Thursday, 31 December 2015

SWTOR 2015 in review

As the odd days in between Life Day and New Year's eve were passing by, I found myself thinking about what has happened the past year in my favourite MMO, Star Wars: The Old Republic. The Knights of the Fallen Empire expansion is the first thing that came to my mind, but when you think about it, is was released only recently in November. Surely more has been going on this year... But wait, I have a blog! 

Browsing through the almost 100 articles I've written this year, I've collected the highlights of SWTOR 2015 for you in a month-by-month review. Enjoy!

Saturday, 26 December 2015

Life Day greetings from Nar Shaddaa

A belated merry Christmas! Err... I mean, happy Life Day of course! In SWTOR, Christmas is celebrated in true Star Wars style and that means a Life Day celebration. This is what Wookieepedia says about Life Day, or "Wookiee Christmas":
"Life Day was a Wookiee holiday celebrated by the inhabitants of Kashyyyk every three years. It was a celebration of the planet's diverse ecosystem and the many forms of life it encompassed. It also was a time to remember family members who had died, and the young ones who continued to bring new life to a family. Life Day was a sacred holiday, and many Wookiees considered it their duty to return to Kashyyyk in order to celebrate it. Life Day was held once every three local years for many generations, but during the Galactic Civil War, its importance to the Wookiees became more pronounced. Wookiees were spread across the galaxy, either because they had been enslaved by the Galactic Empire or for personal reasons, and they began celebrating Life Day each year as a way to remain in touch with their history. Over time, the holiday found its way into various other cultures." (source: Wookieepedia)
The Female Geek Blogger community is die-hard: what do you mean, Christmas? It's a Friday, so there's 5 Fandom Fridays to be written! This one was themed "favourite holiday decorations".

Saturday, 12 December 2015

A Christmas wishlist - Star Wars edition

This week's 5 Fandom Friday topic was "5 things on your Christmas wishlist". Now I don't usually see the point of wishlists since 1) they just make me want things I cannot afford and 2) Christmas is not celebrated with presents in the Netherlands (we have Sinterklaas for that) so a wishlist at the end of December doesn't make much sense to me, but I made an exception for this one, because of the upcoming The Force Awakens movie. There's just so much cool Star Wars stuff around, it's insane! So here are some Star Wars things I wouldn't mind finding underneath the Christmas tree (if I had one).

Thursday, 10 December 2015

Ravalation's 2015 holiday card swap

Yesterday, I read an inspiring post by Kayly of My Open Sketchbook. In it, she describes her love for physical post cards, a love I definitely share. Many hours of my childhood were spent writing long letters with glittery pens to penpals abroad, then attaching lots of colourful stickers until the paper was cluttered (I felt my letters should always be filled, otherwise surely it would look like I didn't have enough inspiration!).

Monday, 7 December 2015

Six times red

It's that time of the month again: the sixth! I'm currently typing while waiting for my flight from the Netherlands to Sweden, but that doesn't stop me from selecting six screenshots for you that feature the colour red. I've also once again succeeded to include an appropriately skin-coloured alien from my favourite MMO.

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Autumn in Sweden

Now the first day of winter has passed, I feel the sudden urge to reflect upon my autumn time here in Lund, Sweden (since I'm identifying with a sage, I might as well act as zen as one). I should probably include a disclaimer here.

In this post you will be confronted by what some whisperingly refer to as Real Life. You know, what those filthy casuals in your guild talk about when they think you are not listening (while you're AFK getting another Mountain Dew). So yeah, Real Life. Breaking news: I have one!

If you are the type that gets an allergic reaction from falling leaves, groans at picturesque towns and can't stand images that do not contain polygons, this would be a good time to alt + tab back into your game.

Sunday, 29 November 2015

Friendship France gathering in LOTRO: a photo report

Sunday November the 22nd, I attended an event called Friendship France on the Lord of the Rings Online server Sirannon [FR]. It was the first in-game concert I attended and a very special occasion: a gathering of LOTRO players to support their French fellow players as a response to the terrorist attacks in Paris. Due to immediate success, the event got relocated last-minute from the Prancing Pony to the Bree-land festival grounds - the population in Bree got divided into multiple layers with so many people logging in.

Here's a photo account of the evening.

Friday, 27 November 2015

Fashion Friday: a two-faced bounty hunter

Yet another week with just the one blog post. As a result of stress, my mood has been bouncing up and down a lot lately - and unfortunately down most of the time. University deadlines, chronic pain & fatigue and a terminally ill dad abroad that's quickly deteriorating seem to provide the perfect cocktail for depression. And depression deprives me of any creativity - creativity sorely needed to write blog posts.

Luckily Conrad's there to save the day, donating some sweet pictures of his powertech Shyala. I hope to show how seeming ugliness has its own beauty.

Friday, 20 November 2015

Fashion Friday: an agent's travelling outfit

It's that day of the week again: Friday! Just a few hours more and you can go home again and relax with some Star Wars: The Old Republic. And just to get you in the mood I've got a lovely agent outfit for you, provided for by operative Syeeda.

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Call to LOTRO players: Friendship France gathering on Sirannon [FR]

After the terrorist attacks on Paris, blogging about happy, irrelevant things in games just felt wrong. Twitter was full of shocked reactions, but also of hatred, racism and people who acted like nothing happened happily going on about games. I turned it off for the weekend.

Friday, 6 November 2015

Six times gold

Today I'm doing two photo challenges in one: 6 on 6 and IntPiPoMo. Win-win, right? Only this month's colour, gold, was hard. Really hard. On the positive side: by having to dig deep through my screenshot library, I found some pictures from games I don't usually write about. Enjoy!

Monday, 2 November 2015

Warning: screenies incoming

It's november and that means... IntPiPoMo! Or so I'm told. While our hardcore peers are slogging through ten thousands of words for NaNoWriMo, we casuals (yes, I'm admitting I'm a filthy casual here!) collect pretty pictures for its little sister, IntPiPoMo. The directive: to post 50 images (be it photos, screenshots or artwork) in November.

Saturday, 31 October 2015

Star Wars characters I would love to dress up as for Halloween

...if only I could sew. And actually be able to attend the two Halloween parties I've been invited for. All I'll say is, chronic diseases SUCK. Almost as much as your boyfriend wanting to watch Heartstone tournaments instead of playing Star Wars: the Old Republic with you. Anyway...

Summarized, if my life would be more awesome, I would definitely dress up as:

(Spoiler alert: this post features the names and pictures of some main characters of the recently released Knights of the Fallen Empire expansion. However, there are no spoilers about the story developments.)

Friday, 16 October 2015

Fashion Friday: dressing your jedi for the autumn

You may have noticed a distinct lack 5 Fandom Friday posts on Ravalation today. Don't worry, I'm still loving 5FF, but today's topic was "Things I Love About Halloween" and jedi simply do not care for pumpkins. They do, however, care for fashionable robes. So hereby I'm introducing a new project for those pumpkin-heavy 5FF's: Fashion Friday! That's right, a Friday dedicated to drooling at pretty bathrobes, dreaming you are the one wearing them, elegantly strolling through the Old Republic.

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Are you ready for Knights of the Fallen Empire?

The time is there: just one more week and Knights of the Fallen Empire will take off for subscribers.* In an ideal world we players would just sit back and relax before a new expansion hits. In reality, though, there are usually things to take care of before big changes are implemented.

I've gathered a few in the form of a last-minute check list. If you actually want to do these things is of course entirely up to you!

Friday, 9 October 2015

Teachers of the Old Republic

Padawans at the Tython training grounds

If you like numbered lists you're in for a treat this week. After my "6 orange-pictures" post on Tuesday's 6 on 6 it's time for yet another classic: 5 Fandom Friday!* This week's theme was "5 Favourite Teachers". As always, I'm turning to the Star Wars universe for help and selected my favourite teachers from online multiplayer game Star Wars: the Old Republic (SWTOR).

This post includes some mild spoilers (like the names of some companions and NPCs that are encountered through various class stories), but I took care not to mention any major plot spoilers. Oh, and I totally would have included Yoda, but he wasn't there yet in the Old Republic! *runs off to file a formal complaint*

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Six times orange

Put mildly, orange is not exactly my favourite colour. Once upon a time, when the internet was young, I even initiated the "Orange club", a website dedicated to loathing oranges and everything that shared the same colour. Every once in a while an orange lover would accidentally join and be hugely disappointed.

So you can see that I truly love you guys, because I decided to endure the pain and stomach finding six suitable pictures for this month's issue of 6 on 6 gamer style!

Monday, 28 September 2015

Goodbye, Gilrain

 Saying our goodbyes

As I am writing, server transfers for my server in Lord of the Rings Online, Gilrain, have opened up. While I'm waiting for the sign of our kinship leader that Asylum has successfully transferred to the Laurelin server, I figured now would be a good time to dig deep into my screenshot archive, coming up with crappy pictures and fond memories of the time behind us.

While server merges in other games did never affected me on an emotional level, it is different for LOTRO. With the playerbase originally being very opposed to merges, all servers since the game's launch in 2007 are still operating. Gilrain was always one of the smaller servers with a tight community that I - and many with me - have become fond of. I don't think anyone disagrees with the server consolidation now since many servers near-deserted, but it will be the end of an era nevertheless.

As Lord of the Rings Online was the first MMO I was involved with, some memories are deeply entwined with the discovery of my love for gaming and my growth as a player. I've selected 10 events for you that represent the most memorable moments of my gaming life on Gilrain, more or less in chronological order. I'm going all out in nostalgia mode, with Instagram-ready ancient screenshots and all, so you've been warned! 

Monday, 21 September 2015

Nora in Oxpring

We had no idea what he would look like. While we were safely sitting in the car, the rain poured on the gravel of the small parking place. Every now and then, a car would stop and an Englishman, or lady, would scurry for cover in the inviting dry and warm local inn.

We started theorizing.
"He organizes a folk festival, right? So surely he has a beard!" 
"And long hair? No, he doesn't strike me as the hippie type."
It was easy enough for him. All he had to do was look for the one Dutch car with four tourists in it.

Thursday, 17 September 2015

The quest for a home: the Lund edition - part 2

Last week I wrote about my epic quest for a home in Lund, Sweden. The objective: to find a place to rent for five months; challenge mode: to find a place where Conrad can live as well. Handicaps due to the difficulty setting are "student city with huge housing shortage" and "chronic illness". Thus far I managed to acquire spot number 1 on the university's housing waiting list during a lottery and had a look at a cellar apartment in Stångby, a small town north of Lund, with positive hosts.

If I don't find a place within 14 days I'll have to get drunk and let Patrick the Policeman pick me up from the streets for a free stay at the police station. Hey, don't say I'm dramatizing things, this is serious business!

And now for the conclusion...

Sunday, 6 September 2015

Six times purple

It's already that day of the month... the sixth! Surely you know what I'm talking about (if not, you can quickly read up here and pretend nothing happened); this month's issue is all about purple.

Thursday, 3 September 2015

The quest for a home: the Lund edition - part 1

Huh, Lund? What game is that? Surprise: it's not a game (although we can pretend it is), but a real town in the physical land of Sweden (gasp). I moved there some weeks ago to study archaeology for a semester. As some people have asked what I've been up to, I thought it might be fun to report on this blog every now and then. I briefly considered making a separate blog for my Sweden adventures, but that's a lot of work and I'm pretty sure one would suffer over the other.

So if you only want to read about gaming on this blog, move on to the next post. If you're curious at my "real life exploration" adventures in Sweden, though, do read further! I apologize in advance for any obscure gaming references I might make that are probably lost on the non-gamers.

Saturday, 29 August 2015

Heads up and free speeders

This is a short post stating that I, in fact, am still alive and breathing, although my recent moving abroad to Lund in Sweden has taken a (hopefully temporary) toll on the time and energy I have for this blog. I am working on a post on my adventures, but as I find it hard to write in public about my personal life away from the PC (especially when I feel I have to come up with something that is fun or interesting to read as well) I'm having trouble finishing the post. I'm quite determined to publish it, though, so it will probably be there at some point in time next week. 

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Guildless in Guild Wars

It's the strangest thing. When you're playing a game called Guild Wars, one would expect to spend a lot of time in that game playing with a guild. Yet somehow Guild Wars 2 has quickly developed into my favourite duo game. I barely have contact with anyone in the game save the people that I occasionally bump into while exploring - and that contact is usually superficial.

Monday, 17 August 2015

The day I gave in and created a Beorning

At first I wasn't all that enthusiastic about the Beorning, the newest class and race added to Lord of the Rings Online. You see, I thought that there was no such thing as a Beorning in Tolkien's work; I only knew the Beorning from the character Beorn in The Hobbit.

Friday, 14 August 2015

The travels of Nora

 Introducing... Nora the gaming bear!

This summer, I had an amazing time visiting digital friends on our way to the awesome folk festival Underneath the Stars (which happened to be also organized by a fellow gamer). Uh, I mean: Nora travelled from the Netherlands to England to visit her gaming friends and I was lucky enough to be counted amongst her entourage!

It is always to travel the realm in between the digital and the physical. If you "know" people online, will you know them when you meet them in the offline world as well? This summer eight gamers that knew each other from games met in various formations. I would love to tell you how that went!

Monday, 10 August 2015

Knights of the Fallen Empire (part 4): the newest trailer and story leaks

There's a new trailer for the Coffee expansion, hurray! I'd say it's more of a teaser than a trailer, really, because it's very short. We get to see "the Outlander" (the player character) meeting Valkorion. The 'tease-part' is at the end, when Valkorion offers the Outlander to join his side. Go see for yourself:

Thursday, 6 August 2015

Six times blue

No, I'm not sad. And yes, I know, I'm one day late with posting. But I have the perfect excuse, hear me out. Oh, and I sincerely hope you guys like blue.

Monday, 3 August 2015

Thoughts on LOTRO's server closures

1 Chestnut Street, Ravenmere, Bree-land Homesteads, Gilrain: my home for seven years. But not for much longer.

Today is a day of mixed feelings. As I'm writing, the Lord of the Rings Online servers are down to prepare for the upcoming server changes. While the LOTRO community has been buzzing with the news of the impending server closures since the start of the year, it still took me by surprise when they announced today's start off just a week ago. The actual character transfers will be starting in a few weeks, but the means will be implemented today and, more important to many players, we got to hear which servers will close down. I was not surprised to find my own server, Gilrain, on the list.

Friday, 31 July 2015

Star Wars pets I'd like to adopt

Today's 5 Fandom Friday* is about fictional pets I'd like to own. Of course I'm going for the Star Wars: The Old Republic approach and I've managed to select five favourites out of the large heap of likeable animals that the Star Wars universe offers. Here we go:

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Guild leadership and raid leading

By mentioning my unsuitability to lead raids in my introductory piece about guild leadership, I incidentally made the impression that I believe being able to lead a raid is required of guild leaders. This is not the case.

I didn't really want to go into the matter deeply at the time because I wanted to avoid my post becoming book-sized, as tends to happen when I go theorizing (this is sort of a subtle warning). So instead, you'll get to read about the hypothetical relationship between guild leadership and raid leading in this separate post, yay!

Friday, 24 July 2015

Guild leadership interview: The Senate Guard

If there's one thing I've found out about guild leaders, it's that they really love talking about their guild. So while I have cut this interview down a lot, it's still going to be lengthy. Please bear with me! Also, don't forget to check out today's twin piece: an interview with Dakaru, GM of Nostrum Dolus.

As my last interview (with Bo of PCG) was with the leader of a large raiding guild, I picked the leader of a small social guild for this interview for reasons of contrast. Are there different requirements for leading a guild? What does it involve? And what does the leadership structure look like? Find out by reading the post below.

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Guild leadership interview: PC Gamer Mint Imperials

I am typing this first leadership interview from a cold hostel in the British Peak District. It's the first time during my holiday that I've managed to get internet access, so that's the reason it's been so lovely quiet I haven't been able to reply to your comments as much as I'd like. No time to waste, though, I've promised you guild master interviews, so I have to deliver. I hope you enjoy this first one with the leader of PCG Mint Imperials of the Red Eclipse, Bo.

Friday, 17 July 2015

How would you do as a guild master?

Welcome to my first twin piece: a collaboration of Gamers Decrypted and Ravalation. I've been talking to Noctua of Gamers Decrypted on Skype quite a lot lately, enthusiastically discussing blogging ideas. As a 'solo' blogger, it's been a wonderful experience to have someone to talk to with the same blogging interests! One of the topics we found ourselves lost in is that of guild leadership: a social role that people take upon themselves in a virtual environment. Why do people in an online game want to commit to sorting out the social affairs of others, forging and keeping together a group of people they have never met in the offline world?

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Creatively double-Liebsterized

I've been creatively double-Liebsterized! What, you have no idea what I'm talking about? You say I've already been Liebsterized before? Alright, you've asked for it now, here we go. It involves dinosaurs, though, I've warned you!

Thursday, 9 July 2015

Knights of the Fallen Empire (part 3): group content

I was writing this post when suddenly the bomb fell this official post announcing no new group content with Knights of the Fallen Empire was released. On the plus side, I have more to write about; on the down side I could start over from scratch. I guess a warning is in order: I'm not exactly in a cheerful mood at the moment. Group content is something that is very much on the mind of the gamers I play with right now. And while we may not get any new immediately with the release of the expansion, I believe it is something that will prove to be deeply entwined with the future of the game.

Monday, 6 July 2015

Worldbreaker monolith photoshoot

Some days are so stressful that it's hard to keep to my posting schedule. Today was one of those days. I was contacted by my university that something went wrong somewhere in the bureaucratic mill for my pending departure to study in Sweden (I still don't know for sure if that's going to happen) and then had to fix stuff for my upcoming holiday in the United Kingdom. So I hope you will forgive me for this one being short.

Friday, 3 July 2015

My favourite SWTOR aliens

Today's Fandom Friday* was all about aliens: name your five favourite ones. Enough contenders, for a sci-fi fan such as I. I could easily do a Star Trek special for this one: a favourite today named by both How to Fangirl for Adults and dePepi is Spock (but what's with the second spot; surely that should've been the first!), another is the pair of Odo and Quark, also mentioned by dePepi (just thinking of them makes me want to re-watch Deep Space 9 again!). If I would look at movies, I'd definitely include Rocket Raccoon from Guardians of the Galaxy**, mentioned by My Open Sketchbook (I adore him so, he made that movie work for me!). Also, I can't believe nobody featured Yoda (edit: Bad Wolf Brunch did, just now)! If we're looking at games, I'd totally include Mission and Zaalbaar from KOTOR I and Liara and Wrex (!!!) from Mass Effect. Too much inspiration: perhaps I'm a nerd after all?

Okay, keep calm, disengage fangirl mode... I gotta stay on-topic here: favourite aliens from Star Wars: The Old Republic. Seeing as the Star Wars universe is thriving with aliens, this should be an easy one... right? Check out my picks below and find out how aliens are portrayed in my favourite Star Wars MMO.

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

"I want horse"

This is a story about what happens when you make the mistake to ride on your fancy steed through Bree. Don't. I mean, seriously, just don't.

Monday, 29 June 2015

Should you pre-order Heart of Thorns?

I've been talking so much about SWTOR's announced Coffee expansion that you would almost forget about "that other MMO"'s upcoming expanion: Guild Wars 2's Heart of Thorns (yes, I still play that game).

Friday, 26 June 2015

Gamer girl

Hiiiiii there, it's your favourite gamer girl reporting in!

The blogosphere was the decor of a snowball effect last week, set in motion by Pyxis of Gamers Decrypted with the question: What is a gamer? Of course I cannot miss out on this topic, being a gamer girl myself (or so my blog description claims).

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Riding a horse at level 5 (free LOTRO key)

Unbelievable though it may sound, I've recently started playing LOTRO again. While the game is pretty much deserted, some people of an old befriended kinship were planning to do some on-level Moria nostalgia runs and Conrad and I thought it'd be fun to join them.

Monday, 22 June 2015

Knights of the Fallen Empire (part 2): overhyped?

A bit more than a week ago, information about the KotFE Coffee update was leaked and the SWTOR community exploded. The wildest ideas were flying around: we would finally get a continuation of class stories; with the Imperial and Republic factions gone players from both sides would play together; the expansion would be some kind of reboot of the whole game... and the only thing I could think, after reading the leaked notes myself, was: "Oh dear, a lot of people are going to be very disappointed upon release...".

Friday, 19 June 2015

A force-heavy surprise by mail

While I was busy with diehard blogging about SWTOR's Coffee trailer on my birthday (which was yesterday), someone else was doing some hardcore character drawing I had no idea of. Imagine my surprise when I found this amazing birthday card in the mailbox!

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Knights of the Fallen Empire (part 1): the trailer

This was a pretty bad blogging week for me. I've been busy with arranging things for studying abroad slacking so hard! So I'm going to make up for it now by posting a mini series about the upcoming Knights of the Fallen Empire expansion (celebrating birthdays is for the weak).

Friday, 12 June 2015

I hung something on the wall and now you'll have to read this whole post about it

What is sorcerer Fárah doing on Oricon? Shouldn't she be busy defeating Revan or something? Well, Fárah is here to bring you news of her latest personal victory. Last weekend, she finally managed to defeat dread master Brontes on nightmare mode.

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Why do we 'troll'?

Hello readers of Ravs! My name is Noctua. I normally write blog posts for Gamers Decrypted but today I'm guest writing for my friend Rav. Once again I find myself typing away in the middle of the night when all decent people are fast asleep in their beds.

Monday, 8 June 2015

Safari through the games I play

One of the things I liked most of the NBI 2015 was Murf's Screenshot Safari. I had a lot of fun checking out everyone's entries during the course of the event. And I wasn't the only one: Murf counted an overwhelming total of 105 entries from 35 different blogs! Check out his post with all the facts and numbers here if you haven't done so yet. I enjoyed reading it a lot.

Thursday, 4 June 2015

The SWTOR speeder giveaway winners

Thanks everyone for entering my first giveaway! It was exciting for me to do because I had no idea if people would actually want any of the rewards. I was overwhelmed to see so many positive reactions. Special thanks go to everyone who shared my giveaway post.

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

The NBI of 2015: Return of the SWTOR blogs

This year's NBI is over: three hurrays for the Class of 2015!