Friday, August 22, 2014

Gaming History Meme

I found this off of Manalicious by Vidyala who found it on Cannot Be Tamed by Jasyla. I love these things so I figured I'd play along.

1. When did you start playing video games?
Elementary school in the 80s. I played The Oregon Trail on a Commodore 64 at school. We also had the black and white Pong so I'm not sure which game I played first but it would have been close to the same time. My dad had an Atari but I don't remember any of games that I played on that. My mom had an Intellivision. I remember playing the hell out of Snafu (I can still hear the music in my head when you got close to losing, lol) and Burger Time on that console, lol. Good times. Look how ugly Snafu was, lmao!!


2. What is the first game that you remember playing?
See answer #1.

3. PC or Console?
As you can see from answer #1, I've pretty much always played on both. Nowadays, however, I mainly play on my PC or iPad.

4. XBox, PlayStation, or Wii?
We have a Wii U and a PS3. I've put my foot down against getting an XBox. We do not need all three consoles no matter what my husband and the kids say, lol. We've had every incarnation of the Nintendo except for the N64. We've also had every PlayStation, including the first one which would only spin the discs if you placed the console upside down. We'll probably end up getting a PS4 eventually but who knows. The older we get, the less of a priority it is to keep up with the new gaming systems.

5. What's the best game you've ever played?
This is a really hard question. FFVII maybe? Can I say The Sims to include all the expacs and versions since Vanilla? The Sims is the game that I've invested the most hours and money into playing. It's the game that's held my attention the most and the longest. Although, World of Warcraft is probably gaining on it, lol. I also absolutely loved playing the original Zelda. I have a lot of good memories wrapped up in that game.

6. What's the worst game you've ever played?
Another really hard question to come up with a definitive answer for. I can think of some chintzy, cheap games that I've bought over the years for the PC that were just terrible because they were so cheap, but I can't think of anything specific. Okay. Wait, wait, wait. It was Zelda: Twilight Princess for the Wii. Or was it the GameCube? Anyway, it had gotten such great hype so I preordered a copy of it. Then Nintendo delayed the release and we moved. I had to go through this whole crapton of crap to get the store to honor my preorder which I had already paid for and then when I finally got the game, it was a huge suckfest. There was so much cinematics, cut screens, and general drama that it took away from the actual game play. I gave it maybe an hour before giving up on it and being pissed off at the price I had paid.

7. Name a game that was popular/critically adored that you just didn't like.
Aside from Zelda? American McGee's Alice. I remember all the talk about this game and how you had to play it in the dark because it'd scare the crap out of you and blah blah. I thought it was slow, tedious, and boring.

8. Name a game that was poorly received that you really like.
I'm not sure on this one. My hubby and I really loved the game Dungeon Keeper. I never hear anyone talk about it and I don't remember hearing much talk about it when it came out. But I don't know. I'm probably wrong here.

9. What are your favorite game genres?
I really enjoy RPGs, platform games, racing games like Mario Kart, Little Big Planet Racing, those types of silly racing games. I also like sim games like Civilization, The Sims, Sim City, and Farming Sim.

10. Who is your favorite game protagonist? 
Geez. This isn't a fair question. This is one that requires a bit more critical thinking that the amount of sleep I got last night will allow. Mario? Hehehe. I'm going to say Ratchet. He's hilarious, inventive, can think on his feet, and he puts up with Clank's antagonism.

11. Describe your perfect video game.
Holy moly. I've always wanted to play a version of Star Trek where it was like immersing yourself in an episode of the show. You can realistically interact with your crew, explore your ship, investigate stellar phenomena, explore planets, make new friends with new species of peoples, have a drink in Ten Forward before logging some time in the holosuites. That sort of thing. Star Trek games always seem to be more about fighting than living. I'd also like to play a game set in Tudor England. It would be, again, a game where you could explore and interact with the world and the people in it as well as invading other countries as needed. I'd want it to be historically accurate though.

12. What video game character to you have a crush on?
I honestly can't think of a single character for whom I had a crush. I've never been one to have the hots for cartoonish characters.

13. What game has the best music?
I don't think I've played a wide enough variety of games to have an opinion on this topic. I've always liked The Sims because you can play your own MP3s through your Sims' stereos. Does that count?

14. Most memorable moment in a game:
Finally beating the original Super Mario Bros. All these years later and I still like to brag about it, lmao.

15. Scariest moment in a game:
In Diablo 2, there is that one witch or demon lady. Grrr! I can't remember her name. But every time she came out to kill me, her voice always gave me goosebumps. I hated her, lol.

16. Most heart-wrenching moment in a game:
I always get a little sad when one of my Sims dies of old age. I've never actually gotten teary-eyed over any game though. I don't immerse myself in a game's lore the way a lot of gamers do. I should, but I don't.

17. What are your favorite websites/blogs about games?
The only gaming blogs I read are WoW blogs. My favorite website is probably Wowhead, lol.

18. What's the last game you finished?
I have absolutely no idea. I lose interest in games before I finish them. After all, my favorite games are WoW and The Sims and neither one, especially The Sims, ends. I truly have no answer to this question.

19. What future releases are you most excited about?
The Sims 4!! Woot! I was excited about Mario Kart 8 but it's out now and we have it.

20. Do you identify as a gamer? 
If you had asked me that question 4 or 5 years ago, I would definitely have said yes. I'm finding that as time goes on, I play video games less and less and they become less of a focus. Or maybe I'm just managing my obsessions better as I get older, lol. Still, I call myself a girl gamer because there are fewer of us than male gamers, we get less respect as gamers, and there's more stigma attached to being a girl gamer. I like to thumb my nose at the judge-y asshats.

21. Why do you play video games?
There are a few reasons why I play. First and foremost, games are fun. Immersive games are a great way to de-stress and lose yourself in an alternate world where homework, house work, work work, cooking dinner, and other real world obligations don't exist. It's also a way for me to socialize. I know very few people in real life who play video games. It's been really hard for me to find people who share any of my interests. In the gaming world, I know I have at least one thing in common with the other players.

Friday, November 8, 2013

The Natural Rise and Fall??

I read over on Massively that Blizzard has lost another 100,000 subscribers to World of Warcraft over the course of the last three months. This brings the total number of subscribers down to a mere 7.6 million. Shameful, right? Numbers have been on a steady decline, down 4.4 million from the peak of about 12 million in 2010. While 100,000 doesn't sound like a lot, 4.4 million does. To me at least.

That being said, I'm not in a panic (yet) over these statistics. When you're at the top, you only have one place to go, right? World of Warcraft has long been the forerunner of MMOs. From all the MMOs that I've tried, before and since I started playing WoW, it's clear that game mechanics and even story progression have been based on and evolved from, at least in part, WoW's genius. WoW has staying power, in my opinion, but Blizzard also needs to beef up their game (Haha. Puns.).

7.6 million subscribers is nothing to sneeze at. That's almost $114 million in revenue from subscriptions alone. That doesn't even include the money Blizzard makes off of table top games bearing the World of Warcraft name, books, figurines, clothing, BlizzCon badges, in-game pets, etc., that players regularly buy, myself included.

Do I think that Blizzard has anything to worry about? Well, yeah, to an extent. If they continue on this steady downward trend in subscribers, eventually, it won't be worth the money to develop expansion packs and keep the game updated. It's one thing if the numbers fluctuate significantly, both up and down, but they don't. At least between expansion packs.

News of the next WoW expac is supposed to be released during the current BlizzCon so we should be hearing about it soon. I'm curious as to whether or not it will be innovative enough, in depth enough, and contain enough new content to drive subscriptions up in a meaningful way. Blizzard has a mind boggling problem in front of them:  How to both draw in new players and keep the veteran players that they currently have. More and more often, I'm reading around the blogosphere and the social media outlets about how players have become disenfranchised with the game and hang up their subscriptions. I truly hope Blizzard has an epic rabbit to pull out of their hat during this convention.

Friday, October 11, 2013


I saw this article on Massively today that totally intrigued me. It was about a study that was conducted that suggests that gamers take on aspects of the personalities of their game characters. Sheesh. That was a mouthful. Anyway, I saw another similar mention of this...somewhere. I don't remember where. It was more along the lines of certain people gravitating towards Horde while other gravitate towards Alliance (it being WoW specific). I would dismiss this all out of hand as being craycray, but Stanford conducted the aforementioned study and you can't ignore Stanford, right?

The study found that basically, women who represent themselves in a gaming world in provocative clothing see themselves more as objects versus women who don't. I suppose that this study would have to apply to role playing because I, for one, have both Alliance and Horde toons, one of which is male, and they all wear a variety of gear and I don't role play at all. I've never thought of myself as a sexy gnome rogue. Right?

The study goes on to talk about how only 45% of gamers are female and that "many" feel the gaming world is not welcoming to female gamers. I don't feel that I can speak to this from experience. I've never felt unwelcome in any game environment based solely on being a girl gamer. I've dealt with male/female stereotypes plenty. I even got a little bent out of shape on Goolge+ the other day when someone intimated that all women like the Lifetime network, which I hate, by the way. I've also been annoyed PLENTY in game by idiots that follow me around and constantly drop duel flags on me or by 12 year olds who talk politics in trade chat like they actually know what they're talking about. But my many annoyances have never been gender-based. 

A direct quote from the article says, "It used to be passive and you watched the characters. You now enter the media and become the protagonist. You become the characters." I just don't know if fully I agree with this. I also would like to know, of these people, how many of them also have gaming compulsions? It just seems to me that someone who has a hard time separating their real life selves from their game avatar would also have a gaming compulsion. Just a thought.

What's your opinion on this article? If you're a girl, have you experienced sexual stereotyping while playing an online game?

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Account Wide = Lost Appeal??

I addressed this topic back when MoP was still in beta and it was new news. But I saw this topic surface on Google+ and thought it was a good time to revisit it. Account wide achievements and mounts. Are they good, bad, or something in between?

I can see both sides of the argument. On the one side of the issue, people say that they don't relish grinding rep for multiple toons. Additionally, they don't like having to earn the same achievements over and over for all their toons, especially holiday or world event achievements.

The other side says that making mounts (earned by rep) available for all toons takes away that sense of accomplishment. Same goes for achievements, but I think, to a lesser degree.

I stand, somewhat in the middle. Account-wide achievements, for example, don't really bother me that much. Being an altoholic, it gets very repetitive going after the same achievements over and over. Taking into account the ones that can only be earned at certain times of the year, it's even harder for those of use paying attention to 5+ (that's conservative in my case, heheh) toons.

As for mounts that are earned via reputation gains and boss drops, I lean more towards the other side of the argument. Mounts can be a pretty big deal, at least in my opinion. Mounts are an entirely visible way of displaying your prowess in the game. Seeing someone with a coveted mount that has less than a 1% drop rate off of Boss So-and-So is enviable to say the least. Consequently, I only have two boss drop mounts and I luuuurrve them the most. I also remember getting them both.

Then you have rep mounts that are obtained after weeks and weeks of mindless rep grinding. I don't think I've ever heard of anyone saying that they enjoy running the same quests week after week trying to get their reputation up with a certain faction. It's fun the first few times, but after that, it's a major UGH in my book. Still, if you're at max level and playing the latest content patch, it's really the only thing you have to do other than raiding.

What if your toon is questing in Northerend. There's a rep mount, Sons of Hodir that gets you the various mammoth mounts. We'll pick the Grand Ice Mammoth for the point of our story.
Grand Mammoth Mount

To get this mount, you have to be exalted with the Sons of Hodir. I happen to have this mount and it's another one I remember getting. I worked for it. I wanted it badly. When I finally got it, I did a long and proud happy dance in my computer chair. At the time, this zone and these quests were level appropriate for my toon. While it was a repetitive grind, it was still basically one of the few choices I had for game play while waiting for the next expac.

Fast forward to MoP times and it's hard to imagine taking the time it would take to grind that rep for a 70-something toon who you're trying to get up to level 90 so that you can go to Pandaria. You just don't want to take the time at this point. Ya know?

So, I'm conflicted. On the one hand, I believe that mounts should be a player achievement, a goal to work towards, rather than just handed out to all your toons as soon as they can ride their first mount. If we're to have everything handed to us, then what's the point of playing? As soon as you roll a new toon, it should start out at level 90, have every mount available in the game, and be wearing all top level legendary gear. See what I'm saying here?

On the other hand, as much as I think that mounts should be earned by each toon, I can't imagine going through the rep grind for ALLLLLLLL the different factions for mounts for ALLLLLLLL my different toons. I, personally, wouldn't do it. There should be some alternative. What that alternative is, I really have no idea. Maybe lower the reputation points required for each faction so that exalted is obtainable within the time it takes to level that zone?? And then still need the required gold to purchase those same mounts? Hmm.

I know for damn sure that I absolutely do not go out of my way to earn achievements on all my toons that one already has even though it drives me batty when I see the "not earned by this character" or whatever it says, on the achievement. Ever notice that? Maybe grinding rep and re-earning achievements will be something to do when I have absolutely nothing left, in game, to do. As if. And monkeys might fly out of my butt. (Bonus points if you get the quote.)

What's your opinion? Are you in the camp of "Give it to me. Give it to me now." Or "It's not grinding, it fun. I enjoy mindless game play." Or are you somewhere in between?

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

To Transmog or Not to Transmog

I found a blog yesterday by Rinike:  Rinike's Wardrobe. Her main blogging purpose is transmog stuff but she also blogs about other game-related topics. She also lives in Sweden which is nifty to this American girl who has never been outside of North America. And honestly, Mexico and the Bahamas barely count as even leaving the United States. Anyway, her blog got me to thinking about transmog.

This is one aspect of WoW in which I have yet to immerse myself. On the one hand, I think I've gotten so used to wearing a mish mash of gear that it doesn't really even hit my radar. On the other hand, I have a hard time wrapping my head around running dungeons and raids just to get a piece of gear solely because of how it looks. Huh? What? Then I have to figure out what look I even want to go after. Basically, I don't know where to start.

Every once in a while I'll actually take notice of a piece of gear that one of my toons is wearing and stop long enough to think, "That looks nifty!" Then I'll save it back in my bank in hopes of finding other pieces along the line that will match. Then I won't play that toon for a few weeks, go back, clean out her bank and realize that the old, outdated gear I just sold was something that I had been saving for transmog purposes, rush back to the vendor to get it back, and discover that it's been bumped off the buy back tab and forever lost in the mists. I do this. Often. I really don't think transmogging is for me.

My main, Maruka, does have a transmogged gear set. What?!?!?! Yeah. She does but before you get all excited for me, it's generic pieces that I got from questing. I think. It's basically, more or less, this set:  Osul Peak. Turns out that it's also known as the Stormscale Set which I didn't even know until just now when I browsed Wowhead for a screenshot to share on this post. I decided to use this for my transmog for two reasons:  1) Because I just happened to notice that I had a complete matching set before I sold it all. 2) Because the legs are a skirt instead of pants even though it's a mail set.

Yeah. I'm real discerning, lol.

How much time do you spend on transmog? How far out of your way do you go to get a piece of transmog gear that you want?

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

2013 Newbie Blogger Initiative (Updated)

Corrected and Updated becaaaaussse...

Turns out that Syp didn't organize this year's NBI. This year, Syp turned things over to Contains Moderate Peril  and Red Skies. Any information that you could possibly need or want about the 2013 NBI can be found at either of those links. I think it says a lot about Syp and the NBI that other people were ready and willing to take the reins and keep it going another year. Hopefully, the enthusiasm will continue and the Newbie Blogger Initiative will be renamed the Annual Newbie Blogger Initiative. Huh? Yeah? Sounds awesome, right???

The NBI is how this blog got started. I know. Not exactly a ringing endorsement. All things considered, the NBI launched a bunch of great gamer blogs last year. It was, for me at least, just the incentive needed to take the final leap into the gaming blogging community. I know that I had been considering starting a game blog for quite some time before I saw the NBI. Fear that I wouldn't be able to keep up with it, that I wouldn't have enough post ideas, and that I would bore the rest of the community kept me from taking the chance. The Newbie Blogger Initiative was a great support system for us new bloggers. It was the perfect safety net and I, for one, appreciated all the great comments and exposure that I got last year. I was tickled to see that it was back this year. I hope that Syp decides to make it an annual thing.

As for where I'm at with this blog, it's more laziness than anything that keeps me from posting. I have so many ideas and observations about gaming, specifically WoW, that I have bouncing around in my head and it's just the chore of getting out my laptop and composing a post that's keeping me from putting my ideas out there. Yup. Laziness.

I started a WoW Bloggers group over on Google+ that I've also been neglectful of. I searched and searched and didn't find anything specific to WoW bloggers so I figured I'd start a group. I envisioned it as being a place for both support and exposure as well as communication. Somewhere to bounce ideas, etc. I still have hopes for it. And even though I haven't generated much content, I still very closely monitor the group, so if you're feeling up to it, check it out and add your blog if you'd like.

See you out in the community somewhere.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Trying to Understand the Function of Guilds

Credit goes to Dr. Jenny Fremlin
If you've stuck around with me long enough, you know that I have questions surrounding guilds. If you don't raid, what purpose do they serve? I was in a guild for a pretty long time that was a 100% social guild. We occasionally ran raids as level 85s but it was strictly old content because hardly any of us were experienced raiders and hardly any of us were geared to run Cataclysm (at the time, this was the most current expansion) raids. There were times where we couldn't even manage to get through Cata heroic dungeons as a guild without wiping repeatedly. It was sad. From what I could tell, the most active members were primarily interested in PvP and were geared and experienced as such. The husband and I were looking for more than that. While we occasionally enjoy PvP, our primary focus was social and leveling but we were very interested in learning how to raid. This was something that our guild and more importantly, our guild manager, was totally uninterested in. Rather than try and bend the guild to fit us, we left. It was so far from being personal. I really miss those people. But being in a guild that didn't fit us, that we had outgrown, led to dissatisfaction with WoW in general.

After Pandaria came out, we left the guild and paid for a realm transfer. We decided to found our own guild. Our entire purpose was to have a place for our alts and a bank that we could do with what we wanted. After leveling the guild to 25 and more than just two members to level 90, we plan on recruiting. What we're looking for in members is as follows:

  • Fun people that enjoy playing a game and not analyzing it to death.
  • Respectful people that understand that when you're running a level 85 dungeon on normal with bad gear, it's because you're trying to get better gear for cripes sake. 
  • Respectful people that understand when you're in a level 85 dungeon with bad gear, that you probably don't know all the fights because IT'S A LOW LEVEL DUNGEON THAT YOU'RE TRYING TO LEARN AND GET BETTER GEAR.
  • Fun people that are interested in being respectful, social, adults who are interested in playing a game.
  • Fun people that are looking to learn together.
I know. I'm idealist and probably unrealistic but my husband and I can't possibly be the only gamers out there that are like us. I remain hopeful.

The other day, @Matticus posted this on Twitter:
 It led me to wonder, what are other guilds like? Guilds that have actual leadership and direction? I really think this is an aspect of MMOs, and not just WoW, that I have yet to experience.

I found this paper that was written in 1996 about MUDs which was entirely too interesting especially when comparing it to the current gaming experience of MMOs. Essentially, nothing much has changed in what the gamer is looking for in the 17 years since this was written. You should read it.

I would love to hear about other people's guild experiences.