Sunday, July 31, 2011

Reentering the IRL dating scene.

On Friday, I had a first date with a friend from (the first time I tried) college. I was looking forward to it all week, because after three years of paying for unemployed boyfriends to eat, I was fairly excited about having someone else buy me dinner for once. Yea, it's pretty traditional, but take this hit for me, girls. From past relationships, I've had enough equality and shared responsibility to last me the rest of my life.

Then the date happened and... it was unspectacular. It wasn't bad; I just didn't feel any chemistry between the two of us. There was no especially poignant conversation that revealed to me that we had some deeper connection. And it didn't help that, as hard as we tried to fight it, every few minutes we ended up talking about WoW again and again.

Don't get me wrong. I enjoy a good "intellectual" discussion about class mechanics as much as the next person, but I knew this kid before we even started playing WoW, and now it's the topic our minds grab onto when we are grappling for things to have in common.

Damn me and my gravitation towards awkward gamer guys. Since WoW is the major source of my social interaction, all of the wo/men I meet and subsequent romantic relationships are doomed to revolve around the latest content patch. Reminiscing will consist of recollecting how that one time, s/he saved me from getting ganked in the Molten Front.

My other choice is branching out and only dating people from other gaming genres. Are there any eligible StarCraft players out there?

... who will buy dinner?


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Call me a geek scholar.

I want to make a cake like this.
For my internship at a small publisher for students, I've been doing research for an eBook on the gaming community as a social group. Basically, I go into work every day and read WoW blogs for four hours. I'm a creative writer, and reporting the facts as I find them is totally not my M.O. I always want to change things as I see fit in order to support my grand Idea. I actually got into a discussion with my coworker about it, because she basically saw fiction-writing as "lying." I had to explain that while journalism consists of telling the facts, creative writing doesn't mind fudging the facts in order to convey a greater Truth. With a capital T. She didn't get it.

But anyway, when I finally stopped perusing to do some real research for my project, I found that there is actual academic literature out there on trolling.

I am incredibly interested in reading said material.

Google Books let me preview a few pages of Communities in Cyberspace, and in their chapter "Identity and deception in the virtual community," the writers broke down the conveyed meanings in Usenet posts. They analyzed Geek Code used in signatures, interpreted different domain names as users would perceive them, and concluded that reputation incentives drive people to pretend to be knowledgeable on forums. They basically did close readings of message boards, like the posts were poems, and they reverse-interpreted the inner workings of their poets/users.

Sociologists get all the fun. I chose the wrong major.


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

:*( for realz.

I almost ragequit WoW last week. My guild has been working on Alysrazor, and even though we’ve already downed it 10 man, everything is always more difficult with 15 more asshats in play. Apparently, I’m one of those asshats, because for the life of me, I cannot do the fucking Starfox rings without falling to my death.

Call me a noob if you want. Go ahead! It turns out I am too stupid to go through rings in 3D while casting spells. By the time I epic failed for the fifth time, I was on the verge of tears, having flashbacks of Twin Emps tanking and asking my raid to kick me. I’m not used to failing so badly at PvE (PvP is another story), and I obviously wasn’t handling the news very well that I might actually be bad at this game. It was enough to make me want to /gquit and spend the rest of my WoW life RPing in Dustwallow Marsh as Tabetha’s BFF.

On Thursday, I spent the rest of the night killing adds on the ground, but typical gamer and raider, I feel like I have to prove to the raid and to myself that I’m a competent player who doesn’t have to be relegated to the simple jobs for fear of fucking up the important stuff. As a dedicated constituent of the gaming subculture, my self-worth depends on the confidence that I am a skilled player and a valued member of my raid team. If I can’t do this, I’m going to end up one of those DPS that can do great damage but that no one can rely on to do anything complicated. I’m going to be a mage!

I am so angry with Blizzard for creating this fight. It’s bad enough that I have to play a platform game to do my dailies, but I also have to barrel roll to raid? Call me a noob. If I stop posting, it means I threw myself in lava thinking about the good old days of Burning Adrenaline and class calls. Remember this shiz?!!!


Thursday, July 14, 2011

Magma is super effective!

July 12 Patch 4.2 hotfixes
July 12

Dungeons & Raids
    • Majordomo Fandral Staghelm
      • Flame Scythe now properly hits pets.

Woe is me. Blizzard hotfixed Firelands in such a way that pets have an opportunity to take even more damage than they already do. There isn’t really much to complain about for this particular example, but I’ve spent the past two weeks summoning and resummoning my damn felhunter every pull because he gets exploded by scorpions, burned by magma when he’s sitting in it, and even when he’s not. I figured the massive amounts of environmental/AOE damage that pets were taking was a mistake with Avoidance that Blizz would almost immediately hotfix because it was so super important. I guess it’s just super important to me?

Hopefully, they fix it soon since right now it takes a lot of micromanaging just to keep Traathun alive, which isn’t normal. Until then, I will shed a tear every time his lifeless body flops over and his little demon soul flies back to the Twisting Nether only to get pulled back again into harsh Azeroth by a selfish warlock.



Monday, July 11, 2011

IRL Friend Recruitment

I'm thinking of joining a WoW Meetup group to add a little diversity to my dwindled stock of RL friends. It might not seem like diversifying since I have plenty of WoW-playing friends already, but
they're all online. I need people that I can hang out with in Manhattan, eat dinner together and be that obnoxious group getting more and more garrulous with every pitcher of beer. I need something spontaneous instead of typed out. Something tactile (as long as they're not too gross to hug).

Basically, I'm trying to form culturally acceptable social bonds, which makes me annoyed with myself. Since when do I care that mainstream culture values internet relationships less than face-to-face interaction? In high school, my graduating class voted me Most Non-Conformist, and I got voted Most Unique in middle school. Now, I'm trying to meet a quota for friends who know what I look like in 3D? The years have not been kind to my character, and I'm not talking toons.

On the other hand, I always wondered what it'd be like to dungeon with people I know IRL. We could have LAN parties, strategize without Vent lag, and when someone is standing in fire, the person next to him can just smack him into attention. And then again, I might be the only girl there, and it could be super awkward.

Well, it wouldn't be too awkward if there are cute WoW players who go to Meetup groups to socialize with other gamers.

But really.

There won't be.


Saturday, July 9, 2011

Affirmative Action for Ranged Tanks NOW!

Mars and Venus? Or... Argus?
My first melee character was my resto druid with a feral OS for questing, and it was as I was DPSing a heroic for the first time ever as a cat that I reaffirmed my belief that melee is dumb.

Honestly, in a tactical sense, how wise is it to just run up to things and smack them? Of course, that's classically how "real" people have conducted battle over many centuries, the bulk of an army being infantry among which I would never include myself. The enemy could turn right around and cleave me in the face, and then I'd be left bleeding on the battlefield thinking, "I should have rolled a sniper."

For some reason, many people who aren't me like to brute force their way through WoW, and luckily for them, melee will always have special spots reserved in raids with well-worn cardboard signs reading "kicker" on them. Meanwhile, the ranged are stuck switching targets all the time to kill some stupid adds that explode and making cookies and cake. Class discrimination and role schema. How unglamorous and disappointingly akin to reality.

People groan when Blizzard releases a fight that calls for ranged tanks. One reason may be because those fights are always council fights, which generally suck. It's bad enough to memorize the mechanics of one mob, but pugging BWD means spending half an hour explaining every robot in Omnotron Defense System. Every time someone remembers one mechanic, it means another one was already pushed out of his/her brain and forgotten before the pull. And don't even remind me of what a nightmare Twin Emps were when it was new content. When I think back on AQ40, I can't even imagine myself ever having as much patience now as I did then when raiding five days a week was considered normal.

But anyway, I have another theory about why the playerbase in general hates range-tanked fights. It could be because they break away from a model that has become normal, i.e. the stratified raid structure in which players are organized into a hierarchy with tanks at the top. By default, that makes melee sit at the top because when we think "tank," we automatically think "plate-wearing melee class," but this is due to a popular opinion shaped over years of MMORPGs reinforcing the idea of the warrior hero running headlong into battle to lead his allies. While DPS work is devalued, tanking is glorified.

Thus, it is instinctual for melee classes to be averse to any new encounter that suggests that melee and ranged, despite their outward differences, can both be tanks and therefore may be equals. After all, it threatens their place at the top of the raiding and social hierarchy. In order to change the role-ist ways that players view ranged DPS, not only must Blizzard introduce more range-tanked encounters in order to close the disproportionate gap, each player must actively try to change their thought patterns and embrace role equality. There is much work to be done to ensure that discriminatory raging against casters is reduced and respect is conjured.

I'm like a gamer Audre Lorde.


Tuesday, July 5, 2011

LF self-actualized life partner. PST.

So, I’m newly single. My boyfriend that I met on WoW didn’t work out. Surprise surprise. Plus, he was one of those jealous types that got angry when I talked to anyone with a penis, which was all of my friends IRL, so now I have no friends since I basically had to stop hanging out with everyone I could stand. Who knows why I thought that was logical even after I became aware that the relationship was doomed to fail since it turned out we had nothing in common besides WoW. Then he stopped playing WoW in favor of Battlefield: Vietnam, and I was like, “Where is the tankadin that I thought you were?”

All I have is gaming now, which I really felt depressed about when I realized that it was the Fourth of July and I was watching virtual fireworks with my best friend, Barkath. My voidwalker.

But it’s ok! It’s been a while since I’ve been single, and even though I no longer have someone who will log in for me when I’m running late for a raid, I can also stop pretending to be interested in things like shooting stuff with helicopters, “noob tubes,” and sex with a guy who thinks that because some people abuse the welfare system, no one should get it at all. What he saw in a bleeding-heart liberal like me, I have no idea. On top of that, my main is a lock, and he played a priest and a paladin. Defender of the light + corrupt magic user = a year of awkward domestic partnership followed by an unexpectedly drawn out and dramatic breakup.

I told my sob story to one of the few people with whom I can talk that I have left, i.e. my WoW friend from vanilla, and he told me to get in his boat.

leet dk: you can join my club! :D

me: lol. what is it called?


leet dk: club

me: … that’s amazing.

If anyone needs me, I’ll be drowning my sorrows. And by “drowning my sorrows,” I mean raiding.

Lootz before cootz, y0. Lootz before cootz.


Monday, July 4, 2011

My imagination ran away with my dreams.

Last night, I dreamt I was in Winterspring with a bunch of my guildies, and we were running up and down the snow-covered cliffs like we were 8-year-olds on a jungle gym. One of the paladins that I talk to sometimes was there, and I kept trying to run up close to him, so it'd be like we were hanging out together. But the others kept calling him over and he would turn and go to them every time, completely leaving me behind. It kept happening like that; whenever I managed to get a second alone with him, he would veer off to join our other guildmates. I was left alone, panting from the effort and watching him run away from me, as I stood on a frozen rock mountain in Frostwhisper Gorge. The snow was white trimmed with cerulean.

I think I'm lonely. O_o