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Cyber Bullying from an Old Schooler’s Perspective

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I recently went through some things online that set me to thinking about cyber bullying. It is a very real problem that is out there on the internet today. I have two children who use the internet and since I am technologically savvy, I am lucky enough to be aware that cyber bullying exists and educate them about it.

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In spite of being a techie, even I have been a victim of it. People on the internet who engage in this kind of behavior are not just kids, some of them are very clever adults. They are individuals who are so wrapped up in their own desires or pains, that they can’t see that their actions and words are painful to the people they are engaging with online. They are clever and say things like, “I was just joking.” and “Don’t be so serious!” taking away their responsibility for saying painful things. After so long, those painful words start to hurt. When the victim brings it up, they look like a drama monger and fear even saying anything. They begin to internalize the issue and this can lead to depression, anger, and even suicide.

imagesThe bully may be experiencing their own pain, or think they are just making light fun. Either way the anonymity of the internet makes it easy. They don’t have to see the hurt in the other person’s eyes, or the anger, or the pain. They only have words on a screen. Not the other person in front of them.

 

cyberbullying-laptop-kidEven if asked to stop, there is little emotion in words on a screen, and there is the catch all phrase, “I was just joking, chill out.” There is no one to tell them what they are doing is wrong. No one the victim to turn to if they could. The bully can just turn off the computer. They can go do something else, and never suffering any consequences for any of the actions they have taken. They can have a good laugh and go on about their day. It is all very cathartic for the one doing the bullying.

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When I was a kid growing up, the internet was in its’ birthing stages. BBS’ were still a thing. People who were behind the computers were the same people I hung out with at the local bookstores and coffee shops and played D&D with. Because I was logging into a person’s local computer server to play games and trade files.

If someone was rude to me as a kid, or vice versa (as was just as often the case), my mom and their mom had words, and one or both of us got our computers taken away for a week or two. Like any other kid with their hobbies. So we had to play nice.

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The community in the 90’s technology age was very different than today. Now I log into the gaming world and it is like wading through muck and mire. I find myself wondering where I fit in. Children are able to create macros to do what I once took pride in, and now spend more of their time firing off hate speech towards one another, than creating new brilliant things. Trolling used to be about being witty and clever, now its about being cruel and viscous.

I watch as the state of gaming is degraded by cyber bullying. No where is safe. I have to ask myself where did all these people come from that are causing so much grief and sorrow across all these platforms. Why is this happening?

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I have yet to get into a guild without someone being “the troll”. It seems like now that is the accepted reality and we should all just deal with it. Is it O.K. now to treat others with disrespect in the name of it being a joke? Is it O.K. now to say things that are hurtful to others simply because you don’t have to answer to anyone and can walk away from the computer? Because they can’t retaliate or there are no real consequences?

The consequences are there. The consequences can be seen in the above graphics, the teens committing suicide, the depression as a result of cyber bullying, the decline in community and family style atmosphere in gaming online, the rise in toxic atmosphere online, and the traits and actions we are teaching our children to perpetuate in the next generation.

The bottom line. Cyber bullying is killing our games and our kids. Stop it.

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Socialization through Online Gaming

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Over the years I have come to know some interesting people through gaming. Some of them have lasted long through the years, longer than what most would consider my real life friends. Those individuals are as dear to me as the people who interact with me in the real world.

My current group of online friends devised a way to get to know one another better. They call it question night. It’s kinda like truth or dare, without the dare. Each person in turn in TeamSpeak asks a question, and we all have to answer it. Some of the questions are simple. Like – What’s your favorite color. Sometimes though, the questions are deep and thought provoking.

Last night one of those questions was: Do you think you have made better friends online or offline?

At first I did not know how to answer. Luckily it was not my turn right away. Most of the others answered – online.

I thought about it long and hard. I thought about my current friends in the real world – Reikonyx, Zerox, Juubles. Then I thought about my current friends online – Athyrie, BountyHunter, NeuroToxxic. Then I looked over to my husband, Jaxxiel. I thought about the long years we spent as the leaders of a great guild, just as friends. I thought about the development of our relationship online, and then the transition of that into the real world. I thought about how I spend more time hanging out with the people in my video games than the real world.

Then it hit me. There is no difference. To answer the question truthfully I said online. Because the majority of my friends do come from online sources. Many of them come into my life as part of a game and stay a part of my life past that game.

But this can also be said of my real life friends. I meet someone due to an activity. Usually gaming, cause let’s face it, it’s what I am into. Then that person becomes an active part of my life, till said activity is over. Then they move on, keeping in touch till the next activity we decide to engage in together.

There is good times and bad times in both types of friendships. There is inevitable drama in both, but the best friends I have are those I have made in games.

I suppose in the real world people would say I have no life. I would disagree. My life is full of good people, laughter, and sharing something I love with others. Gaming.

 

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Review: Ark Survival Evolved

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Did I mention how pretty it is?

And finally a review on the game that has eaten my brainmeats lately, ARK Survival Evolved.

Lets get the basics out of the way first. I do play on an unofficial server which is owned by my good friends, Reikonyx and Relax. You can find out more information on it via the Steam Group, my Steam Profile, the About Me section on this website, and on the Ark Servers Website. I am an admin/moderator on the server and am happy to help out any new member to the server.

Now that’s done, moving on to the game itself.

To describe the game: It is as if Minecraft, Jurassic Park, Fallout, and DayZ, all got together and had a baby. Take the best elements of each thing and bam you have ARK.

In its simplest form it is a survival game.

Description on the Steam Store page describes it thus: “As a man or woman stranded naked, freezing & starving on a mysterious island, you must hunt, harvest, craft items, grow crops, & build shelters to survive. Use skill and cunning to kill or tame & ride the Dinosaurs & primeval creatures roaming the land, & team up with hundreds of players or play locally!”

But I like my description better.

I cannot describe in simple words the sheer beauty of the game. All pictures in this post are from my actual gameplay. I run the game on medium settings and every week they increase the optimization of the game so my screenshots have progressively gotten prettier as time has gone by.

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The Crossbow and Miners Helmet – Two of my favorite additions to the game.

The game is still in its alpha infancy so there are many bugs, however for the first time in the history of the time I have been reviewing games, I am seeing developers that listen to their players. Each week they produce an ARK Digest, describing features in the most recent of their frequent updates, to upcoming bug fixes and dino’s they intend to include in future updates. At least once a week we get something new and cool, a new dino or tool, and performance/graphics gains.

An ARK Digest

You have the ability to play on the official servers or to find an unofficial server or host one of your own. One of the downsides to the game is that on PVP servers griefing can happen if the moderator is not active or if good rules are not in place.  This is particularly frequent on the Official PVP servers.

Hosting a server is not recommended on your own machine though it is possible. The sheer amount of bandwith and processing it takes lends itself to being best served by a external host. This will cost extra if you decide to go that route. On a good note, even if there is a wipe on the main servers your admin may choose to wipe the server or not, so you are less likely to lose everything.

I think one of the biggest issues that people have with this game is they forget a few basic things. The game is in Alpha. It is a survival game. It is a building simulator. You will die, there will be bugs, and yes it takes a long time to gather materials to build that awesome building you want to create.

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No Sylvester Stegalone, dinner is not ready yet!

As it sits you wake up on the beach naked with this implant in your arm and immediately you need food, water, clothing, and shelter and you have no idea why you are there or what has happened to you. They don’t play around. There have been times I have spawned 2 or three times and been killed 5 seconds into the game by a random raptor or dilo. However once you get your feet under you a bit, find a spot, build a thatch hut, and tame your first dinos, the game becomes slightly easier.

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Trabe and I in our new fancy flak armor, colored to match our dino saddles.

The tribal system in the game is vital to your survival. While you can play solo even on a server with others, the game becomes infinitely better with friends. Tasks that seemed daunting before are capable of being achieved. Need 1000 chitin? Sure I’ll take out the Sabertooth and grab some for you, while you gather stone to make cementing paste. Don’t have an engram for that saddle you need to ride your new Sarco, someone in your tribe does. And if you are smart you wont all take the same engrams.

Engrams

On the subject of engrams. Engrams are how you learn to make things. As you level up and you can level up just by surviving alone, not to mention from crafting, killing, gathering, and your nearby tribe mates doing any of the above in your general vicinity, you learn engrams. At this point you cannot learn every engram on your own, so you are forced to either pray the ones you need come in a supply drop (more on this later), or work with others on your server to get the materials / items you need.

One of the quickest way to gather materials to make your newly learned engrams (from walls to weapons) is to tame a dino to help you gather. Each dino has a purpose in the game, even if that purpose is not immediately evident, it is there. For instance, the Anklyo, is a flint gathering machine, the Mammoth gathers wood like you wouldn’t believe, and the Trike loves to help you gather thatch. Dinos can gather more than one thing but they seem to be best at one thing. Sometimes that is simply having amazing stamina for long runs, or speed, or poison to help you tame other dinos.

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My Scorpion has helped me tame many a dodo for my eventual dodo army.

Taming in and of itself is a process that takes a time investment on the end of the player. I am going to explain the process to the best of my ability in a concise manner.

1. Knock dino unconscious. You can do this a number of ways, including punching it in the face. But the best methods are tranq arrows with a bow/crossbow, or utilizing a scorpion who has a tranq attack.

2. Add Narcotics / Narcoberries and preferred food to its inventory. (Carnivores like meat, Herbivores like berries, and they even have preferences as to which ones they like more ie: Prime Meat, Kibble, and preferred berry type, be sure to look up its preference to increase tame speed)

3. Watch its torpor, and remote use narcotics in the inventory as needed. Higher torpor means less loss of efficiency, more efficiency = higher level dino and skills when done.

4. It will eat at certain intervals increasing its amount tamed. When the bar is full, you will be able to name your new dino!

There are many different guides and speculations on taming strategies. From feeding it an item it doesn’t like in order to make it eat faster, to starving it before giving it food. I think it is based on personal preference and I have found that regardless of my method the taming time for a dino depends more on having food it likes in its inventory and staying nearby as it tames to keep its torpor at max.

My first Tame was a trike. I named her Princess

My first Tame was a trike. I named her Princess

 

This game is hard at times and you will want to scream at the screen, and at others you will die laughing, and ultimately you will return to it time and again because it is fun. I can’t wait to see the final release version because even in its infancy it is far better than most at this stage.

As an added benefit the game has controller support as well as VR capabilities. I personally am excited to try this game with an Oculus as it was built with VR in mind.

Be sure to check out our server and let me know in game that you found us here and I will be sure to stop by and give you a welcome gift in game!

GG

 

 

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Update: XBOX Preview, Upcoming Reviews and More

So a lot of things have been happening lately that has kept me from writing as much as I want to.

Ok, so the truth is, I have become addicted to ARK Survival Evolved. Today, I promise I will get a review up on that and more but I wanted to give you an update on all the things I am working on.

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I have been an XBOX Ambassador for quite some time now, occasionally I will log in and answer a few questions for people. Very recently, I received an invite to the XBOX preview program as well. I have the ability to invite others into the program and am happy to do so, within reason.

If you would like an invite to the program, I do ask that you do a few things for me.

1. You must friend me on Xbox. I can only invite people on my friends list. You can find my Xbox info via my About Me page along with many other places you can game with me.

2. You must follow my blog, twitter, facebook, tumblr. You don’t have to follow them all, just one. When you do send me that inevitable friend request via Xbox, I want to know who you are, and where you follow me at so I can possibly chat with you in the future about updates and get feedback on the games you are playing and how you are enjoying them. I want to invite friends, not just random people on the internet.

3. Actually use the application and give Xbox feedback on its updates. They aren’t doing this so you get free content before everyone else. They are doing it so they can get feedback and create the best release version of the update they can. Your input is as important as anyone else’s.

4. Keep in mind the entire process takes awhile. So be patient. If you send me multiple messages asking why your registration hasn’t gone through… I will … give you a cookie and tell you to calm the hell down. Wait I forgot…

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So now that all that is established, feel free to hit me up and let me know you want in the program.

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In other news, I also recently received a review copy of RPG Tycoon. Unfortunately there are a few bugs that need to be worked out before I can give an accurate review of it.

I am excited for it as it looks super cool, however I think the issue in the game I am experiencing may have something to do with my recent Windows 10 Update. Hopefully I will be able to work that out today. The developer of the game is quick to respond to bug reports and is already working with me on a workaround to figure out why it is happening.

 

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And last but not least – WINDOWS 10! This bad boy of an Operating System is a BAMF!

At first glance your all like – Yay… a revamped Windows 8. And then you start playing around, and realize you can talk to your computer, stream your Xbox games directly on your PC, and your husband can play Witcher 3 on his computer, signed in to his profile on the XBox, while you answer messages on your Xbox app signed into yours. I intend in a few days once I’ve played around with it more to give a more in-depth review of the features and aspects I enjoy about this OS as well as some tips and tricks.

So, all that is coming. But for today – ARK Survival Evolved.

Be sure to take a look at the ABOUT ME section of the website to find more ways you can connect with me.

GG

 

 

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Dear Beloved Readers,

Ark Survival Evolved has eaten my soul. Forgive my absence lately and expect a full review with details on the server I play on soon.

Hugs and Loves,

Geeky Gorawyn

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Review: Evil Genius Deathray

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I am going to put this out there first instead of at the end of the article like I normally do because I want you to back this game. Check out the kickstarter here for Evil Genius Deathray.

Over the last weekend I attended the Treasure Coast Comic Con, and had a blast. While there I was able to play a demo of a game called EVIL GENIUS DEATH RAY. I feel the need to put that in all caps because in my head it is said in the voice of Dr. Evil from Austin Powbe164a6f2abb63da0d0b9ebfb4ace207ers. The creator reminded me of a mad scientist. He had awesome wild white hair and a scientist coat on… but what got me the most was his passion for his game. Not to mention the games marketing genius was dressed like Batman.

After playing a game I can understand why he has so much passion for it. It was absolutely a blast to play.

The jist of the game is YOU are an Evil Genius. You need to build your death ray (seen above) by assembling the parts, and destroy the other evil genius’ death rays in order to reign supreme. A full description of how to play the game can be seen at their kickstarter and because I want you to go and check it out, I am not going to give you any more on game mechanics than that.

I will tell you some of the things I loved about it though. The game itself is full of puns and nerdy references. I played the genius Kerry Gan who was able to block any attack once a game. Cause she is just that awesome.

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This is what I sat in on my death ray. Men In Black got nothing on my egg seat.

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And of course I had to fire them fffffffazers cause you know… you mad bro.

Overall, this game was awesome. The art ingenious and the creators and directors are passionate. Best of all – It’s three guys who love games making a game, backed by gamers. Can’t get more indie developer than that.

Now to go build my Evil Genius Death ray and terrorize the neighbor’s cat.

(No animals were harmed in the creation of this death ray, they did however chase around a red light on the floor for hours until given tuna.)

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ESO Review: Crafting

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I love crafting. I have spent entire games leveling from crafting alone and The Elder Scrolls Online has scratched my crafting itch in much the same manner that Skyrim did. In this review I will take a look at ESO:TU’s crafting system. While this is not a guide it is intended to give potential crafters an overview of how to craft in ESO and the benefits of doing so. I will only be able to go over the basics in this review and hope that if you are looking for a more indepth overview you look up some of the more detailed guides out there for the specific craft you are trying to level.

The Basics

There are six crafts total.

The Equipment Crafts: Blacksmithing, Woodworking, and Clothing.

The Provisioning Crafts: Alchemy, Provisioning, and Enchanting.

Each craft has its own materials. The equipment crafts have the same mechanics: Refine materials, Creation, Deconstruction, Improvement, and Research. The Provisioning crafts have different mechanics from one another based on the item in question. Provisioning relies on looted recipes, Alchemy on discovering traits of reagents, and enchanting on combining runestones in a specific order.

Gathering Ingredients

Each craft has ingredients that can be gathered in world. You can find these in barrels and crates or growing in the countryside. You can also improve skills in your skill menu under the crafting tab to increase your ability to see these items inworld.

Crafting Stations

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You can find crafting stations in most major cities and sometimes hidden stations in the world. Hidden stations will help you to craft specialized items so be on the lookout for them for later use down the line when you are out exploring. Personally I like Davon’s Watch in Ebonheart for my crafting as every station is near one another and I work all the crafts I can at once.

 

The Equipment Crafts: Blacksmithing, Woodworking, and Clothing

Blacksmithing

Blacksmithing

 

Woodworking

Woodworking

Clothing

Clothing

These three crafts have the same mechanic. At each station you can refine ingredients you have gathered: ore, cloth, leather, or wood. You then create items from those materials based on what station you are working at the time. You can deconstruct items found in world to gain ingredients. However you should not just deconstruct everything you come across. Some items grant more “inspiration” from deconstruction while others are more useful being used as a learning tool via the research tab. When researching keep in mind it can take a long time to learn a trait. The longest I have encountered so far is 12 hours. So carefully review your items before deconstructing them. As you level up each craft you will be able to put skill points into that craft for certain benefits.

Improvement : You can use certain materials to improve your creations, though without skills invested the chances of improvement are low and you risk losing the item you just created. When improving keep an eye on the chance for success and weigh your options.

The Provisioning Crafts: Alchemy, Provisioning, and Enchanting

These crafts vary in mechanics so I will review each one separately.

Alchemy

Alchemy

Alchemy in ESO is very similar to alchemy in Skyrim. With a few exceptions. There are less ingredients to gather and less combinations possible.

Solvent-List

Solvents as seen above are the way the level of the potion being made is decided. Only one solvent is used per creation however with the right skills the alchemist can make more than one potion with a single solvent.

Reagent-Pics

Above is a list of the various reagents. You can use two reagents (so I have seen so far, though I believe it is possible to add more in later levels) per creation. I will not go over the different traits associated with each reagent so there are no spoilers. However you can eat one of each reagent to learn its first trait and only its first trait. After that it is a matter of combining the right ones in order to get the potion desired. There are anti traits on some of them to keep the balance between the different reagents, which cancel out certain traits.

Enchanting

Enchanting

Enchanting is the creation of glyphs which can be applied to armor, weapons, and jewelry. It is accomplished through the combination of runestones which are found throughout the world. There are three types of runes. Potency Runes, Essence Runes and Aspect Runes.

If we wanted to enchant a weapon with Fire damage each rune would tell the glyph how to create that enchantment via the following formula:

  • The Potency rune is needed to tell the glyph what it actually does, in this case it simply ‘deals damage’. It also determines how high level you must be to be able to use the Glyph.
  • The Essence rune tells the glyph what kind of damage it does, in this case ‘Fire Damage’. It determines the attribute or stat that the enchant affects.
  • The Aspect Rune tells the glyph how much damage it does, in this case ’15’. In short, the Aspect rune determines the quality of the Glyph. As you can see in the pic above, I have several circular runes in varying colors.

As you learn the different runes and “translate” their properties you will be able to combine them to create potent enchantments for your gear.

Provisioning

Provisioning

No I wont make you a sandwich. Provisioning works differently than any other crafting skill. It relies on recipes that are dropped in world or sold in guild stores in order to create items of various levels and types. So far I can make tea, alcoholic drinks, fruity dishes, vegetable dishes, and meat dishes. Each dish buffs you for a certain amount of time and you can increase the length of the buff timer through skills. As you gain more recipes and higher abilities you will make better food with better and longer buffs. Provisioning is so far my favorite and I have entirely too many ingredients and too few recipes.

Crafting Writs

Crafting Writs

When you first start crafting you will find quests in the fighter and mages guild in Davon’s Watch that will certify you in each of the crafts. I am not certain where the certification quests are in the other alliances.

You can certify in all of them. I know the quest dialog is confusing but trust me here.

Certification essentially is “Go get me 10 maple, refine it, craft me a bow, awesome, you are certified, go do some writs.” Pretty simple for each one.

Once certified you can pick up crafting writs from the boards nearby. You can see what they look like in the above pic. Once you have a writ create the items in question and then turn them in to the consortium. They will grant you satchels of crafting goodies, everything from materials to maps to where there are lots of materials in world. They also grant character XP based on your level and the item crafted.

Crafting Addons

I highly suggest you get some addons that help with inventory management, showing if you know a recipe or not, and showing if an ingredient you have is used in a particular recipe. This is kinda vital if you intend to work with provisioning especially as you pick up ingredients non stop. Also – LOOT EVERYTHING. It helps. I sell the ingredients in the guild store that I do not currently have recipes for because I quickly run out of space.

I hope this post helped to give you an overview of crafting in ESO. I love it but it is time consuming. I also suggest you get a good crafting guild to help. I am in Craftaholics United and they have been super helpful! If you would like to meet me ingame send me a message to @Gorawyn

Happy Crafting

Geeky Gorawyn

 

 

 

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