Friday, 31 August 2007

Learning from one's mistakes

If you’ll be a bit more attentive to that quotable down there at the bottom part of my blog, you’ll see that I regard the scars from past mistakes only as reminders of the errors I have done. As much as possible, I try to learn from my mistakes coz that’s how experience teaches (in other words, tests first and lessons later).

Of course everyone makes mistakes, but what one does after committing the error is what really matters.

In my life as a gamer, personal and professional lapses have become so numerous that I no longer keep a tab on each and every one of them, or I’d be having a sky-high list by now. Owkay, so there are times that we need to relive the past and try to see some humorous incidents among those mistakes. I’m a serious type of person, so I can’t really say that these are bloopers, but what the heck. Read on.

Mistake 1: Ignorance is excusable only for a short period of time

Back in the beta days of Philippine Ragnarok Online (pRO), most of the players have not much knowledge of proper builds, good skill trees, nor optimum hunting grounds. At that time that many are optimizing and honing their knowledge to the best they could, I stepped into a public chatroom at Geffen hoping to make a good deal.

So, what’s really laughable at me was that the item I wanted to trade was an Antler. For those who do not know pRO, the Antler is a headgear (an equipment put on the character’s head) that gives STR +1 (well, at that time… I’m not so sure if it’s the same these days) and weighs a great deal. What’s wrong with that? Oh, I have to say this part: I only have a mage back then.

Mage what? Oh well, for the uninformed. Mages, or magicians, DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT need strength as they rely on INT for magical damages. Also, mages have a very limited carrying capacity. If by now you don’t think a mage using an Antler is a laughing matter, sue me. I’d welcome the charges :P

By the way, I was trying to trade the Antler with an unripe apple. Pretty dumb, right? I guess the creator of the pub thought so, as she kicked me out at once.

More on the NO STRENGTH FOR MAGES bit. At that time, I knew that STR increases physical attack and carrying capacity… so what do you expect? My level 30 mage had about 20 STR, and battle sages are not even conceptualized then!

Mistake 2: Bad Joke

For the sake of experience, as well as the in-game prizes, I joined the cosplay competition during the Ragnarally back in ’05. For those who might be able to recall, I did the Baphomet monster though the costume almost rendered the impersonator almost indiscernible (but I did make it to the top 20!).

FYI, Baphomet is a boss-type monster that is a half-goat, half-human demon. So basically, I had the goat horns to match the outfit. After the event, of course I don’t have any other use for the costume, so I decided (out of boredom one time) to make a public chatroom with the topic: “Selling Majestic Goat iRL”

Whoa! The joke seemed to be on me, as several people immediately thought I was trading the real in-game item, and thus they heaped their offers. I had to log off for several hours :P

Mistake 3: “Is it a pumpkin?” NOT!

I also tried playing Philippine ROSE Online (Rush On Seven Episodes) when the game was just launched. I was able to roam freely for a few hours while doing the quests that were required of my character.

I still remember that the quests were like, “Kill 20 Choroppies,” or something. Then after that, 20 big choroppies, and so on. I remember that next to the choroppies are the pumpkins.

So there was I, with my visitor (er, I seem to have forgotten the proper term for novice charaters) roaming freely and exploring. I remember that I chanced upon pumpkin-like monsters at a particular map, and given my rather-photographic memory that can easily remember (only) map coordinates, I led a fellow-newbie to the map. Poor visitors only lasted a single punch each, as the monster we attack was not a pumpkin.

After that incident, nobody was asking me for directions again. I’m not wondering why.

Oh well, there goes a short list of some of in-game irregularities. I might update this post if I do recall a REALLY humorous blooper, should I chance to remember one. This is in response to GM Tristan's challenge for week 3 of his Group Writing Contest.

Sunday, 26 August 2007

Traveler's Advisory: Phase 2 Complete

If there is something good that came up with that troubling dream I had the other day, it is the fact that I was able to tweak the template and re-arrange the layout of this blog since I couldn't write anything. I feel better now since the dream never had recursions and because I was able to add another sidebar thanks to Hans and his nifty tips in his blog, Beautiful Beta.

With this, I now resume to posting my thoughts in this daily joyride I call my life.

Saturday, 25 August 2007

Troubled by a dream

Can't write anything right now. I had a bad dream and I woke up with a troublesome migraine headache.

I dunno, I just can't take my thoughts away from that dream. It is greatly troubling me. I think I've read before that dreams are in black-and-white but I really think I saw blood red in my gory dream.


Blogging on hold 'til I get a grip of myself, and after the medicine takes effect. This migraine's killing me.

Monday, 20 August 2007

Top 5: From In-Game to IRL

So the Group Writing Contest of GM Tristan enters the second week. I admit that when I first read this week's topic, I thought that I don't have any top 5 list as a gamer. But taking GM T's theme as a challenge, I scoured every corner of my memory to think of a worthwhile list.

And then I remember one of my favorite threads in the Philippine Ragnarok Online Messageboards, or Ragnaboards, which gave me an idea on what to jot down. The thread was about the Ragnarok online skills (in-game) that players would LOVE to have IN REAL LIFE. As a regular SPAMmer poster there, I was able to keep track of the top five skills that players want to take with them into real life. By the way, here's my personal list:

  1. Uno: Hide/Cloaking

    • Effects: Need I emphasize that most of the posters in that thread are boys? (^_^) In-game, the skill Hide is readily accessible by the thief class, while Cloaking is available to the assassins. Other job classes also have access to the skills provided they have Smokie (Hide) or Frilldora (Cloaking) cards. Hiding or cloaking allows the players to become invisible, lurk undetected, and sneak up on their target.

    • Real life applications: Now, do I have to explicitly state how useful the skill will be for the boys? Nah, I'm pretty sure you've enough imagination to come up with whatever practical uses for these.

    • Words of caution: Make sure no one uses Sight or Ruwach when hiding or cloaking. Also stay away from insects; after all, in-game insect-type monsters can detect hiding players. And it's a damn giveaway if somebody sees a floating fly if its wings are stationary.

  2. Dos: Teleport/Warp

    • Effects: Teleport brings the player to a random area on a map while Warp takes one to a fixed, predetermined location. These are among the skills that make the acolyte class desirable; teleport takes away the costs for flywings or butterflywings while warp allows a player to come back to a specific map over and over again. Creamy cards allow other job classes to use Teleport, but no card can mimic the Warp skill, which may also be used as a punishment (rarely done nowadays but was once popular) or as part of an unfair strategy during guild sieges.

    • Real life applications: Everyone hates being late for work or class. Climbing the stairs, especially if the destination is the fifth floor, also takes away precious time that could have been spent happily sitting inside the classroom or office. Imagine doing away with all those inconvenience of traveling. And pollution! Gone with the need to use motorized vehicles! And it might be a good business, too, offering tour packages to those who can't teleport themselves. Now, if only Harry Potter or Hermione Granger can teach us how to apparate...

    • Words of caution: Teleportation can go bad; as in randomnly bad especially when you're repeatedly being brought back to your starting point. And for warpers, be sure never to run out of blue gemstones; the journey to Geffen from EDSA is an awfully cumbersome travel. Don't expect merchants to sell stones cheap; mark-ups will likely be sky-high. So this brings us to our next most-wanted skill...

  3. Tres: Discount

    • Effects: Gives the player, a merchant class specifically, a discount when buying items from non-playable characters (NPCs) in-game. The percentage of discount is dependent on skill level; at level 10 it is at 24%. Back in the beta days, merchants usually gave discount services for a nominal fee.

    • Real life applications: Now, who doesn't want a discount when purchasing stuff?

    • Words of caution: Be sure to suppress the urge to splurge! Discounts can only get you so far, you know.

  4. Cuatro: Blessing

    • Effects: Increases the target player's intelligence, strength, and dexterity for a duration of time, this skill is the reason why the acolyte class (skill is exclusive for them) is a must-include in a party. The added int, str and dex is the second reason why acolytes are persistently pestered in-game (healing skills being the foremost).

    • Real life applications: Students will greatly benefit with the boost in their brain power (byebye brain stimulants!); fighters and acrobats will likely welcome the added strength and dexterity (steroids? nah!).

    • Words of caution: Lasts shorter than the available stimulants on the market, be sure to keep the acolyte close at hand. Surely, you don't want to lose your uber wit while in the middle of the exam, right?

  5. Cinco: Lex Divina

    • Effects: Exclusive to the priest job, Lex Divina silences its target for a certain duration. While silenced, target cannot cast any spell nor use several skills. Being silenced is a big problem for job classes that are heavily-dependent on spells.

    • Real life applications: You've got to love that Level Up! Games, Inc. commercial way back when Ragnarok online was quite new - the one where a girl, very much bored by her date's droning on mundane stuff such as his dog, used Lex Divina to silence the him. Of course it didn't work like it would have in-game, but the boy (and practically everyone else) was stunned by the girl's boldness. Or ragnaddiction. Or imminent mental degradation due to the addiction. Whatever. She's so cute ^_^

    • Words of caution: Well, we're talking here about the skills actually working in real life, right? So, provided that the skill does work, be sure not to use it on your mom. Yeah, mom's constant nagging about the amount of time you play Ragnarok online is giving you a headache. But silencing her would likely mean byebye to your headache, and hello to pocket-ache (and RO, too, most probably) when she cuts down your allowance :P

Alrighty, there goes my first list of top 5. I think I'll make another list within the week, I have other things in line. By the way, if you like my posts, please vote for me, owkay?

Traveler's Advisory: Revisions

I plan to make some renovations in the coming days, that is, after I managed to master tweaking up the templates here on blogger. As much as I would have wanted, I'd make an all new template of my own. But I think I'll stick to improvising in the mean time.

First phase have been set into action; I've shifted into this Harbor template from the former Scribe and I find it more appealing. I may change the fonts soon, but I think the banner image will have to wait until I get a nice picture to put in there (as much as possible, I want to post only my own pictures in this blog).

If you can give me some tips to hasten the migration, I'll greatly appreciate it. Oh, one thing more, I don't have necessary allocations to seek the help of a professional :P

Sunday, 19 August 2007

LATA: Weekend Duty

As it is in almost everywhere else over the country, a strong downpour is drenching the whole of the Ilanin forest where teh ACeS building is. Several posts before, I may perhaps have said that rain makes me a bit nostalgic - I believe many others are as I am.

So here I am, on a single duty on a rather silent weekend (and I hope it stays this way the whole day ^_^) contemplating on a few thoughts I'm saving for such moments that calls out the emotional kid in me. What I'm currently thinking, I don't think I'll blog at the moment (perhaps some other time).

Anyway, weekend duty on ACeS is almost perpetually single-shifting. In my honest opinion, it never should be the case since most of the greatest traffic carried by the network is always seen over the weekends (only the Christmas holidays beat it). But the omnipresent company-wide shortage of manpower is forcing teh ACeS team to make do with whatever we can. Add to that the fact that we have a long weekend today and next week, well I do hope that no equipment breaks down on me :P

Saturday, 18 August 2007

LATA: Occasional Spotlight

Last August 2, 2007, Smart Communications, Inc. formally launched the I-4 network with an official inauguration of the facility and a press conference. Yeah, this post is a bit overdue and I should have posted it ages ago. Well, better late than never as I always say.

The I-4 network (team ACeS refers to it as the IN network, though it seems a bit erroneous since IN stands for Intelligent Network) uses Inmarsat's I-4 satellites and it also links the ACeS network to Inmarsat. Basically, this means that our subscribers now enjoy worldwide coverage and they can communicate with their loved ones practically anywhere (as long as they have line-of-sight with the satellites).

For the average Filipino seafarer subscribed to SmartLink, this is good news as they would no longer have to wait until their ship docks to shore for them to talk to their families. Furthermore, the new network will enable them to send and receive SMS in the near future. This is the main concept behind the Smartlink commercial ads now seen on TV regarding why the sea is salty (the commercial says that this is due to the accumulated tears of all the seafarers who are missing their families whom they cannot contact for lack of telecommunication facilities).

Anyway, the inauguration brought a truckload of people to the almost perpetually empty ACeS building, and the spotlight were on us for that day. Frankly, we were more happy on that day because of the food :P

Present during the inauguration are (L to R) Tina Mariano of Smart's PAD, Don Rae, Napoleon Nazareno (President and CEO of Smart Communications) and Michael Butler (President and COO of Inmarsat)

Friday, 17 August 2007

MMORPGs: More than a mirror

In a world of make-believe, everyone can be a star in their own right. When exists a world where people can willingly shape their own fates, there individuals shall be seeking their own patch under the sun.

An exhillirating four-year journey, Philippine Ragnarok Online had been. From it's humble beginnings at the time that it relied on the cutesy factor and the chance to TRULY have choices, the game had progressed into a legend that forever etched a mark upon the face of the country's gaming community. Now Ragnarok Online, or RO, had gone even further in providing gamers a haven where they can truly co-exist with the fantasies of an alternate world and realities of life.

Such is the experience that RO and other Massively Multi-player Online Role Playing Games (MMORPGs) provide - a virtual existence that is entwined with real life drama, humor, and fun.

The moment players log on to their favorite MMORPGs, they assume a new persona - whether it be a wielder of mystic arcana, a full-support party-saver, or a materialistic money-maker ekking out a fortune - and they leave behind the unnecessary clutter of real life that prevents them from becoming the legends they desire to be. Nonetheless, the new persona is still but an extension, a deeply-longing portion of an individual that seeks to break free from the binding chains of the physically mundane. Whoever they become in the MMORPG's fantastic realm is yet the person trapped within them, living in a place reflective of the real world.MMORPGs have evolved, through the addition of each players' idiosyncracies, into a place that is more than a mirror of the real world...

Nonetheless, the reality in which they consciously immerse themselves is a totally new world in itself. Virtual as any a game could be, MMORPGs have evolved, through the addition of each players' idiosyncracies, into a place that is more than a mirror of the real world.

Like many of the several worlds of MMORPGs, PRO's Rune-Midgard is no longer just a reflection of the Philippine community. As a matter of fact, in a completely turn-around fashion, Rune-Midgard had effected great changes into the Filipino society.

How many booming computer shops owe their success to MMORPGs? How many searching soulmates found their completion online? And how many among the Filipinos can supress the desire to sing along to Kamikazee's "Chicksilog" ?

The list goes on and on. So, are online games and MMORPGs mirrors of the real world?

Yes and no.

Yes, because they showcase the realities that reality cannot truly realize. And no, because the virtuality had ceased being just a mirror - it is a real world in its own right.

Kudos to Level Up! Games for introducing that world to us. For more direct facts about LU!'s games, please visit the blog of GM Tristan. Various articles are in there about RO and other games (there are contests there, too). Oh, before I forget, this post is an entry to one of GM T's contests, the Group Writing Project. More posts about the contest in the next 6 weeks (please vote for me owkay?) :P

Thursday, 16 August 2007

It Must Be...

My duty at the office is eight hours long - I think I already mentioned that before. Anyway, since I just got back from my rest days, my duty was the graveyard shift (10PM to 6AM).

As I travelled the whole afternoon just to get here in the middle of the forest, I was rather exhausted so I took a short nap before starting my duty (I normally do so to gain enough energy to last the night). I went down to the office at the 2nd floor at exactly 10PM after being doused back to conciousness by my trusty celfone's alarm.

Before I began doing the O&M routine check of the equipment, I noticed that one of my officemates, Mon, was talking cheesily on the phone by our supervisor's desk. I just shrugged it off since most of my officemates do the same thing (and yes, even the supervisor is talking sweet nothings on the phone) :P

However, after finishing my daily round (which is about 2 hours long) I saw Mon on the phone still. Owkay, maybe 2 hours is not that long when you're talking to someone special, right?


Because another two hours later he was still on the phone. How'd I notice, you may wonder? Well, at around 2AM he excused himself from whomever he was talking to for a short CR break (there were several of us eating at the pantry at the time and we were discussing how Mon's ears were coping). He resumed his conversation after dropping by the pantry for a quick drink.

At 3AM, I was all alone at the office generating the reports that I have to submit before my shift ends. And guess what? I wasn't alone pala. ^_^

Thirty minutes before my duty ended, Mon was finally able to bid his farewells. We ran into each other at the pantry (again, I was looking for something to eat ^_^) and it was only then he realized that he was talking to the same person for close to 8 hours! Whoa!

If he was talking to a call center agent, I'd say the agent was perhaps killing time until his/her work ends. But since I know Mon was talking to a girl for whom he has been nursing a soft spot... Well, what can I say?

It must be love. ^_^

Update: Mon revealed that the girl was using a cellphone at the time. He is now worried how much the 8-hour exposure to radiation could affect her. Hala! Lagot!

Wednesday, 15 August 2007

Tour du Paseo

Nevermind the post title, I just ran out of ideas and running out of time. I decided to blog my trip yesterday, and there's nothing much about it anyway.

Initial plans for the trip include enrolling my account for mobile banking and getting my cousin a new cellphone (using my credit card). The agenda were carried out as planned, and though the time schedule wasn't followed to the letter, things were a breeze.

To start off, the trip started late; instead of the supposed time of arrival (ToA) of 10AM, I arrived at around 11:30AM in our main office. So I had an early lunch before heading for the bank (and I was also able to meet some batchmates from the cadetship program at the cafeteria).

First destination: Paseo de Roxas (where the bank is located, and I won't specify which bank) :P

From Smart Tower, I walked through Valero St, then turned to Sedeno (er, I might be confused with the street names) and viola! I was at Paseo de Roxas. Owkay, that's nothing much. I'm merely contemplating on how I used to get so lost in the business district before I started working there. Actually, I got a bit lost at first because none of my friends knew the exact location of the bank, and I ended at Makati Avenue before I had to go back. Guess what? I passed it pala earlier! Oh well, nothing to worry about since I was whiling the time away.

After the bank trip, I decided to visit the Level Up! Games office to try my luck in procurring an installer of Philippine Ragnarok Online (I actually collect the CDs). I marvelled at the fact that two years ago, I got so lost looking for the Pacific Star building, and today I was able to walk to that building all the way from Rufino St. (and without breaking a sweat since, thankfully, it was cloudy at the time).

No CD!

Empty-handed, I went around Landmark, Glorietta, Park Square 1 and SM Makati before making my way to SM Megamall, our rendezvous. We (my cousin, Ate Dana, and I) met about an hour after I arrived at Megamall so I was able to navigate through and visit the shops I frequent there.

For about an hour or so, Ate Dana and I went around to find which store sells that particular cellphone model the cheapest. Cellphone bought, validated by a call from the credit card company, I grabbed some grapes by the supermarket (not literally grabbed and ran off, mind) and went home.

All in all, it took about 14 hours. So that's it. I call that Tour du Paseo for lack of bright ideas for trip names.

Friday, 10 August 2007

Occupational Hazard (Could that be me?!)

Just a few days ago, I've decided to finally think about the future and let go of the things that'd probably not be that much useful in the years to come.

Right now, I'm all "if there are no long-term benefits to be derived from it, just drop it." So, naturally, I'm putting more efforts in my job and the career that goes with it.

I dunno if I'd count it a blessing or something, but life in teh ACeS (for me, at least) had seemed to become more stressful. For the past week during my duty, equipments would take turns going haywire and the transmission facilities we are dependent on would go kaput.

I'd just totally let it pass off as mere coincidences, but every single shift? C'mon!

This is primarily the reason why I haven't been updating this blog for the past few days. It's a good thing that I've managed to push this one through, at least I know I'm still not giving up on writing.

I hope my presence per se isn't the cause, and that I'm just putting too much on mere coincidences, when these network problems occur. I'm betting that my co-Junior engrs. are hoping not to share shifts with me to avoid extra work :P

Oh well, at least I'd welcome all the opportunity for the experience. Pretty much soon I'd have enough knowledge to take on greater heights.

Thursday, 2 August 2007

Little Hints

If my life is a journey, I'd say that more than once I had been just wandering around, drifting casually without a destination in mind.

Several times I had just followed where the flow may take me, not thinking about the direction I was going. And there are times even when I had some clear objective at hand, that I was but at loss in the hustle and bustle of the joy ride.

At times like these, I'd take a break, pause for a moment, and look around me. Always there'd be some hints, though mostly vaguely shrouded, that would point me in the right direction. These may be slight prod to take a path I'd rather not take, a gentle push to get me started on my way, or a strong blow on the head when I'm going all wrong.

Just a few days ago, I had been so lost, again. But after some quiet ruminations, I discovered that there are a few hints that were telling me where to go next. These directions had almost always led me to great destinations, so I hope this time I'd be going somewhere.