Posted in Blaugust, Blogging, Gaming

Blaugust: Keep Your Finger Near the Print Screen Key

The first week of Blaugust is officially Topic Brainstorming Week. So I wanted to talk shortly about one way of generating ideas for your blog. While this seems to primarily focus on gaming blogs, this can carry over into real life, too, if you just keep your phone camera handy at all times.

Now while this isn’t true for every day and every post, I’ve found a lot of my blogging content comes from just having an awareness of what’s going on around me, and being ready to capture that for future reference. 

In short, whenever I’m playing any game, part of my mind is on what experiences I might be able to share on my blog the next day. My finger is always near the screenshot key. I’m always looking for a topic starter or a story. For example, many of my FFXIV Tales from the Duty Finder stories are just the You-Had-To-Be-There moments that I captured via screenshot to bring back the next day as a post.

You might be saying, “But if you’re always thinking about blogging, how can you just enjoy the game?”

As a blogger, part of what makes me enjoy the game more is hunting down something that I think will be fun to share. The more you practice looking for the story in something, even mundane situations, the easier it gets. It’s really never a bother.

So I challenge you to think like a blogger and search for stories in everything you do during Blaugust.

Be it gaming, other hobbies, your work, or social interactions. There are so many stories hiding there, stories that only you can tell the world from your point of view… but only if you’re receptive to finding them. If you start to practice that mindset, you’ll often find the stress of “What do I write about next?” starts to fade as it becomes replaced by a more productive desire to find stories to share.

So, go out there and bring us back some stories! I’ll be reading!

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Posted in Blaugust, Blogging, Gaming, MMORPGs, Writing

Bl-August 2018 Gaming Goals

First, happy Blaugust everyone!

It’s that time again — a new month means new goals to reach for!

I’m not going to go into too much detail at the moment, but I am going to say that things may be in a flux for me when it comes to FFXIV in fairly short order. I haven’t talked a lot about the things happening over the past month (nothing bad, persay), but this may be a month when things realign in a different way. We’ll have to see how it shakes out.

In the meantime, I’m going to drop goals down here as if everything is normal. 😉

FFXIV Leveling Goals

  • Level Culinarian to 70 ✓
  • Level Dragoon to 70
  • Level Astro (maybe?)

Pretty straightforward and easy to hit. My Culinarian is level 64, so Namazu will take it to 70 with no sweat. Then, I’ll only have one more crafter to level to 70! My Dragoon is level 67, so Alliance Roulette should carry me through in short order.

I do really want to work on some of my lower level jobs, like Astro, but we’ll see what happens.

FFXIV Cleanup Quest Goals

  • Summoner – Lv 60-70 Quests
  • Ninja – Lv 50-60 Quests
  • Culinarian Quest catch-up ✓

I’m trying this yet again this month. Maybe I’ll actually do it this time! I do have a motivation to complete Summoner quests as they have lore information that ties directly into my creative projects at this point. I also need to finish quests for Ninja to unlock all the skills so that I can keep leveling the job in Alliance Roulette.

I’m not sure where I left off on Culinarian quests, so that’s something I need to check on while I am leveling it using beast tribes.

Creative Goals

With Blaugust here upon us, of course one of my creative goals for this month is to post as much content as I can and participate where I can. I don’t know if I’ll be able to hold to a post every day as I really do value taking a break on the weekends, but we’ll see what I can do.

I’m also still going full force on my creative RP story project on Tumblr. I still have a whole lot to write for this, so it’s going to be competing with my blogging time, sadly. I’m going to try to keep things balanced, but my inspiration has been skewed towards fiction since last month, and I want to hold on to that feeling. It’s far easier for me to pound out a blog post than a piece of fiction!

 

Posted in Blaugust, Blogging, Uncategorized

Blogging: Importance of Voice & Choosing your Audience

It’s prep week for Blaugust Mentors, so I decided to sit down and write about something that’s been on my mind lately. Prep week focuses on giving some advice to new and upcoming bloggers — so you’ll see a lot of useful information about blogging platforms, choosing topics, consistently writing, picking your blog name/URL — very important stuff!

I wanted to tackle some things that aren’t always so obvious to think about from the start: Voice/Tone and Audience.

These are actually concepts to think about no matter what kind of writing you’re doing — blogging, fiction, bussines, etc. And while you might be going… “Oh gosh, I’m just trying to put some words on the page, when do I have time to figure this out?” …I feel that establishing your blogging voice and knowing who you’re writing for early on makes things easier.

What Attracts People?

Think about those folks you follow on social media. Think about your favorite streamers or YouTubers. What do these usually have in common?

They’ve established a personality (voice) that’s unique to themselves, and that’s something you’ve connected with. You start to like them as a person, and therefore, you come back to see what they have to say again and again.

They don’t have to share anything super personal for you to feel like… Hey, I jive with them, and they’re cool to listen to. If they take time to interact with their audience, oh man, they’re really a hit then!

There’s really no secret to what they’re doing (though it’s not always easy to maintain). They’ve just established a voice/personality and they’re consistent with producing content around a specific audience that responds to it. YOU!

Granted, this can take time and effort to achieve. Often, your own writing voice will evolve and change the more you learn about the craft of writing and the people you’re talking to. That’s totally okay! It’s a part of growing as a blogger.

But that doesn’t mean that when you sit down to roll up a blog that you can’t already be thinking: Hey, who am I writing this for? Who do I want to reach out to? 

Do you want to approach things with humor and an honest down-to-earth slice-of-life personality?

Or do you want to be known for someone who says what’s on their mind, no matter how brutally honest it is?

Maybe you want to establish yourself as someone who provides ground-breaking strategies and has an powerful authority over the topics you choose to write?

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Different approaches will connect with different kinds of readers. It’s important to consider the pros and cons of the voice and approach you use — will you be able to maintain it over a long period of time, for example. Or will it exhaust you (or confine you) to try to step into the persona that you’re building?

Sometimes even refreshing an existing blog is just about taking a different point of view and changing your voice. 

With my blog, I’ve chosen to establish a casual and laid-back personality. It’s very much in line with who I really am IRL, so it’s easy to maintain.

You’ll hear me talk about what’s happened in my gaming life. I like to post things that make people laugh, if possible. I stay away from more somber and serious topics, even if that’s the direction everyone else seems to be taking. And if I do write things like a game review, it’s generally something based on how it made me feel, rather than a professional take on the game.

Thinking about your blogging voice and audience from the start will also help you decide on the overall feel and presentation of your blog. Once you know who you want to be, and who you want to write for, you can center your theme, blog name, and everything else around that to present a consistent face (a brand) to your audience.

 Join us at Blaugust!

Posted in Blaugust, Blogging

Hey, Listen! Blaugust is Reborn!

If you’re a reader of other blogs across our lovely blogosphere, you may have already heard the news on the wind: Next week, Blaugust is returning! 

Though I haven’t written about it yet (was waiting till it was a bit closer to time… like now), this is an event I’m really pumped for… and that I hope that other bloggers will get excited about, too! I signed on to be a Mentor this year, so it’s probably time I start putting on my Mentor hat.

Prep week starts now. You’ll find a ton of great prep-posts ramping up already on the many mentor blogs that are participating — check out a spread sheet of who is who and where you can find them!

In the past, Blaugust (started by Belghast at Tales of the Aggronaut) has been focused on challenging folks to reach a certain number of posts within the month of August. This time around, he’s shaking the formula up quite a bit, and tossing in a pinch of Newbie Blogger Initiative (NBI) into the mix.

See more about this here.

This time, there are several levels of participation to take part in:

  • Newbie Blogger Award – You did it, you created a new blog and by god we are going to sing your praises for doing it!
  • Bronze Award – You made at least 5 posts during the Month of August 2018.
  • Silver Award – You made at least 15 posts during the Month of August 2018, go you!
  • Gold Award – You made at least 25 posts during the Month of August 2018, you are a badass!
  • Rainbow Diamond Award – You did it, you posted every single day during the Month of August 2018 and deserve accolades.

So even folks who ramp up a new blog or just post 5 times next month are all rockstars!

To help out through the month, we have the Mentor system and a structured set of themes to roll with:

  • July 25th – July 31st – Blaugust Prep Week – posts about the technical details of getting started in blogging.  Tutorials, advice, tips for naming your blog… that sort of stuff to get people ready to hit the ground on August 1st running.
  • August 1st – August 7th – Topic Brainstorming Week – posts about ideas for topics that the participants can then mine for the rest of the month.
  • August 8th – August 14th – Get to Know Each Other Week – hanging out and meeting other people in this new fledgling community and hopefully gaming together a bit!  Also highly support doing some sort of collaboration on shared topics!
  • August 15th – August 21st – Developer Appreciation Week – post about the things that you really appreciate in gaming or any other community… because chances are there is a developer or designer behind the things you love.
  • August 22nd – August 28th – Staying Motivated Week – tips and tricks that you might have to stay motivated and keep creating content against the tyranny of a blank screen.
  • August 29th – August 31st – The Final Stretch: Lessons Learned – as a way of getting us across the finish line, talk about some of the experienced you had during the month and maybe things you learned about yourself.

If this sounds exciting and interesting to you, by all means, please, please join us! Even if you don’t have a blog now, or need to blow the dust off an existing blog, we will welcome you with open arms!

Bel has a signup sheet to officialize your choice to participate, and a Discord where you can connect with fellow bloggers and mentors across the globe!

Hope to see you there! 

Posted in Blaugust, Blogging, FFXIV, Gaming, MMORPGs

August Goals in Review #blaugust2016

This post is a part of Blaugust 2016!

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Another month has come and gone and Blaugust is almost over with! How did I do on my goals for this month?

Well, I accomplished my Blaugust goal, which was to post every weekday. I won’t say this was always easy, but I did get it done. I’ll probably be a bit more lax next month, though, unless gaming really starts to pick up!

My console and Pokemon goals were left in the dust as I really put a lot more time into FFXIV this month. Some of this was helping other people level. Some of it was playing major catchup with Zuri as I finally made the choice to play her exclusively at this time.

Here’s how it went this time around:

Earthbound

  • Play some!

Nope. 

Pokemon X

  • Earn the next gym badge

Nope. Didn’t touch this game this month. Need to try to do two gym badges next month if possible! 

FFXIV End Game Stuff

  • Work on 3rd tier of Bard Relic ✓
  • Get the PotD Bow ✓
  • Get the PotD Spear
  • Level Machinist ✓ (Ding 60!)
  • Finish gearing up Bard ✓ (100% Complete!)
  • Start gearing up Dragoon ✓
  • Clear up to Alex 8 on Zuri ✓
  • Unlock Level 60 Roulette on Zuri

Let’s see. I got a LOT of this done this month. Not only did I complete leveling Machinist, but I finished gearing up Bard and completed the 3rd step of Relic (thanks to the nerf). I also completed all of Alex on Zuri. 

I did start gearing up my Dragoon, but will probably hold off on the rest of it for the Lore nerf in a month. I didn’t get the PotD spear for Dragoon (I’m sitting at 24/23 gear in the Deep Dungeon), but I did start to work on Relic for Dragoon instead. I’m not sure if I’ll decide to still get that spear for Dragoon or switch to a different class. 

I didn’t unlock Level 60 Roulette, but I’m real close! All I have to do is finish a run of Pharos Sirius HM. 

FFXIV Leveling

  • Level Gladiator to 30 ✓
  • Clean up old quests ✓

Yep, got this done. I now have all jobs to at least level 30 on Zuri! I also cleaned up all of my outstanding job quests, which feels good. 

FFXIV Random

  • Earn some Yo-kai Weapons ✓

I finished up my White Mage Yo-Kai weapon as well as the Ninja. Not sure if I want to get more at this point, though. 

Overall, looking good for August! On to September!

Posted in Blaugust, Blogging, FFXIV, Gaming, MMORPGs

FFXIV: Amazing 3rd Anniversary Weekend #blaugust2016

This post is a part of Blaugust 2016!

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This weekend, FFXIV celebrated its 3rd year anniversary with a 14 hour live letter (don’t know how they manage that) and the newest anniversary event, The Rising. I also got so many things accomplished that I can’t possibly list them all without boring you. But let me try to make it entertaining!

Heavensward Ho!

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We helped Vix and Xaa through their final trials of 2.0, including The Chrysalis and Steps of Faith. They pushed on into Ishgard and are now working on Heavensward content. Yay for them! All grown up. *sniff*

Ding 60 Machinist!

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After quite a while of leveling, I finally hit 60 on Zuri’s Machinist. One of my goals for this month was to level the job some, but I didn’t anticipate finishing the task! It’s fabulous because now my Machinist and Bard can both wear the same gear, thus freeing up a lot of space in my inventory. It’s also a huge ilvl leap for my little Machinist. Now I just need to get her a better weapon.

Bard Fully Geared

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Speaking of gear, another one of my goals for this month was to finish gearing up Bard with Lore/Weeping City stuff. I completed that this weekend by picking up the last accessory I needed (and capped Lore again for the second time ever…).

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Not best in slot or anything, but this is more than good enough for me. My next goal is to gear up Dragoon… but I think with the new Tomes coming out in about a month, I’ll just horde my Lore from now on out. If it’s anything like the previous patches, the cost of the Tome gear will get cut in half. So if I save now, I should have more than enough Lore to completely gear up Zuri’s Dragoon once patch 3.4 rolls out. And maybe snag an ilvl240 weapon somewhere in there, too.

Alex 1-8 Cleared

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I completed the Alexander raids on Tai a while back, but never cleared past A1 on Zuri. One of my goals for this month was to complete up to A8… but I wasn’t sure if that was going to happen. Syn mentioned that (before the Relic changes) getting parties for A1-A4 was a little harder in the duty finder. But none of that ended up even being a concern.

We put out the call on our FC Discord and had more than a full party for the entire Alex run yesterday afternoon. Also, there were three other FC folks who either just unlocked Alex or were in various stages of Gordias completion, so our run was a benefit for several others!  Even having three new folks, we didn’t have a single wipe (though we did enrage the final boss of A8 and cut it really close)! Good job KoM! 🙂

The Rising

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The anniversary event, The Rising, has returned, and I participated with great gusto. This wasn’t quite the 18th floor, but it was still a fun set of quests with a lot of laughs and feels. I may be a bit sentimental, but it’s always special when the Wandering Minstrel (Yoshi-P’s avatar) takes some time to speak to Zuri. I walk away from these events feeling like I’m a part of Eorzea in an important way… which is the point of the event, I think. It works for me!

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Dragoon Relic Stage 1

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So, I’m back to hunting crystals again for my Dragoon Relic. I’m also gathering umbrite, sands and unidentifiable items (I’m at 10/10/10/2) for when I get it there. I spent quite a few hours running FATEs for crystals, and was happy to clear the harder zones (Azys Lla, The Dravanian Hinterlands, and The Churning Mists) pretty quickly on Saturday. But that’s where the crystal struggle began.

I thought it would be easy to clear the lower level zones, but Sea of Clouds refused to give up its crystals. In fact, I spent so long without a drop that I wondered if the quest was borked. Eventually, I decided to change scenery and headed out to Coerthas Western Highlands. Sure enough, in the first 4 FATES, I got my 3 crystals. I did eventually get them all from Sea of Clouds as well, so all I have left to farm is The Dravanian Forelands this week.

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Then the long part (for me) comes… the dungeon grind. By the time I get that done, though, I should easily have all my unidentifiable items waiting. I already have the aether oils as well.

Though, I’m still struggling to decide on which job I want to take the Relic to 240… I know we’ll probably see a Relic nerf at patch 3.45, and I kinda doubt I’ll make it by then (I’ve never been relevant on Relic before). I can either work on Relic for Zuri’s Bard, which is fully geared, or wait and work on it for Dragoon. Again… I’m having so much trouble deciding on which job to make my main! Especially since I’m just starting to feel like I’m understanding Bard and beginning to unlock the job’s potential for me.

Accomplished

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On top of that, Zeb and Xaa helped me clear an unsynced Pharos Sirius (so easy) so that I can unlock the hard mode. This is the only dungeon I haven’t finished on Zuri to unlock level 60 roulette (another goal for this month). I only have a few more days to complete that before the month is done, so we’ll see if that happens.

Overall, I just feel accomplished from this weekend. It was a LOT of running, and I’m tired out, but also encouraged. We had a lot of neat announcements during the Live Letter about patch 3.4, and I’ve finally got one of Zuri’s classes up to par (IMHO). I’m feeling a lot better now that I don’t feel like I’m lagging so far behind everyone.

Now if only I could decide on which job to make my main!

Posted in Blaugust, Blogging, FFXIV, Gaming, MMORPGs

FFXIV: Tales from the Duty Finder – The Magical Teleporting Tank #blaugust2016

This post is a part of Blaugust 2016!

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This is the story of a Dark Knight we met in Sohr Khai with an unfortunate, bad Internet connection. Somehow, this magically taught him how to teleport.

I’m serious.

One moment, we would see him lagging out, standing next to us with the disconnect symbol beside his name. The next moment, he had teleported ahead of us to the next group of mobs and already pulled before we realized it. This was crazy for Zeb as a healer, and the DPS could never anticipate when a pull was coming.

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This was a constant stop-go-stop-go thing through the whole run, not just an occasional bit of lag. The tank often lost connection while tanking the trash, which led to scattered aggro all over the place. Our second DPS, a pretty competent Dragoon who never spoke once, must have gotten fed up with it because he dropped the group before the first boss.

The thing is, I don’t consider Sohr Khai a dungeon you can fool around in. I’ve died there too many times, and the a tank dropping connection on Hraesvelgr would be devastating. The Dragoon was probably considering this too, and cut his losses by dropping the group.

Now, the tank seemed like a nice guy, and he was apologetic for the situation. But rather than bowing out politely so we could re-queue or find a new tank (Note: We could have left without penalty after the Dragoon left), he decided to keep going.

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The guy hadn’t really done anything wrong and I’m sure he’s normally a good tank, so Zeb and I (being the softies we are) grumbled a bit and didn’t have high hopes for the run, but didn’t drop group. Eventually, we got a second Bard to replace the dropped DPS, and continued teleportingly through the dungeon.

Considering the situation, we didn’t do too terribly. There were few fatalities along the way, despite how easily the tank lost aggro due to lagging out. But the true test was facing the final boss. None of us, not even the tank, were particularly stoked for it.

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We… actually got through this fight on the first try. It was a bit hectic, and the tank did fall to his death (as expected) due to the pillar destruction, but thankfully, not until we got Hraesvelgr down to 3%. I was able to pop a last-second limit break and we downed the fight!

And in the end, he was super polite about it.

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But I still wouldn’t want to try that again! Whew!

(And no commendations for this Bard. Bummer. 😦 )