I awoke this morning to the drone of a message notification LED on my phone. Not an uncommon occurrence, but as I unlocked the screen and attempted to focus on the tiny text in my Twitter app (which has become more difficult since the revelation that a farsighted prescription is required), I noticed that I had been nominated for an award of some kind. None other than the mighty Belghast has sent me the blogging equivalent of a 1970’s chain letter called “The Liebster Award”, which allows me to subject the blogosphere to my particular brand of narcissism. Not wanting to tangle with Bel (lest I end up bound and gagged in his van down by the river), I shall hereby respond in accordance to the rules of said award. (just kidding Bel, thanks for the nomination)
Short story: I answer Bel’s questions, then I nominate 5 other bloggers to answer my questions. Ready? Go!
What are the three major elements of your ideal video game?
Wow, not pulling any punches, are we? OK, we’ll start off with a fastball. At least he didn’t ask me if I was a pathological liar. An ideal video game needs to have the same basic elements as any other kind of game or sport. It needs to be easy to learn and play, yet have enough depth to give people the option to dive in as far as they want to go. It needs to be aesthetically pleasing, but not to the detriment of the other elements of the game. It needs to give players options and flexibility. It should provide an interesting narrative and characters that I grow to care about. It needs to provide a sense of value when compared to what I’ve given up (time AND money) in order to experience it. Is that three? I’m bad at math. Let’s call it three. I do enjoy games that have only some of these elements, but to have them all would catapult the game into the ‘ideal’ category.
What’s the origin of your blogging name?
It’s the name of my first character in an MMO. When I rolled my hunter in LOTRO, I was trying to find a name that sounded Tolkien-esque for a human male, knowing that names were very important in Lord of the Rings. I wanted something that sounded kind of Anglo-Saxon and would fit for a hunter. So, it became a game of hitting the random name generator on the character creation screen and looking for something that fit the bill. As is usually the case, all of the great suggestions were already taken, so I ended up combining a few. I think “Brax” was one such suggestion, and I probably tried to add the suffix “wulf” to create Braxwulf, which was also already in use on the Windfola server. From there, it became a vowel replacement game. When I started blogging, I kept the name because most of my gaming friends were LOTRO players, and were already familiar with it. Also, by that time I had been using my Braxwolf Twitter account to connect with people so it didn’t really make sense to change anything up.
What is your favorite biome?
I don’t really have a favorite biome, per se, but as someone who plays mainly ranged classes, I like zones with good visibility and a lot of room to kite. I’m not the biggest fan of underground areas that hem you in and don’t allow for a good escape route.
What is your favorite genre of movie?
When I was younger, I really liked the movies that made you think long after the movie was over. I used to claim 12 Monkeys as my favorite movie of all time during the college years. But as I’ve moved into different life situations, I’ve become more mainstream in my tastes. I enjoy the current superhero/Star Trek blockbusters as well as many of the big animated films that have been released since the mid 90’s (Pixar and Dreamworks stuff). Some things that I look for: Can I watch it with my kids? Does it make me laugh? Do I care about the characters? Does it make me forget about the difficulties of the world for a couple of hours?
How did you get started blogging?
I started a blog several years ago that was supposed to help people use/buy affordable technology. It was supposed to be like the big gadget blogs of the day, but focused on products and solutions that wouldn’t break your budget. I experimented with adsense monetization and learned that a) I was terrible at publicizing my blog and b) I ran out of ideas after about 15 posts, because no matter what you do, technology is expensive. That blog was on blogger. I had seen some of my friends posting stuff on this newer site called WordPress. On a whim, I created an account to compare it to Blogger, started a personal blog and taught myself the in’s and out’s of WordPress.com, which I eventually preferred to Blogger due to the better customization options and support community. Why did I start my gaming blog? Because I felt like I had a different perspective to offer. I’m a busy married father who is involved in many things but still likes to kick back and blast some pixels every once in awhile.
What is your fondest childhood memory?
Another fastball. I was fortunate enough to have a very good childhood, and have many fond memories. Playing in the backyard with my siblings, church retreats with my youth groups, family gatherings during the holidays. One memory that is very strong but kind of unexplainable stands out among some of the others, though, and really makes me return to that time of childhood and vulnerability. We used to take long car trips to visit family, and many times would drive at night when the traffic wasn’t as bad. My siblings and I would sprawl out in the back seat (no seatbelts) and sleep, my mom would doze from the front passenger side, and my dad would occasionally smoke a cigarette to keep himself awake. The car radio would softly play some AM station, probably 60’s or 70’s music. In my half-wakened state, when I heard the car window crack open, felt the temperature lower slightly, and caught a whiff of 2nd-hand smoke, I would suddenly feel very safe knowing that my parents were right there, in control. It may be the combination of sound, smell and touch senses all coming together, but it’s a very strong memory.
What is your favorite in game “mount” and why?
Though I don’t play it any more, I really enjoyed the gliders in Archeage. It felt so smooth and interesting, and I loved seeing the world from such a high altitude. I hope gliding in Guild Wars 2 brings a similar feel. Interesting side note: I don’t enjoy heights in real life.
Do you collect “mini pets” in game, and if so do you have a favorite?
I don’t think I really play a game with the mini-pets thing. Well, I guess you can buy cosmetic minis in Guild Wars 2, but I haven’t felt compelled to spend money on those.
Cats, Dogs or Something else?
I really like both. I’ve always liked animals, even as a very young child. Dogs are great at protecting territory and alerting you when something weird might be going on. Plus they’re just so darn happy to see you all the time. Cats always make me laugh, and are affectionate in their own way. Plus, they’re graceful and quick. When we had a cat, I liked to imagine him being a descendant of a mighty African hunter.
Describe your relationship with your automobile.
It runs, I’m happy.
What role of the holy trinity of tank/dps/healer fits your personality most?
Really, I’d have to say that I like support roles better than those listed above. I like having a wide range of skills that can be used when the situation calls for them. Stuns, knockbacks, buffs, debuffs. Things that can give my team the advantage it needs to accomplish a goal.
And now, for the victim…I mean nominees!
First off, here are the questions I’d like to pose, admittedly lifted from earlier nominations, because, well, I’m tired of thinking:
- How did you get started blogging?
- Your current boss fires you. Are you happy or sad?
- Why do you think I nominated you for this award?
- What’s the origin of your blogging name?
- Which blogger would you like to meet in real life and why?
- What is the thing you like most about yourself?
- Do you regret anything that you’ve written, tweeted or said on a podcast?
- What role of the holy trinity of tank/dps/healer fits your personality most?
- If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why?
- What are the three major elements of your ideal video game?
- If you were to start up a video game company, what would you name it?
And for this honor, I hereby nominate:
- Maevrim of Aggro-Range
- Weakness of Waiting for Rez
- Liore of Herding Cats (am I seriously the first one to nominate her??)
- DJpimpdaddy of IT Guy Down
- Iogro of A Hobbits Journey
- Ranni of The Flaming Bard
That’s five, right? Yeah, math. Good luck, and Godspeed.