“He [is] my friend.”

I’m a part of Cyrus Gaming, in case you didn’t know ([/sarcasm]). We’re a guild that has been around in one form or another since March 2009. I joined on the 4th of October 2009 when I was in Aion, and stayed for almost a year before I learned a hard lesson from Redh, Cyrus’ leader. Long story short, after a while of bouncing back and forth, I came back in 2015 to stay when I finally realised that it was my home when gaming in a group, and nothing I could say or do would change that.

So, when he comes at me a couple of days ago, saying that he’s ‘loving the new [me]’ and that ‘It reminds [him] of the old [me]’, I was taken aback. I didn’t think I’d done anything different than usual. But then I thought about it, and realised I had been doing more, and not thinking about it.

Most of my life in the past couple of years has been passive outside of work, and that might be down to the way I prioritised my life. My life was work because I took pride in it, and thus it was what I wanted to focus on as it was the only part of my life that I did take pride in. And therein lied the problem; I was proud of the work that I had put into something that achieved nothing for me, and everything for someone else. Don’t misunderstand me – I like my work, and I like the people I work with; they’re akin to family to me, and each time one of them moves on I’m happy for them but it’s bittersweet.

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UPlay, or not UPlay?

I’m the type of person that tends to hold grudges against companies for a long time, if they’re doing something anti-consumer, or just shady as all hell. One of the reasons that I’ve been so loyal to Steam (my account is now 9 years old) is because while they may have been tweaking things on the back end, aside from a couple of issues (latest being the 2015 Cache-tastrophe) there’s been very little in ways of issues for the consumer. Not so much for EA’s Origin, and Ubisoft’s UPlay. They have both had their fair share of problems, anti-consumer DRM, and generally sloppy attempts at trying to beat Steam at their own game that they have been playing for well over a decade. EA’s Origin originally took 20% of CPU power just to run, and both EA and Ubisoft had anti-consumer, always-online DRM that only spurred gamers further to find out how to break it. “SimCity is not an offline experience”, except when it is after a modder figures it out is a perfect example of this.

But times have changed. I’m still something of a die-hard Steam user, but I also use Origin, if only for the ‘On the House’ games and the Mass Effect Collection that I bought in order to play the trilogy without having to fire up the Xbox 360. But UPlay is one that I have always avoided putting on my machine, not just because of the software itself, but because of what hte company stands for as a whole. Cyrus, and more honestly, Redh, changed that and encouraged me to buy the Division now that I have a good gaming computer that can handle it.

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VIDEO – Cyrus Gaming – Join the Club!

“You’re injured? Good! I like it when you’re injured!” – Caellin

I’ve been on-and-off with Cyrus since September 2009, and am now (it seems) one of it’s most senior members in terms of time passed since being initially recruited. I don’t know what that says about me; something about an abused spouse comes to mind… jk.

On a serious note, these guys have been around for a long time in MMOs. They started out as Exodus in Warhammer Online, then became Cyrus. I met them a month after Aion launched, and aside from a couple of hiccups where I couldn’t take a joke it was a good time until I boxed myself into a corner and learned one rule about a Guild Leader, or in Aion’s terminology, a Legionmaster: The Legionmaster is always right. Even when you think he is wrong, he is right. Why? Because you put yourself in a situation that means you only have one option; leave. As Redh reminded me when I talked about it afterwards, Guilds are never a democracy and undermining his leadership gave him no choice.

I went back to try RIFT, but honestly it wasn’t my thing. And WoW was only good with someone else, and the challenge wasn’t there. I didn’t return fully until last year when out of the blue I got an email from Redh asking if I wanted to join in preparation for Camelot Unchained.

Fast forward to today (well, a few weeks ago), and Nostrau has put together an awesome recruitment video for our casual, team-building nights while we wait for CU to go live. This post is obviously to put that video out there, and to recommend that if you have any desire to play Camelot Unchained that you at least check out the guild site. But, it’s also as a thank you to them for keeping me afloat recently, and for Redh and Diabolique (had to specify there!) for listening to me and putting up with an emotional mess that just moped on the sofa all day.

Hope when the game drops that I’m worth keeping around. : P

Here is Where I Stand

It’s been a long month. A long month. Each and every day has felt almost painfully long. I felt like I had almost lost my job, I’ve had the first full blown anxiety attack in two years, and I may have also lost an opportunity at furthering my career. I feel like I’m lost, and I feel like I’m listing. I feel less like I’m at a crossroads, more that I am adrift in the Dead Sea.

It’s been a long time since I’ve been without a goal. For the last three years or so, my goal was singular and no matter how I drifted from that goal, somewhere deep in my being I kept moving forward with it. I kept pursuing it whether out of stubbornness and refusal to admit defeat, or hope that I’d actually make something of the new life I was striving towards. Those that are near me know what it is, know the ins and outs of it, and know that while I was far from the only one at fault (the other party admits this), I have my own weight to bear in it and bear it I shall.

I’ve kept this whole thing private; I’ve never said anything public to anyone and I am proud of that. Friends that I thought weren’t anymore have come to me and asked me why I didn’t come out swinging like the other person involved, and others have asked what was going on because all they heard was one side of the story. I stayed respectful, and in my opinion, that respect wasn’t returned, and that is the only slight I will give that person. I fully expect her to read this and act as she has done in the past, and in putting this up I expose myself to that. You know what? You kick a man when he’s down and searching for a wall to brace against, what does that make you? I’ve gained friends over this, and the one friendship I thought was at risk I managed to save. No matter how righteously a fire burns, it still warns people to keep their distance. I feel I’m not the one that needs to learn that lesson.

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Welcome to the D&D World!

One of the few purchases that I made during the last Steam Sale was Chronicles of Mystara. After watching ProJared’s video on one of the games in the bundle, I figured it would be fun to play it with Julia and her room-mate. That and I like D&D, though I am definitely new to the game as I only started playing during 5e, the latest rule set.

I played it for a little on my own on the normal setting, got beaten enough times to put me in a bad mood on it (mood swings plus a harsh difficulty curve does not a happy Allan make) on both Tower of Doom and Shadows of Mystara, and quit it. Then Julia and I had little else to do one evening, so we sat down and played it. She picked Elf (both games run on D&D First Edition), and I picked Magic User.

And I couldn’t have been more wrong on my opinion of the games.

We tweaked down the difficulty because it was midnight and I was in a half-awake stupor, and while we ran through the game dying along the way, we had fun. The spells we saved for the boss’ and when we were about to die, and just played it like over-excitable kids with quarters galore. It was great, until Steam decided to bring down it’s Friends system for routine maintenance.

I have every intention of playing it again, though this time perhaps with a couple of friends alongside to boot. Maybe we can actually finish it. Though, I’m sure we’ll still joke how the ‘Shadow Elves’ throws more slaves than warriors at us; they had grey/purple skin, they were Drow, dammit!

If you want to pick it up to play with friends, I’d wait for it to go on sale, as it’s £12 for a single copy and £36 (WTF?!) for a four-pack and the four-pack is what you really want. Trust me, you will want to play it with friends; playing alone is not fun at all.