Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Random WoW News

Just a few things to touch on briefly today. They're kinda old news now, but I haven't had a chance to write about them yet because I've been deep in the land of PTA moms and fundraisers the past few weeks lol.

On January 14th, a couple of articles started popping up on my Yahoo front page about World of Warcraft becoming free to play for Veterans of the game (here's an article on cnet that explains it pretty well). The gist of it was that it was similar to the Starter edition of the game; the one where you can play for free up until a certain level, but you can't join a guild or trade items, stuff like that. The Veteran edition had caps on gold and chatting, but the leveling caps and a few other things weren't clear. Well, Blizzard very quickly cleared that up. On January 16th, this article came out and explained that the Veteran edition is real, except its taking lapsed accounts, and essentially reverting them to Starter editions. The difference is, if the Veteran has a toon in a guild, and is trying to get his below twenty toon into that guild, he can. So it wasn't quite the crisis situation everyone was making it out to be, and it really doesn't change anything gameplay-wise. If you want to come back to WoW, try it out. And if you want to go past level twenty, time to pay up :)

And this is fun for anyone that's been playing WoW for the entire ten years its been out. Blizzard is sending out statues to players that have been subscribed to the game for the full ten years that WoW has been WoW. That means no breaks in your subscriptions at all. Some people that have been playing since the game came out but took a couple of breaks were complaining that they didn't get statues, but that's life. The statue is a reward for supporting World of Warcraft for a whole freaking decade! I am not one of those people, but its still pretty neat. Read about it here.

And in my last bit of WoW news for today, did you guys hear about the player that has one hundred level 100 toons? His name is Watola and that is just crazy! Leveling, even with refer-a-friend (which is what he used to complete this), gets on my nerves after a while. So I can't even imagine trying to do it for that many toons. Here's the link to the article and here is the link to his forum post, which is pretty detailed and is a helpful read for anyone trying to level 80 toons and above right now.

In my own personal WoW news....I haven't been doing too much, mostly just garrison stuff on my level 100 Horde mage. It looks like I've missed some quests somewhere, because I don't have the plans for my tailoring building. I've looked in the area that was supposed to have that quest line to obtain the blueprints, and I've completed all the quests. So maybe its a glitch, I'm not sure. And I've noticed that I'm dying a lot while trying to quest, so I'm thinking I missed an area somewhere, and my gear isn't good enough for my toon anymore. I need to jump back on my Alliance toon, to get her to 100, but thats the one I play with my husband, so I'm trying not to get ahead of him.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Giveaway from Zainey Laney (CLOSED)

I am excited to share this giveaway with you guys today. I met Laney through the Female Geek Bloggers group, and I was lucky enough to be chosen to do a giveaway for her Etsy shop! Her pieces are so fun, and there's something for almost every fandom imaginable. I have the Ana/Olaf necklace, and I have people ask me all the time where I got it from.
Ana and Olaf

Wizard of Oz

Michonne from The Walking Dead

As you can see, these necklaces are really fun, and definitely unique. A great addition to any geek's wardrobe, especially if you're looking for something that showcases one of your favorite fandoms, but doesn't scream it in a high school, Hot Topic kind of way. Laney also has a YouTube channel where she does unboxings and things like that, so you can get a sense of her personality and really feel like your getting to know whose creating the jewelry you're buying. 

Laney has generously offered to give one of my readers a $25 credit to her Etsy store, so you can pick up one of her fabulous pieces! This giveaway starts today and will run until February 5th, 2015. The rules are as usual- completing any of the entries with a giveaway only account will disqualify you from the giveaway. I cannot stress that enough, no giveaway accounts!!! Winner will be notified by email around February 5th. Once the winner had received the email, they will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. If you can't wait to see if you've won, Laney has offered a discount code for her store, good for 20% off your order. Enter ZAINEYGEEK until January 31st to take advantage of that code :) 

Good luck! And don't forget to visit ZaineyLaney on Etsy, YouTube, Instagram and Twitter

ZaineyLaney Giveaway

PS Since Rafflecopter and I aren't friends anymore, I am trying out Gleam for this contest. Let me know what you guys think of it please!

Friday, January 16, 2015

Five Fandom Friday- Conventions I Have Been To/Wish To Attend

I think this is one of the easiest Five Fandom Friday topics I've ever participated in! My convention attending wish list is long! I'll start with the ones I've actually gone to first though.

1. WonderCon. Its like SDCC's baby sister! A smaller convention held in Anaheim, CA usually during Easter weekend. I've gone for about three years now, and will be attending this year as well. The convention has gotten bigger over the years, and depending on who you ask, its either "what SDCC used to be" or "the new SDCC." I like it because its a little closer to home, and theres more of an opportunity to talk to the vendors and artists that are there.

2. San Diego Comic Con. This was like entering Heaven the year my husband and I were finally able to obtain tickets! This year will make the year number three of us being able to attend, and I'm so grateful. Its a lot of fun, but it can get really overwhelming, and its rough when we have to take our children with us (like we more than likely will this year). Its so cool though. I love seeing all the different cosplayers' outfits, and you never know what celebrity you may randomly run into (getting a high five from Neil deGrasse Tyson while stalking the Hilton was pretty epic). If you're ever able to attend, I recommend that you do, at least once. Its one of those experiences that stays with you forever. 

3. Star Wars Celebration Anaheim. So this hasn't happened yet, but I will be there! I am super excited to see what this convention will be like. I once went to a local Star Trek convention when I was like, nine, but other than that, I have never been to a convention that was for a specific fandom. I'm worried that my Star Wars knowledge will not be enough lol. I think saying "R2D2 is my favorite because hes so cute!" will only take me so far with that crowd....but I could be wrong. And there's even going to be a speed dating thing there! I'm married, but that sounds cool.

4. Pax Prime. I really want to go to this, at least once. It look so cool! And I like that its more focused on video games. Emerald City Comic Con is another one in Washington that I want to check out. And Geek Girl Con. I think I'm looking for an excuse to visit the state :) But everyone says that those are some of the best conventions, and I want to experience that.

5. BlizzCon!!!! I have been trying to get tickets to this since I started playing the that's like, eight years now. If you think getting tickets to SDCC is rough, you haven't tried for BlizzCon tickets. Its super nuts. My husband knows someone that used to work there, that guy has a brother that still works there, and we still can't get tickets. Every year we say that we're gonna bite the bullet and buy those million dollar charity dinner tickets, but we never do. BlizzCon is a convention for Blizzard Entertainment's games (such as Starcraft, Diablo, and my personal favorite, World of Warcraft). It would be so cool to be able to see sneak peeks of new games or expansions, and to be surrounded by fellow Blizzard fans.

I also want to go to Phoenix Comicon (because I want to go back to Arizona), Denver Comic Con (so I can visit my sister and niece), and Stan Lee's Comikaze, just to name a few! 

Which conventions have you attended or wish to attend? Maybe I'll see you at one :)

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Is WoW Hating on Ladies?

A special  note about this post: I was going to post this on January 7th, 2015. I didn't though, because I felt like I was ranty and bitchy, and I really didn't want to come off that way. I really appreciated the view that Lindsay Ann gave about her experience with Warlords of Draenor. I was so polite in my comments on her post that I thought maybe I should just copy them here, but you guys deserve something better than that. So here is my post. And yes, its still a little ranty and bitchy. But I'm not a girl gamer hater- I am a girl gamer! I just think that people nit pick so many things nowadays, and I don't think that Warlords deserves to be one of them.


World of Warcraft is a lot of things to me. Sometimes I hate it. Sometimes I love it. For a while, it was a place where I could go and always know that a friend would be there, so I would be there almost all day long. WoW is also a pit of internet trolls. Trade chat can be an entertaining scroll, or an offensive diatribe. If you want to know anything about Chuck Norris, anal [insert class talent here], what your mom just did, or if somebody said Thunderfury, Blessed Blade of the Windseeker, you'll find it there. One thing that WoW has never been to me is sexist. Sure, there are the immature boys that will announce in trade that they just told their girlfriend to get in the kitchen and make them a sandwich. But in reality, if he's sitting there typing that to trade, his girlfriend and that sandwich probably aren't around. So I was really interested in this blog post that was shared to the Female Geek Bloggers group the other day. Its found on the HerStoryArc blog, and it basically states that with the Warlords of Draenor expansion, Blizzard missed an opportunity to make female gamers feel more welcomed by not including any lead females into the storyline. If you check out the post, you will see my rather lengthy responses, but I still felt compelled to write this, because I don't think Blizzard is in the wrong, and I certainly don't need a female Warlord to feel welcomed into a game that I have been playing since 2006.

In the past versions of the game, female characters have been present and had some roles in the expansions. The two most prominent are Jaina Proudmoore (Alliance) and Lady Sylvanas Windrunner (Horde), and from these two, I think that Sylvanas has had the better storyline (especially in Wrath of the Lich King). But even if they weren't the main focus of anything, they've always been around in the game (and they still are, if you go into any of the older content). The complaint from HerStoryArc was that the Warlords of Draenor expansion lacks female leads, and for that, Blizzard let their female demographic down. While its true that the main focus of this expansion are male, I don't feel that they've let their female demographic down at all. I play WoW because its fun, not because of the lady leads. And in this expansion's storyline, the characters were all male. Even I, who lacks in the greater depths of knowing WoW lore, knows that. The author of the post feels that by incorporating more female friendly leads and quests into the game, thats going to change the dynamics of how gamer boys feel about gamer girls. That sounds nice, but I don't think so. Players who are set on completing the objectives of a quest will do it. It doesn't matter if the quest is for a male or female NPC. What needs to change is the behaviors of the players. Which brings me to the other issue that was brought up: language in the game.
The post suggested that Blizzard place stricter guidelines for in-game language, harsher punishment for those that break the rules- again, all so that female gamers (which later in the sentence turns into all players) can feel safe while playing. I take issue with this because the post made it sound like Blizzard has nothing in place for these types of behaviors when in actuality, they have several. First, you can turn on a mature language filter in your settings. It won't catch everything, but if you don't like cuss words and things, it will do this @#$%#%^# number to them. If you think that someone is saying inappropriate things, i.e. rape jokes or racist comments, you can click on their name and report them for abuse. There will be a few things you have to answer to report them, but its really that simple. And bonus, once you report them, they also get blocked, so you don't have to see their idiotic comments anymore. There is also the option to just flat out block them, if you don't want to bother with reporting them, And yes, you can still open a ticket to talk to a GM if things get out of hand. Just be prepared to have specific times, dates and places if you want to go that route. Speaking with a GM is the best way to get someone temporarily banned/have their account suspended. I know all of this because I have had instances where players have been really unkind, but I've also been fortunate enough that those instances have been few and far inbetween. 

My last issue with the post is with its tone as a whole, and this is probably where I am going to get the most backlash. There are girls in the game that use being female to their advantage. They will use the horniess of these poor dorky guys to get gold and gear and sometimes real life items like keyboards and cash. I hate girls like that. They make the rest of us that are there to just play the game look really bad. They're one of the reasons guys don't take female gamers seriously. But in that same vein, I feel that girls who constantly complain that games aren't girl-friendly are just as bad as those girls who are banking off of their sex, and that's where that blog post fell for me. Hearing that the gaming isn't doing enough for girls calls to mind that episode of The Guild where the Knights of Good want to buy the guild hall, and the guys want the metal gray one with all the spikes, and the girls want the candy colored, hot pink hall. The Guild wasn't complaining about lack of female anything (I mean, Felicia Day practically made WoW every geek girl's game at one point), but it highlights the difference in the way most guys and girls play. Always saying that girls need something for them makes me think that they want the pink frills, they want something decidedly girly (which is funny, because in the post, the author states that's exactly what she's not asking for). WoW doesn't perpetuate hate towards females. It doesn't portray them as helpless princesses (Sylvanas was murdered, then came back, got revenge and managed to snag a position of power. Um, that's pretty awesome.). It would be different if they were having quests where you only kill women, or there was somewhere in the game that shows graphic violence towards them, but there isn't. So why does it matter if there are a few more male leaders than female? It doesn't. Or it shouldn't.

Like with anything else in life, WoW is an experience that you create for yourself. You control your toon, you control your actions in the game. If some troll has something to say, you can be the bigger person and ignore it, or you can feed them and engage in a word war. Just know, that report button works both ways. I try to be positive while playing, and just yell at the screen when people annoy me :) That way, I'm not adding any negativity to the game. We all pay $15 a month to play, why not make the best of it?

What are your thoughts? Do you think having more lady leads in WoW would change male opinions of female gamers? Do you think the game needs more lady leads in general? Would trolls stop you from playing a game you love, but would stronger consequences against them bring you back? Let me know in the comments!

Helpful links:
*The Guild Season Four (its the season I was discussing above)
*Wowhead (basically an encyclopedia of WoW, you can snoop around and see who/what's in the game)
*WoW: New Models, New Theme and New Potential (the article on HerStoryArc that inspired this post)

Monday, January 5, 2015

Mixtape Monday #1

Happy Monday everyone! Part of my New Year's goals for the blog vaguely mentioned starting some new segments and getting rid of some others. Well, today I am trying out one of the new ones- Mixtape Mondays. It will either just be a playlist of what I'm listening to, a playlist that correlates to a current theme, or it might just feature a band/singer that I'm into at the moment. Mixtape Monday will be a bi-weekly feature, because I'm hoping to revive Monday Mix Up. Its my hope that by having to do them less often, I'll be able to do more of them, if that makes sense.

Today's mix is an odd one. Its an ode to beginning the new year (Lets Get It Started, Counting Stars, Break the Rules), even though we're like five days into it already. But its also a throwback, some of these songs are old (Harder to Breathe, Dance, Dance). Some of these are for self love or a new you (The Right Stuff, I Love Myself Today, Remix- I Like The) and some of them are for those relationships, whatever the status may be (Kiss, Kiss, Break Your Heart Right Back, Animals). I hope you like them!

Friday, January 2, 2015

The Renaissance Project- Take Two (or Three....)

Happy 2015 everyone! Today I want to talk about The Renaissance Project. Its that thing that I started at the beginning of last year and then kinda let it slip away. Well, I'm going to go over what I accomplished, what I didn't, and then set my new shiny goals for this year :)

Here are the goals that I set for myself last year:

*lose 20 lbs
*visit the Old Zoo in L.A.
*read 10 books
*keep up with Rat Queens and Sex Criminals
*visit one National Park
*more road trips
*make more time to be creative
*Project Life (monthly, not weekly)

Well....I read ten books (yay!). I lost ten pounds because of my health issues, but then gained it all back and then some when my doctors started messing with my medications (bleh). I sorta kept up with Rat Queens and Sex Criminals, then my local comic book shop closed because they let their personal life drama interfere with their business life, so I'm currently on the hunt for the issues I'm missing (plus, I started reading like, five other comics its become a thing...). I didn't visit the Old Zoo or a national park. I didn't do Project Life at all, but I did find time to do some creative things, though not much. And the road trips...well, I set myself up for failure with that one. My husband traveled a lot in 2014 for airsoft, and I was hoping that he would take us along for some of those trips. It had been discussed, its not like I was just completely wishing it, but it always fell through. And the trips we were supposed to take to make up for it never happened. I wish I could say that extensive traveling will happen this year, because I definitely have wanderlust fever, but hes going to be traveling even more for airsoft this year, so I'm not holding my breath. I am, however, determined to make it to a national park, but more on that a little later.

*four giveaways
*more contributors
*new segments- The Renaissance Project and Currently
*book/comic book reviews
*a mini series based on a Kerri Smith book (How to Be an Explorer of the World)
*improve my social media presence (Twitter and Facebook)

I did alright with my blogging goals. I held more than four giveaways, and I improved my social media presence a little bit (yes to Twitter, eh on Facebook). The new segments didn't hold, like I said, I let TRP slip as the year went on, and while I like the idea of a Currently post, my life just isn't exciting enough for them. Once I like something, I pretty much latch onto it for months, so I struggled to find things to put in my Currently posts. I am thinking of trying it again though, as a monthly instead of a weekly like I originally wanted. I did a few book reviews, but I wanted to do a lot more. And I don't think I reviewed one comic. If I find a new comic book store and start reading them again, I definitely want to start doing those. And the mini series.... I am hanging on to that because I had them written out, I just never posted them! What's up with that?!

Here's a picture of a Scottish Fold for sticking around through this long post! 
Goals for this year:

*get healthy
*visit one National Park
*complete a year of Project Life
*read 15 books

These may seem a little vague (especially the get healthy goal) but I have help! I purchased the Happy New You bundle from Erin Condren; which has a wellness journal, a budget planner and some other stuff. I really want to stay organized this year, so I figured that'd be a great way to do it. I also purchased this sheet from Elise Blaha as a way to track a few different goals (side note, I am really looking forward to the get to work book shes launching this spring. I hope I'm lucky enough to buy it). I also have the National Parks passport, which I've owned since 2011, and have not one cancellation in it. I am determined to change that this year. What's the point of owning one, buying all the sticker sets to make it pretty, and not doing anything with it? I also have the Project Life Planner Pages, which I plan on using to complete PL with this year. I bought it at Michael's during the middle of 2014 when it was on sale. I guess you're supposed to use it as a regular planner, but its not practical for me in that way. And for the books...well, I barely squeaked in ten books last year, but I'm going to push  myself for fifteen this year. I really enjoy reading, I wish I had more time for it.

*collaboration with fellow bloggers
*try a few new segments/purging of old ones
*attend a convention as press
*learn to use an editorial calendar
*new layout/learn to make graphics
*sell ads

These seem like a lot, but they really aren't. Some are just editing things that I've written down to remind myself to complete :) I do want to focus on the few things I want to change, and make them really good though. I would also like to mention that I have reduced the pricing of my ads for this year. Selling ads would allow me to get a new background, which this blog so desperately needs. Plus, I'd like to be able to get some really awesome giveaway prizes too. I'd also like to collaborate more with other bloggers or shops. I was able to do so last year with some really great people, and am looking to branch out and do even more this year. And hopefully, if my bridges aren't completely burned, I would like to actually attend a convention as press this year. Last year my health was just too crappy to do it, but if I stick to my personal goal of getting healthy this year, it shouldn't be an issue.

So those are my goals for this year. What are yours?

**The links to Amazon and the Erin Condren main site (not the one that goes straight to the bundle) are affiliate links. If you purchase something from Amazon, I will get a small commission from your purchase, at no extra charge to you. If you are a new member to Erin Condren, and make a purchase using my referral link, you will get $10 off your first order, and I will receive a $10 credit to my account. Thank you for supporting KMT!**

Five Fandom Friday- Fandom Resolutions

When I think of fandoms, I think of people I see at conventions. The ones that can recite episodes by the names and numbers in which they're produced. The ones that can spot even the most minute mistake in a character's storyline. A person that owns every piece of memorabilia they can get their hands on. I am not one of those people. But I wanted to give today's Fandom Five a shot, because maybe 2015 can be the year that I really devote myself to a particular fandom (or two).

1. I will achieve a rank higher than 20 during a season in Hearthstone. I'm not a particularly good Hearthstone player, but I can usually eek out that rank of 20 by the end of each season (month) to get the special card back. I'd like to get into the teens at least once this year, just to say that I did.

2. I will learn more about the lore in World of Warcraft. Apparently its quite extensive, and some players really take it seriously. I can't tell you how many harcore lore lovers cried over the Mists of Pandaria expansion because the pandas had no place in original WoW lore. With Warlords of Draenor (the most recent expansion), they set the game back in time about twenty years, so you get to see some of the leaders that you had only heard about in past expansions. I wouldn't mind reading the books about WoW to see how all of it stacks up.

3. My husband and I are probably going to start a podcast about nerd things and conventions. What better way to hone your fandom than to start a podcast talking about it, right? This one is kinda iffy, but it might be cool if we actually pull it off. He does a bi-weekly podcast with some other guys that pertains to airsoft, but he wants to do one with me that focuses on geekier things. The one he does for airsoft is pretty good, and I can listen to it and be entertained even though I don't play airsoft. What's interesting though, is that my sister-in-law also does a podcast. She does it with some people that she works with on her university's paper and they seem to focus on nerdy things, but with some other stuff thrown in. Her's is pretty boring (even though she's not a boring person), and I worry that ours will be like that if we try.

4. I'm starting a Geek Girl Brunch in my city. This is fandom related, right? A brunch that's dedicated to different geeky things can't be bad. I'm pretty excited for it. I think we decided on May for our launch date, but I have to check with the other ladies. If you live in central California and are interested in becoming a member, email us!

5. I will find one new fandom a convention this year, and follow through with figuring out what it is and if I like it! This is actually inspired by Kacie. She wrote about how she attended panels on Steampunk to learn about what it was, and now she aspires to create her own Steampunk character/cosplay for a convention. I think thats great, because I think Steampunk is really neat looking, but I don't know a damn thing about it. I'm a bit like Clara from The Guild, if you've ever watched the episode where they all go to The Convention, and shes mesmerized by the Steampunk cosplayers but she doesn't really get it. So this year, when I do my convention rounds, if I see something I like but don't know much about, I'm just going to jump on in and ask. 

So those are my fandom resolutions, even though I'm not sure some of them really classify as such. Anyway, I hope you all have a geeky 2015! Share some of your fandom resolutions with me in the comments below. And of course, thanks to Megan and Kristin for coming up with these prompts!