Farm Together keeps getting better!

I’ve been playing quite a bit of Farm Together since one of the streamers that I regularly watch played it earlier this year.  To date I have 70 hours logged for this game mostly in the early access version as they were still adding a lot to the game.  This is a farming sim with beautiful graphics, animations with robust game play and the choice to either be social or keep to yourself.  It’s created by the indie game studio Milkstone Studios by a 5 person dev team and is available on Steam.  

This is one of the houses that you can set up and decorate inside.  You also have pets that you can customize that will follow you around.

I want to start out by saying that every time I go to write down my thoughts about this game I get utterly sucked in and end up playing for hours before I can tear myself away.  I think I spent 4 hours working through my quest log and visiting other people’s farms.  It reminds me of the first time I played the Sims back in 2004 there were endless possibilities of what you could create.  You can get lost just exploring other people’s creations and chatting to people as you visit their farms.  

Farmers are working rain or shine.  Sometimes we are rewarded for working through the hard times.

I play this game on an occasional basis and it’s perfect for taking a break from the MMO grind when you just don’t want to do another dungeon run.  Every time I log in this game it gets better.  I picked this game up in an early access state but you wouldn’t know it from the amount of content that was already introduced and they just kept adding.  New animals?  yes.  New crops?  yes. Minigames and missions? YES! Player housing?  WHAT? YES YES YES.  On top of all the new systems and assets they’ve added, when I logged in today I found that a lot of the small annoyances in the game have been changed.  Dev team that listens to it’s players?  CHECK!  No more punishment for not being able to log in regularly (your crops used to die and not give you resources).  Your gas tank goes further as well!  I don’t remember getting the hybrid version of a tractor but better gas mileage is always better.

My daughter always wants to to go feed the piggies!

If you want a community to chat with or ask questions of you can join the game’s discord https://discord.gg/ngEYx4W  The always-active developer, Waaghman, posts updates and patch notes weekly as well as responds to bug reports.  The community is so very helpful with questions and there is a great screenshot thread.  Happy farming all!

Looking for Officers!

Last week I told you all about the attendance struggles that I’ve been having with my guild and I have to say that it was a lot easier to manage a guild when I had 1. more free time and 2. Had couple other people helping with the admin duties.  So how do I find people that want to sign up for work?  What benefits do you gain by helping to run a guild?

To run a successful guild it can be as time consuming as having a second job.  And while I love managing my guild and playing with my friends I also know that I only get out what I put in unless there are other people that are willing to put in their own blood sweat and tears.  In the past I’ve had those people in my circle but now that we’re getting older and busier with life, we all can’t contribute on the same level as we used to.  There’s also the game.  When my friends aren’t having fun the game it makes it that much harder to keep things going.  As of today there is only one of my friends left from when we started BFA back in August.  I have made some new friends that I’ve been playing with and hope to continue to foster those relationships going forward.

So many fond and infuriating memories from the Barrens…

The new 8.1 patch comes out today and with it will come some streamlining of systems and a boost to leveling.  The much anticipated new mini raid and the new allied race of Zandalari trolls will not be available at the start of 8.1.  In the mean time I’ve been playing with the hand full of players left in the guild running dungeons or joining pug raids while chatting in discord.  I’ve tapped the breaks on recruitment and have toyed with the idea of moving everyone back to my old guild before the merger occurred (since all that is left are a few players most all from my original guild).  Another choice would be to look for a guild that could accommodate all of us (roughly 7 or so) or I could set off on my own and get back into the competitive scene of raiding and join a new to me guild.  I’m still thinking things through and plan on waiting till the new year before I make any decisions.  

My rogue that I have solely to do farm old dungeons and lock pick chests 🙂

Looking towards the future of my guild, I’m really getting amped up for World of Warcraft Classic and want to work on creating a giant guild of active members.  The goal won’t be to raid the end game, but more so to enjoy the journey and nostalgia of the game.  The function of the guild will be to create a place for people to chat, create small groups and to create friendships.  Part of me wants to start working on building up this guild now or at least start figuring out what all is out there.  I definitely need more of a support structure and while I can’t predict or control if people will quit after making a commitment to server in a officer role, I need to do my best to make plans to keep things moving forward.  What I’m envisioning for my WoW Classic guild is about 400 active members prelaunch.  This should give us a robust base of players to collaborate with and hopefully it will give me some new friends that I can rely on for officer duties.  I want to do all the fun stuff that I love like scheduling fun community events, pvp, dungeon runs, level 1 races, etc.  

Is personal loot killing raiding guilds?

It’s been a rough couple of months both in and outside of the game.  I was sick with one thing or another for about a 2 month stretch and have finally kicked the illness!  The only thing is, now that I’m finally well again I’m tempted to invest in surgical masks to keep it that way.  My daughter brings home all forms of sickness from daycare and it just goes with the territory in this phase of life.  

Before the holidays I told you all how my guild entered into a guild merger which seems to have failed spectacularly but not in the way that you would think.  We were as egalitarian as we could be in these sorts of mergers and acquisitions.  Myself and the GM of the guild that were combining forces with entered into a co-gm type relationship which before now I would have balked at for being an smoke screen for disguising who was really in charge.  Turns out that it was me by default, since the other GM seems to have vanished into thin air.  On our third week as a new guild we had abysmal attendance and all of the former officers and big guild contributors had quit and were citing the game as the problem.  We had 30 people the first week ready to play together, and then 21 the second week and now 8 the third.  

I’m finally feeling great again, health wise, but find myself with the scraps of a guild, all my friends have decided that World of Warcraft is now boring and not worth their time (including my husband).   I still want to play, so what’s a girl to do?  For the last several weeks I’ve been joining pug raids, pug being the gamer term for Pick Up Groups, and have been enjoying these random encounters and variety of players I meet.  

I’ve been spending time on alts and should be spending time making money in the game but it’s so different from what I typically what do to make money that I haven’t spent the time to learn new methods of gold generation.  

Remember racing to a chest and hoping that you would be quick enough to grab it’s contents before the person next to you?  Oh the good ol’ days

I’ve also been day dreaming about World of Warcraft Classic and remembering a simpler time where people needed to actually show up if they wanted to get some loot.  Personal loot may very well be the death of a large number of raiding guilds since much of the incentive to stick with the same group was loot driven.  Why would anyone stick with a group if you could just walk into any guild and instantly get gear without having to go through a month long trial period or wait your turn for the most sought after items when your guild is using DKP or loot council?  What personal loot does is cater to the casual player and kills social communities that are bound together by their desire to better their characters through raiding.  It’s not all bad I guess, since I’m able to pug raid on my alts and not worry about having items I can use ninja’d away from me, which was the big argument for switching to this system.  As upsetting as dealing with this unfairness was, it pushed me to create strong ties in a community where I can play with the same people each week and make friends that kept me playing the game.  Assuming that personal loot remains a thing going forward, is WoW going to be a strong enough game to keep those casual players playing without the strong social ties that we typically create in raiding guilds? 

Happy turkey day!

Holiday time of year is hard for raiders. People tend to be busy with family and obligations outside of gaming. Time away from games makes it easier to stay away from games. I told you all a few weeks ago about our successful merger with another guild. We had a collective group of about 35 players but soon found that a lot would leave for one reason or another. While we are not quite as bad on attendance as we were pre-merger, we still are barely scraping by most nights. We lost some great players but from what I can tell, they were half out the door already.

Life has been a bit hectic for me between battling some form of illness going on 7 weeks, work and family. I celebrated both my own and my daughters birthday last week and I’m getting to the point where I’m old enough to not want to advertise my age ;). This holiday will be packed with extended family and Christmas will be a flight back to my home town. I’m missing my lazy summer weekends and hope to get back to that amount of leisure time soon. I hope you all find time to do the things that you want this holiday week! I’ve been thinking about you all lately and hope to be writing more soon.

Guild mergers and acquisitions

It’s finally happened! I found the Goldilocks guild that compliments my guild perfectly. This last couple weeks have been exhausting both, looking for that merger candidate and recruiting players at the same time. After all this hard work and long hours spent on the non-game part of the game, we finally get to actually PLAY!

I found these guys by chance. After all the work I went through sorting through guilds on wowprogress.com and looking through logs and tracking down the guild leaders, I happened to see a guy shouting in game that they were looking for players. What stuck out to me was that their play times were very close to when we play.  By chance, we also had another long time player that joined these guys earlier in the expansion, so we had that mutual tie.

Within 10 minutes of taking to these guys I decided that I liked them and that they run their group similar to how we run ours. In under an hour we had all the leadership in agreement that we were going to give this a go.

We both decided that we had to go into this with a clear plan. We took our combined people and created our first raid group with basically an even split of players from each guild. Everyone involved in leadership worked fast to get this first group in place. Then we were off to the races!

Our first raid was on a Tuesday and I tried my best to take a step back and let the other guild leadership lead the group through the fight.   I talked less than normal and focused on my own performance as a player.  I felt a renewed vigor in myself and felt great.  I had more fun this night than any other night in the past 6 months in game.  I think we all felt this way.  Remember how I said that guild recruitment is like dating?  I think we found a keeper.

IS THAT A GIRL GUILD LEADER?!?

I’ve been attacking this attendance problem that we’ve been having from multiple angles. The past several weeks we have been consistently short by about 3 or 4 people to do the super hard part of the game.  I even spent a couple hours compiling a list of other guilds that we could possibly merge with based on their schedule and their progress in game. And so tonight I started going down the list reaching out to see if anyone would talk to me about possibly teaming up. I talked to a couple different guilds, some didn’t seem to be a good fit due to a difference in schedules and some had different goals in the game.  Most felt that they couldn’t accommodate so many people and wanted to continue on their current path.

One guild that I talked to stuck out in my mind in a big way.  It was a great example of harassment that we women players encounter from time to time.  First impressions do matter and this one sucked.  I started the conversation in chat and they asked me to hop on their voice chat server.  I joined their channel which had 5 other guys and said “hello” with my distinctly female voice.  I was responded to by a some sort of joke about male genitalia, for which I will not repeat followed by snickers and my silence. My first thought was ‘they’re guy gamers, whatever. I’m familiar with this type of talk.‘ What I should have done was said “oh sorry I got to go” or made up some other excuse and left.  Instead, I talked logistics with this group, the guild leader who just tried to mess with me.  In the moment I felt like I was in control of the situation but after setting up a time to play together this week and left the chat I had some serious regret for even continuing the conversation.

It took me all of 10 minutes to come to my senses. The more that I thought about it the more sketched out I became. The first words out of this guild leader’s mouth after he heard me speak was something sexist and gross.  That stuff doesn’t usually bother me but I’m probably be putting myself in a bad position if I were to continue playing with the dirtbag.  I quickly messaged the scummy guild leader and canceled the plans for our guild to play together.  I knew in my heart that this wasn’t going to be a group that I would be happy playing with.  I felt stupid for putting myself in a position like that with guys who took pleasure in pushing my buttons.  I’ve dealt with people that don’t show me any sort of respect before and it’s not something I would want to willingly be a part of.

It’s taking time, but I’m adjusting my thinking about what types of behaviors are acceptable to me when I’m playing video games. I have, on occasion, used poor judgement and gotten myself into some uncomfortable situations.  And this all is part of life and part of growing up and learning.  I’m still educating myself and adjusting to a higher standard that I want for myself and those that I play with.  Life’s too short to play games with people that treat you poorly.

2 Steps Forward, 1 Step Back

Each week my guild has been getting just a little bit better and a little bit bigger.  We has a large amount of interest in our guild the first few weeks that we were raiding in the new expansion.  I was talking to several people per day about how we run our group and what we expect of our members.  Some players I turned away, if they had never raided before or if they seemed to have a “my shhht don’t stink” type of attitude.  I wasn’t putting a whole lot of effort into seeking out recruits, they were mostly coming to me.  Things seem to be going in the right direction until a couple weeks ago when our steady stream of recruits seemed to dry up.  I went from talking to several people per day to talking to maybe 1 or 2 per week.

Last weekend I busted my butt to get our numbers up.  I had a goal of bring in 6 new people and ended up finding 8!  It was a lot of time and effort to get this many people but it would be worth it if we could just fill our raid group for both of our scheduled nights.  Tuesday started out well.  We got down the bosses that we killed in the previous weeks and moved on to start learning some new bosses.  We had exactly the number of people we needed to play but our group set up was far from ideal.  We were a healer short and melee heavy for 2 out of the 3 fights available for us to work on.  It was a rough 1 of progression but we got through it, which was more than can be said for the previous week.

Thursday was a different story.  Of the 8 people that I recruited the weekend before, only 2 showed up, 2 had work conflicts and the other 4 were just nowhere to be found.  We ended up running our heroic clear with less than clean execution.  We brought in a few friends of players that were just not great players and we were carrying them pretty hard.  I ended up sitting one of the friends due to poor performance and being dead the whole fight.  We also had one of our tanks leave in the middle of Thursday -_-  tanks should be the most reliable players in any raid group.  It’s such a coveted position, why risk it with absences?  I’m at a lose for which direction to go.

I’ve talked to a few different guilds about possible merger/collaboration but most seem to want to cherry pick our best players and leave the rest, and that’s not the direction that I want to move in.  If only I could get like 8 players that are here on our 2 nights that we have scheduled content…then we could move forward and work on some new bosses.

I keep telling myself baby steps will get us there, but it is super slow and I want to already be there.