Thursday, 26 March 2015

The Liebster award

Now even shinier than before!

I've been enjoying the personal revelations of fellow bloggers posting their Liebster awards over the past few weeks. I've been both looking forward to and dreading being nominated myself: looking forward because it's an honour and dreading because I don't usually talk all that much about personal things on my blog. Anyway, here it goes!

Nerdy MMO blogger theory

Like many, I'm not such a fan of blogging chains or 'awards', but I thought the Liebster award is charming. You see, unlike many lifestyle bloggers, most MMO gamers don't like to talk about themselves a lot; they like to talk about games and often use pseudonyms. It's all about the gaming! We're hardcore like that.

That doesn't mean we're not secretly curious about other bloggers, though. Of course we want to know why this or that blogger stopped blogging for a while. Or what their gender is (the fact that that is sometimes hard to find out says enough about how hermit-like we gamer bloggers can be, I think). Maybe that's why the Liebster award is so popular among gaming bloggers at the moment. 

Either way, since I've had the pleasure of reading so much about fellow bloggers the past weeks, it is only fitting for me to return the (questionable) favour. Blame Thanks go to Rowan for nominating me. Beware, you're in for a long read!

Random facts about me

  • I'm in my mid-twenties. 
  • I used to practice medieval sword-fighting as a sport (but then I took a metaphorical sword to the knee).
  • I met my boyfriend in Lord of the Rings Online.
  • One of my most frustrating in-game moments was joining a Dark Delvings pug in LotRO. After finding out I was female on voice chat, my group suddenly started explaining each trash pull to me explicitly. 
  • I have, however, never been showered with presents just because I'm a girl gamer - so I want a refund!
  • I play the cello and nyckelharpa.
  • I was diagnosed with a nasty degenerative chronic disease about a year ago.
  • I have a box labelled "shelter for lonely socks", because I always manage to misplace poor sock individuals somewhere in the process of doing laundry. 
  • If you pick me a wild flower, I'll probably know its name.
  • I'm currently recovering from a depression (or so I hope). 
  • While some people think I'm a closet Harry Potter fan, Griffon is a direct translation of my real life Dutch surname.

In before "wtf is a nyckelharpa"

My answers

Why did you start blogging?
It was sheer coincidence. I had never consciously read a blog before when I was browsing the LotRO forum (which I rarely did in the first place) and followed a link in a signature to Lothirieth's blog. When I read about her adventures as a lore-master I had an eureka moment: "hey, I could do this too!" At the time, I already had a pile of screenshots polluting my hard disk and starting a blog seemed like the perfect way to give them a purpose.

What is the origin of your blogging name?
Okay, so I knew I wanted to blog, but I had no idea about a name. Then I thought of Rav + revelation = ravalation and the name was born. It was a bit over the top, so I added the "Diary of a gamer girl" part to make it even worse (after all, it's not like I introduce myself as such in my offline life). I recently deployed some sparky stars in the title banner as a finishing touch.

What was your very first MMO character and why did you choose that race/class?
What few people know is that my first MMO character emerged in World of Warcraft, because some friends dragged me into it. I found out I don't dig cartoony-looking MMOs and only got to level 17, so let's pretend that never happened.

Lore-master Ravanel

So the first MMO character I actually remember the name of is my lore-master Ravanel in Lord of the Rings Online. She is an elf, because I always liked the race in Tolkien's stories and because I thought it would fit the classes I was considering to play. I remember having a really hard time choosing between three in particular: minstrel, lore-master and hunter. As I always try to put something of myself in my characters, the hunter reflected my love for the outdoors, the minstrel my love for making music and the lore-master my nerdy side. As I had started studying history at the university that year, I went with the lore-master after all and gave her the Historian crafting profession. I decided to ignore the "this is an advanced class to play" warning signs and thus my first MMO character was born. I didn't roll a second character for several years.

Did you stick with that character as your main as long as you were playing that game? Why or why not?
I did. The lore-master had a very versatile playstyle and a unique support role, which I learned to love. In raids they had to multi-task: they would remove buffs and apply debuffs to enemies, prevent or remove stuns on players, generate & supply power (the resource for all classes) to everyone, manage pets, off-heal and crowd-control adds. In landscape fights they could solo about everything if they were smart about their abilities. Or they could chose to trait for DPS and blow everything up with a lot of fire. Oh, and they had pretty cool animations as well and arguably had the most skills referring to events in Tolkien's books.

I did play my captain and rune-keeper during progression raids sometimes when the group setup asked for it, but I always saw my lore-master as my main character.

Although there is no endgame anymore in LotRO, I'm still very lucky to have Ravanel: all other classes have lost over half their skills with Helm's Deep's major class revamp, and lore-masters are the only class that have retained their complex playstyle.

What is your favourite zone in any MMO?
In Lord of the Rings Online it's the Old Forest. Not the best-looking forest - probably the worst-looking forest in that game, actually; you can clearly see the progress they made when they created Fangorn years later - but one with memories attached that I hold dear. 

You see, like in the book, the Old Forest was designed to get lost in. Therefore the developers initially didn't release a map of the place, but they did put quests inside. Questing in the Old Forest captured the feeling of danger and being lost in the shifting woods quite well. I loved that feeling of immersion and often helped out people asking for help in Bree-land chat. Eventually, I got pretty good in finding my way by memorizing tiny details in the landscape.

Fangorn, not the Old Forest - I didn't even make pictures back then

In SWTOR, Tatooine is my favourite planet, for being, well, Tatooine. It returns in a lot of Star Wars films and movies and captures the Star Wars feeling well for me.

In Guild Wars, the Norn areas appeal the most to me. They capture my favourite landscape type of temperate/nordic woods quite well.

What gaming innovation are you looking forward to or hoping for most in the next twenty years?
It would be great if sword-fighting would look realistic and not like some random smashing of blades. Like, the blades should actually react to each other. (I would also love sword fighting animations to generally look more realistic; as a former sword-fighter knowing the techniques they make me cringe in every game I play).

I don't think "the perfect MMO" will ever be invented, so I'm not going to wish for that. I know it's something many of us secretly dream of: that one MMO you never get bored of, but I believe that no matter how enthralling you make your game, once people know the ins and outs they'll long for a new thing to feel overwhelmed by. It's the curse of MMO players. Having so many titles to chose from instead of having just the one MMO around (like WoW in its hay day) is something we should cherish.

For the rest, I'll leave the real innovations for game designers to think about: I'm just sitting here enjoying the ride.

Also, please give me a sword I can actually lift next time, ArenaNet

What is your favourite pastime besides video gaming or blogging?
Unfortunately, I barely have any energy left to do things other than studying and health stuff. I recently picked up balfolk dancing again, though. I'm hoping I'll regain enough strength to start playing in a folk band again, although that's a dangerous thing to wish for.

What house would you be sorted into: Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, Gryffindor, or Slytherin?
I wish I could say Gryffindor (because, you know, the name), but I'm really not all that brave. I'd probably end up in Ravenclaw, because I like learning and science. But hey, ravens are cool, too.

What is your favourite holiday?
When I was a child, I loved Christmas because we would sing next to the Christmas tree. Even though we don't get presents here in the Netherlands with Christmas (we do that December the 5th with Sinterklaas): I just loved singing so much and the homely atmosphere that came with it.

In my teens, Easter became my favourite holiday, because I would go to the annual Zuid-Limburg plant camp of my youth club and learn about wild herbs - yeah, I was a bit of an odd teenager (didn't become any better later if you managed to miss that).

Now, I don't really have any preference anymore.

Exploring pretty woods, yay!

What is your favourite vacation spot (or dream vacation)?
I went to a great spot in Norway with my parents and brother once upon a time. We rented a tiny house in the middle of nowhere without electricity and water. It was next to a lake in our own private little valley and so secluded that we didn't see anyone else but ourselves for over a week. Elks and beavers lived nearby. We did lots of swimming, rowing and, most of all, hiking and I found many rare plants I had never seen before. It was as close to heaven as it gets.

I don't think I'd enjoy going there again, though, because it would remind me so much of not being able to hike anymore. I've never been outside Europe yet, so it would be cool to see a bit more of the world. America would be awesome. Or maybe some tropical island to relax. I've never been one for beach vacations, but if you're feeling crap it can be nice to not have to do anything.

What brings you joy?
This is a tough question for me to answer. So many things that used to bring me joy can now overwhelm me with a feeling of loss. One thing that does give me great joy at the moment is dancing, even though I can only do it for short periods of time. When I dance with a partner and it clicks, I can get sucked in by the moment. It's a great feeling to dance as one, instead of two. It's like there's only the dance and nothing else in the world.

And I know it's a bit of a cliche, but my boyfriend, family and close friends keep me going in life.

In-game dancing on a half-sunken pirate ship also brings me joy

My questions

  • What made you decide to start blogging?
  • How did your blogging pseudonym come into being?
  • What makes you feel happy about a blog post you've written?
  • What skills do you admire in other bloggers that you wish you had yourself?
  • What is the strangest thing that ever happened to you in an MMO? And what moment will you never forget?
  • On a scale from 1 to 10, how do you rate Mountain Dew?
  • Have you ever felt being treated differently in-game because of your gender?
  • Did you ever delete a character? And if so: is it tough for you to do so?
  • Do you identify as a gamer? And if you do: when did you start doing so? Did any game or games have a particularly big influence on that?
  • What's the greatest TV series of all time and why is it Firefly?
  • And last but not least: Aragorn or Legolas?

My victims nominees

  • Shintar - for blogging about SWTOR as steady as a rock
  • Rakuno - for allowing me to terrorize his blog with my comments, opening it up to spammers in the process
  • Lothirieth - for inspiring me to start the blogging adventure in the first place (also, this may or may not be a subtle attempt to get you out of your blogging slumber!)
  • Atherne - because I just got to know your blog and now I'm curious
  • Vanessa - for never failing to surprise me

So this is the challenge: post 11 facts about yourself, answer my 11 questions, make up 11 questions of your own and select a bunch of victims. You can pick up your badge here.

Don't feel obliged to participate or answer questions if they are too personal. If you don't mind being haunted by an army of singing Elves and cursing dorfs for the rest of your life, that is!


  1. Awesome, thanks for posting. :D

  2. That Nyckelharpa looks fascinating. I'm assuming all those "valve"-like things on the side (I'm also assuming there's a technical name for those!) change the pitch by affecting the strings?

    I wasn't aware of this award until you posted this; a very interesting concept in of itself. Makes for a very interesting read, all in all.

    1. The "valve"-like things are simply called "keys" and you're correct with your assumption that they affect the pitch. It works pretty much the same as a violin, only the angle is different. The instrument has a different sound, though, mostly due to the many resonance strings that are situated in between the four main strings. (You can't see them very clearly on the picture, I'm afraid. You can vaguely see them just above the tailpiece, where you can finetune the strings.)

      The award has mostly been circulating in the more general or multi-MMO blogger scene. It would be cool if it reached the SWTOR blogger scene as well (- no pressure, Shintar). ;)

  3. Some pretty interesting answers. Also, interesting theory at the beginning. I didn't know this kind of thing was popular among lifestyle blogs. Then again I pretty much only read gaming blogs nowadays so I wouldn't know anything outside that niche.

    I am at the same time honored and terrified that you picked me. Answering your questions will be easy enough. It is just that making up new questions and choosing new victi- I mean, nominees will be hard. I think almost every blog I read has been nominated already by someone else. I guess that is a sign that I should expand my blog horizon, huh? :p

    P.S.: You never terrorize my blog with your comments. Quite the contrary. Any day I get a comment from you is an automatic good day for me. Also, my current system to deal with spam seems to be working wonderfully well. I haven't seem a spam in a long time. I am not sure if it is because they are being completely fooled by the system or just being deleted automatically and I am not getting any e-mail notification by it. Or both. I do wonder some times though if it isn't eating some legitimate comment though.... :x

    1. Please don't be terrified! I'm really looking forward to the answers. If all else fails, you could always skip the victim part (who cares about the rules anyway), or you could nominate some lesser known or new blogs to stimulate them.

      I'm happy to hear I haven't been responsible for more spam finding your blog. It is at least not eating *my* legitimate comments anymore - since I've found the complain-to-Rakuno button there's no escape. ;)

    2. Well, turns out coming up with questions was easier than I thought. There is one I will change though since I think it might be a bit too personal/weird. I also settled on four vict- I mean, nominees. So everything should be good to go, mostly.

      The only reason I didn't do the post yet is because I have been suffering from a cold. But I am almost back to 100% health. So maybe later tonight I will get to it.

    3. Ugh, I hate the cold. I'm looking forward to your post and hope you'll feel better soon!

    4. I figured I might as well post the link to my response here, just in case someone in the future stumble on this post and then wonder what were the answers to your questions:

      Sorry for the spam!

    5. Good idea! I might post the links at the bottom of this blog post once those that wanted to take part in it have written their things.

  4. Fun stuff. I wrote up my lists. Thanks for thinking of me. You have some impressive real life skills!

  5. Very sweet to think of me, Rav, but I'm afraid I'll pass on this one. I've seen it come around once before, tried to roll with it at the time, and just ended up with a half-finished post that sat in my drafts for three weeks until I deleted it. Somehow the format of this one just doesn't mesh with me...

    1. No worries, it's not for everyone. I wouldn't want to force anything on people they don't feel comfortable with. :)


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