Archive for the ‘Minecraft’ Category

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Songs To Soothe

July 19, 2011

5 lovely game songs to soothe the mind, settle the stomach, fall asleep to when your  body’s on the mend.

Minecraft – Sweden

Back during my early days of playing Minecraft, I happened to chance upon a zombie pit while digging for coal in the side of a mountain. Because this was on Blue Kae’s multiplayer server back when all of us were still invincible, I was able to rid the place of the undead rather painlessly, plant my torches around the spawning pen and loot the treasure box at my leisure. Amidst its contents, I found a record.

Of course, it was another handful of days or so before I found the diamond block necessary for the (literal) centerpiece of my jukebox. I stuck it in, and the synthetic and upbeat “Cat” began to play. I think working on my in-game beachfront property to this tune is what made me fall in love with C418 and Minecraft music. When I bought the Volume Alpha soundtrack, this song “Sweden” was and remains one of my favorites.

It’s also my alarm because it’s such a beautiful song to wake up to.

Age of Conan: Rise of the Godslayer – Villages of Khitai

Thanks to composer Knut Avenstroup I think Age of Conan has the best soundtrack of any MMO. We had Helene Bøksle’s haunting vocals spicing up the soundtrack for Hyborian Adventures, but the Asian-themed expansion required something different. But the result is no less beautiful. I mean, my GOD, listen to this. If you’ve never listened to the whole thing, do yourself a favor or at least go to what in my opinion is the best part, which starts at approximately 1:39.

Oh, and a funny thing about the above video is, whoever made it actually grabbed one of the screenshots they used from this very blog. At 0:36, I was like, “Helloooooo, that’s familiar”. It’s my very own Khitan alt Xiaohuli.

Rift – Stillmoor

Inon Zur is another genius in the music composing business and he does a lot of games. Rift actually has a pretty good soundtrack all around, but the first time I set foot in Stillmoor and I heard this beautiful tune I was floored. Still patiently waiting for the day Trion decides to release the soundtrack separately, digital download would be nice.

But this might not actually be as soothing as I think it is, because really, only the intro is like that and even listening to that part actually gives me chills every single time.

Lord of the Rings Online – Red Stone and Golden Leaves

Same as I wrote last year, the song “Hills of the Shire” remains my favorite LOTRO track, even though the Tom Bombadil theme comes close (seriously, doesn’t that song just make you want to kick off your shoes, put on a floppy hat and prance around in a flowery field outside) but ever since I hit level 30-ish this “Red Stone and Golden Leaves” song has started growing on me. It’s probably not a coincidence that this is around the time you get to Rivendell, and that’s the song that plays when you enter the city.

Dragon Age: Origins – I Am The One

Another gem from Inon Zur. I think everything sounds infinitely more awesome when sung by a woman with a somber voice in an unintelligible language, in this case, the Dragon Age elven language. Heruamin lotirien. I don’t know what any of it means, but it doesn’t make me love it any less.

There is also a DJ Killa remix which if I remember correctly played during the end credits. I don’t know what it is, but when I heard it I just thought it was the perfect conclusion. Is a song still considered soothing if it makes you cry?

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My Top 5 Gaming Highlights of 2010

January 3, 2011

A good Monday and a Happy New Year to all! I hope 2010 was a good year for everyone, because I know it was for me. For my first post of 2011, may I present the top five things that gave me much joy in the last year:

5. Mass Effect 2

For me, single-player console games can generally be placed in one of two categories: 1) games that I love and that I’ll sit down and play the crap out of until I finish, and 2)  games that don’t really impress me, but I’ll still feel obligated to plug away at until I’m done, usually over a long drawn-out period of time. Mass Effect 2 was a new experience for me because it didn’t really fit in either category. I positively adored the game, but still it took me almost a month to complete — and what a great three-and-a-half weeks that was. This Bioware masterpiece was like good food; I wanted to take the time to savor the flavor, so to speak. Slow, measured bites are where it’s at.

Oh, and I also got to sex up Garrus. That was all kinds of awesome too.

4. Goodreads

So this isn’t directly related to gaming, but most of my friends on there are gamers, and gamers have great taste in books! It’s certainly made an impact on me this year because I’m pretty sure I’ve read more in 2010 than I have in any other year of my life, and Goodreads had a lot to do with it. I didn’t make my account until October, but it has since invigorated my passion for reading by connecting me to my friends’ reviews and recommendations. Thanks to their opinions and suggestions, I was able to enjoy many exceptional titles in the last couple of months.

3. The Terrific Tauren Two

2010 was a big year for World of Warcraft with the release of Cataclysm in December, though I hesitate to put the expansion on my top five. Don’t get me wrong — I was excited along with millions of others, and I had a blast experiencing the new content and getting my Night Elf druid to level 85. Still, currently I can feel my interest in endgame waning already. Not that I had much of an interest to begin with; I fear I lost the taste for raiding and item progression shortly before taking my extended leave of absence from WoW back in early 2009. I guess you can say I live for the journey, not the destination, and as a matter of fact, the most enjoyable aspect of WoW for me has always been the leveling.

I returned to WoW some time in May of last year. With the knowledge that Cataclysm will change the face of Azeroth, I wanted to do something I had never done before — roll a Horde character and experience levels 1 to 60 before the old world content goes away forever. It was a wonderful adventure, made even better by my husband who joined me on my journey. WoW is really the only MMO we have in common these days, so I do get the feeling he missed doing things together during my break from the game. A pity I don’t share his enthusiasm for the endless gear grind, which compels me to find a new leveling project for us.

Eh, what’s this? New Worgens? How convenient! Unfortunately, “The Terrific Worgen Two” doesn’t really have the same ring, so clearly another cutesy alliteration is in order.

2. Minecraft

Minecraft is like morphine in two ways: One, it is insanely addictive, and two, apparently it has analgesic properties. Because I’m not exactly the queen of good posture, normally I’d sit down at a game and play for a couple hours, until my butt or shoulders or something starts to hurt. In this way, my body is like the perfect alarm system to tell me when I should take a break.

Well, Minecraft broke it.

In about a week, I’d racked up about 60 hours in this game. I’d log in after dinner, think naively to myself, “Oh, just for a half an hour or so” and before I know it, it’s 3am in the morning. I don’t usually get carried away like this; all I can say is Minecraft took my Fall of 2010 by storm. The beauty of it is its simplicity. Here’s an infinite world with blocks for you to play with, now go nuts!

Of course, it was Blue Kae’s multiplayer server that really took my enjoyment to a whole new level. In addition to the joys of Creating and Exploring, having others to play with added the aspect of Sharing. And with that, the golden trifecta of Minecraft is complete.

1. Star Trek Online

It might not be the best MMO on the market, nor has it made much of a splash in the genre since its release in February of last year, and hey, I don’t even think I play enough of it these days…but no contest, Star Trek Online made the biggest impact on my gaming life in 2010.

Posts about STO dominated my blog last year, and I also played a lot of it. More than that though, I’d say it’s likely the reason I’m still blogging today.

This isn’t a STO blog, and it was never meant to be one, but dammit, there’s something about this game that makes it incredibly fun to write about. No doubt, some of it has to do with my attachment to my character T’Androma and writing about her adventures, and one of my best blog-related memories was being completely floored that there were people actually interested in what I had to say on my fledgling site. For me, what began as a series of early posts with fellow starship captains sharing their in-game experiences quickly grew into a network of friends, a network that is still growing today, introducing me to more games and wonderful people in the blogosphere. Certainly, I credit STO for starting it all and opening up my eyes to the gaming community at large.

And there you have it, the top five things that made my 2010 a great year in gaming. Here’s to an even better 2011!

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Minecraft: 12 Things To See Before You Die In Bluekaedia (If Dying Were Possible)

October 20, 2010

Upon my return from vacation, I learned that a week in Minecraft can mean a world of change. A flurry of construction projects both big and small have sprung up on Blue Kae’s server since the last time I peeked my head in, most of which have completely altered the face of the map. Resolving to familiarize myself with the place once more, last night I took a torch in hand and decided to tour the land. What I ended up with is a collection of interesting sights to see in beautiful Bluekaedia, some of which I’d like to showcase here. Narrowing it down to just 12 was a challenge, as it’s possible in some areas to find a dozen points of interest my peers and I have created simply by standing still. So much to see, so little time. And if you’re on the server and haven’t checked these out already, you really should!

By the way, Bluekaedia isn’t the server’s real name, simply a personal nickname I’ve been using for a while now. As far as I know, the world has yet to have an official name, but frankly, I’m tired of typing out “Blue Kae’s Minecraft Server” every time and I think Bluekaedia sounds pretty.

Nature can thrive in the strangest of places

From the torchlit giant of a tree, growing in a gloomy basement...

To the floating woods out past the bay...

Not your typical hedge maze…

Cactus maze on Cutthroat Island, try not to prick yourself on the way out.

Portals into the past 

Giza meets Peggy's Cove.

A mysterious great wall.

Floating castles of the rich and famous

Who is this "Scary" and where can I get his autograph?

Scale new heights…

Walk the Skywalk.

Hit new lows…

The aptly named "Trail of Tears" leads to this mineshaft. No, seriously, where's the way out of this hellhole?

Triumphs of Vision

 

Earth, wind and fire (really obsidian, water and gold).

The skull mountain lords are most displeased with your insolence.

The explorers stumbled upon this glass house beneath the ocean waves.

In the presence of monsters

Kick back and relax in one of Bluekaedia's many delightful zombie pits!

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My 3 Joys In Minecraft

October 7, 2010

As Minecraft has become my latest preoccupation, I figure I might as well embrace it.

1. Creating

Every time I log in to our multiplayer server I’m just overcome with this urge to build. Even before I’m putting the final finishing touches on a current project, I’m already thinking about my next. Everywhere I look is inspiration for another construction waiting to happen. One day it’s, “Hmm, that island looks lonely, it needs a lighthouse!” Another day it’s, “I need something tall so I think I’ll build the CN Tower!”  Tomorrow, it might be “Maybe I’ll find myself another dungeon and make myself another zombie enclosure!”

It’s an addiction, I can’t help it.

Complete with glass floor.

2. Exploring

Just be careful not to get lost. Personally, I am just as directionally challenged in-game as I am in real life, so it’s no surprise that on our server, the “/home” command has become by bestest friend.

Forest fires can be an indication of the map expanding. Oh crap, did I just make the server laggier?

But sometimes getting lost is worth it. Something about Minecraft makes wandering off feel so rewarding. I for one never imagined that landscapes composed of blocky graphics could look so beautiful. I can never resist checking out any dark caves in the sides of mountains either, all the better if they lead to deep, extensive underground tunnels that might hold rare ores. Needless to say, I always keep my inventory stocked with torches.

3. Sharing

It’s not just about finding the “natural” formations that makes it so fun to explore. Often I’ll stumble across points of interest simply by checking in on my neighbors when I need a break from digging or building. It’s always interesting to see how someone’s area has completely transformed after a few days, and you think to yourself, “Wow, so-and-so has sure been busy!” A floating fortress or towering skywalk might blow me away, or sometimes it’s the little things like a sign left by someone off the coast that says “Merman Island” that will bring a smile to my face.

And of course, there are those lava spewing skull mountains that make you think "Holy shit, that is seriously cool."

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My Minecraft Adventures

October 4, 2010

Hard to believe, just a little more than a week ago I didn’t even know what Minecraft was, let alone understand what the fuss was all about. To be honest, the first time I ever saw one of my Twitter friends tweet about it, I thought it was a game about blowing stuff up with explosive devices. Granted, there is a little bit of that in the single player survival mode, but no, I’ve found through experience that much of the game is about the other kind of mine, the kind that involves lots and lots and lots of digging. And more digging.

But after only a few days, I find myself completely addicted. What can be so great about a game that involves so much digging and blocky 1980s-era graphics, you ask? You’d be surprised. This is the only way I know how to describe its appeal: imagine yourself  as a six-year-old again with your big toy box of Legos, except you have essentially an unlimited number of blocks to play with and an infinite virtual world in which to build. Oh, and zombies, can’t forget the zombies! When the sun goes down, beware the creepy crawlies that emerge and do what you can to stay alive! Also, I must add that while I’m a stickler about game graphics myself, I find that the blocky visual style of Minecraft actually works in its favor.

And of course, if you’re playing multiplayer mode (which is where I spent most of my time), it is in essence a building simulator where you’ll also get to share your creations with other people or maybe even band together to build extravagant projects. Though it’s true that multiplayer is more alpha than single player is, the fun to be had makes putting up with the bugs and occasional crashes worth it. Thanks to my blog friend Blue Kae who’s taken the time to set up a server for us to play around in, a few of us have gotten a chance to be quite busy this past weekend getting creative — mining, crafting, and constructing. While single player has its merits, what I love most about multiplayer Minecraft — or any game, really — is the social aspect and the interaction with others.

To get an idea of what goes on on our humble little server, check out this fantastic videopost made by Arkenor of Ark’s Ark. Yours truly makes an appearance, as Stefferoo the crazy flower-planting lady who likes to throw eggs at the unsuspecting passerby, and later on you can catch a glimpse of my stone house by the bay and my boardwalk along the beach. Also starring Petter of Don’t Fear The Mutant, my road-building collaborator! Thanks again to Ark for the video, and on his site are a bunch of other great videoposts too, so be sure check those out for more of his Minecraft adventures. And despite what he says, I think his Skeletor impressions are just fine!

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