Blaugust 2019 is Coming

We’re just about fifteen days away from the beginning of August, and just like years prior our amazing starter-of-fires-under-our-asses, Belghast, has once again announced Blaugust for 2019. It’s something I’ve participated in since its inception, and thought some years have been harder than others (this year is going to be tough with my schedule), I have been proud to make it through this blogging challenge multiple times. I have signed up to be a mentor again, as I have been blogging for almost 15 years so I know what goes into it and know how discouraging it can be when traffic dips or it seems like many of the blogs you enjoy reading go dark. I also know how rewarding it can be to get involved in these community events, and since Blaugust has evolved to encompass other events like The Newbie Blogger Initiative and Developer Appreciation Week, it’s a great way to get in touch with other people who like doing this writing thing! Last year Belghast introduced a loose schedule of sorts, and this year is following the same of formula:

Rather than putting my own spin on this, I’ll just quote the man himself:

  • Blaugust Prep Week – July 28th – August 3rd: This is a time for those of us in the community who have sorta figured this blogging thing out to help get you started with some tips and tricks style posts. Additionally this is a time to sign up on the Discord and start mingling among the folks. It is designed to ease you into the month with some helpful advice.
  • Topic Brainstorming Week – August 4th – August 10th: This is a time to for mentors to throw out ideas for posts to help you when you run out of things to talk about. This is something that hits all of us and having some familiar topics to revisit often times helps to defeat the tyranny of the blank page.
  • Getting to Know You Week – August 11th – August 17th: Tell us about you and your preferences as a gamer or whatever it is you happen to like doing. This is the time to dip into the well of stories and tell us something interesting that has either happened to you or something about your specific footing in your real or digital life.
  • Developer Appreciate Week – August 18th – August 24th: This one is specifically targeted at the gamers among us, but could be re-purposed to talk about any industry. The idea is to give appreciation for some of the folks who have created the things that you love. In the past we specifically talked about publishers and game studios that create the games that we are enthralled by, but it could be authors or artists or anyone who creates something that you love. It is a good time to give some thanks.
  • Staying Motivated Week – August 25th – August 31st: The final stretch. The idea is to post some help to keep folks motivated as they run towards the finish line. Also some general tricks and tips on how you keep motivated if you are one of the more seasoned veterans of the blogging community. If you are fresh to the initiative you could talk about some of the ways you have kept yourself engaged and creating content.
  • Lessons Learned Week – September 1st – September 7th: A reminder that the goal is to refresh the content creators out there and not necessarily to run a sprint. Some folks are going to cross the finish line and immediately go dormant for awhile, and others are going to want to talk about the experience. Creating a space to hold those discussions and hopefully keep folks from dropping off the face of the earth immediately following the event.

I tend to do my own thing during Blaugust, which essentially amounts to what I would already be doing, just amplified due to the increase in posts. This year has been a down year for blogging as most months I have barely reached ten posts. However I know that this event has always been good for me and my writing mojo, so it will be a challenge but one that I’m up to facing. I have pushed myself to get all thirty one posts out for a few years now, and I have noticed that my output remains higher than normal for the following months. The only reason I’ve slacked off a bit this year is due to a graveyard schedule fucking up any sort of semblance of a normal schedule for me, but I have been slowly but surely ramping up and I think I’ll be able to persevere to round out the summer.

The two major links you’ll need to get started are here:

  • The Sign-Up form for Blaugust 2019 can be found here. Only those who have signed up will be given credit towards the awards.
  • The Invite Link to the Blaugust Discord can be found here. Participation in the Discord is entirely optional.

The Discord has been a great way to connect with other bloggers and chat about things outside of writing, but if nothing else it’s a great place to share your content to more eyeballs. You should also head over to that sign-up form if you plan to participate, otherwise Belghast might miss you for his tracking purposes. Hope to see you all writing away next month!

The Gamer To-Do List: Update #2


Here we are on Blaugust day five, and I have already made further progress with my own personal Gamer To-Do List, so I thought I’d share the updates with you guys! In case you don’t know what The Gamer To-Do List is by now, you can click “Ongoing Series” up at the top of this blog to catch up on prior entries. I also thought I should mention that quite a few Blaugustians have taken up the call and created their own lists. You can find those at the Blaugust Anook that I linked at the beginning of this paragraph.

First up, let’s take a look at how my list has been updated:

My Gamer To-Do List:

  • ESO – level my templar to 15 and try out pvp again  (currently level 12)
  • League of Legends – get Silver in ranked (in promo series now) 
  • EQ2 – work through expansion Chains of Eternity  (about half way through Eidolon Jungle)
  • Dirty Bomb/Counter Strike GO – continue to level accounts (played a bit of each recently)
  • Crusader Kings II – learn the game (haven’t touched this yet)
  • Borderlands The Pre-Sequel – (finally started playing this one and love it)
  • Card Hunter – (played through the tutorial and a couple extra levels. It’s fun. More on this later)
  • Valkyria Chronicles – (attempted to pick up where I left off but lost my save [probably after I got my 2 TB HD], played nearly back to the point I was at)
  • Magic Duels Origins – (want to look into this as possible Hearthstone replacement)

Free Agents:

  • Project Gorgon – check it out
  • L.A. Noire
  • Alan Wake
  • Divinity Original Sin

On Hold:

  • Diablo III – check out new content when patch drops
  • GW2 – determine main, then level to 80. (sort of on the backburner again, as ESO and EQ2 have been enjoyable)

This is what the list looks like currently. I have either determined some games were out of my rotation, on hold for various reasons, or I completed the task I was working on. Again, some of these items won’t be leaving the list, they’ll just get updated with new goals. Many of the people who went along with this idea on their own blogs have make their own various tweaks on the format, and that’s totally okay. This isn’t meant to be a rigid set of rules, but more guidelines to keep you focused on immediate goals. So let’s get down to the specifics:


I have reached level 12 on my Khajiit Templar in ESO, and I also purchased the first mount, for 10k. That wouldn’t have been possible with just that character, but a couple of the alts I had that I didn’t care for ended up selling all their stuff and throwing the gold in the bank, which my Templar then withdrew and combined with his earnings. So yeah, I guess I “twinked” him a bit. Overall I have enjoyed the class, and am aiming for a sword and board Paladin-like build. I have a couple of heals, some damaging spells, and have put a bunch of points into passives to make him even tankier (along with picking up Persuasion and Intimidation). Apparently at level 15 you gain access to another skill bar and the ability to weapon swap, so that’s my aim before heading back into Cyrodil.


In Norrath, I’ve been plugging away at clearing the Eidolon Jungle zone, which is the first bit of the Chains of Eternity expansion. Apparently there are points later that take you all across the world and a bunch of solo dungeon instances. I’m looking forward to this, as it means I won’t miss a big chunk of content due to lack of a steady group. Server merges are incoming though, so perhaps that will change things in that department a bit. Either way, most of the zones I’ve been in have been ghost towns. Good for making sure I get every named in the zone, but bad for feeling like part of a living world.


I played Card Hunter back when it was in beta, but didn’t write much about it, though I did have a post where I was giving away beta keys. It started off as a browser game, and you can still play it that way if you so choose, but it is now part of the Steam free to play section, and I recently downloaded it again to see what was new. Honestly it had been long enough since I played it that I didn’t remember much aside from the fact that it’s a turn based tactical combat game that utilizes cards for your character’s actions. There’s heavy D&D influence as well, in that you have a DM that tells the story as you go along. Overall it’s pretty fun and I was glad that I went back to check it out. I’ll be devoting more time to this one in the future.


I picked up Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel a few months back during a sale on Steam. I had purposely waited on playing it because I was going to get in on PS3 as I have the first two games on that platform, but the sale price for the game and the season pass made it too hard to pass up. Despite that, when I purchased it I was in the midst of other playthroughs so I ended up letting it collect virtual dust. I finally got around to playing it a bit last night, and I can assure you that it is more of the same, but that’s not a bad thing. Borderlands has found a great mix of FPS action, RPG progression, humor, and lore. This game takes place between the first and second Borderlands titles, so there are things that you’ll recognize, and things that are new. For instance, remember in Borderlands 2 when you looked up at the Hyperion station orbiting Pandora, it looked damaged? That attack takes place during the opening sequence of the game, before you get transported to Pandora’s moon, Elpis. You’ll also recognize some of the characters as villains you kill during the other two games. Athena was a villain in the first game during the General Knoxx DLC, is a playable character here, and also makes an appearance in Tales From the Borderlands. Even though a playable version of Jack was a DLC for this game, they did a fine job of making him sound just like the original Jack, and he will call you his “body-double” while also complimenting you profusely. I love the sense of humor this series has. I also must say that despite playing the others with a controller, the controls are very slick when using a mouse and keyboard. It’s also nice to be able to play it with max settings.

Otherwise I’ve done some piddling around with the other titles on the list, but nothing really worth going into at the moment. I have some other more lengthy posts planned for when I make more progress in some of these games, so stay tuned!

#blaugust #gamertodolist #blaugust2015

The Gamer To-Do List: Update #1


Blaugust is finally here, and that means it’s time to start working on my personal Gamer To-Do list. I outlined the concept in my introductory post, but I will reiterate the guidelines I’m following:

Some Guidelines:

  • Don’t add new items to the list until a previous item is removed.
  • Try to write about something that gets checked off the list as soon as you complete it so details are fresh in your mind.
  • Make your to-do list a reasonable size. I found a list around ten items in length is a nice round number. It also keeps you focused on core games.
  • Keep your entries semi-specific. “Leveling to 80″ is a long term goal (unless you’re close). “Clearing this zone” is more reasonable, and completable within the month (though this concept can carry on beyond Blaugust).

Next, let’s see how the list has changed in the few days since I brought the idea up (emphasis on changes made):

  • Diablo III – check out new content when patch drops (on hold)
  • ESO – level my templar to 15 and try out pvp again (overall goal, determine main) (currently level 12. Enjoy Templar enough to take to cap, still need to play more PvP)
  • Hearthstone – maybe play again to open adventures and other cards to prepare for next expack UPDATE – Disenchated with the game. Removal from list
  • League of Legends – get Silver in ranked. MAYBE Finish Bilgewater activities (I find the mode unsatisfying)
  • EQ2 – work through expansion Chains of Eternity (immediate goal, long term is to see level cap + all current content) (nearly halfway through Eidolon Jungle)
  • GW2 – determine main, then level to 80. (sort of on the backburner again, as ESO and EQ2 have been enjoyable)
  • Skyforge – determine status (do I want to play it or not?) -UPDATE not interested enough to keep it around. Uninstalled.
  • Early Access – continue to watch and expriment with titles like H1Z1, Darkest Dungeon, Ark, Nuclear Throne, Basement, The Forest (work in progress)
  • Dirty Bomb/Counter Strike GO – continue to level accounts (with the caveat that I’m also playing CSGO on PS3 with Chris, trying to earn Platinum Trophy)
  • Zombies Monsters Robots – check out new content (checked out the new content, not overly impressed, lower population than when I used to play, removal from list)
  • Crusader Kings II – learn the game
  • Borderlands The Pre-Sequel – play this game already

When I wrote down my initial pre-Blaugust list it included some items that aren’t available to play just yet, or were games I just randomly decided to add. There is no reason a To-Do list needs to be set in stone though, as truth be told, if I put my entire backlog on my list, I’d never accomplish anything. The purpose here was to only pick a few short term goals so that you can make some headway into that MMO or beating those games or achieving your desired rank. With that said, I’m introducing the “Free Agents” section, which are some other short term goals that aren’t a part of your main list, but can be used in place of another item. Let me give you an example of how this would be used.

Here are some of my Free Agent listings:

Free Agents:
Project Gorgon – check it out
Give Card Hunter a go again

Play these games already!
Valkyria Chronicles
L.A. Noire
Alan Wake
Divinity Original Sin

So looking at how my list could change, I decided Diablo III doesn’t need to be there. I also cleared up my thoughts about whether or not I really wanted to invest time into games like Hearthstone and Skyforge. Given my options, and my current state of enjoyment, it is easier to remove games from the list especially if you know you aren’t going to enjoy yourself doing it! The rest of the changes to the list were more tweaks or updates to that current goal. Of course, some games may not come off of the list at all, and some items are going to be harder to check off of the list, which is why I want to stress the fact that this system is meant to be flexible. Don’t be too strict on yourself. Since I was able to do a process of elimination and removed some items from the list, I can now pick up a few of the free agents and make a new version. Sometimes you won’t get blog inspiration from some games, and that’s okay too. I know I’m not going to bother posting about any of the games I just mentioned removing from the list, but I have some material saved up to write about concerning some of the other titles.

I’m looking at adding a trial run of Project Gorgon (it’s installed as of last night) and Card Hunter (I played it when it was just a browser game, but it’s on Steam now). Aside from Borderlands The Pre-Sequel, the other four games above have been calling my name to finish them, so I’m probably going to bounce between them to see which one grabs me first. It’s been a little while since I completed a game, so I’d like to say I did over the course of August.

That’s it for my first update. Look forward to more in-depth posts of what I’ve been doing later in the week. Don’t forget, if you want to get signed up with this whole Blaugust thing, it’s not too late to get started. Click the image below for more information:


#blaugust #blaugust2015 #gamertodolist

Blaugust: The Gamer To-Do List


As a participant last year, I personally found out how challenging it can be to write each and every day during the Blaugust event. Belghast of Tales From the Aggronaut fame, started this event as a way to give people a taste of his madness, but to also just encourage our community of bloggers to keep doing what they love: writing. In his own words:

A few years ago I started down this path of madness that I have referred to as my Grand Experiment, where I started blogging every single day.  It has been a grueling experience at times, but also something I would not trade for the world.  I learned a lot of things about myself because when you are writing that many posts… something interesting happens.  At some point in the process you break down the walls you are holding up between you and your readers and start being completely and often brutally honest with them.  I sit down at the keyboard each morning and share a chunk of myself, and this bond I have developed with my readers is something pretty special.  Last year I wanted to channel just a little bit of this with the rest of the blogosphere and started the Blaugust challenge.  The idea is simple… during the month of August blog something every single day.  If you succeed in thirty one days of posts… you are a Blaugust winner.

I am a certified winner, you can check  my sidebar for the badge of honor (which will be updated after I win again 😉 ) Here are the rules, in case you haven’t heard of the event, which returns in just a few days:

  • Write a new blog post of no less than ten sentences in length.  This is essentially two large paragraphs and is a good solid minimum size.  If you are doing a screenshot/photo blog just make sure your description explaining what the image is all about fits this constraint.
  • Include a link back to the 2015 Blaugust Initiative Page.  My hope is that this will allow other people to join in the challenge and play catch up.
  • Advertise the post on the Blaugust Nook.  When you join the nook I will be elevating everyone to “Blogger” access to do this.  This is extremely key this year, because this is going to be how I log all posts, and if you do not do this you are not going to get proper credit.
  • Either in the title of your post or the first heading inside of your actual post.. please denote which day this post is for.  Something like “Blaugust Day 21” just to make sure that I am giving everyone credit for the correct day, and this should help to stop the oddities of folks in vastly different time zones getting dumped into the wrong slot.
  • If you advertise the post on social media, please include the #Blaugust hashtag.  Again we are trying to help spread the word and get folks to join in process… and at very least get folks reading the posts.
  • Over the course of the month, write 31 posts.
  • ????
  • Profit!

For the full rules, head to the official announcement. Also, check out how Anook is participating this year.

Now, for my part in this madness. Last year during the event, I found that most people started out writing about whatever they were doing in games. Those who have more established writing habits and/or regular columns would utilize those posts to eliminate some of the work load of writing a post a day. Others would write a bunch of posts ahead of time. One theme emerged though: People were reading each other’s blogs and taking inspiration from others’ original ideas. Chain letters of sorts started up. It was a neat phenomena to watch.

So this year, I wanted to put out a writing prompt before the event even gets started. This is something that I came up with just to add a bit of organization to my thoughts; a way that playing can feed writing and writing can feed playing. I don’t remember who first said something along those lines, but I whole-heartedly agree. Games blogging can only exist if you play the games you write about, and vice versa. Not only can this help you to meet gaming goals, but it will also fuel your blog posts during the Blaugust event, and everyone can always use a little help when it comes to writing. When you boil it down, I came up with this plan to help myself write every day next month, but I thought I’d share the concept with you all as well:


Introducing “The Gamer To-Do List.” Yeah, it’s not a fancy name, but it delivers the necessary meaning. We’ve all written a to-do list. Be it for chores, errands, or in-game goals. If you’re like me, the amount of information stored in your brain sometimes gets jumbled or lost altogether. It’s amazing the sheer volume of ideas and thoughts that are stored within our minds, but sometimes all of that information bouncing around leads to a lack of focus. Making your own personal gaming goal to-do list can help you to stay on track, clear your backlog, finally level that damn alt, or whatever else the case may be. The benefits are two-fold:

1. Get things done.

2. Have things to write about.

Blaugust seems like the perfect time to debut this concept, as each item on the list can become its own blog post, and you’ll feel better knowing you got something done, rather than aimlessly piddling around in the huge library of games you own. Or is that just me? Well, I did say I came up with the concept for myself. Your mileage may vary.

Some Guidelines:

  • Don’t add new items to the list until a previous item is removed.
  • Try to write about something that gets checked off the list as soon as you complete it so details are fresh in your mind.
  • Make your to-do list a reasonable size. I found a list around ten items in length is a nice round number. It also keeps you focused on core games.
  • Keep your entries semi-specific. “Leveling to 80” is a long term goal (unless you’re close). “Clearing this zone” is more reasonable, and completable within the month (though this concept can carry on beyond Blaugust).

To give you guys an example of what my To-Do list looks like:

  • Diablo III – check out new content when patch drops – Preview
  • ESO – level my templar to 15 and try out pvp again (overall goal, determine main)
  • Hearthstone – maybe play again to open adventures and other cards to prepare for next expack
  • League of Legends – get Silver in ranked. Finish Bilgewater activities.
  • EQ2 – work through expansion Chains of Eternity (immediate goal, long term is to see level cap + all current content)
  • GW2 – determine main, then level to 80.
  • Skyforge – determine status (do I want to play it or not?)
  • Early Access – continue to watch and expriment with titles like H1Z1, Darkest Dungeon, Ark, Nuclear Throne, Basement, The Forest
  • Dirty Bomb/Counter Strike Source – continue to level account
  • Zombies Monsters Robots – check out new content – latest update
  • Crusader Kings II – learn the game
  • Borderlands The Pre-Sequel – play this game already

Some of this might get done during Blaugust. Some of it might not. Either way, from here on out my “Gamer To-Do List” series will have the above image header and will be tracked on the “ongoing series” page. Feel free to utilize the concept for your Blaugust Challenge entries.

#blaugust #blaugust2015 #writingprompt #writingtips

Ten Years of Me

Today marks ten years since I opened this blog. There have been many changes over the years, including going from the traditional HTML coding to using a free host with built in editors, a name change, format changes, different series that have come and went, and of course, a difference in the community involved here. I’ve also had my fair share of stagnant moments, some years where I only posted a handful of times, and others when I was truly active and talking about my adventures. Some of those adventures were of personal nature, and some were more gaming oriented. It wasn’t until 2013 that I really buckled down and said I’m going to keep posting regularly, and maintain less of a personal presence, and keep things about my hobbies. I do talk about personal stuff here and there still, but I really wanted this to just be a gaming blog and nothing else. If you go back far enough in the archives, you’ll see that this wasn’t always the case, and I probably should go back and edit out names or delete posts where I’ve made an ass out of myself, but I figure it’s better to leave it. You get to see how I’ve grown and changed throughout the years as a result, though I seriously doubt people are going back and reading ten year old posts. I know I don’t dive down that rabbit hole very often either.

Either way, I like to think that my personality shines through even when I’m talking about games, movies, music, or some other hot-button topic. I try to maintain a balance between presenting the facts, and peppering in my own sarcastic wit. It’s part of my charm. That, or you hate it. Either way you’re still reading, because my readership has steadily increased over the years.

Looking through stats and analytics, I find that the most popular topics I’ve talked about were MMOs I used to play, League of Legends, and other posts that just so happened to have some pertinent keywords. There’s a post with the title of “Syrup Shoes” that gets regular traffic, despite the fact that people are searching for a brand of shoes, not for a story about one sibling pouring syrup in her sibling’s shoes. It’s interesting to see the things that you write that bring in the most traffic. I wrote a post about “What race is best for X class,” for Everquest II, which used to have racial abilities that would be best suited for particular classes. I then addressed the topic again when changes came through in the game and eliminated most of what I had talked about. Those posts still get traffic, and the information is basically meaningless at this point. My “Norrathian Newbie” series that was short lived but had some decent information contained within still gets traffic as well, but with Everquest II being a game that’s on life support, these posts are starting to die as well.

Many other posts surprise me, because they get so much traffic or cause a stir in the community. My most commented on posts revolve around Sexism and my love for PvP, which I suppose are worthy hot-button topics, but sometimes the posts I’m the most proud of having written don’t get many views, likes or comments. Blogging is a funny thing because you are writing what you want to write (write for yourself) but you want people to participate or give you that pat on the back when you write something awesome. For anyone who gets discouraged when looking at their site stats, just remember to give it time. You will find your audience and they will continue to come back. For the days that they aren’t around, remember that you started down this road to write for yourself.

I really don’t have much more to say, it’s been a fantastic ten years when it comes to gaming and blogging, and I look forward to being able to make a post like this again when I hit 20 years. Thanks for being a part of this community and supporting my efforts!

#blogging #community #anniversary #10years