Friday, April 1, 2011

Sexism and harrassment - MMO Style

Guys want chicks to play WoW with them. Guys love this, it means a cute ass is in front of them and a virtual babe which is real because hey...girl is behind the keyboard. This is SO HOT! and hey...maybe if I play my virtual nerd cards right, I can get me some bowchicawowow!!!! At least maybe in game. sort of. And that's where the sexism begins. This tends to be the most blatant form. But even the mmo industry game design supports this. Females always look better in robes than males, ergo female toons tend to be casters of one sort or another. Funnel mechanism right there folks. Armor of any sort that looks like lingerie rather than something that keeps a toon alive or would seem extremely uncomfortable ( a plate thong.... is that possible?). Very well endowed female toons. Even when slide bars are aint that much difference. Just hose creation points makes it the nerd guy's dream. But folks that's only the beginning and it concerns me. I mean, I do allow my kids to play the game. What message does that send them? For certain when my daughter was under 18 I would have made her throw out anything that would be overtly revealing such as mini skirts/midriff tops etc. I'm old fashioned that way. Should I think any different in a game that might allow such conduct to go on?

You are asking yourself...where did this all come from? Well, today I was surfing through allot of Blogs. The Greedy Goblin got me started. At first I was agreeing with the fact that honestly if you are carrying your significant other in game especially for raids, you are pretty much wrong. But then the tone became rater sexist to the point of...why would I date a girl if she isn't skilled like me? My personal feelings on this particular subject will have to wait for another time. I'll leave you the reader to make your own decision on what you feel about Devlon's ideas. Suffice to say, it got me thinking about how male and female interaction occurs in game.

Then I came across this post from In Character an RP focused Blog. What struck me the worst was the commentary about rape, flirtations, sexual advances or gurls suxz attitudes. My reply in that blog had more to do with the customer service from the GM's but my personal thoughts went back to the shitty make attitudes that were thrown about. Look, I'm an older guy. I don't tolerate disrespect of women. My wife plays and I'll get down right ornery with people who are rude to her based upon her being a woman, which does still happen. Oh, I know she can give as much as she takes, but the caveman in me still does the whole protective attitude even if it's in a virtual universe.

But really, has the Internet created monsters out of little boys? A real man doesn't need to portray such shitty attitudes, or at least I wouldn't think it's necessary. I'm no knight in shining armor, nor am I a prude in the least. But outrageous conduct is a sorry ass sham of being so anonymous that no one has to worry. If it's typed in, I wonder what the real person is like? Is this what they harbor deep inside? To hurt and abuse the opposite gender? Or make a hostile environment towards those of other racial background? Hey shit talkin is ok. Between consenting folks the whole ERP thing is ok if that 's what gets them hot as long as its done in a non public manner. What concerns me is a new social dynamic of mistreatment to the point of dehumanization. This bothers me.

So, in the community abroad I pose a set of questions to each of you.

1. Is sexual harassment an issue that needs to be addressed?

2. Should developers seriously cater to a much more conservative view of the female needs such as less revealing clothing or less objectified female toon looks?

3. Should the GM's of a given mmo have a priority list for sexual harassment allegations with a means of proof and a means of dealing with such crass behavior?

4. Overall, what are your opinions of allowing females to feel welcome in the nerd's world of video game mmo mayhem and murder?

I am honestly interested in reader opinion and would like to see a healthy discussion ensue.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Because I ain't a total FanBoi - Stuff I wish WoW Had but it's ok.

First and foremost, I enjoy playing WoW. I love exploring the new places. I love beatin the hell out of someone on a battle field. When I kick ass in an instance, I am totally stoked. Some of the chain quests are really seriously fun to read and watch. But folks, I'm not a blind fanboi. I decided to hop on down to the MMO Melting Pot and found the said posting. It made me think, and of course I dropped a wall o' text for a reply. But then I got to thinking, What do I miss about other MMO's that I wish WoW would employ in their game to make the ultra mmo. Graphics were secondary concern, especially since I noticed that the world at large has improved.

But here are some things I really wish would change to make the game more...interesting. I want you to understand that these are mostly cosmetic in nature and primarily vanity items, though in some cases they are still actually usable:

Guild Cities and or player housing: Age of Conan did a totally kick ass job of creating sub instanced areas where up to 4 Player Cities could be developed. It was one helluva resource sink by the way...grind hell. But for me it was worth it.  Your city advanced, wandering NPC's would walk about saying random chatter. All your crafting needs could be met within the cities to include an Auction house. Further more, dueling arenas with a guild hall could be obtained over time as guild rank was increased. Pets and mounts could be bought as well. Player Housing as they had in Star Wars Galaxies would be a huge bonus too. Certain trophies or items could "hung" on the walls for display as well as furniture items etc which created a whole new economy unto itself. This would be most useful on RP servers and perhaps PvP servers. I doubt so much on standard PvE servers it would be of much use since there is no reason to have a guild meeting toon to toon. Vent works well enough for that purpose.

Re coloration of Gear: Neverwinter Nights and Dark Age of Camelot had the ability to dye your clothing and armors. Look, I guess I'm a fashion nazi in this aspect but I HATE non color coordinated armor. It really pisses me off. If our Alchemists or Tailors could create dyes that we could add to change our armor colors I think that would kick ass. Yes, I'm vain, get over it. Why not fight in style? We already have Uber shoulders and weapons, gimme some coordination ability.

Character Customization:  Wizards that are Conan...really? Every Human male, every Draeni, every Night Elf, every Orc. They are all shaped like Conan. Lemme make em skinny or fat. Let me change the way their faces are built. We got different haircuts which was awesome, but how bout more facial or body styles. It couldn't be that hard to set skinny, muscular, or fat. Faces need more variety as well. I'm not asking for the slide bar ability for each feature, but lets add a few more for variety. this would go a long way in Aesthetics.

Languages Learned:  SWG had a thing when it first came out, to talk to different races, you needed to learn their language. this was done by progressing through talking to a native speaker and bits and pieces were learned over time. Now that would be interesting. There have been many times in the Lore portion of WoW that Orcs and Humans spoke to one another. I haven't figured out why it hasn't happened in game. Make it difficult enough that it takes lengthy or several conversations (ie several hours played in game) to really get to know the conversations. This would bring a new dynamic in RP, PVE, PVP.

Now friends, I am aware none of these things are ever going to happen. It takes the Devs time and money invested to create new compatible coding. It is far easier to throw new instances and new gear which is largely static in nature than to stretch out what might be new ground. This is ok, I understand this as the laws of geometric game development are able to do. But if I had a wish list to add into the game, these would be the areas I would want to see put into action. Will this stop me from playing WoW? HELL NO! Will it allow me to explore and dream up new ideas? YES. Ok, nuff said for now, I'll be back later.

Day #15 - Your Desktop Background - 20 Days of Blogging

Morning folks. Well for today's topic, I am explaining my desktop back ground. To be honest, I keep it on rotation from the stock nature orientated backgrounds. I don't have any themes per se. Just that it's nature orientated. These get rotated out every few months pending on mood, current distraction, or whim. I know alot of people tend to have their favorite game for a background theme, not me. I see enough from the game already. My back grounds tend to be exotic when possible as far as locale. They are places I would love to see. The thundering silence due to lack of human contact tends to appeal to me. Even the wind is it's own music. My computer backgrounds tend to reflect this ideal.

Ok, that;s a small bit for now. Last couple of days have been pretty busy and my work schedule has been hectic. Last night I wanted to just sort of gel out so instead of playing I decided to sit in to an evening of House. Yes, House is one of my favorite shows. I happen to love the character's attitude, it's always entertaining to me. Ok, nuff said for now. I'll write more when I get some time.

Oh, I have been formulating a short story page. I know I haven't been writing on it and I see a few of you have at the least been checking out the link. Please be patient, I have stories to tell, but sometimes time constraints slow my progress for what I dream in one hand, and output in the other. See ya on the High Ground!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

From the War Front

First and foremost, to those who dropped a line wishing my wife well, thank you very much. I'm glad there are community members who are so thoughtful. She is doing much better. Fever is gone, just still got some cold symptoms. She ought to be out and in fighting shape in a day or two. Again, my thanks out there for the support, specially from Saz and Cynwise!

Ok, so that being said, I usually start my evenings during the week out with some low level pvp battlegrounds. Our server that we are on (Tanaris) is PvE so I don't really get to enjoy open world pvp as much as I sometimes like. Nevertheless, I make a valiant effort at least 3 to 4 times a week on my low level pvp character Damios. Damios, for the record, is an up and coming feral druid...kitty yup you figured that one out. Bears don't do much for me and I ain't into Boomkin or Tree. Nope, crazy katz all da way. Now, I raised hims trictly on what I could make for him, what he could buy within reason and obtain through honor points. Needless to say, pretty outclassed in the initial phases when other lowbies walk in with BOA gear. It's ok, I don't mind because when they do go down...heh it was da lowly kitty in greens and a couple of pvp blues. Nothing too spectacular by the way but fun none the less. from was both exciting and many times painful. I have learned, Mondays are NOT the day to do BG's on Tanaris. It hurts...bad. BUT, one particular shining moment during that phase was to get the achievement for returning the flag in less than 70 seconds. That was awesome, had a great PuG team that evening. Very rare, but I had 2 of the three flag carries that fight so it was pretty awesome.

Then, off to the pain. Look at least in our battle groups, the Horde have a standing policy of not fighting mid unless provoked in the initial push. It's a rush to the other side, zerg at its best. But be damned if 2-3 of our team members don't peel after and give chase. They die...because they are alone. Everyone else is either waiting in the base or trying to get to the Enemy Base. This of course weakens our Offense in a nasty way. So...I try to ask them please stay out of the mid unless they are escorting flag back from a stealth run. Never works, they rez, charge right to the middle...and die again. Frustrating is an understatement. Understand, I have figured out there are times when this is a smart thing to do. But the majority of the time when I have been dealing with the lower levels, it seems as though people have very little situational awareness in pUGs. I know, join a PvP guild. Not gonna happen on this server. I have a loyalty to the Beerfest Clan and until they disband, I'm around. So I have to settle for PUGs. Cynwise in her archives explained pretty clearly that the fight must always be at the flag. Kinda makes sense. Oh well. I take what I can.

Now, sometimes, Tuesday nights are wicked awesome for the Battle Grounds for Tanaris. Guess we will see tonight eh? At any rate, I still have a lot of fun. When I hit LV 20 with Damios, I will fast level him to lv 23 then park him into the battle grounds till he hits 25. Honor is slowly rising. I'm also interested in getting the Justicar Title. So I've  along ways to go, but that's ok. I don't mind. Anyways, this isn't a how to manual guys. It's just the observations from the field as the fight goes on. Best of luck to you all out there!

Day #14 - 20 Days of Blogging - This Upsets You

An old mentor of mine used to say: It's all about being mellow. Good advice for getting through life one would think. Certainly it does help to keep one's persepective and sanity when stupid shit in the world gets thrown in one's lap...on a daily basis. But, there are a few things that totally piss me off. These things get me into a total rage / nerd rage. So here goes!

Mediocre performance - everyone gets a friggen medal. Look, I don't expect people to be the best at everything, but today I see too many people expecting rewards for lackluster performance. Mostly this happens in the working environment where rewards aren't hard fought for. Weak performance seems to continously get rewarded in the thanks for trying catagory. It pisses me off. I can't help my self.

People who talk in movie theatres or while I'm watching a video - Look, my brain gets focused. It's kinda linear at times when I just want to be involved in a movie or a show on TV. Interrupting my train of thought, annoying me in a theatre that I paid outrageous amounts of money for a ticket and a lil popcorn/soda thoroughly pisses me off.

Politicians who have never lived in a foreign shit hole of a country dictating policy like they really know what the hell they are talking about. They don't. They've never had to put thier neck on the line. for them...STFU!

I really hate it when peopel piss and moan about how another country is soooo much better than their own. FINE! GO FUCKING LIVE THERE! For the record, I love living in my country. I think every country has something interesting to offer. But if you don't like living in the same country as me and think other countries are so much better, leave. Don't let the door hit you in the ass. Stop bitching, crying, and complaining. Just leave. This is a real piss me off issue. My country isn't perfect, we can change shit in my country. But at least my country allows us the ability to change policy. There are countries that also allow this fine bit of freedom. There are also countries out there that would just knock on your door in the middle of the night and put a bullet in your skull for not keeping your mouth shut.

In Game:

Idiots in Battle Grounds - Cmon, simple tactics and no one follows them. I'm by no means the top dog of BGs but common sense seems to be lacking. Simple things can make life go so much easier, but it rarely ever does. Look there are times you get facerolled. I got it. No biggy. But being downright stupid on a BG? Really? GAAAHHHHH!!!!!!!

Spam Duel Requests - Wow, take a hint please. If I refused you the first 2 times, chances are when you annoy the shit out of me with a 5th and 6th time, I'm ready to explode. While we are on this, stop asking me to duel when you are 30 levels higher and in epic epeen death gear. Do I have a stupid mark on my forhead? If it's a friend, I got it, playin around, but random shit? Cmon that's annoying.

DC - Friggen Internet connections. If I dC in the middle of combat it really nerd rages me out. Nuff said.