NBI linkage

OK, so just how fantastic was the Newbie Blogger Initiative?!  pretty damn fantastic if you ask me :P  I would like to say a HUGE thank you to Syp for organising this, to all the sponsor bloggers for their excellent articles AND to all the new blogs who started up / got revitalised :)  I’ve found a ton of excellent new blogs to read (from both the sponsors and the newbies) and I wish everyone the best of blogging luck :)

Make sure you check out THE GAMING BLOG NEXUS.  Its a fantastic idea to keep the community created through the NBI going AND to widen your readership AND joining the site is dead easy – go join!!  and thanks to Roger for setting this up :)

Ok so here’s the linkage (directly copied from Syp’s post)

New blogs to check out:

Sponsor advice posts:

:D

Vanguard useful links

These challenges are surprisingly fun – well done Ambermist for setting this up.  Its great to see so many people joining in, both new and established bloggers alike.  If you haven’t already, I urge you to join in :)

So this week’s challenge is to research and write about something you know very little about :)  I’ve decided to collate some Vanguard links and resources, its a little bit cheaty perhaps, but with Vanguard going F2P in the summer, hopefully its something that others will find helpful as well as me ;)  For anyone who uses Delicious, I’ve also created a stack.

mods
I haven’t updated the skin for the UI as yet, although unusually I’m not actually finding the default UI annoying.  I have been looking around though and VGinterface was my first stop.  For skins, the Vanguard community have recently recommended the following UIs, Core or Drox, or for a tailored approach MyUI or CustomUI.

maps
It seems that InfoMap is the map to have.  I use it and it is just brilliant and was easy to install :)

official sites
official Vanguard discussion forums.
Vanguard players
14 day free trial download 

fan sites
Silky Venom ~ I’ve found this site to be indispensable for all spheres of the game
Telonica the Vanguard wiki giving a lot of great detailed information

my tips
bearing in mind that my highest level character is 11 ;)

The Isle of Dawn is probably the best place to roll your first character, it gives questlines for the three spheres (adventuring, crafting and diplomacy) and gives you a very good set of starter gear.  One thing to note,  I would suggest to keep your crafting quests up with your adventuring quests as the crafting quests for sure send you back into the same areas and for the later areas you get a npc who comes with you and helps you fight – if you are soloing, this is really helpful.  The diplomacy quests may do the same but I didn’t enjoy that aspect so ignored it ;)

Don’t ignore the racial starter areas though – once I left the Isle of Dawn, I travelled to the Wood Elf starter area and did the beginner quests there.  These are great for flavour, for making you feel at home in the world and for giving you a different experience (be aware though that some races start in an instance that you won’t be able to access if you come via the Isle of Dawn, although I think you can pick up the quest trail once you are in Telon proper).

more links?
if anyone else knows of any other websites or blogs that would be useful or interesting – please let me know and I’ll include them :)

*update* stargrace published a list of useful sites for Vanguard a while back.

Ooo sparkly shiny treasure!

week 3 challenge: my main characters

I’m loving Ambermist’s challenges – really fun to do and to read how others have responded.  Its also nice to have some direction for a change, especially as currently both I and my toddler are cold-afflicted again ;)

so… this week’s challenge – my main characters… this could be lengthy so be warned :P

L-R Dimzad, Suzita, Emaimee, Kajen, illusionist, Kalyyn

my first MMO character was a ranger called Suzita in Everquest 2.  I created her in September 2006 as my first character and she stayed as my main all the way through.  Although she was my first MMO char, she was based upon the characters I had made in Daggerfall, Morrowind and Oblivion.  Through their lovely classless system I found I had a talent for sneaking, stabbing and killing things from afar with a bow (and preferably from behind cover or deep in a shadow).  I also discovered the fun of kiting in Oblivion, I still remember running backwards across half the map pew-pewing away and desperately hoping to find a town with some guards to um help out with the horde chasing me :)  Anyway, so I had to choose between a Ranger and an Assassin in EQ2 and I plumped for the Ranger as it was the ranged specialist.

suzita

My Elder Scrolls name was already taken so I had to suddenly think of a new name…  I ended up trying out variations of my name and came up with Suzita.  I sort of regret that now as its a bit of a crappy name really, makes you think more of an exotic stage dancer than a wood elf ranger… nevermind eh? :P

Oh yeah, I always roll a red-haired (or as red haired as I can) wood elf  – I kinda like the laidback hippieness combined with the GET ORF MOI LAND OR I’LL KILL YOU!!!! nature of the wood elves (and they tend to have +stats with bows) and I used to have pillar-box red hair in my 20s and I really miss it, so my characters have it instead now ;)).  I gave her the surname Starshadow as I thought it fit with her sneaking, woodland ways.  I never had a backstory for her… but she ended up being quite a fearless, cheerful character who loved killing orcs (with a special talent for room pulls).  This blog was named after her and used to just cover EQ2 but once my blogging branched out to other games, I dropped the suzita element.

eldaeriel

Next came along Eldaeriel in Lord of the Rings online.  I already knew she would be a hunter and I decided that she would hail from Mirkwood, to keep in with the wood elf theme (plus Mirkwood is fantastic, both in the literature and in the game).  As I rolled on a RP server, I thought Suzita would be too jarring, so instead I translated starshadow into Sindarin (el, dae) and as Eldae was already taken I stuck on -riel as a typical Elvish ending.   Although I’m currently taking a break from lotro, I will be taking Eldaeriel through the new expansion in the Autumn.  I did end up creating a backstory for Eldaeriel for a project that I’m currently also taking a break from ;)

eldae the dreaded bard

saraya

suzita the ranger

Recently I rolled a bard named Eldae (a red haired wood elf – who’da thunk it!) in Everquest.  I decided that perhaps I ought to grow up and play a ‘proper’ class for a change – BIG mistake.  She is now known as the dreaded Bard and I hate playing her.  I should have stuck with a ranger…  The only other class I’ve ever enjoyed playing was Saraya, my inquisitor from EQ2.  I liked her mainly because she had a big thwacky hammer and good dps – I was awful at remembering to heal people though.  Finally, I’ve just picked up an old character in Vanguard that I made back in 2009.  Any guesses? yup a red haired wood elf exotic dancer ranger named Suzita… full circle :D

nbilarge

wordpress tips ~ menus, categories and tags (nbi)

WordPress uses categories and tags as both a way for search engines to find your blog and as a way for you to organise your content.   There are different ways of doing this but the way I find works best is to use categories for individual games and the overall subject matter (e.g. games, mmo, lotro, vanguard) and tags for keywords (e.g. lotro outfit, weatherstock 2012, minecraft client crash) and some sub-organisation (e.g. lotro lore, weekly screenshot).  Wordpress suggests using between 6 and 10 categories/tags as the optimal amount to use.  It does take a bit of trial and error to find which work for you but you can change them and change as you go along (you can rename them globally which can save a fair bit of faffing under the Posts> categories or tags dashboard).

Custom menus are just brilliant, especially if you play more than one game and write about more than one subject.  As you can see above I’ve used a custom menu to differentiate all posts categorised under lotro and under eq2.  These posts are then further sub-categorised into lotro outfits, eq2 decorating etc.  I tend to only put posts on the custom menu if there are a fair amount of posts as otherwise the category widget works just as well (test it out – try looking at my minecraft posts using the category widget, and then the lotro posts under the category widget.  Then look at the lotro menu above and try that out).

Here’s the link to the wordpress tutorial

nbilarge

wordpress tips – screenshots (nbi)

WordPress has a number of ways to use screenshots in a post.  A free wordpress account will give a very generous 3GB of storage, I have been blogging for 3 years and have TONS of screenshots and images uploaded and I still have 2.9GB left!  If you embed videos though, I expect this will eat up the storage quicker…  So you can insert a link to Flickr or Photobucket, but if you’re just using images my advice would be to upload away   you will have more options with your screenshots if you do.

Insert image:
As you can see above, the simplest way is to simply insert a full size image (preview and adjust smaller if necessary as some themes will post HUGE images ;))  Generally though, if you have a fixed width post column, the large size will adjust to the size of your post width (kept in proportion with the height).

Thumbnails and wrapped text:

You can also wrap your text around a thumbnail or a small image.  Click on the image and choose left or right hand justify and your text will wrap accordingly.  This can be quite tricky to format – it works best with a good chunk of text which continues on past the image.  I am now having to type extra text in order to be able to start a new paragraph away from the thumbnail image ;)

If you have more than image, you can consider using either the gallery function or the slideshow function.  In order to use these functions you need to upload them and click ‘save all changes’.  You will then notice you have a gallery tab and from here you insert either a gallery or a slideshow.

Gallery:

You can choose the number of columns, whether to link to the image file or an attachment page and in which order the images appear.

Slideshow:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

again with the slideshow you can change the order of images show.  You can add a caption to each image too.  If you add the caption as you upload the images, the caption stays with the image.  If you add a caption under the gallery tab, the caption only shows on the gallery or slideshow.  You can choose the order in which images appear and use any images from your media library.

Some other really helpful advice columns re: screenshots: