Thursday, January 28, 2010

Emo Means Emotional

Emo means emotional - and trust me, when I first started playing this game I could not believe some of the things that caused laughter as well as tears.  For this post, I want to write about some of that.   If you are familiar with online gaming, perhaps these same things have happened to you.   If you are thinking about online gaming just be aware of your vulnerabilities.

Playing WOW puts a person into a "child" state. Your inner child gets a chance to shine. What that means is that things are so stinking big sometimes that they can feel overwhelming.  Immaturity is the theme of the day. LOL!!   And in the world of online games people can pretend all kinds of stuff they would not do in real life.  For example, I am not really a warrior.  I am not a priest.  I don't really do magic and I am not as beautiful as the toon that I play.

As I allow my "childself" to play, my adultself has to be on guard constantly against letting the unreal world of the game hurt me or others. WOW is like sitting down to a game of cribbage with friends -- and with strangers.  It may involve conversation and gossip, and maybe insults about playing style - only difference is anonymity.  People say and do stuff in an online game they would never do or say IRL.  (In real life)

Sometimes I expect people in the game to be nice, honest, real, and of the same moral fabric as myself.  I wonder why?  Since the people I meet IRL aren't all just like me, why then do I expect the gamers I meet to fall into a certain narrow category of humanity?  I do not know.  I am aware of debauchery, idiocy, rudeness, hate, contempt, and such -- these exist in the game as well as real life.  After all, why should the people playing the game be any different than the real world? 

If you do not want to deal with meanies, rudies, naughties, emos, and haters just play your game and ignore the chat window.  Isn't that cool?  Hopefully along the way though you can pick up online friends.   Just like in real life there are risks to that as well.  Even more risk really, as a "friend" can suddenly disappear from the game (for whatever reason) and you never see or hear from them again.  And you don't call 911 because they aren't there anymore.  There is nothing you can do.  Sometimes they quit playing, sometimes they are banned, sometimes their computer died. You worry.

If you are a social player (I am) and love to role play (RP) it is very easy to take the game theatre into your heart and be really hurt by events that are just part of the game.  Because it "feels"  very real.  Remember to separate yourself from the drama.  For example, you might walk into a tavern to find others there making fun of how you are dressed or something.  It's a game!!  It's called role play.  Play along and react with your toon.  Try to not take things internally.  This takes energy.  If you don't have it, don't RP.  I've had to cut WAY back.  LOL!

You might develop what you feel is a "real" friendship with someone in game.  They; however, might just be there for a bit of fun and not for commitment to the real you.  If they get tired of playing they may leave the game and you may never hear from them or see them online again.  It happens.  And if you internalize the game, you will hurt.  You will find yourself looking constantly for him/her and you might even worry that real life has harmed them somehow.  Just because you really like rp-ing with someone doesn't mean they have to continue. 

If you aren't a social player I must say you will miss out on some really good stuff, funny, friendly people abound.  Joining a guild with people that feel about the game like you do is very much a bonus!  You will make friends if you try.  I am not a guild hopper, but I will say that I left a guild because of guild drama..."they did this to me, they did that to me", and found a guild that does not have role play as a major part.  The guild I belong to has wonderful chat log times, wonderful dungeon runs, and the people are courteous to one another.  There is a chat room for adult language and innuendos (over 18 please) and the guild has a website for keeping up with all that is going on. 

Sometimes the guild chat is quiet, sometime full of funny stuff, sometime serious discussion about gear and instances and about the mechanics of the game.   What I really love about my guild is - they are accepting of various kinds of folk, young, old, marrieds, singles, silly, and serious folk.  It is a great guild.  I personally cannot imagine playing the game without belonging to a guild.

My husband and brother-in-law; however, find that guild life is distracting and confusing.  They do much better ingame just soloing along and mostly ignoring (not noticing) what others are doing.

They enjoy the game as much or more than I, and I enjoy it far too much!!  I know I spend too much time wondering how everyone is and what everyone is doing.  I am this way because growing up, I was so shy I never had any rl friends.  We moved at least once a year during my school years until I was a sophomore and that is not conducive to someone with my personality making and keeping friends.  I am not shy now, but I am somewhat immature in my dealings with others.  I am working on that.  WOW bring out the child in me.  The child that wants others to accept and like me.  I admit it.

The fun and good stuff FAR outweighs the pain - so don't be scared off.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Happy Monday

Happy Monday!

Friday night was family night on WOW. We five, Surdor, Thything, Shommie, Omin, and my shadow priest, Cantique went to burning crusade 5 man instances. All 80s and overpowered for the places we simply blazed through them having loads of fun and no stress. Shommie got a lot of achievements. (For those who do not play, Achievements is Blizzards way of enhancing game play to provide for those who might be bored just playing – certain things to “achieve”. A little screen pops up which tells you just achieved something and there is a point system. In fact you can compare your achievements with other players within the game.)

An achievement might be as simple as getting your first haircut in the barbershop and might be as hard as, well, I know there are some hard ones out there. I haven’t done them. LOL. Stuff like killing a bazillion things in a certain amount of time with a stupid hat on or something…*shrug*.

I believe we did 7 instances in Burning Crusade and 1 heroic randam instance in Northrend. When I hit the bed it was 1 a.m.

Saturday, I spent all day with Cassity, my sister. She has a shadow priest – level 51 and I play with a druid named Eliment - level 50. We spent loads of time just coordinating our quests with one another, making sure our bags were fairly empty so we had room for out “loot”, and gathering potions and food to help us do our work. That preliminary preparation is, for me, part of the fun of WOW. I love to arrange the stuff I have in the bank and in my bags into categories. I know. Time consuming.

Well, coffee made, abundant snacks close by, we were finally ready. First we had to go to various places in the world to turn in completed quests. That took a lot of time. Then, we went to a place called Unguro crater, full of slime blobs, reptiles, and dangerous gorillas to finish off two quests we had both started weeks ago. We went up a little hill because I could see on my map and question mark and wanted to talk to the computer generated character there. We ran into trouble and died!! We were saying “ah ah!! …wait what just… Oh Oh!” Then we got lost for about 10 minutes trying to find our bodies in order to become alive again. (felt like 30 minutes) Finally, we looked up and it was around 3 p.m.!! For a minute I forgot that this was a game and got a little stressed out because we still weren’t in Winterspring which was a goal I had for the day. Cassity and Eliment only get to play together maybe once every couple of weeks.

We took a flight to get us to a place called Felwood. I was so wanting to be in Winterspring! We ran forever up a road and came to a tunnel. The tunnel was full of creatures called Furbolgs (I think) and we had to run through them while they hit us. We ran out the other end of the tunnel into Winterspring and down the road to a town called Everlook. Well, when we arrived there, we found that we were still too low a level to get any of the quests for the immediate area, so we hopped onto the flight out of there back to Felwood. Sigh.

We talked to the NPCs (Non Player Characters) standing around at the little flightpath stopover and took several quests from them. I had never done any of the quests in this particular area with my Main character, Cantique, so I really had no idea where stuff was. I had a new Addon though called Carbonite which gives me a map and helps me know where to go to do the quests (or jobs) that the computer game gave us. I assured my sister that I would be able to get us to the places we needed to go to complete the quests. Sigh. I had a headache. Hills and trees and rocks were in the way. It took a long time.

In the process of getting everything out of the way to get to Winterspring we both “dinged twice”! (Ding means we moved from one level to the next.) She dinged to 53 and I dinged to 52. Woot!!!

And we finally made it to Winterspring and there are quests for us. Yay!! Our major goal is to make level 58 so we can begin the “Burning Crusade” part of the game. At this rate it will be another month.


Because I knew I was going to have WOW company all day Saturday, I did not sign up for my guilds regular Saturday night or Sunday afternoon raids. It wasn’t until raid time Sunday afternoon that I felt like I had enough brain power or energy to do anything and at the last minute signed on with The Illuminati’s Raid for ICC. (ICC scares me because I’ve not even seen most of Ulduar at this point and Ulduar is supposed to be before ICC).

I was pretty nervous as on our website someone posted a forum saying in essence, “If you sign up for a raid, be sure to check out the details online (somewhere?) before you come so you aren’t stupid about it.” Um, I have tried doing that and totally become confused, as there is no live person to answer my questions. So I have a problem. Sign up for raids and keep my questions to myself and do a half/assed job or ask questions and be seen as someone who didn’t research? Either one is no fun. Anyway. I got to go only because there was still a guild spot unfilled. Yay.

I just listened carefully and tried to figure out the rest. I think I typed maybe two questions in raid chat. Still. Hate that feeling of inadequacy and no amount of watching youtube vids about the fight help. In fact they hurt my ability to “get it”. Since I am 56 years old I really chaff when everyone is expected to learn stuff the same way. People are different that way, you know?

Besides, I already griped enough about doing ICC before finishing Ulduar to our poor guild leader Vowain – So, I am working hard to be quiet and not be a cause of stress. It’s a game! What is happening to me though, is that I continue to be afraid to ask questions. Which means I continue to be mediocre as a player.
Later I will write about a very fun fight involving two ships, rocket packs on our backs, and cannons!! This was all in Ice Crown Citadel.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


Hello again, If you already play World of Warcraft you'll know about "pugs". If you do not, PUG stands for "pick up group" or a group of people you do not know that are put together by the game mechanics or that find each other in "looking for group" channel -- for the purpose of raiding. PUGS are different from raiding with your close group of friends or your guildmates in that you have a harder time communicating, you do not automatically know each other's strengths and weaknesses, and in general in my estimation, there is less patience with one another.

Anyway this story is Cantique's experience with PUGS. In the computer generated groups if something goes wrong, 4 can vote the odd one out.


Cantique stands shivering. She leans forward on her staff, straining to see through the gloom. As faint figures approach she questions, “Friend or Foe?” The silence is only broken by footfalls and a slight tinkle of someone’s trinket.

The four arrive from different directions and dim features coalesce into faces -- A paladins frown as he looks over the heads of the group, a Druids nonchalance as she picks at her fingernails, a Mage, tiny grim face vibrating with power and a Rogue, heavy lidded eyes showing no emotion. Cantique wrinkles her brow and purses her lips.

Without a word the group steps into the fog, and they travel quickly. Eventually, the fog clears and Cantique scans the area as she readies a meal of fish. She gestures with her hands her willingness to share as she doesn’t want to be the one to break the silence again. Two companions sit to eat, the other two continue forward.

Cantique stuffs the food into her mouth, hoping she has time for the benefits of it. She wipes her mouth with the back of her hand, stumbling a bit and almost dropping her flask. By the time the group is together again the Paladin and rogue have already killed and they are still deep in the heat of battle. Silently, the mage and druid begin casting magic and heals as Cantique’s shadowform takes her over.

- - - - - - - -

The dream begins again . . .

Cantique stands shivering. She leans forward on her staff, straining to see through the gloom. As faint figures approach she questions, “Friend or Foe?” The silence is only broken by footfalls and a slight tinkle of someone’s trinket.

Cantique crams food into her mouth, hoping she has time for the benefits of it. She wipes her mouth with the back of her hand, stumbling a bit and almost dropping her flask.

This time when Catique catches up everyone is frowning and looking at her. She is forced backward into the fog to stand alone.

- - - - - - - -

The dream begins again . . .

Friend or Foe?”

“Cantique is that you?” Darksparrow says as she and Vais walk into view.

Cantique smiles as her companions appear. “I have fish! Ye want ta eat a bit first?”

Elenntari smiles, “Sure! Thank you for the food.”

As the group finishes the meal and readies for the battle ahead, Graystreak says . . .”I’ve been having the strangest dreams lately . . .”

Monday, January 18, 2010

Hello again -- Cantique here, sorry for the delay in posting. We’ve been talking about WOW or the World of Warcraft game and I mentioned earlier that I’d talk about some of the mechanics of the game, but this post I wish to address some of how I came to play the game.

I think I pay $30 a month for the game. First you have to purchase the initial world of warcraft game – honestly I do not know what it sells for at this time, but when I bought it, It was around $40 for the boxed game. After you install it, you “join” the game online and pay a monthly fee of
$30. Now, since I’ve started playing, the initial game has expanded twice. What that means is that I had to go out for each “expansion” and purchase the “rest” of the game. Twice. About $40 a pop. Each time there is an expansion there is more content and more fun. Blizzard, the company that developed the game keeps things interesting so you don’t get bored and leave. They want that $30 a month. At this point in time, I think they have about 12 million players. WOW, indeed!

There is also a World of Warcraft magazine to which I subscribe. Four issues a year. Very nice rag, colorful, full of information and worth saving. I was so excited to get that first issue! I share it with my family and friends at work. Okay enough advertising…lol.

My grown son, Thything, introduced my husband (Shadew) and me to the game. I sat next to Thything and watched as he showed me a tiny bit of the world of Azeroth. (That is the name of the world in which the game takes place). He showed me a dark underground city called Ironforge and pointed to the characters moving around. When he said to me, see that one’s name (I don’t remember the name, but lets use Olwei). When he moved the mouse pointer (cursor) over the character I saw the name. Thything said, “That is a real person who has also bought this game and is sitting at his computer at home and I can see him and he can see me in the game.” I was amazed!

You can make your character or “toon” walk (or run, or jump – LOL) up to other toons and type things that you would want to say to them. For example you can type “hello” and the toon and all the other toons close enough can see what you typed, or you can whisper to the other person and no-one but you and he can see what you typed. You can do simple commands by using the
backslash and some words - /dance – or /laugh – or /cry and your “toon” will do what you’ve typed. This part of the game can be very intricate and evolve into good rp (or roleplay) or it can remain simply communication of a “hi, bye, whatcha doing” nature.

I have learned that there are some folk that play the game that are very annoying and say things you don’t want to hear. There is a filter for cursing so you don’t have to see that and there is a very handy thing called “ignore”. You open a list and type the person’s name and click “ignore” and they don’t disappear, but you don’t “hear” (or read) anything at all that they are typing and they cannot whisper to you anymore. I will talk about the “Friends list” and guilds at a later date.

Anyway, there I sat absolutely enthralled. Some of the characters are simply computer generated -- not at all real people – they are called NPCs for None player character I think -- but they interact with you to give you directions, or instructions for quests. (more about quests later).

There are cities, and villages all over the place and roads to get from place to place. There are different continents and oceans. There are ships to go from continent to continent. There are creatures from which you can purchase rides to other same-continent cities (remember, I talked about the coin in an earlier post) There is a tram from a city called Stormwind to the
city Ironforge. I couldn’t take it all in. I wanted to play the game just to be able to see the sights. LOL.

Done. Purchased the game, joined the online community and logged in. I had to create my character. There are so many choices I know I took more than an hour just to do that. Did I want to be a cute, small gnome character or a human, or a dwarf? (there are many more) Did I want to be a warlock, a priest, a warrior, and so on and so on. What color of hair did I want? What style? Male or female? Also, skin tone, things like earrings, and the very important FACIAL features. But the most important thing to me was the NAME I picked for my character. On World of Warcraft this is all very easy. It is fun!

Boom! I created my very first toon called Esiwlil – Gnome, female, mage, red hair, three ponytails, brown eyes, sweet face, and 3 or 4 earrings, pale skin. (I still have her and am working with her to get her to her top level) Hubby created a character (forgot its name at this time.) We were set up. Nice.

The very first problem that came up was: Whose turn is it to play? So, hubby played for a while and I watched. Then I played awhile and he watched. – We are good at playing things together, we played Myst sitting side by side with one running the computer and the other helping to think about how to solve the puzzles of that game – However; I think it was the very next day, we decided that we had to purchase another account so we could both play at the same time. Two computers, two purchased boxed games, and two accounts. Whew! I could then take my time and not feel like I had to explain all my choices to hubby who was totally busy with his own game.

Much better.

At this point we also decided that in order to help afford the monthly fees, we would discontinue television service. We haven’t missed it at all! Isn’t that amazing? So we have had no way to watch television shows on our television since 2006. We have a lot of videos and are constantly adding to our collection; however, and that is what we use the television for exclusively. The price of the television service was about the same price as the two WOW accounts. I have never regretted that decision. I can pick up a few shows online if I want to, but I almost never do.

I will wrap this up by saying that the creation of characters to play with in the game is one of the most fun aspects for me. As such I went on to create many, many, other toons, so I do not get bored being a mage, or a gnome, I just switch over to one of my other “people” and do other stuff. In World of Warcraft an account can have up to 50 characters. Isn’t that terrific? Only ten per realm. (we’ll talk about realms later)

So, there I was at the time around 51 years old and super excited about this new-fangled way to play and to interact with people from all over the world. I still haven’t finished the last game of the MYST series. I do still take time to read however -- I try not to let WOW take up all my spare time, but it’s hard. LOL!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

"Omph!" "Ahh, right there." Cantique moans as Nanaive massages a sore spot on her back.

"What have ye been doin ta get sa kinked oop?"

Cantique looks over her shoulder at Nanaive, "It's joost a Krick."


Earlier that day. . .

The five Illuminati ran back through the pit of Saron to re-engage a leper gnome and his vehicle, a plaque eruptor. As Zaonena's Guard shifted into Cantique's periphrial vision, she jumped a bit and muttered something about making it wear a pink vest.

"Okay, Steinhammer said, "we've learned a bit about these guys. They're tricky -- no matter what they do, run out of the way." Cantique was standing bent over with her hands on her knees, breathing hard.


Grinning,Steinhammer charged in, Melyar shifted to feral and stiffened his stance. Zao's demon stomped forward and Melyan stood as calm as a moonbeam.

"Why did I even think I could cast healin's instead of hurtin's today?" Cantique worried and stood with arms akimbo, waiting for signs of injury on the others.

Suddenly a toxic cloud appeared and they were ALL on the move.

That crazy leper gnome, Krick -- on the back of Ick -- seemed a bit unstable as he yelled "No, that one, THAT ONE!, Get that one!" And obediently Ick would turn and chase one of them. But then Krick yelled, "I've changed my mind -- get that one instead. What are you attacking him for? The dangerous one is over there, fool!" The Illuminati scattered and fought on the run, all of them careful to stay out of toxins and away from the edge of the pit behind them.

"Enough moving around -- hold still while I blow them up!"

The five began dodging the mines that Krick conjured up and as the others stabbed, slashed, hit, and burned the tempo in Cantique's head reminded her of her duty for that day. Heal, heal, don't hit, heal, heal, don't hit.

Cantique tries to relax as Nanaive massages her back for her. "Whut were ye thinkin?"
Wincing in pain, Cantique replys, "Joost rub that krick outta mah back will ye?"

Saturday, January 9, 2010

The Magazine

Sweet! The new World of Warcraft magazine arrived. It was in a plastic cover so a bit protected from the elements and the machines of snailmail, but I cringed a tiny bit inside when I noticed the edge of it dented in. The magazine is so pretty I wanted it to be in perfect condition. It is full of glossy artwork and the cover is heavy duty like the cover of a paperback novel.

I took it to work with me yesterday and since most of my time at work is spent on hold I spent all day perusing it. I am thoroughly impressed with the layout, the look, and the information. There were enough bits of information of particular interest to me, so the pages are loaded with stickynotes. The editors have done a good job making the magazine visually appealing as well as informative.

There was information about PVP play - Particularly using line of sight (LOS). I don't PVP much but the article was still a very interesting read. Information about the Trading Card Game (TCG) which I will never be involved in but I did enjoy reading about it, and an Interview with Blizzard Entertainment's president, Mike Morhaime as well as interviews with WOW players of note. I am glad I purchased the subscription. As I turned the last page, I wanted more, but it only comes out 4 issues a year (sigh).

Okay, enough about the magazine. Last night was family night on WOW. What that means is my Son, his son, and my husbands brother all gather at my and my husbands home and play together. I have 3 computers set up ready to go all the time and two guests bring their laptops. Last night was a bit different as my sister came by, so I set up my laptop and there were six of us for a bit. That meant we needed to do a 6 person raid. Five people constitute a group, more than makes makes a raid. The dynamics of the game are that there are areas that will only allow a group and there are areas that will only allow a raid. My sister's character is a level 51 (at this point in time you can only achieve level 80 but that is changing soon) and the rest of us have all levels of toons but we decided to play with our 80s in a place called Zul'Gurub. Bless her heart, she is so patient. Thything told her to stay by him whatever we do (he was heals for this), Omin the pally tanked, Shadew is a druid and I am Cantique, shadow priest.

Okay for those non players...a Tank is the person with the most ability to stand face to face with the enemy and with the necessary heavy armor to engage an enemy and take a pounding. The tank has to make sure the enemy player (computer generated character- not a real person) stays focused on him/her and leaves the rest of the group alone. While the tank is being beat up, the others in the group have roles -- they stab or cast spells etc, they do what they can with their special abilities to hurt the enemy. The healer makes sure the people in his group/raid stay healed. Spell casting Healing spells is his/her job. (There's much, much more to this - This is simply a tidbit of info.)

So we went into the instance to basically help her get loot for when she levels to 60. The characters that you kill have "loot" on them. Loot can be coins, clothing, cloth, potions, food, weapons, bones and other junk. I love to loot to see what I get for my trouble! Sometimes the loot is very, very nice and will enhance your game play, sometimes not so much! LOL. Loot is so important in the game of WOW that if you don't have good loot armor and weapons and trinkets, rings, and necklaces you simply can't continue on in higher level fights. Luckily you can go to the auction house and get better stuff if you can afford it. But to afford anything you have to loot money, loot junk and sell it, loot good stuff and sell it or use it to make good stuff that other people need for their game and sell it on the auction house. Does this all make sense? In the World of Warcraft, you can have a profession! I think that is amazing!

What that means to me is this: If I don't feel like fighting today, I can work to gather materials (ore, or leather, or plants, cloth etc) and use these items to create things -- armor, potions, elixirs, weapons -- you get the idea? Then I can spend time setting them into the auction house for sale. Later other people playing the game, go to the auction house and look for stuff they want or need and might buy your stuff. You get the gold in your mailbox in the game. You use your gold to buy what you need. See? Anyway, there is a lot to buy, and alot of stuff to find, and a whole world to explore!! It's amazing.

Another thing I do If I don't really feel like stressful war/raid/fight is I stand around in the city and just talk and look at other people and check out what they are wearing (with a couple of keystrokes, you can try their clothes on) - it is very fun for me. Before I joined The Illuminati, most of my time was spent doing this kind of thing. I called the game "High Tech Paper Dolls".

I will write later about how joining a guild, The Illuminati, helped me learn so much more about this game. And yes, my sister did get good Loot last night, but she now has to level up her character to be able to use the equipment, weapons, Armor that she found in there. It's incentive.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Is This Wise?

Hello everyone. This is my first attempt at "blogging" -- (unless you count Facebook or guild website entries as blogs. Do you?) LOL. And let me start right there. "LOL" is a sample of a new language I've been picking up since I began playing World of Warcraft. I am sure there are many, many, people out there that are my age and beyond who are enjoying the world of online gaming. LOL is how I feel when I play WOW. (I intend to make posts here about the not so LOLish times as well - It seems I have my fair share of emo moments.)

A bit of history -- as of current writing I am 56 years old, a female playing a female Dwarf Shadow Priest (main) on Earthen Ring in World of Warcraft - Cantique. There is more to me than the game though, so there will be posts about other things as well. I will begin by posting some earlier things that have made their way to the guild website I belong to. The Illuminati - great guild!

If you know me as Cantique, please forgive the redundancy of these beginning posts....*Hug*