Two Anniversaries

This weekend, for most, marks one year since the MO:UL@Gametap shutdown. The past week I’ve been drawn more to this same (Easter) weekend two years ago.

That was the first time that I did a successful village takeover in Travian (this was on a server before the Gold system – or even a US server – existed). Wandering back to that game, I realize I still have good memories of Travian too, despite my problem with playing any type of MMO. I earned another new group of friends, and also had a chance to show to myself that I again can step up and lead (first within the local alliance, and then within the meta-alliance at endgame level). I just wish I can participate more in such things without getting so overboard about it; Not just in money, but in time…

Still, despite that, I did have fun. I got to see the Eder D’Uru project in SL for the first time, and am very impressed how far they’ve gotten. In particular, the heek table; I remember the original, which was coded in Telador and was functional shortly before the island was shutdown for other uses. One great quote on CyanChat regarding the project – can’t remember who at this point, sorry – mentioned how much respect they had for Cyan’s work, after having to use SL’s scripting system (a ‘joy’ that I experienced quite a bit myself ;-).

The meeting in There was mostly to chat; I didn’t mind, since it was still a chance to relax and meet folks I’ve not spoken to as far back as Mysterium 08. Plus, I was desperately in need of sleep by that point.

In all, a good weekend. And one where we, as a community, were able to come together despite how scattered we are right now. To repeat my toast earlier in CC:

*raises mug* To the Community.

[*One* community, I may now add – ‘fah uru’ I believe, which if so is fitting…]

/salute
–TSK

Recap of 2007 / What Kept Me From MOUL Recently

Various discussions on the MystOnline forum has prompted a good point from SuperGram, which I wanted to address more publicly here, regarding my own absence the past several months (and why I’ll be scarce for a couple more). It’s going to end up being a recap of my activities for 2007, after the last St Pats Parade (which was around when the DST Hell ended and the next round of work stuff began).

So, in no major order, what was happening with me in ’07:

The DST Hell: Already mentioned in past posts for the year, it was no small feat in making sure that 1200+ hosts across two continents were ready for the DST changes – in eight weeks. ‘Nuff Said.

Travian Hell/Bitterness: My one major tactical mistake of the year (long-term) was getting involved with the browser MMO Travian. Short-term, it was fun, and really cool – I got to interact with a bunch of really nice folks and I hope, one day, to meet some of them RL. But this reminded me of my old personal promise, which was never to get involved in a combat-oriented MMO again (Diablo II was the last one – if you could count it as such – and 9/11 ended that).

As Travian approached its endgame (as they play instances in 10-12 month ’rounds’), involvement increased dramatically. It ended up beginning to affect my life enough that my boss noticed, and asked me to cut back on whatever I was doing; I did one better and quit, after realizing that I got caught into ‘addiction’ mode again, which is easy for me to do in this sub-genre. This realization of course left me bitter about both that game specifically (for additional reasons I won’t go into) and computer gaming in general.

I’m currently on a a forced detox from online environments to get me out of that state of mind (really, you don’t want me in-cavern just now); I should (hopefully) re-appear with regularity sometime next month. The fact that I’m following and posting on Uru/MOUL forums again is a good sign that I’m ready to re-dedicate some time to this.

Work & RegNMS Hell: I’ve posted before about RegNMS too; Though as an individual wanting the markets to do well, I’m happy about this change, as someone having to deal with its infrastructure changes I’m not at all pleased about it (mostly because that every growth calculation I ever used in the past 7-10 years got tossed out the window in the course of ONE MONTH).

Work & Moving Datacenters: In mid-Dec, we had the pleasure of ending a 16-month datacenter move and shutdown project. The fact that every server that I was given to move did so without major incident was an extra plus for me, but costed me my sanity for awhile (dropping Travian, above, helped with that tremendously). The main upside of the whole thing is that I have a desk again (after 6 years on 3rd shift – nearly half my time with the company – this is a big thing to me). The long-term downside is that I have to commute again, but with a fair amount of Uru/MOUL work being done through forum and other outside stuff, it should not affect things going forward.

Personal Health: 2007 was the year that I really started dabbling with trying to get something akin to ‘in shape’ again. I’m not looking to lose any major weight (I like being 180 lbs, as I didn’t feel drunk for a week after donating blood – like what happened when I was 140 lbs). Instead, I am more interested in getting back the strength and stamina that I had back when I started work – preferably at my current weight.

To that end, I’ve devoted more of my time dabbling with various types of exercise; Right now I’m having fun with a place called Tiger Shulman’s (despite their website being my initials getting me annoyed), and doing their routines instead of traditional exercise (which I did first half of the year) has more forcefully sparked other areas of my health to be looked at. I had my first physical in nearly two decades, just a couple months ago; Ended up that I’m very short on D3 (no surprise since I get very little real light) and the doctor has wholeheartedly endorsed what I’m doing now. I’m also working again on dealing with my acne, which is just plain annoying.

My Mother’s Health: Not the least by any stretch, but as I have financial responsibilities to my mother (who has no health insurance atm – she’ll hopefully have MediCare next year) that has taken some of my time last year – and will continue to do so for now. The distance between here and her house is problematic at times (read: traffic getting worse), which is making me re-think when I visit.

—–

These are the primary factors that I’ve been away, and will determine how much time I’ll be on in the future. I do intend to re-allocate time for MOUL again, that’s a given; It’s just the amount of that time actually in-cavern will likely be smaller.

/salute
–TSK

Explaining an Interregnum, and a Brief Review of Travian Browser MMO

Of course, the first thing I need to discuss after a month is, well – what *have* I been doing the past month, anyway?

Well, Travian, mostly…

This has been one of the stranger MMO-type games I’ve ever been involved with, for the following reasons:

– Totally played on a web browser. It even has embedded chat and forums available for ‘clan’ groups (aka alliances), though larger alliance clusters use external forums.

– It is both very slow and very fast at the same time. This is hard to explain without your spending a month on the game yourself; If starting from scratch, you *may* have your first village about 60% done by then. But once your involved in alliance-level combat, folks start to work on co-ordinated attacks, down to second and sub-second accuracy. Its kinda unreal, and at times unnerving.

– It is (or was) primarily free, or at least reasonably inexpensive. You originally could play the game for free, or pay US$20 for a year of what’s called ‘Plus,’ that gave you a couple extended features that were useful for the part-time player. Now, with recent server restarts (each instance ’round’ lasts about one year), they’ve integrated the ‘Gold’ system: You buy Gold from them, and you’re given access to many different features that use that Gold. Many of those features are unbalancing to those who decide not to use Gold though – more so than ordinary Plus players did – so there’s been a backlash from that. And there’s also the fact that an above average player can easily rack up Gold purchases greater than WoW’s US$15 per month…

So, the server I’m on today is expected to go into its ‘endgame’ phase any week now. And with that completion, will be the last I’ll have to do with Travian. I will not get involved in the Gold system, but not because its unbalacing – but because I’m *definately* an above average player and would end up using more US$ than I’d normally be willing to pay out.

More on who I am there and what I’ve done will be revealed after the server completes. There is a lot of intrigue and spying associated with the game at the higher alliance levels, so its best to let my SysAdmin instincts kick in here for now. ;)

One last thing – server groups are instanced by country – its not just the com group. Click on the flags at the top of my link to switch server groups.

–TSK