Saturday, May 13, 2017

A Guide for First-Time Con-Goers!

Convention season is now underway!  While it's an exciting time, those of us who have attended a few know some insider tricks that newbies may not.  Above all, remember to have fun!  There is no point in going if you don't have fun.  Here is my list of tips I wish someone had told me before my first convention.

1. Shop around for hotels.  There will usually be a discount for whichever hotel the convention is in, but many nearby hotels will also have discounts for congoers and shuttles to and from the hotel.  Make sure to hit up the con's website for a list of hotels nearby that will have con discounts.  You could save a lot of money for an hour of work.  Don't splurge too much on a hotel because you probably won't be spending that much time in it anyway.  You'd probably rather spend that money on a plushie anyway right?  Also consult your friends to see if any of them wanna tag along so you can split the cost of the room.

2. Make a packing list.  Don't just throw things in your bag and hope you brought the essentials.  Make a list of everything you want/need to bring, and don't be afraid to add to it.  The smart thing to do is start your list a week or so in advance before you pack, and add to it over the week.  That way you're less likely to forget anything important.  You do NOT want to have to Google the location of a gas station nearby just to buy a phone charger at two in the morning.  My advice to is to make sure you remember your money, and credit/debit cards, your I.D., and any insurance/health cards, clip or rubber band them so they're together, and keep them on you at all time.  You never know when you might fall drunken down the stairs and need to hit up an ER.  Also make sure you bring clothes, hygiene items (don't be that stinky guy in line at the food booth), chargers, any electronic you wanna bring like your phone or laptop, and any cosplays you need to bring.  Also don't forget your medications if you take any.  That being said, don't bring anything super expensive.  You never know what could happen and you don't wanna be out a $2000 laptop because you lost it in the hotel.

3. Plan your trip to a T, but don't be afraid to deviate.  Cons usually post their programming weeks in advance, and some even have apps to help you plan out your personal schedule.  Make sure you consult this information so you can efficiently go from one thing to the next and you don't miss  out on something you find interesting.  However, don't be afraid to do something different than you had planned if you see something cool.

4. Make sure you consult the weather gods.  You never know what might happen weather-wise.  I always bring a sweater even if it's super hot, and a skirt and shorts even if it's super cold.  Make sure to Google the weather conditions for the days you'll be away.  It's always good to bring at least one pair of sneakers even if it seems like flip-flop weather, and an umbrella even if it's super dry.  You never know what the weather has in store for you!  Also make sure you are dressing comfy.  You will do a lot of walking, so comfortable shoes are a must.

5. Don't spend all your money right away!  Make sure you look around to see everything you may want to buy and where it is.  Prioritize the things you really want with the stuff that might just be kinda cool to have.  Also don't buy things you don't have room for.  Don't go buying a dozen plushies when you don't have a shelf to put them on, or no wall space for the 6 posters you bought.  Put some serious consideration into your purchases or you may experience some buyer's regret.  On the last day of conventions, items are also usually on sale at the vendors so if there was something you have your eye on but don't really need, see if it's discounted on the last day.

6. Read the rules.  Make sure that badass sword that is essential to your cosplay is even allowed.  Many cons will not allow real weapons.  Be sure that everything you want to dress up as is allowed so it doesn't ruin your plans.

7. Don't go crazy buying food.  I know, it's tempting to go to the fancy hotel restaurant or that cool place across the street, but trust me, it isn't worth it.  That fancy overpriced food will last an hour, but the plushie you could have bought instead will last a lifetime.  If the vendors are selling cool expensive Japanese candy, just make a not of what it is and price check it on Amazon.  It will probably be cheaper, though as previously stated, it will likely be discounted on the last day.  My first anime convention a girl I was with bought a bunch of boxes of Hello Panda at a discount on the last day of the convention!  Just eat whatever food is in the consuite or is free at the convention, plus cheap stuff like McDonald's.  You can go back to eating healthy when you go home.

8. Don't be a dick.  Make sure you are practicing hygiene so the people around you don't suffer.  Always ask permission before taking pictures of people in cosplay.  For the love of god, just because a girl is wearing something skimpy does NOT mean she wants you to grab her ass!  Just be nice to everyone else so it's a good experience for everyone.

9. Get there a bit early.  It's a good idea to get there a bit early, maybe even the day before the con.  This is a good idea because you can explore and make a mental map of the hotel or convention hall so you're not so lost when you're trying to get to that anime screening in 4 minutes.  Cons will also usually post maps online.  Study them, grasshopper.  The cons I've went to even had maps on their mobile apps for easy viewing.  It's also a good idea to get the the registration area early, before the throngs of people show up.

10. Don't be shy.  This is a great way to meet people just like you.  Go to the room parties, go to the panels, watch the anime screenings, compete in the tournaments even if you're super bad at the game, hit up the rave later!  This is one of my biggest regrets.  When I've gone to cons I am always too shy and I don't make a single friend.  Don't be afraid to strike up a conversation with someone you don't know.  You could make a great friend.

This post was inspired by a request made by someone from, who requested me to write something for Vegas's own LVL UP EXPO.  I am NOT getting paid for this.  I just thought it would be fun to write!   For those attending LVL UP EXPO, check out the Vegas travel deals page for great money-savers!

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Updates, etc.

I've been pretty absent from online activities lately.  That's due to several reasons.  The most simple one is that I haven't been playing games much and I've been busy besides that.  I'm in my last semester of school and I'm working and I have animals to take care of (reward but time consuming for sure).  I'm also finding myself rather unmotivated.  I'm not watching much anime or playing many games.  Pretty much all I do in WoW is log in and do missions.  It's not that there isn't any content I want to do.  I want to do a lot of things.  I just lack the motivation to actually do it.  I'm also on a video game no-buy because I have an ungodly amount of unplayed games in my Steam library.  Someday I will play them, then post about them, maybe even do a video on them if I ever bring my YouTube channel off the ground or stream it on Twitch if I ever get that off the ground.

That being said, I have a list of things I want to do, it's just matter of motivating myself.  I also find myself COMPLETELY unable to make art for my endeavors, like my blog banner or my YouTube banner.  No matter what I do the size just isn't right, but it doesn't seem logical to commission art for something I'm neglecting.  Anyways, I'll figure it out.  Eventually.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

What to do Post Patch 7.0.3

The patch dropped a week ago and I've been dabbling a bit.  I've been obsessively running Ahn'Qiraj for... some reason.  I don't even know why.  It's a bit of a daunting task to go through 11 characters and sort them out.  So, here's what I think should be the first priorities in sorting out your toons post-patch.

1. Bags!

Sort out your bags, pronto.  Go though all your toons and make sure to equip all your unlearned transmog items, then vendor those little fuckers.  Make sure you double check what you're vendoring the right thing.  Don't vendor your raiding staff.  Also double check all your little baubles.  Some of them were turned into toys so you may be able to learn it and vendor the extras.  Also considering your extra materials.  Someone might just buy it up and you can make space for the good stuff.

2. Character changes

This may be easy or hard, depending on how many toons you have.  Go through each one and pick talents, rearrange macros, and redo keybinds.  A lot of shit was taken out and a lot added in, so it'll take some doing to get raid-ready again.  Make sure to check a good class resource you trust to get the lowdown on the new du-jour rotations and builds.  Also make sure to redo your bars.  No doubt there's some gaps to fill.

3. Get off your ass

There's undoubtedly some things you wanted to finish up before Legion.  Now is the time to do it, because when Legion hits you don't want to be left behind while everyone's in Suramar and you're still camping Deephelm for that stupid dragon (that'll probably be me).

4. Miscellaneous

Still looking for a good raiding guild for the next expansion?  Now's a good time to find one.  If you multiples of the same class on one realm, consider transferring them to another realm so you can diversify.  I have two druids on Zul'jin and I no longer need them both so I'll be transferring one off at some point.  Make some friends.  Join an OpenRaid group just for funsies.  Enjoy your downtime now, because on August 30, you won't have any.

(For anyone wondering, I will be updating my Resto Druid Guide.)

Monday, June 13, 2016

Fairy Bloom Freesia Review

I really wanted to like this game.  It's about a cute, badass fairy who protects a forest.  This sounds like the perfect game.  Unfortunately, its faults doomed it.

This game is painfully repetitive.  Each level is basically where you beat up slimes that are attacking you.  That is ALL it is.  Every once in a while you'll get visual novel-style cutscenes with some story but most of the game is just beating up slimes, which is made difficult by the highly clunky controls.  It's difficult to do anything in the game because the control buttons are just so odd.  You can change them, but I'm lazy, and I shouldn't have to.  In what word does having the Z button mean 'accept' sound like a good idea?

The game does a bad job of explaining the controls and systems.  The only way to know what each button does is to look at the manual, which most people don't do when they pick up a game.  I was confused before I decided to peruse it.  It also does a poor job of explaining the different stats and special skills.  There's a blurb about each one but it's difficult to know which one to pick or which ones to to put mana into, or even how the skills all relate to each other.  I was just doing it randomly.  The combat system is way too complicated for a game like this.

There is little variety in the enemies or stages.  Most of the enemies look the same and I noticed very little distinction between the different stages of the game.  BUT, and there is a but, I only made it though 30 minutes of gameplay before I called it quits.  I could have given it more time, but the game really made me want to pull my hair out and I figure my time would be better spent elsewhere.  Perusing the Internets, I can see that there are more different levels further on.  Unfortunately, the monotony of the ones I experienced drove me away.  Maybe if there was more variety earlier on I would have been more impressed.  I've read that the game takes about 2 hours to complete, but I don't want to put my fingers and brain through that.  I just can't.

The game's story is simple.  Lita, the fairy, guards the forest.  Two humans come to the forest in search of part of a tree, but if they take it, Lita's father-type figure will die... for some reason.  So she decides to beat everyone up.  But the human king wants the part of the tree to do something really bad with it.  I dunno, I don't really get it.

There a few good things about this game.  The graphics are super cute.  They're anime-style and everything is shiny and sparkly.  The backgrounds, while repetitive, are gorgeous.  It's like Hayao Miyazaki and Final Fantasy had a baby.  The forest background really reminds me of Bugdom (remember Bugdom?).  Lita is cute as a button.  The visual novel cutscenes are manga style and about what you'd expect.

The music is cute but also repetitive.  I didn't notice much variety but what music there was was cute and added some levity to the game.I appreciated it.  You can buy the soundtrack on Steam.

Overall, I wanted to like this game.  I just couldn't get over the repetitiveness and clunky controls.  However,t he game did get mostly positive reviews so maybe I'm just being overly critical and not giving the game a fair chance.  I just don't wanna torture myself like that.

*Images via Google

Friday, May 27, 2016

The Ongoing Saga of Nostalrius

By now I think everyone's heard of the situation with Nostalrius: it's a private vanilla World of Warcraft server which Blizzard is forcibly shutting down.  There are many opinions and speculations, particularly about why Blizzard is choosing this particular time to crack down on a private server,

Blizzard's main given reason is so they can maintain control of their IP.  A private, non-Blizzard-affiliated World of Warcraft server is a thread to their copyright.  They also reject the idea of official legacy servers due to operation constraints.  Whatever that means.

So why now?  My theory is that because Legion is launching soon and WoW's subscriber base has dropped significantly, that they are trying to close down unofficial servers to drive more people to official WoW, and pay a subscription fee.  I'm not saying this is a wrong or right decision.  It does sound like a fiscally smart decision and it IS their intellectual property.  They are well within their rights to shut down Nostalrius.

Blizzard has said it is floating around the idea of "pristine servers".  This would entail no leveling help of any kind.  No WoW Token, no boosts, no Recruit-A-Friend, no heirlooms, and no dungeon finder.  Unfortunately, I don't think this would satisfy anyone looking for a genuine vanilla experience.

Even if Blizzard did somehow develop the capability of running genuine vanilla servers, would that really be a good idea?  The entire point of an MMO is that it is dynamic, and ever-changing.  While I can understand why people would want this experience, I think that's doing Blizzard a disservice by essentially saying you're not interested in what they're developing now.  And who would pay a subscription fee for it?  It needs to be maintained somehow.  But players of Nostalrisu weren't paying to play it, so they probably wouldn't want to pay a subscription for a legacy server anyway.  They'd probably just find a new private server to play on.

Maybe the solution is a happy medium.  I don't know how they could accomplish it, but maybe Blizzard could create some sort of partnership with Nostalrius.  Even though there isn't a sub fee for it, it could be monetized in other ways.  Maybe in-game ads (like billboards in GTA), or ads ont he website, or small non-obtrusive ads in the game that you can click out of.  You can't expect Blizzard to let someone use their IP without some sort of gain from it.  It just isn't feasible.

Blizzard has said they are going to be having "talks" with Nostalrius.  I'm excited for what this might entail

Monday, May 23, 2016

The Black Gate Tips for Resto Druids

We made it!  The last chapter of my Hellfire Citadel Tips for Resto Druids series.  Now we can close the book.

It's a butt.
The only boss in here is Archimonde.  This is a 3-phase fight in which he will gain additional abilities as you damage him.  I recommend Displacer Beast here because of all the times you're going to have to move: run away when targeted by Doomfire, running when Allure of Flames is cast, spreading out and grouping up when Shadowfel Burst is cast, moving out of green circles and into light orbs during Desecrate, moving out of the group during Focused Chaos and Wrought Chaos, Shackled Torment, moving out of purple circles when Dreadstalkers cast Consume Magic, and kiting the Void Star.  There is a lot of running and dodging in this fight.

People will be fairly spread out, so keep your Mushroom under the tanks, melee, or the largest group of people.  Use your best judgement.

If you or anyone else break Shackled Torment during Rain of Chaos, make sure you have a defensive cooldown like Barkskin or Ironbark available to you.  Make sure to slap a Rejuvenation on yourself or them so you can heal yourself back up quickly.

You'll be grouping up with a tank and a couple DPS during Nether Banish, and during that time make sure to completely HoT up your tank, such as with Rejuvenation, Rejuvenation, and Lifebloom.  Keep Rejuvenation rolling on everyone and don't be afraid to use Genesis if you need to.

Tanks will take heavier damage from Death Brand, especially if they have Shadow Blast stacks, so they may need additional healing and be sure to make good use of Ironbark when necessary.

A glyph I recommend is Glyph of Stampeding Roar.  There will be times when the whole raid will need to move as a unit, so being to pop this will help ensure everyone gets a speed boost at the right time.  If you have multiple druids, you can work out a timing schedule of when each of you will use Stampeding Roar.

There isn't really one good time to use Tranquility.  There will be many times throughout the raid where you'll wanna pop your 'OH SHIT' button, so I'd only use it when the raid leader calls for it.  Use your best judgement.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Popping the Gold Cap

It was recently announced that the gold cap is going to be raised to 9,999,999 gold.  It is currently 999,999 gold.  I have to say I'm not happy about the change.

I'm no auction house baron but I do decently well for myself.  I currently have 100k and I tend to hover between 50k and 150k.  It's not very difficult to make gold right now so I'm taking advantage of my multiple garrisons while I can.

Logically I can see why they'd want to raise the gold cap.  Some players have made so much gold through garrisons that they're starting to cap out on multiple characters.  I have read that this change will make it more difficult to instantly cap auctions and will help with inflation, but I'm not an economist so this goes in one ear and out the other for me.

What I'm worried about is dickbags overpricing things on the Auction House.  Presumably, gold will be comparatively harder to get in Legion.  I'm worried that prices will rise as the rate of gold acquisition among average players will decrease.  I already see things for the current gold cap on the auction house.  With a higher gold cap, those things will be even further out of reach for the average player like me.  It's just a bummer.  Maybe I should borrow the gold and buy a Spectral Tiger while I can.