan tack by Jinx. This is currently exclusive to the March Fantasy Collective, so I have no idea how much longer it’ll be there, or if Jinx will sell it in shop after the event is done.

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Much of the Arabian tack available is quite ornate, so I liked that this was less flashy and didn’t take away from the horse. These are cosmetic add-ons, and not a replacement for the AO tack. They look great and come with a HUD that allows for color change and minor modifications.

In the end, I’m very pleased with the overall results of the mod. What do you think?

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Posted in Uncategorized

FFXIV: Patch 4.3 – Under the Moonlight (Drops Late May)

There’s a few things here that caught my interest from the newest Live Letter. Since the translations are posted on Twitter instead of the forums now, I’ll just be pulling from the official Twitter account for info. Sorry that WordPress pulls the parent tweet into the post above the tweet I actually want to post. Bleh.

Story is good, but the Namazu beast tribes are better! We had a feeling they’d be the tribe for crafters to use. I have plenty of crafters that need to catch up — Leatherworker, I’m looking at you!

Happy this is coming out so soon. Will have to add the Namazu to my dailies. 🙂

I’ve not been a huge fan of the new 24 man raids for quite a while. But, I did enjoy some of the encounters in Sigmascape, so I’m going to hope they might be going that direction with battle design. I’ll wait and see.

YEEAAAAAAAAH!!! 

We all had a suspicion that this structure was going to be for the next Deep Dungeon. So happy this is going to be a thing. Especially if it’s supplementing level 60-70 leveling. Leveling isn’t bad right now already, but I’ll always take more options.

*sigh* I haven’t really been all that involved in Eureka (but I kinda wanted to be). Maybe I should get back out there and see what a low level noob can do. I dunno.

I would actually probably use this. We heard about this app a while back, so it’s good to see it’s coming!

Other things from Reddit:

  • New Squadron dungeons added (Yay!)
  • Return to Ivalice raid – The Ridorana Lighthouse (with associated crafter/gatherer side story?) (Hmm?)
  • New Custom Deliveries client (Woo!)
  • Job Adjustments – DRK, SAM, AST
  • Cross-world linkshells (Oh?)
  • Items converted into glamours can be reclaimed. (YEAH!!!)
  • Squadrons can use glamour dresser. (YEAH!!!)
  • Glamour plates saved to gear sets. (YEAH!!!)
  • Loot system changes to Alliance Raids – All Greed (Huh… wait… that’s not good!?)
  • Normal raid roulette (Nice for people catching up, but I’d never run it. 😛 )

 

 

 

 

Posted in Gaming, MMORPGs

MMO Holding Pattern: Not Done Yet

I think I mentioned in my last post that I’ve kinda been in a holding pattern when it comes to MMOs lately. I log in to FFXIV (the only MMO I’m really playing), I do some daily beast tribes, I maybe do an alliance roulette, and sometimes I do a leveling. Some days, I don’t really even log in at all.

I’m still working on my goal for the month, which is to get some leveling done on my Summoner/Scholar (which is now at level 66 as of last night). I do need to work on cleaning up story quests still, too.

But other than that, I don’t really feel the call to do a lot in MMOs lately. So there’s not a whole lot to write about here.

This makes me feel a little bad, especially since I’ve been much more active at putting out posts for my revived Second Life blog. Maybe it was a mistake to have separated the two blogs, I don’t know. I thought that folks who followed for MMO posts wouldn’t be interested in tons of Second Life posts and vice versa. Also, I wanted to reuse the URL I used to have for my original Second Life blog because there are still links out there that send folks to that site.

I also felt a little bad after reading Syp’s post on Biting the MMO hand that entertained you. While I do feel like I’ve been suffering from MMO burnout, especially FFXIV end game burnout, for quite a while, I’m still playing casually and I don’t have negative feelings towards the game or MMOs in general. I just need a change of pace.

But we are all seeing a shift away from MMO blogging. It’s gotten quiet around these parts. Not just in what people write about but in overall interaction with each other.

Right now, I’m really focused on many aspects of Second Life (even though I thought I’d never come back to it). Part of that is because of the response I’ve gotten from others… even though the grid is huge and I’m pretty much a stranger to everyone. Though some folks in the Second Life community can be jaded, they also seem to quickly laud and promote the work of SL folks.

For example, last week, a screenshot I took in world and posted on Flikr was chosen as a header image for a SL photo group there. That made me feel really awesome.

Yesterday, an established Second Life blog highlighted a series of tutorial posts I’m writing about being a Blender noob. I suddenly got this rush of new visitors to my young-restarted blog, with a few leaving random comments. I’m also getting a pretty positive response and conversation on Reddit. And boy does that encourage me to keep going with those posts.

I really love Syp’s Global Chat column on MassivelyOP for this reason, too. I always check it out just to see who’s been highlighted, and get a thrill if one of my articles appears there. I think it’s a wonderful thing to lift other people’s work up in that way, and always give props to him for keeping his finger on the pulse of so many blog posts.

This is in no way a knock against the MMO blogger folks, because I have nothing but respect and affection for you all. I guess it’s easy for us to get siloed into our little slots — maybe we’re writing about a game other folks aren’t playing or hopping around having a hard time finding that place to call an MMO home.

It only makes sense that if I’m playing X-MMO and another blogger is writing about X-MMO, they’re going to get more of my read and comment time than someone blogging about an MMO I’m not playing or interested in. It could be just another casualty of having too many games to choose from, not enough time, and most folks struggling to find a game that really calls to them to stay.

I don’t know.

I’m rambling now. But I suppose I felt I needed to write something to say “I’m not dead done yet. I’m really into something not MMO (but yet kinda MMO — Second Life is more of a virtual world), so I’m blogging about different things. But I haven’t quit playing or blogging or anything, even if my focus is somewhere else for the moment, and I seem a little quiet here.”

I’m sure someone will do something silly in a duty finder for me to write about. Just hang in there.

Posted in Gaming, Second Life, Uncategorized

Second Life: Building Houses for the Ultimate Sandbox

This weekend, I taught myself the basics of Blender, built my first house for Second Life and made my first sale on an item I created all on my own.

Sure, it took me the better part of two days to figure out Blender and trial-and-error through making that house. Sure, I sold it for a pittance of $L50 Lindens. I didn’t feel like I could charge much for my first try at a simple house… I was more curious about the process of putting something up on the Marketplace (which I’m still learning) and whether it would sell at all.

But it still felt awesome, was a crazy learning experience… and I’m eager to take these skills I’m developing and continue to build new things. I’m even writing a series of blog posts on my Second Life blog just to chronicle what I learned… mostly so I don’t forget how to do things! XD

As a creator, part of me gets a little thrill out of thinking someone else in Second Life might be living in the house I built. Maybe someone else gets a little bit of happiness at having their own little Modern Loft House somewhere on the grid. That’s pretty inspiring.

Sorry for the ramble. Most of the MMO stuff I’ve been doing lately is standard leveling, roulettes, weekly turn-ins, so nothing to report there. I’ve just been far more fascinated in making things right now.