I’m Not Here to Scream “IT’S JUST A GAME” at You

Why do I sometimes feel guilty when playing WoW?

It’s not because I play too much, or have other duties that I neglect, it’s far more understated than that.

It’s because of some of the things I do inside the game … I know this may sound like I’m coming out as a severely brutal griefer or corpse camper right now, but don’t worry, I’m not here to scream “IT’S JUST A GAME” at you. In fact, I’m trying to convince myself of exactly that.

Oondasta

Oondasta, the world boss

I, and circa a hundred other players, were fighting Oondasta yesterday. I was not in a raid and took care of my own healing the best I could, it’s still a wipe fest really, healing or not. But he finally went down and I got my loot – “A Shiny Pile of Refuse”. Unexpectedly, it contained a white kitten carrier and since I already had a white kitten, I thought I’d just sell it on the auction house.

UNTIL Noelani pointed out the tragedy of finding a small kitten in a huge pile of dinosaur poo AND then choosing to just sell it. If that is not cruel, then I don’t know what is!

… You know, I actually do.

It’s even more cruel to force this little pooey “white” kitten into pet battles, where I can choose to force it to fight for me. It may even die because of my evil blood sport hobby of pet collecting and battling.

I think Noelani knew this too because he offered to take the kitten and take good care of it, even though he already has one. After I’m done writing this post, I’ll log in and the fate of the kitten will be sealed. I hope no one bought the pooey kitten (maybe for their own sake too).

In relevance, consider the case of the guy below, Huggalon the Heart Watcher.

JJJ

I don’t remember there being a dead pandaren female to the left of Huggalon the Heart Watcher when I took this screenshot … It’s so haunting, I don’t think I will be able to sleep tonight.

We ran into him when leveling a couple of alts and we couldn’t decide whether to kill him or not. He isn’t a clear cut case as so many other bosses and elites otherwise are. What to do?

Kill him because:

  • He’s there to be killed, right? (or is he there to force us to have horrible ethical dilemmas ABOUT killing him?)
  • He’s got a mean look on his face, he’s probably evil
  • Look at all the skeletal remains under his huge boots
  • He looks like he might appreciate being put out of his misery
  • He drops a B.B.F. Necklace
It will give a targeted player a buff called "B.F.F"

It will give a targeted player a buff called “Best Friends Forever”, which lasts for a day (instead of, well, forever)

Don’t kill him because:

  • He’s sitting there looking like a lost abandoned child (which is pretty accurate since he is the missing fifth watcher from the Vault of Archavon and Captain Planet reference)
  • His name is Huggalon the Heart Watcher
  • He has a huge bow in his hair
  • He is not hostile, but neutral
  • There is no real gain from killing him, only the necklace, which you then STEAL from him, and that is creepy. Who steals B.F.F. necklaces?

The comments on Wowhead suggest I’m not the only one with this dilemma. People say that all Huggalon ever wanted was a nice big hug and some feel really bad after they killed him. Why are we feeling bad? It’s just a game, there’s no denying that, the only consequence is that he respawns 20 minutes later for someone else to mull over this dilemma.

So, do you think I killed him?

And, would you be able to kill him yourself, and not feel just a little bit guilty about it?

 

Now I am Technologically Homeless

My laptop, and only computer, has died.

It couldn’t detect a hard drive. Breaking into my laptop to re-insert it did not help. Based on the noise it’s making, we suspect one of the mechanical components of the hard drive is stuck, and now I am technologically homeless.

*small violin*

As a temporary solution, we went and purchased a new screen and set it up with Noelani’s old computer on the dining table.  Since my computer was a laptop, I had a bit of a strange setup. It was positioned on a small café table on wheels in front of our IKEA sofa, where I was able to comfortably sit while playing … talk about a lazy gamer…

But now I’m sitting at a real table, with this horrible clicky keyboard and nothing feels right. Playing WoW doesn’t feel right, internet browsing doesn’t feel right, and the biggest crime of them all – this computer is less powerful than my old one – eew!!

We also lost everything I had done on WoW Roleplay Gear since Christmas, which had not been published yet. I had done a lot of quest reward sets, which I now have to start over with. All my personal stuff is gone, I have a 6 month old backup of my school folder and blog folder, but that’s it. I’ll have to look into maybe having the disks taken out and put into a new drive, but it’s looking really pricey.

Okay, calling it being technologically homeless is an exaggeration. After all, I am using Noelani’s old computer. Maybe it’s more like sleeping on your friend’s sofa, and you miss all your own stuff, even though your host is being perfectly hospitable.

In closing, I’ve put in an old picture I saved from once WoW Model Viewer was being really buggy. I thought the effect was interesting and saved a bunch of pictures of misshapen blood elf females. Every other race did not display this error, but thankfully blood elves are such talented models ;)

WoW Model Viewer gone MAD

WoW Model Viewer gone MAD

Right and Wrong Gamer Girl Edition

I just read the Bossy Pally’s post called “I Had No Idea this Required a License” where she talks about this whole fake gamer (girl) concept that has been a topic of discussion for a months or so. I haven’t seen these discussions around lately myself, but then again, I’ve been M.I.A for a good while, and I’m still slowly creeping my way back in.

Yet, maybe it was no coincidence that this picture was shared on Facebook just a few days ago by one of my acquaintances:

Gamer gurl vs. girl that games

Shared on Facebook. I was so close to writing “lame” in the comment track, but decided to vent my disapproval here instead.

Because we all know that there’s a wrong way to do “it” and there’s a right way to do “it”. In case you are not sure what’s wrong or right, the picture will inform you, and if you are not sure what this “it” is, then I’m not either… because it does seem awfully confusing.

See this one for example:

sims3allthetime

If she’s got a headset on I don’t think she’s playing Sims 3. Headsets are actually one kind of accessory that should earn you just a little gamer cred, but I’m guessing it’s the pout that made this photo such delicious meme material.

I used to play The Sims – all of them – a lot – all the time. I was obsessed with that franchise, I spent several days in a row doing nothing but playing The Sims. I could have told someone (and probably did) “I game all the time”.

BUT WAIT!!! The Sims??? I must have misunderstood! The Sims is not a real game, it’s a simulation management game, similar to so many others, but it doesn’t count!

Playing The Sims just makes you into one of those (per the top illustration) “gamer gurls“. Remember, a “gamer gurl” is always either fat, ugly or slutty!

But there’s also the “girl that plays video games“! She must be doing it the right way, she must have that license Bossy Pally (and I) are wondering about! Here’s a realgirl that plays video games“:

Anger is important in order to carry out an authentic gamer girl performance!

I bet she’s screaming “I NEED A NEW COMPUTER”

What I keep thinking when I look at those two photos, is that the big difference seems to be a matter of performance. And the funny thing is, “the girl that plays video games” also has to perform said position perfectly. Because… you know…. playing games in and of itself doesn’t count, despite the neutral title, it’s actually a matter of subculture! And the fact her title is not even “gamer” or “gamer girl” says a lot. She’s just some girl who happens to play video games.

And you thought belonging to a subculture was all fun and games? It takes extra work to convey your legitimacy if you fall outside the subcultural stereotype!

So what is she doing right, the “girl that plays video games”? We know that playing video games is not enough, so she must be doing something else too. Is it the display of anger, which is seen as a sign of authentic dedication? Is it the trash-talking? Is it her casual clothing?

Is it that she doesn’t flag being female? Because, the femaleness is actually the initial problem, you see, it’s what forces everyone to figure out what kind of (fake) gamer she actually is, because she might just be one of those girlfriend-of-a-gamer types (always a healer)… or a Sims gamer… or Wii gamer. You know, the fake kinds that walk amongst us, who needs to be unveiled, lest they think they can actually claim to be real gamers. Us and them, baby, us and them!

Girl+Gamer.+my+life.+oc_187147_3325857

Do notice the bottom left corner ;)

Okay, okay, I understand that subcultures need to constantly define their boundaries, especially from the mainstream, but the game is totally rigged.

… and old. Yawn.

What it really does is creating a conflict amongst female gamers to scrutinize and judge each other to weed out the fakes, because if we don’t, they bring a bad name to us as a group. Lets not fall for this superficial scam!

And if the gaming police actually does show up, then you pull out the “shut your whore mouth” … well, just maybe without the whole whore part … “Please keep your despotic orifice closed” works too.

Sometimes You Meet a Player in WoW, who is a Complete Enigma

Screenshot by Jayrei (via Wowhead.com)

Horde druid travel form, stag version. Screenshot by Jayrei (via Wowhead.com)

Sometimes you meet a player in WoW, who is a complete enigma – I met one such player a few days ago.

Here’s the story of the stag-druid.

Noelani and I were questing in Krasarang Wilds in this area where you have to release Alliance slaves, kill a number of enemies and pick up relics on the ground – a classic combination of quest types.

A druid appears in stag form, he is standing slightly behind us watching while we kill several mogu. We wonder if he is waiting for us to clear the area so he can release the Horde slaves. A little cheeky really, so we sit down and pretend to eat.

The stag-druid then wiggles around on the spot – also known as key-turning. After a minute of idling, he finally decides to attack an enemy and thus he proceeds to walk right up to it and spam wrath – in his natural tauren form.

Odd.

We also see him auto-attacking in bear form and melee hitting with his staff. Stag-druid practically has no modus operandi and seems to prefer standing around in stag form in between combat. After he has killed a few mobs slooowly in these multitude of ways, he gets attacked while again observing us as a stag. He wiggles and wiggles, but ends up dying. We then help him kill a couple of mogu a few times, but he never appears to be looting anything nor actually progressing on his quests.

It becomes clear this person is not waiting specifically for us to clear the area, in fact we have no clue what he is doing. We find him later in Valley of the Four Winds brutally beating a fox to death with the staff again. I know it was a Nesingwary quest, but still.

Valley of Four Winds by Ner1 (via Wowhead.com)

Valley of the Four Winds by Ner1 (via Wowhead.com)

Maybe stag-druid had gained some confidence at this point, because we then see him fighting four mushan beasts at the same time. Stag-druid struggles and of course one of those stealthy foxes comes out and attacks him. Maybe it was karmic, maybe it was just bad luck or maybe stag-druid has always been a tree-hugger and not a killer beast!

Clearly overwhelmed, he backs closer and closer to the edge of the lake nearby and falls down the hill and dies on the bank on top of a turtle. We don’t know whether to laugh or cry. Again stag-druid appears to be a mystery – he was popping cooldowns so he couldn’t be completely clueless. He also used bear form, which is the logical thing to do in this situation, but he would also go out of it to cast wrath and stick fight…

Noelani logs a Horde character and travels to his location, entering a scene where stag-druid is actually about to die again. Noelani tries to strike up a conversation with the intention of offering assistance, but stag-druid stops replying after thanking Noelani for saving him.

We take a look at his armory. It shows him as being mono specced resto and geared accordingly (no respecs), but having only done 15 dungeon ever (never raided). He likes pet battles and has maxed professions. He has waved eight times, hugged twice, but never cheered or laughed – aw! The armory also reveals he has his own guild with 35 members, eight of which are his own, including two level 90 dual-specced characters, which look straight-forward and conventional, though not impeccable.

It’s strange seeing how the armory can be used as a tool for drawing out a whole player-profile. Thinking about this, I’ve often felt like the armory was able to tell people a lot of things about me, that I actually didn’t think were any of their business. Anyways…

It was in the middle of the night on a Saturday, so it could be anyone. I like to imagine this extremely committed, yet young and inexperienced player. Someone who doesn’t have their own account, but they know their relative’s password and they snuck out of bed after everyone was asleep, turned on the computer and beat a fox to death with a stick!

In a way, I admire it. Even though playing is so hard, every mob is a challenge, dying over and over, the guy kept going – like an ironman!

Real World Minecraft Interior Design

tatsumatsuda

I couldn’t tell whether this was a real world installation of Minecraft or Tetris. Judging from the materials (wood and glass cubes etc), I’d say Minecraft!

It’s located in Japan and here’s the actual story:

“A Gallery Space for Puzzles designed like a Puzzle by Tatsu Matsuda

The architect used a computer algorithm to generate an answer to his puzzle: how to fit 144 pentacubes into a space.”

via “ghost in the machine” (Tumblr)

tatsumatsuda2

A landscape based on an algorithm? Definitely Minecraft!

Did I Paint Myself Into a Corner?

In 2011 I wrote about the educational path I had chosen and whether that choice actually meant I had painted myself into a corner.

Performance artist Keith Haring painting himself into a corner - almost like me!

Performance artist Keith Haring painting himself into a corner – almost like me!

Now I’m fully graduated, I hold an IT degree which usually makes people vastly overestimate how skilled I actually am at programming and fixing all kinds of computer problems, because well… I did study computer games, but not exactly how to make them. Because it comes across as an extremely narrow thing which doesn’t scream usefulness the same way studying fx. medicine does, people translate my education into “some IT”.

The Keith Haring performance piece was basically the feeling I had as I was progressing through my education. I had previously experienced unemployment with “only” a bachelor degree in communications and psychology, and finding a job at that time was very difficult. I perceived myself as a jack of all trades, master of none. I was never the perfect candidate for any job, and it bothered me.

The consequence of this experience became that I wanted to be more specialized, I wanted to read a job advert and think “I’m perfect for this! How could they NOT want to hire me?”. So I chose games studies.

The fear of not being able to find the right shelf was still bothering me, and the closer I was to graduation the more I started looking at my time at the university as a few really brilliant years, which probably wouldn’t amount to anything special later on. Because of the recent economic crisis, newspapers were (and still are) flooding with stories of lay offs and at times it robbed me of my motivation to work on my thesis. It felt like it was meaningless anyways, I would have no chance at building a career in a society that was in economic turmoil, so what was the point?

Keith Haring painting into corner2

Look! He made it!

Thankfully, I feel a lot more qualified than last time I was in this situation and I’m not as low as I expected I would be. Now I nag at myself for not enjoying the thesis-writing process more, instead of worrying about the future. If only I knew then, what I know now.

With that in mind, I’ve had to remind myself of what Søren Kierkegaard once said:

“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards”

(For the Danish speakers, the original quote is a lot more elegant: “Livet forstås baglæns, men må leves forlæns“)

Not long ago I attended a job search meeting, with a lot of other recent graduates and a few who had been in the work market for years, but had just lost their jobs. At some point we were instructed to introduce ourselves to the others around the table. Besides me, there was an art historian, a sociologist, an anthropologist, a psychologist, a biologist and one who did something with health care.

The subsequent conversation revolved almost entirely around me and what my education was about. They were all so positive and I got so many references and tips. It was such a strange experience, I had longed to be like them, studying something tangible like psychology or sociology, with a simple title that people understand and yet here I was being treated like the special butterfly.

Nobody inquired the sociologist nor the anthropologist. I guess people assume they know what that is about. My strategy of going for something more narrow in terms of education, but perhaps also unusual, worked in the sense that people got curious. I’m hoping this will help me in my future endeavours.

Afterwards the two older women at the table (the biologist and psychologist) pep talked me for half an hour and showed so much interest in my current situation (I’m telling you, I have a strange appeal to women in their 50’s, they always like me a lot).

So I ended up leaving that meeting feeling like the most successful unemployed person in the world – A walking oxymoron!

Image

Exam

Source: allitricycle

Exam in a few hours!