Sunday, February 26, 2012

Webcasts and Leaderboards

I had the pleasure of showing Jaedrian of PUG TV around the Norrathian Research Library, Kelethin Branch. I had contacted him a few days ago, expressing interest in allowing the program to tour some of the homes I've built.

It took the Library several months to enter the Hall of Fame.
It was never the top of either category.
Surprisingly, people have apparently been requesting the Library. Considering how poorly it has done on the Leaderboard, people requesting it on a fledgeling webcast show was unexpected.

Speaking of the Leaderboard, I still dislike the fact that there are ratings at all. When the Leaderboard was first announced, Zhadowsee and I had a very interesting conversation about decorators and the Leaderboard. We observed that most individuals seemed to be against the idea. He thought that people who managed to overcome their dislike and posted their homes, and whose homes entered the Hall of Fame would change their tune. For the most part, he was right. People's opinions of the Leaderboard seemed to be directly affected by their homes' positions on said boards. It seems rare that people hold fast to their opinions, despite the position of their home on the board.

Then there's me. When the Leaderboard consisted of a five star voting system, I would not post houses there. No, I lied. I posted the Mazemansion for a Nights of the Dead competition. People used the Leaderboard to easily travel to the Mazemansion. The ratings it received were inconsequential. However, I did not post any houses with the intent of obtaining votes. Several people approached me about posting my houses on the Leaderboard for easy travel. I declined. Once the Leaderboard switched to the "like" system, I became more willing to post homes for exposure and travel, but I still disliked the concept of the Hall of Fame and the Leaderboard in general.

Amazingly, yes, I still don't like the Leaderboard.
I now have three homes in the Hall of Fame. One of those homes has been at the top of the Hall of Fame since it was inducted over a month ago. How do I feel about the Leaderboard? I still don't like it. Yes, it's not as hurtful with the "like" system. People aren't running around being half-star bandits, downrating other people's homes so that their own home is pushed up higher on the board. However, it still fosters competition in a previously competition-free environment. I'm not much of one for competition anyway. I don't like competing, and I feel that there are better ways to show off one's skills than to compete against other people. But that's neither here nor there. I've drifted off topic!

What I was saying before I distracted myself is that the Norrathian Research Library has done poorly on the Leaderboard, leading me to believe not many people were interested in it. Whether this is because word of the Library never spread, so no one visited to "like" it, or people visiting didn't "like" it, I don't know. And that's a good thing--I can't be upset that people didn't "like" it if I don't know whether they visited or not, unlike with the old system. But the Norrathian Research Library was requested more than once for PUG TV.

I stopped in last night to watch the live webcast of the Norrathian Design Wars. After that webcast ended, Jaedrian contacted me in-game, asking if I'd be willing to do the tour of one of my homes now. Specifically, he asked about the Library. From watching previous webcasts, I figured he would walk around and look at things, talking about what he saw. He would ask me the occasional question, which I would answer. Easy enough, right?

Wrong! I was told that since I'd seen his webcasts before and sort of knew what to expect, he was going to let me run the show.

Now, I have a terror of public speaking. It is a terror so bad, I almost lost my lunch every time I had to speak in front of the class in school. And he wanted me to talk! Well, I really couldn't say no at that point, so I decided to give it a go. I'd pretend I was just talking to this guy I was giving a tour to, and I wouldn't think, would not think about the fact that he was broadcasting it live, and people might actually be watching! I didn't entirely manage to convince myself, but I calmed myself down enough that I managed to talk almost normally.

They're on their second year of dates.
It didn't help that I was apparently lagging--watching the webcast after he posted it, I noticed that there were long pauses after he finished speaking and before I finished speaking. When I was actually doing the webcast with him, from my end, I spoke as soon as he stopped speaking. There were no long, awkward, first date pauses. Oh well!

I repeated myself over and over again. I stuttered. I wound up going off on tangents and never answering the questions he posed to me. At one point, I even called Norrath Azeroth! I haven't played World of Warcraft in over two years. Why in the world did I call it Azeroth?! That one still has me baffled.

And let's not get me started on how much I hate my voice. I detest my voice. Detest. I sound like a little girl choking on a bubble. Ugh!

There were so many things I wished I'd said in that interview. To begin with, I didn't really talk about the front room as much as I wanted to. It's the only room in the house that is actually inside the house. I built everything else myself.

The front room was intended to be a hidden valley high up in the cliffs above Kelethin. The idea behind the Library is that it isn't actually in Kelethin, just nearby. When I created the front room, the first month of grottos had just happened. We didn't know if the grottos would ever come back. We didn't know they would occur monthly. We didn't know they would be adding new tiles. I bought a couple of sky tiles, some foliage, and a bunch of grassy tiles for another project. By the time I got to the Library, I'd run out of grassy tiles, which meant some inventive work to cover the walls and floor of the acorn house.

And stone paving tiles didn't exist! I had to use the layout editor to flip stone hearths onto their fronts to use as the paved road.

If you look up at the ceiling while standing in front of the Library doors, I tried to use tiles to create an optical illusion of a tower rising into the sky. I didn't really succeed, but I tried.

I did mention that the valley room of the Library has existed since its first version. The only thing that's changed with it has been the doors. Blazewolf's "Temple of Na'Evrah" had those gorgeous sumac doors. I had to steal them.

First floor of the Library.
The counter in the first room of the Library tower is based off of the library where I used to spend my summers as a kid. I loved that counter, because it meant I was about to have a backpack full of books to read all week!

I didn't mention anything about the display in the center--that's my guestbook! People send me mail, and I update the guestbook with whatever they tell me they want to add to it. Now that they've made it so that you can send a mail from anywhere, I think I'm going to go back to encouraging people to sign the guestbook.

The Library is something that I envision as a lore source in-game. I'd like for people who need lore ICly to be able to go to the Library and look things up. I'd like for people to be able to hold classes on the 9th floor. I'd like to be able to zone into the Library and find people sitting around, chatting about this or that bit of lore. Will it happen? Probably not. But I can dream!
If I add seating up here, this'll be a nice place to relax and chat.
Maybe next time (and there probably will be another Jazabelle Does PUG TV time) I'll actually manage to say what I want to during the tour. We'll see!

Oh, you wanted to actually watch the tour? Here you go.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Where did she go? Oh, there she is!

The period from October through February is probably the busiest holiday season on Norrath. We have Nights of the Dead followed by the Heroes Festival. Before we catch our breath, we're hit by Frostfell. This year, we had the Goddess Risen world event right up until Erollisi day. Throughout those five months we also have city festivals and grottos each month. It seems like there's never a moment to catch your breath!

In less than a week, the Neriak city festival starts, and as soon as that's over, Brewday begins.

I love Everquest 2 and the number of holidays, but sometimes it seems like all there ever are are holidays. So this year I took it easy. I didn't go crazy farming any of the holidays (although my warehouses beg to differ, groaning at the seams with holiday-themed furniture). I took breaks, did things away from the computer, and didn't decorate at all. Because of that, I haven't had much to write about.

Yet somehow I have a zillion projects I need to finish before mid-March.

Right now I'm working on cleaning up a temple for Thoradan, building a temple for Dolthaic, arranging mazes for Kiosha, planning boats for Jadirah and Malecht, waiting for Eleanixa to get back to me so I can load the Tudor Farmhouse for her, working on several projects of my own, and planning a dungeon.

I wonder if I'll ever get back to the cabin in New Halas?