Hi there. My name’s Siha, and I game. Gaming has been one of my biggest and best-loved hobbies for as long as I can remember, ever since my father brought home a Sinclair ZX81 when I was six years old.
And, because this is the internet, I like talking about gaming, and I do it all over the place. This site originally started as a permanent point of contact and a pointer to my current projects and interests. These days, it’s been revamped as a fully-fledged gaming blog.
In the Real World™ my name is Eleanor; I’m a student and writer from sunny Queensland, Australia.
Sometimes my posts mention a chap called Kris; he’s my boyfriend, and writes his own blog over at Kristaki’s One Man Band. He likes multiboxing, jumping off really tall things, and spaceships.
Astrek Association was a Firefall fansite created by Kris and I. It featured a range of Firefall guides, tips, and databases, and quickly became one of the most popular and most-visited Firefall fansites.
Crew Skills was my SWTOR blog. It focused on the crafting and crew skills side of SWTOR gameplay, featuring discussion pieces, crafting guides, news, and anything else that took my fancy. It was also my venue for talking about other MMOs and gaming in general, although I tried not to let the general noise drown out the SWTOR signal. Over time, I found that everything I wanted to talk about was more general than SWTOR-specific, which is how Siha Games! was born.
Banana Shoulders was my WoW blog, wherein I talked about holy paladin gameplay, crafting (particularly jewelcrafting), being an obsessive achievement completionist, and plenty more. I loved writing Banana Shoulders, and only stopped because WoW was palling, not blogging.
Southern Wardens is an Australian MMO and gaming guild that I’ve been fortunate enough to lead since 2007. We formed in Star Wars Galaxies, and have played EQ2, WoW and SWTOR together, along with side trips into other MMOs. Southern Wardens occupies a lot of my gaming energy and attention, but it’s very rewarding and I’ve made a lot of awesome friends. We’re currently active in WoW; I’m the overall community guild leader, although I’ve stepped back from leading the WoW guild.
Did I Mention I Like Games?
My favourite gameplay feature, bar none, is a sense of progression. Whether that’s researching all the upgrades for my Starcraft units, or dominating the world with my superior technology in Civ, gameplay that offers in-world upgrade paths generally pushes all my buttons. It’s probably no surprise that I fell so hard for MMORPGs, really.
Generally, I prefer either roleplaying-based story-centric games, or heavy strategy – turn-based rather than real-time, for preference. Despite that, I’ll play just about anything if I get the chance — although I much prefer co-op play to competition.
How I Got Here
I grew up as an only child in a regional town. My access to computer games was very limited (and I didn’t get my first console until I was twenty-five) so my repertoire was tiny until I hit university, at which point I more than made up for it. I started out with FPS and action games and then discovered Ultima Online, the Civilization series, and Diablo II. Thankfully I avoided Everquest, or I might never have graduated. (Amusingly, in my old “install CDs” storage box, I can find no fewer than four separate copies of Civ III.)
Eventually I returned to MMORPGs with SWG, EQ2 and then WoW, and I’ve been leading my much-loved guild, Southern Wardens, for a few years now. As a writer and former web designer my household was full of Macs, so I’ve been glad to see the steady growth of Mac gaming, although I did turn to a dedicated PC gaming box a few years ago. (I’m still not sold on consoles, although I do have an original XBox gathering dust somewhere, but with an MMO guild to run and a giant pile of PC games, it’s not like I’m lacking for things to play…)
MMOs I Have Played
Since this blog focuses on the MMO side of life, it might not hurt to list off all the MMO-like games I’ve played over the years.
MMOs I’m currently playing…
- World of Warcraft
Past Primary MMOs
- Ultima Online (1998-1999ish)
- Star Wars Galaxies (2004)
- Everquest II (2004-2005)
- World of Warcraft (2005-2011)
- Star Wars: the Old Republic (2011-2012)
- Firefall (2012-2014)
Other MMOs I’ve played
- The Secret World
- Mechwarrior Online
- Guild Wars 2
- DC Universe Online
- Dungeons & Dragons Online (superficially)
- Star Trek Online (superficially)
- EVE Online
Betas I’ve Tested
I love testing games. My first-ever beta was WoW: TBC, and I loved it – the community was friendly and helpful, I made friends who carried over into the live game, and I loved the feeling of being able to contribute to something I already loved as a consumer. I like being able to poke at things that aren’t quite working right, and offer suggestions and thoughts. I even like reporting bugs, okay? (Although I do not have Kris’s gift for finding holes in the map. I don’t know how he does it.)
Although there is a downside of beta-testing: the perennial NDAs. I love talking about the things that excite me, after all. I’ve been scrupulously careful to adhere to NDAs – I grew used to them in my former life as a freelance writer in the hobby game industry – but they’re still a bummer when you’re a blogger.
I must admit I dislike the modern trends of beta weekends and selling beta access to people who pre-purchase in some fashion. They dilute the fun of a beta, for me, turning it into a PR exercise with little opportunity for the beta testers to actually contribute. Still, they’re better than no beta at all, right?
So I’m listing the games I’ve tested here, mostly for my own reference for future beta test applications…
- Alpha tested: Hawken, Defiance, Lego Minifigures Online
- Beta tested (ongoing closed betas): WoW TBC, WoW WotLK, WoW Cataclysm, Diablo III, The Secret World, Mechwarrior Online, Planetside 2, Firefall, Anno Online, Hearthstone, Lego Minifigures Online, Skyforge
- Beta tested (beta weekends/PR betas): SWTOR, Guild Wars 2, The Secret World, RIFT Storm Legion, Warframe, Marvel Heroes, Defiance, The Elder Scrolls Online, Hearthstone, Neverwinter, ArcheAge, SkySaga