Tag Archives: podcast

Changes Being Made

Although this isn’t site news for Calaera.me, per se, it is for SBXIV. I’m honestly tired. I am tired and worn out by the comments I read once in awhile regarding the cursing on the show. Because apparently, despite more XIV shows coming out, people MUST make comments about SBXIV and the amount of cursing going on. Which, I might add, is ridiculous considering it is:

1.) Marked Explicit or NSFW on iTunes and on the site.
2.) There are more XIV shows than there were months ago. Honestly its not that hard to click stop/pause and find something else more suitable to someone’s ears. It seems ridiculous to go complaining about it, when there are other options for people to choose from. That is also why there are different shows out there for people to watch. I am not the biggest fan of certain TV shows, but I won’t complain about the fact that a particular show doesn’t suit my tastes. That just seems pretty stupid.

There were several choices I was going to make…

The most drastic was to step back. Way back. Thank Frei for pointing out that there are people who surprisingly like me and what I do. But if I was considered to be a problem, it seemed reasonable for me to take myself out of the equation. But taking myself out of the equation then changes the entire tone of the show, and that was what concerned Frei and Orophen. Instead we agreed that we would either make a conscious effort to cull back the swearing or make edits to take it out. Honestly, I am pretty peeved about it. The shows were meant for friends to chill and talk about XIV in a way that was more entertaining than the boring straight talk some podcasts do. I get people like so called “professional” shows, and hey… that’s great. I don’t. I dislike em for many reasons, but I won’t berate someone for liking something I hate nor will I complain to those shows that they aren’t being what I want them to be. That’s why I went and made my own. Makes sense, right? If you want something done right, do it yourself!

But… the show is undoubtedly getting attention because of reddit, google, iTunes, or whatever. So I decided to we would soon begin to take down all of the old episodes and archive them somewhere. Which, honestly, is about time we do so anyway because the game is going to be new and different. It doesn’t make sense to have the old content up for people to easily grab and get a hold of. Though I know it really won’t do much in the long run, because people already have a set opinion of us. Which, honestly, suits me just fine. If they like something else, good for them. I won’t cry over it, because this isn’t a competition for me. I am just peeved (mostly at myself, because I get curious) when I read comments complaining about something like the swearing or the shit I say because it makes them “uncomfortable”. Don’t like it? Fine. Quietly back off and go find something else or make something suitable for your tastes and listen to it! But… whatever. I’m tired. I’m tired and frustrated and I really just want to yell and scream at people to shut the fuck up and back off. If it starts to become more work than play for me, I still stand by word of dropping everything. No regrets if it came to that, because it would be way better than building up resentment and anger over something that is supposed to be a fun project for those involved or want to participate and listen.

Flabbergasted By Flabbergasting People

I don’t understand people. I wish I did, because I am oftentimes flabbergasted by them. Take Sequence Break for example. I know we have fans and I know we have people who don’t give a rat’s ass. I get that. I don’t even care about the later group because its a waste of energy. So why am I flabbergasted? Because some of these people continue to listen even if they don’t like the show.

I don’t know, maybe I’m crazy. Maybe I’m flipping insane, but I will tune out or walk away from something if I don’t like it. There are several XIV shows I just didn’t like because they were too dry and boring or were even more off the wall than SBXIV is (shocking, I know). Then there are the people who complain about, “Oh there isn’t x, y, or z.” or “Ugh, this shit has a, m, z, x, and l!” If you have a vision for something or have an idea… then why not put in the work to get it done if you’re going to complain about it? So many people are passive about things and hardly proactive.

I don’t know if people are just being clueless, lazy, or what… but its really not that hard to set up shop if you think you can do a better job and want to put in the effort to do so. The amount of free tools out there is mind boggling, and so are the amount of tutorials and guides to help people get going. Though if the problem is effort, then they need to sit still and shut up. I can’t fault someone for putting effort because they are trying, and that says a whole lot more than the people who sit on their damn asses all day just throwing stones without doing much for themselves or anyone else. But whatever.

I take comfort that soon there will be more shows for people to listen to, because some are coming back and some are being made. Hopefully people find what they are looking for or decide to get off their carcass to make what they desire to hear out of a show.

Anxieties of a Podcaster

If there is one thing that worries me concerning the podcast, it is that I am the weakest link. I’m told many good and bad things about myself as a host, and so I’m keenly aware of what some people think of me. I try very hard not to let it get to my head or to affect me if its negative, but sometimes past comments end up affecting my thoughts months later and I find myself thinking about it on my own. Those comments will usually pop up into my head and cause my anxieties to often build up and silence me at times even when I have something to say.

Its hard enough putting yourself out there. I sometimes have to talk to myself to block thoughts out and just not care and have fun. It works most of the time but there are other times when I am sitting there muting myself because I’m having a mini panic attack after I say something and wondering, “Did I make sense? I made sense, right? No, I went into a tangent. No one is answering. There is silence. Fuck. There is silence. I’m stupid. Fuck, I’m stupid. I’m so stupid. Jeez…”

It doesn’t help I do have a general anxiety disorder or really low self esteem. Which often leads to a drawn out conversation with my boyfriend about the truths about myself; what he thinks is true, what I think is true, and what really is true. I often need evidence of something before I finally settle down and go, “Oh. Yeah. Okay.” and then calm the fuck down. That boyfriend of mine? A saint. One has to be in order to talk to someone who routinely has to patiently listen to me and then talk me out of thinking so negatively about myself.

I suppose my anxieties don’t just apply to podcasting either. I also have insecurities about my writing as well. My boyfriend writes really well, and I often feel depressed whenever I read his work. He does so many things well, and I don’t do anything well at all (even as I write, I can’t even think of a single thing I do better than my boyfriend). Then again, I also think that every single person on Zantetsuken (both writers and podcasters) are leagues above me and I’m dirt. Yet I’m the supposed leader, and sometimes I have a hard time reconciling that with how I personally view myself. I once entertained the thought that maybe it was a huge joke, but then I realized that anyone would have gotten tired of it by now and would have surely moved on. Thankfully they haven’t. These are people I want to meet face to face one day. They are really awesome and great people that I admire and respect. Which should be given, considering how I place myself next to them.

But back to my anxieties: why write about it? Mostly to get it off my chest and out of my head. I think too much. I am often trapped in my own head, and often come up with a lot of stuff in any given day. I think about the podcast, the site, what I would like to do, what I can’t do, anatomy, physiology, nerves, tissues, muscles, bones, chemistry, stories, etc… and on top of that I think about what I am in very negative contexts that is quite self destructive. It is also something I feel that I need to get down into the written typed words. I suppose doing this has also helped me realize that the ground under my feet is becoming more unstable. While I’m happy that the podcast is becoming more known… its also quite intimidating. Do I go on business as normal? Do I change? Do I leave and run away screaming and crying? Sometimes I think of those things too.

Or maybe the problem is that I think too much. Maybe I should just stop thinking. Or maybe I should just go to sleep. Yes, sleep…

Fan Site Business

Before FFXIV 1.0 launched, I worked on ffxivblog.com after I was invited by an awesome friend — Maiev. He wrote about it here, and I have always wanted to write an entry of my own regarding the matter. I have many mixed feelings about ffxivblog.com, but I will never forget how the experience has helped me tremendously with zantetsuken.net and Sequence Break XIV.

ffxivblog.com had started out fairly small and with several people invited to the project from Maiev. These people were FFXI bloggers and they were to become part of the FFXIV blogging community that brought some of us together in the first place. Or at least that is how I remembered it. Anyway, after I was brought on, I dragged my boyfriend with me and we started to make changes here and there. My first experience with podcasting also started with orzcast, the first and only (thus far) show with two primary female hosts. I talked about tits, love, and everything. It was probably because of this and the fact that there weren’t many other shows at the time (Aetheryte Radio and Crystal Core are the only two that pop into my mind pre-launch), that it brought a lot of hits and activity that quickly swung ffxivblog.com in a whole different direction. There was talk about ad-revenue, trying to get on SE’s good graces to be invited to stuff, people requesting for a forum, and more… and that is where the trouble started.

During beta there was already starting to be an obvious split. Some were starting to distance themselves away and write negatively about FFXIV. This didn’t sit well with some of us, nor did the NDA breaking articles that caused Matt to send me an e-mail to stop. Needless to say, I was shocked and horrified since I hadn’t written the article myself and I wasn’t the head honcho. This is probably where I started to get resentful. Not because of the e-mail, but because of the direction of the website. The uneven load of work that Orophen and I tried to fill, the feeling that the website was more to fill numbers for someone’s LS, and more. For a month or two, all I wanted to do was wash my hands of it. It was becoming too stressful and I didn’t like how I was as a person to some people that may not have deserved it. Frei and Orophen were in more frequent communication with me about the website, its direction, and our increasing unhappiness. This is very important to anyone considering a fan site: there is no damn point to it if it does not make you happy.

After extensive talks between the three of us, Orophen and I decided that it would be better to bail than to continue raising unnecessary stress levels. In the end, the three of us were collaborating together to work on a website we knew we would be happy with: something small, manageable, and without worry about publicity, hits, SEO, or anything of the sort. There were times Orophen would fret and worry about our traffic (and rightfully so after the large amount of hits we were used to seeing on ffxivblog.com), but in the end we found that it was too much stress to really care for making a concerted effort to increase our hit count. It took some time before we were able to start the podcast, but there was always one thing I always kept in mind after ffxivblog.com and orzcast: have fun. We don’t care for hits, we don’t care if people think our show isn’t “professional” enough, or whatever. Once you start worrying about those things more, working on a fansite no longer becomes fun- it becomes work. Though designing, maintaining and creating stuff is work in and of itself, it is a different sort of work that brings a great deal more satisfaction than anyone can imagine. It is a labor of love that I enjoy working on with Orophen, Frei, Rubicon, and Yelta and hope to enjoy in the years to come on FFXIV: ARR.

For those who were interested in writing for zantetsuken.net, I hope that you read this and take into consideration who and what we are about. Working with people can be hard, as we know when trying to find people to tackle primals and dungeons as a cohesive team. We aren’t interested in being a big website; we will leave that to the people with far more time, interest, and dedication than we can afford. We just want to be the best that we can be, in the way that we can be, and with people who collectively share our interest and aspirations.

Partnership Schm-artnership

Yesterday we (as-in: me), received an offer for a website partnership on zantetsuken.net. I instinctively knew what they were asking and wasn’t at all surprised when the response e-mail came in the next day after I had told them that I wasn’t interested but that Orophen had some piqued interest. I am going to be respectful of the other party and not include their name, website, or the original e-mails, but I think this something that should be on the mind of others who are considering “website partnerships” in the future.

The summary of the e-mail: their site, weeks active, hits and members accrued since their launch from continual postings on the Google+ Community, and what they had to offer in exchange for the partnership: hits, popularity, proud members of a team, free advertising, free hosting, an installed blogging platform, assumed assistance from a professional web developer, etc. Sounds cool, right? All in exchange for dropping Zantetsuken.net, having Sequence Break on their website, and my loyalty to the team.

Wait, what?

Now, I had no plans on saying yes. Orophen may have been interested, but the fellow was right in addressing me versus Orophen: I call the shots for the most part. Nothing goes on Zantetsuken.net without my express approval. If something doesn’t meet my approval and is on the website, then the natural consequence is that Orophen will hear of it and he WILL suffer. However, I gave them the benefit of the doubt because Orophen was slightly interested and some part of me wanted to believe that maybe the fellow had good intentions. Even now some part of me thinks maybe he had good but very misguided intentions. Nevertheless, there were so many problems that a swift response was in order and I declined the offer.

A partnership definition:

part·ner·ship

[pahrt-ner-ship] Show IPA

noun

1.the state or condition of being a partner; participation; association; joint interest.

2.Law.

a. the relation subsisting between partners.

b. the contract creating this relation.

c. an association of persons joined as partners in business.

The joint interest would be FFXIV, but that is where it ends. I am not interested in being popular, hits, or working with a team that may not be as interested or invested when the game is actually released. Five weeks is practically a new born versus Zantetsuken which has been around for over two years now. We aren’t a big site, we don’t claim to be a big site, nor do we have aspirations to become a big and popular website. My idea has always been simple: to contribute to the FFXIV community in our own way and on our terms. The podcast is done because I enjoyed doing orzcast for a brief period of time, and mostly enjoy the conversations I have with friends and sometimes meeting new people. I also like having an outlet that I can go to and where I can do what I want with no worry of this or that or what have you (hence the language you typically find on any given episode of Sequence Break). There is also the simple fact that we aren’t short of the resources they tried to promise us. Hosting? We have a lot of space and bandwidth to spare. Word-of-mouth? Happens quite often. If people like what you do, they will come. Why spam a place for attention, when the work can speak for itself? Hrm, and web dev stuff? Uh, we aren’t short of help on that end either thanks to Orophen, Frei, and friends we can ask tips from.

The partnership would have to offer an equal amount to what is being taken away. To be honest, there would be nothing offered that could give me the equivalent of freedom, being ad free, and the quality and control both Orophen and I desire. And to throw away a site that has put in two years of work to go into a fairly fresh and new website seems not just nuts but backwards and strange. Shouldn’t it be the other way around? Not that we are interested. We are happy with where we are at. We may expand certain things, but for the most part we plan to do what we want, at our own pace, and enjoy the community experience without sacrificing who we are or forgetting why we walked this path.

If anyone where to consider proposing a partnership to us again (or anyone) in the future, I hope they take this into consideration:

1.) Do your homework. Why are you proposing a partnership? Is there something that can be gained mutually by the creation of a partnership between the two entities? Does it really make sense to propose a partnership with the other website?

2.) Make sure the offer is good for both parties. Put yourself in the shoes of the other person or ask a friend to read it over and consider the proposal. Does it seem fair? Then by all means, proceed. If it seems purely one-sided then you have a problem, and you can be sure the person will decline when they see that.

3.) Be sincere. You can pile on the compliments, but if it is insincere then the other party will easily sniff it out and be wary. Show them you did your homework, and give very specific examples as to why you are interested in creating a partnership. If you are vague and general as to why you want to create the partnership, the other party will think you are insincere and it will add to the belief that the drawbacks far outweigh any benefit you could think of.

4.) Most importantly: consider what YOUR website is about first. An established website is going to look at the newer website and will ask about their commitment, their intentions, and who or what they are doing it for. Is the website created for fun? For fame?

Final Fantasy XIV has seen a mass exodus of fansites come and go during 1.0, and I already see a second wave coming for ARR. I think it is great because it gives FFXIV: ARR another chance for gamers to meet others like themselves who missed the first wave or are there to test the waters before diving in. However, if you are a new fansite for xiv, give yourself a chance to establish yourself as a committed fansite host vs. an over eager one seeking to absorb established websites. People will gravitate towards your website not because you have x, y, or z content (though it helps), but because you stuck it out and decided to stay. And that says a lot given the nature of many fansites out there that come and go for any game out there.

#@$% Comments

Lately I have considered stepping down from SBXIV; not because I don’t have the time, interest, or because of bad relations with the hosts. I make time for the things I love, I love XIV and podcasting, and I love the hosts enough to do a second show with them. What gets to me is that I know that the show is pretty much cool with a lot of people. People comment that they laugh on their way to work, they enjoy some of the hosts, and they even take a precious few minutes to give us a five star rating on iTunes and leave a written review. This is all good, right? But then we get the occasional comments outside of our site that I come across because I find the hits through our tracker or I stumble upon them through other means. The comments typically talk about the show in a positive light until it comes to something about “the girl that curses a lot”. Well, seeing as there are two girls and only one of them curses a storm at times…

I am not personally offended by the comments. No, what gets me is I wonder if the show would be better if I were out of the picture. I mention it before and I will say it again: I won’t change the aspect of myself when it comes to cursing or anything. If people wanted to listen to G or PG rated shows, there is a plethora of them (albeit currently is hiatus due to the current state of the game). I also won’t step down unless the show stops being fun. This is true. But that’s where I’m coming into conflict. I have made several changes to SBXIV because of those comments, gave up cursing during Lent last year to curb back my cursing (even I knew it was a bit much, and relied on it too much as an immature catharsis for release on pent up emotions), and have thoughtfully considered what to do to make SBXIV a better show than when it was during its GTD days.

The negative comments have usually (not always), helped in making the show better. When the comments begin to point to me being the problem? Well, now I have a problem. I have started to worry about what I say sometimes, think if I have to be more tame, and that’s not what I want to do. That’s not being very honest to myself, and it was never the type of show I wanted to run. So I end up wondering: do I dismiss the comments and continue on while thinking (sadly) to myself that I might be the reason the show isn’t better than what it could be? Or do I leave and at least have the peace of mind I did everything I could possibly do to make SBXIV a good show?

A Jumble of Thoughts on Podcasting

It is hard to believe that over a year has passed since Orophen, Frei, Rubicon, and I started our podcast back in August 2011. We’ve come a long way with various guests and adding Yelta as a fifth host when Rubicon had taken a break due to SW:TOR, but it’s sort of amazing that we have come this far at all when I thought we would have given up before we hit the year benchmark.

I know that if there are any complaints about our show, it is often that we aren’t “professional”, we curse, and that we nerd out often. Which is fine by me, because I think it’s cool that other podcasts can fill in others expectations for a show that those listeners are interested in. I’m not really interested in being #1 or #2, but at least updated, informed, and entertaining. Having a high ranking is just icing on a cake, because it’s a HUGE compliment to something that most of us find to be a hobby.

Which is why I don’t mind those complaints: they are true and are valid and I’m not particularly interested in changing those aspects. I’ve threatened to leave the show if this was changed and I stand pretty firm on this. I have no qualms dropping things I dislike; I’ve done it before and will do it again if I find it conflicts with my sense of well-being or fun. If anything, I’d probably just start from scratch and be on my merry way. If not? Meh. I have other things to do that don’t have to include podcasting.

At the moment we are currently looking at starting up our “main” show. It is sort of strange to think that the main show won’t be Sequence Break XIV, but I guess it’s the only way to look at it due to the name of the show (which will be JUST Sequence Break) and its proposed content.

The new show honestly has me kind of feeling anxious and nervous. I was nervous starting up Go Team Derp! (Our name before we switched to Sequence Break XIV), as it is sort of challenging setting up something for the first time. But aside from trial run anxieties, I have been in a different sort of headspace that has left me questioning myself more. Am I going to do a good job? Will this podcast be a success? Does it matter if it is? What is a success? Will it intervene with producing episodes on SBXIV in the future? Sometimes the thoughts alone and the other issues I often have, make me think of Linkin Park’s “Runaway” and how I actually want to run off into the horizon.

Then I remember who I’m doing this for—it’s not for the listeners or our fans. It’s for us. We enjoy just sitting, talking, and sometimes arguing and doing it on a regular basis. Most of the time we look forward to recording and publishing our episodes, because we just like having fun and sharing that fun with others. When the day comes that this is truly no longer any fun, I think I’ll step down. Do what? Who knows. Maybe bake cookies?

That’s not to say we don’t care what people think. I love getting e-mails and reviews from listeners who say they keep up to date because of our show, or are just entertained when they have a rough day at work and want to laugh. We’ve changed certain things in the show because of those comments (both positive and negative), but we’ve always made changes that we were ok with first and foremost. We are still weird and quirky, but that’s ok. I love our podcast, and I love the people I met because of it… even if some of them have wanted me to ram my head into a brick wall. I’m looking forward to another year, for sure…

After Show Reflections – SBXIV Ep 49

Note: At the time of writing this entry, the most current episode of SBXIV still has not yet been published. I haven’t re-listened to the episode, and am going mostly based off of memory and other such things.

When my boyfriend tweeted something about GBTV, I immediately knew what it was about. It’s hard not to be able to tell, since it is the same thing the forums are going on about and that we had just talked about on our most recent episode of SBXIV: the bloody quest/battle footage from Alpha. I am bolding those words, because let me stress that 1.) this is Alpha and 2.) its of very limited content. As far as I remember, battle in WoW hardly seemed as interesting during those early on levels. Tera? I was staring at my panty clad ass too much to actually remember. GW2? Ok, you might have me there. Maybe.

A lot of comments have been directed at how supposedly boring and bland the content is based upon five minute videos of the Alpha and that the game isn’t following the direction of one game or another such as Tera or Guild Wars 2. Of course, as far as I am concerned, Guild Wars 2 has a declining population and I don’t even know many friends who are currently subscribed to Tera vs. the amount of friends I know who have unsubscribed long ago. Does XIV REALLY want to completely follow their path?

I try to give people the benefit of the doubt, and TRY to think of them wanting to see XIV succeed. I know I want SquareEnix to succeed and most importantly for XIV to do well, but I know that some people are just so full of hate and vitriol and that they can’t see past their own blinders or what could be the bigger picture. XIV has already taken a lot of inspiration from these games, as can be gleaned off already published interviews, letters from the producer, and videos. There is also the fact that very solid reasoning has been given against mages being able to move during casting, and that was for balancing reasons in PvP. One can also argue that the game conventions in regards to PvP is most likely going to be based more upon Team vs. Team vs. one singular Player vs. Player. One looking for a more one-on-one action will most likely be utilizing a ‘duel’ sort of feature that may be implemented in the game at a future date.

A Team vs. Team setting is really nothing new; other MMOs have utilized this sort of game mechanic in their game as a form of PvP for a long time. The problem is that it appears Western gamers can’t seem to wrap their mind around the aspect of a TEAM battle in an MMO setting. For an Eastern audience, this is nothing new as their culture is based upon people working together in harmonious ways to reach goals. It is my belief that this is a reason why they tend to do better at games such as LoL and SC because they know how to work as a unit vs. trying to get their own personal glories. Such a theme is also very frequent in other FF titles, despite each series having its own main character(s). Without the unit as a whole, shit wouldn’t get done and the story as a whole wouldn’t progress. You could try, but it would be damn hard to do so, no?

But for a Western audience who think more of what can one do to elevate oneself vs. the group as a whole, I think this is a barrier of entry to think of how the mage can be utilized in a PvP setting with their disadvantages of being unable to move vs. being able to move.

Granted, we don’t know all the details. We don’t know how much damage the casters will be able to do on a whole vs their opponent, but with the inclusion of weapon skills it isn’t hard to imagine that it won’t be a significant amount of damage. Already the preview trailers have shown the BLM contributing to the all powerful Meteor within a group setting. Again, team work vs a single minded player is what I feel will help tide over a PvP match in XIV. Not just mindless team work of mashing buttons either, but more thoughtful actions that will most likely result in *gasp* communicating WITH your team to work WITH them versus against them to pull off well executed and deadly limit break attacks.

Do I think its impossible for the Western audience to do this? No, hardly! I know there are very capable groups out there who are able to keep the Japanese playerbase on its toes in XI in regards to its version of PvP, and I have no doubt that the same thing can and will be done again in XIV. My problem is the greater populace who can’t seem to wrap their head around other possibilities and seem stuck in their tunnel vision of what will make a great MMO. What fits for one, doesn’t always fit for all. Lets just hope those trying to shoehorn their way into XIV aren’t looking to ruin what already looks like a promising game at this point in time.