Saturday, March 26, 2011

Day #13 - 20 days of Blogging - People/Bloggers you admire

Afternoon all!
Well before I get into the topic of the day, I finally got to Lv 68 and am in Northrend, my favorite questing zone. It took me a good deal of time but it was worth it. Thanks to Pwint and alts from our Guild Beerfest Clan to get me through the final grind and a couple of really Hinky quest lines. Couldn't have done it without you Boss!

My wife is really sick this weekend, so between questing I am taking care of her. The Flu is a real bitch. She is hanging in there, but is always first in my mind. Here is to her getting better.

Now on to the topic for the day. People/Bloggers I admire. Well, there are alot of them. But I wanted to make special mention of three who kind of round things out with their activity on the boards.

Larisa from the for her unique insight from a female perspective for a raid and her social views in WoW.

Ratshag from Need More Rage because he actually acts like an Orc in my mind and has a blast doing in

Saz from World of Saz because she has interesting and relevant social commentary on WoW and is just really cool people to be around!

Cynwise from Cynwise's Battlefield Manual for the awesome PvP advise!

Understand that there are many other Blogs I watch and follow. Each has something to offer which I take away and learn from. The above are extremely active and for the most part, vocal for the community as a whole. Each represents a different aspect of WoW that I enjoy allot. What I admire the most from the above is that they make no excuses for what they feel or why. This is something I have allot of respect for.

Outside WoW I admire my Boss who has mentored me in being a bastard when I need to be, but a gentleman when it's warranted. He has constantly pushed my level of responsibilities but in a way that allowed me to WANT to take on more. A.B. Thanks for everything you have been teaching me in the Real World!

Ok folks, that's it for today. Have a great weekend and enjoy Azeroth! I need to go check on the wife and make sure she has everything she needs till she gets better. Happy Hunting!!!!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Day #12 A Day in your life/online life - 20 days of Blogging

Hmm during the week I am fast and furious at work:

4am - wakeup
430 - on the road to work
530am - work out/shower and clean up
630am- food -
730am - check blog websites etc for WoW
0830am-430 pm - work work work
530pm - get home
630 pm - eat/spend time with wife
7pm - play WoW with wife
9 pm- sleepy time

Weekends- get drunk and play WoW...allot...both ahem...

Anyways thats the quick and dirty of my daily life

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The evolution of female MMO players

I read a post today from Jinxed Thoughts that sort of piqued my interest and got to making me think even further. You see, the virtual worlds of MMOs have become their own culture which has evolved over the last 15 plus years. The interaction and involvement of female players has also evolved. And that is what I decided to talk about today.

So, 25 years ago I was playing AD&D on tabletop. It was me and the guys, the nerd squad...typical Saturday night. Then BOOM! Brian brings a friend into try the game...a FEMALE friend and she was cute to boot! Us nerd guys had a chance in the world with girls who actually at least would smile at us. So began my experiences with women and gaming. Yes I'm getting to my point here in a sec, but it's my wall of text so please bear with me.

Years go by and low and behold I'm in the Age of MMO's. In the beginning we knew there weren't very many if at all female players. There wasn't a way to prove it since vent wasn't really up at that time. Yet, there were plenty of female avatars running around. Thus began the era of geeks who play female toons...I blame Tomb Raider for that lol. This brings upon other topics of toon genderbending of which yes I do occasionally play one. But back to the point at hand. I might have been able to see 1 in 100 RL female video gamers who played mmos. Most were husband and wife teams with just the spattering of female single players.

Time passes, I don't think about it but then I run across some podcasts dealing with RL gamers that are female with a wide range of ages. It brings up a ton more of social issues within the community when this is revealed as a truth (back in 02-03) from the casual gamers world, much like a woman being brought into a monastery. Most young boyus who were into MMO's acted like young boys and pretty rude over all. Older guys were trying to actually find relationships from the virtual space dreaming of Lara Croft in their arms. The female gamers weren't having an easy time integrating in a world dominated by hormone driven boys. Female toons had the ability to look like Maxim models and even the strongest armors were Ahem...well not there, mostly it was skin and a lot of it (this still happens lots lol). So, while guys were begging for real females to play, I have a theory that by their own ideas and or attitudes, they kept females from playing, or only accepted those females who either A: used flirty sex, or B: were one of the guys.

In the early 2000's Nick Yee created the Daedalus Project which attempted to look at the social and psychological aspects of the MMO gaming world. Allot of interesting topics started to rise when the issue of gender came up. One such study started to show an interesting trend of how females were introduced into the gaming world. One of the biggest points of that was that at that time, female MMO gamers tended to be on average older than thier male counterparts and were far more likely to be romantically involved with the male gamer PRIOR to coming into the MMO world. Checking around the net, I find that women who play WoW often start with romantic involvement prior to participation. The above site by the way is also a statement on the social issues at hand. Warcraft Chicks is by it's own nature a use of male orientated terminology.  This by the way, was the case for me when my wife decided to join into WoW. She knew I wouldn't stop playing so she gave it a shot and eventually really enjoyed it. Mind you the findings were from respondents and therefor a sampling with probably some bias or disparity involved. Overall females participating were about 16.5 % of the population base as of 2003.

This gets to my main point, female interaction has increased since then. Socially MMO's have crawled out from the nerd cave and into mainstream. Now there are different motivations for women  who play. For some, the competition of play or achievements. For others, the social aspect. For others, to spend time with family. As women have begun to populate more and more into the gaming world, we notice also different personalities arise. Back in 2009, Sydera wrote this post on female architypes that can be observed in the MMO community and not always in a pretty way. Now we begin to see the different identities arising within the community. But by and large, these particular stereotypes tended to arise more so in the Raiding Guilds than on the casual/social side. I contend here that when competition for pixelated rewards which have no REAL intrinsic value, specific personalities arise through the need of competing. They are often perceived as being bitches, divas etc. I'm wondering if that's just the social complexity for competitive play, of which I do believe Raiding is.

Now much of what I have said above is condensed and somewhat simplified but it is bringing to light a social aspect of this game that is sort of...not mentioned. My hats off to the female gamers of the world. Special thanks to my wife who has been my steadfast partner in WoW and a couple other MMOs as well. Even when no one else is on in or guild, we always got each other.

So, these were the thoughts which went on in my mind and are up for full discussion for any who care to. I know that there are a good many female bloggers out there as well as males. What will be interesting is to see the response rate if any on the subject. With that, enjoy your day and happy hunting!

Day #11 - Bad Habits and Flaws from 20 days of blogging

No one on earth wants to admit they have flaws for the world to see. It hurts thier reputation, character, and thier own self esteem. Well, almost no one. So today I will tell you all about a few of my flaws...well maybe quite a few heh heh heh. See, I'm human. Humans have bad habits and flaws. But then again, I say deal with it, you like me or you don't. I get by either way. So here goes:

- I can be an arrogant prick when I'm being stubborn. That's right, I'm right and if you disagree, your wrong. Period. Well, at least untill I've digested what you have to say for a few days after an impassioned arguement. Ask my wife.

- I'm an altiholic. No, I mean to the point that I will fire a toon I've been working on for a month (delete) without so much as a breath of thought if I want to try something new. It also takes me forever to level a main because I'm working on different objectives constantly. My wife gets infuriated when I server hop to play my horde toons or pvp toons on pvp servers.

- I sometimes get piss friggen drunk during an instance and take stupid chances...or conversely, I've been known to faceplant into my keyboard with drool and passout till about 4 hours later asking...what happened?

- I start projects that if I don't see pretty quick results...I start different projects. Ergo the above altiholism.

- I can be such a procrastinator in my daily life.

Well folks, I bared my ass off to you all for a day. You got to see my not so pretty side lol. Have a great day!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Herds of Cats, And it's ALL BLIZZ's FAULT!!!!

Not Really.
I hear allot of complaining back and forth from forums to Blogs about how Blizz just isn't catering to individual needs. Here are some thoughts for ya as I really wish I had a scotch in hand rather than a bottle of water at work. First and foremost, no matter what the game developers at Blizz do, there will be an outcry of righteous indignation about how the Dev team has totally sold out the game. Outcries will continue about how the game is a total epic fail. But umm...wait. On any given server there are probably between 4k - 8k players. Now, I forget how many servers there are...but umm the game ain't dead. So, in the bottom line of things, they must be doing something right. Understand Blizz created the gaming model upon a theme park business strategy. Pure and simple. There is a little something for everyone. But the game won't be EVERYTHING TO EVERY INDIVIDUAL! Keep that concept in mind friends and neighbors. Understand the concept that the game will evolve and maybe not in the direction you want it to. That happens. Understand no game created was meant to have the top of the player list forever. BUT, even when a game looses it's lifespan, there will still be enough players to support the game itself. Proof in this is the fact that EQ1 and 2 have still been pumping out content patches and have a small but loyal player base. DAOC still does this as well, matter of fact last year they finally added into their graphics more realistic water graphics. SWG still enjoys a small but active community and they throw out content patches every few months as well. Age of Conan even though their dev team hasn't really done any major content patches in the last few months still has a lively but small community, enough to support the game itself. Almost every MMO out there still has a dedicated small amount of people who still play....well maybe not Aeion...I kid I kid.

My point is, I hear the moans and lamentations of how Cata is the doom of WoW. Folks, it's not. It might be the doom of YOUR play experience. This is ok. You weren't meant to play it forever. Do what good pro sports players do...bow out while your still on top. Find another MMO. Or, just bask in the twilight of your uberness.

Look, I came back for the lore and a world messed up. I love instances. People sometimes think they are easy. Well, ya if you are running around in your BOA gear, didn't transfer a ton of gold to an alt to level. Yes that is easier. You know when I was leveling my warrior and last month he was still in his low 30's my guild and I consistently tried to not hit instances AT level, but made sure they were orange or red to us to feel a bit of heat on us. We tried very non orthodox methods of our five mans to see if we could pull it off like 4 hunters and a holy pally. Didn't always work, lotsa times we died, but it was fun again because we challenged ourselves. We got to play the classes WE wanted to play for FUN.

I understand the Raider's point of view in that I have seen, Tobold put out some excellent points himself. But I also see allot of elitism out there. Since our guild is still short of 3 people for a ten man, we haven't really gotten into raiding as yet. So, one of my friends goes out and studies his ass off about a specific raid that his gear score would at least allow entry. Hmm..he was rebuffed and kicked so fast his head spun. Elitism. Not, studied, this is the way we do it, we'll give ya a shot and if it doesn't work out, then goodbye. Raiders are very skilled people. I admire the hardcore ones. But honestly, once you beat the bosses, what's left? Time to move on.

Casual players cry because Waah, Raids are too tough. Ok, so Blizz developed a few 5 mans maybe some heroics. Stop complaining. You got what you wanted.

PvPers cry when the Class of the Month gets nerf batted or one class gets favored ( Warrior Arms + Colossal Smash = pink spray across the BG). Nobody is always going to get what they want. Wait till that one gets nerfed, the Warrior community will be in tears.

RPers which actually are a very vocal minority feel as though there isn't enough to capture their attention, or that after Cata their perfect world of fun is umm...dead and the magic is lost.

Ya...Herding cats. Blizz does all that it can to keep content out there and still is, regardless of your thoughts the most played mmo out there. But no one wants to concede they do what they can to appease everyone, not just a niche crowd. They updated their graphic but I hear QQ about the cartoonishness. Ladies and Gentlemen the game was created so that you didn't need a damned AI driven rig from the 24th century to play. It's meant so everyone can have some fun.

Personally, I do still have fun. I rotate my needs between farming, crafting, getting raid ready, PvPing, RPing and umm fishing for shits and giggles. But if you came to focus on just one little thing, you may get bored real quick. Think on this, if you payed 50 or 60 bucks to go to Disney land because you loved their Haunted House ride. Would only only go to the haunted house repeatedly? If so, you got more focus than I. Nope, for my 50 bucks I want to see EVERY ride...well almost every ride, the tea cup one was only fun when my daughter was 4 years old. But I want the full experience and I damned sure can't get all of it in one day and still have a fun time. Is an MMO any different? My theory is that it's not. Also remember the dev's are trying to improve game play as much as they can. It takes time so try a little patience.

Before you guys scream I'm a fanboi, the only reason I left Age of Conan was that the content became super stale. Ony 4 BG's, 3 major raids and a pvp system that changed from skill to strictly gear. I loved Age of Conan. The Hyborian word was vibrant, deadly and seductive. Player Cities were the absolute bomb! Having a special underground guild hall where you could duel your buddies or or kick back with the super RPness was awesome. Terrain that was actually useful for fighting from!  There are allot of things I missed about that game, but I left when I felt it was time to return to WoW. My point here is that if you aren't having fun, walk away. Stop wasting your free time and your hard earned money. If Rift turns you on, go for it! Enjoy a new world! But the bitching and doesn't solve a damned thing.

Cold and Cruel? Maybe, but I won't lie and I don't kiss up to anyone. For me, I'm still having a ton of fun exploring, finding new lore and enjoying all the other diverse parts of Azeroth. Stop blaming the dev's whoa re just trying to balance catering to you the player base, and then the investors that provide their advancement capitol and finally the Company that provides THEIR paycheck to pay bills etc. You're not the only one out there, nor are you the center of the universe.

Those who honestly get what I'm saying, thank you. Have a great day and Happy hunting out there in Azeroth!!

Day #10 of 20 days - Favorite Blogger/websites

I hate this topic. I don't hate the people, just the topic. Here's why: I have found on MANY Blogs people that I like. I don't always agree with them, but I like them. Some write in an entertaining manner, others in an easy to read but indepth manner. Some are about raids, some pvp, some social, and some RP.

But here are a few of my favorites in no particular order:

Now mind you, my blogging world consists only of WoW orientated material. These sites were fresh and interesting to me and I enjoy the people who write them. There are others but I am always looking at these in particular as to what thoughts they have concerning the game as a whole. Notice that there are various viewpoints and styles from the writers. I like the diversity. The list isn't done in order of preseidence, jsut whatever came to mind quickly and kept my attention on a regular basis. Anyway's I might be writing on other topics later, till then, have a great day!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Burn out...HorseShit!

Hitting the Blogs left and right for WoW I here allot of people talk about Raid Burn out (both leader and follower), Guild Burn out, or Game Burn out. It gave me a bit to chew on and think about. WoW has a following of extremely loyal, some say fanatical followers. Yet even the most rabid follower becomes shall we say War weary. Why is this? I have some theories, many will not be liked but I point them out for discussion and debate.

Raid Leader/Raid member Burnout:
Progression has become allot tougher. Even one misstep gets a repeated wipe and it gets uglier with costs etc. Minimal returns for maximum effort. It ain't easy especially with the sharp ended learning curve. Mechanics has changed significantly as well. Timing of dps, heals aggro tables are no easy shot by any means. Progression Raid guilds get real edgy when competing for server leaders and or world firsts. It wasn't meant to be easy.

Personal Opinion - If Raiding is ALL you do, yes burnout will come deadly quick. You gear, you heroic instance, you fast lv toons, you farm like a fool for enchants/upgrades etc. This becomes almost a full time job unto itself...but your paying to work. With tougher mechanics and raider performance coming into question, this becomes an eSPORT. Superbowl or WorldSeries for real world sports is what it is and paid for. Athletes train up for their games, so do WoW Raiders. Being a Pro vs bush league is two different worlds. So why get burnt out? I mean Pro football players or base ball players don't. Couple of things here, Raiders don't get PAID for what they do. There isn't a real tangible worth for their hard work. Raidleaders have a thankless job and ultimately responsible like a team coach on success or failure of the guild as a whole. Since there isn't any tangible reward, burn out and unhappiness for failure becomes rampant as the self worth of being in a top raid team or lead position becomes a reflection of real world self worth. So when you fail or bust your ass for weeks on end but get nothing for it save for a few pieces of gear or worst case get canned from the raid team, this becomes grueling and mind breaking.

Guild Burn out - Been with the same crew for years. They are like both family and friends. You spend hours and hours chatting or working together. But the little shit starts to irritate you. Things you could deal with before become serious items that piss you off. Doesn't matter if it's pvp, pve, rp, social...whatever. People will begin to irritate you and then you don't want to deal with drama or issues.

RP Burnout - All the world's a friggen stage! I think RPers are pretty cool...when they are not being selfish pricks and godmoding pieces of crap. Hey, I love RP I'm not bagging the concept...but allot of the people. Drama starts somewhere, if said person is'nt at the center of the story...either they mope, pout, cause un necessary drama or cause mayhem in a plot simply to become the center of attention. Hmm, a GM would get burnt out REAL quick on that. People want to have fun, not make work out of creating a damned story. Learn from it.

Personal Opinion: Storylines can be incredible. But drama in general is VERY VERY emotionally draining, especially when one is pixel acting it out beyond the normal read lore and quest and move out. Some people are outright psychic vampires, feeding off of emotional output from others. In some quarters this phenomena is known as a Drama Queen or Diva syndrome. Psychic vampires are really out in force right now in the game since the world of Azeroth has been sundered. Lore hounds scream about additions to lore, this is also a form of psychic vampirism. Didn't happen because Blizz broke lore canon. Yeah whatever dude, just enjoy the damned game. But, these psychic vampires drain possible fun RP scenarios and create total massive RP burnout.

Cataclysm Burnout - Shell shock....My world completely went upside down and I didn't like what happened to me or my happy world...... PTSD of the video game...I KID I KID!!! God knows I don't want someone quoting me saying that WoW caused PTSD.

Personal Opinion - I dunno here, if you don't like a game don't pay for it and stop whining about it. Go play something else.

There are several methods of dealing with this burn out without creating a massive wall of text about your woes and creating unnecessary drama across the gaming world. Really, forums are already filled with that crap. Simply take a break dammit. It's no big deal. Really, let some new blood in and go do something for fun.
1. A quick remedy if you don't like to explore other MMOs is really simple, reroll and start from square 1 and while your at it, READ the Damned quests! Storylines do in fact raise up across the board...well with the exception of the Blood elves, those poor bastards got the short end of the stick in new questlines.

2.Better yet, reroll on a totally different server to meet new people for social needs/ a new guild.

3. Try a different class and raise them up.

4. Try a different aspect of WoW.  Raider are ya? Great! Try PvP for awhile. RPer? try doing ALL of the Crafting that can be done. PvPer..Try Raiding! Try exploring! Become an altiholic! Try SOMETHING! If you aren't a part of the solution, you are a part of the problem.

But you say, these aren't working for me. I love the game. I love my friends, but the magic isn't quite there. Ok, tell your friends you are taking a break. Stop playing for 4-8 hours every day. Read a book, go out to a movie. Watch TV. Go to the Gym. Go to a nightclub. Go camping. Go do something to take a couple days off. Still not enough? Take a break and go play a different MMO for awhile. Try two or three different ones on trial basis. See what you really loved about WoW or really hated. Maybe you'll move on to a different game for good. This is ok, people do change, I promise. Point in fact, it's healthy. I'm seeing too many people bitch about WoW Cata like they are an old married couple..but to the GAME! Hell, stop playing mmo's altogether for a couple months and go play single player/FPS/RTS for awhile. Get fresh perspectives.

Here is something some people may be totally objectionable to think about: Maybe you are afraid you will loose your self worth and identity if you leave the game. You won't, it will simply transform into something new. Maybe you think WoW is the only world you feel comfortable in. STOP IT! You are a friggen human being! Go try something different, take a road trip across America for a couple of weeks with nothing more than the clothes on your back. Challenge yourself with something in the REAL WORLD.
I can hear it now:
"Easier said than done you self sanctimonious prick!"  (I am not self sanctimonious, but I am an arrogant prick)
"I don't have money for that! (see below)
"I have a job I can't leave! (Bullshit, unless you are in the military where you are under a serious obligation)

You won't know till you try though. For the record I have travelled extensively. Mostly on business but I've wandered quite a bit too. I once took a trip across America on a bus with nothing more than a dinner from Burger King and 10 bucks in my back pocket. But for the love of the gods, do something for once to make yourself happy.

With all of that, I wish everyone well, I hope that all their endeavors bring them satisfaction and above all, a tranquil mind.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Day 09 – Your first blog post

Actually, my first ever blog post was here on this site. I had never considered blogging before but this appealed to me. It was mostly a welcome and small background on me and who I was. One can still go back on my historical posts here to see it. At any rate, it wasn't anything spectacular, mostly an experiment or getting my feet wet. The intent mainly was to give myself a direction to follow while working on writing for WoW related/social things I thought about. At any rate, have a wonderful Sunday folks, I'll be here on duty lol.