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Archive for the ‘gaming psychology’ Category

I think GuildMag has the take I agree most with regarding the very much talked about PvP armor post, which was supposed to be about PvP armor and somehow became a thousand-word dissertation on the place of women and their clothing in video games.

I’ve found the response to this very interesting, especially since most of the outcry seems to be coming from either people who feel everyone’s making too big a deal out of the matter (but are throwing in their two cents anyway) or those who are in defense of the right of women everywhere to have virtual avatars wear as little as the the game will let them. This, despite the fact that these two groups are the ones whose positions are being represented by default.

As someone who has written blog posts only semi-mocking the initial deluge of innocent questions newcomers have regarding Guild Wars 2, I’m familiar with the notion that someone can come across an article or picture and not know the history behind it; the famous (among GW2 fans) “six or none!” quote by Kristen Perry, the article in which ANet’s armor design philosophy is laid out, the examples of variety among even Elementalist armor art in Guild Wars 1. With TERA looming on the MMO landscape and the controversies regarding its portrayals of Castanic armor and caster gyrations, I’m not surprised when someone happens by late in the game and wonders if Guild Wars 2 is any different. It’s really no different from when someone asks if they can still be a healer, what the raiding endgame is like, or if, indeed, you can jump.

But this matter, this matter was somehow so different. Unlike the many fans of GW2 who remain confident that raids as we know them won’t be added to console the gear treadmill junkies (no offense, some of my best friends are gear treadmill junkies and they told me it was okay to call them that), or who confidently create Youtube videos explaining how GW2 can exist without dedicated healers, the responses to concerns expressed about the featured PvP armor seemed to take the position that any concern was an attempt to lobby for the removal of that and any other armor that exposed the delectable female form.

Oh, there were informative links posted about how transmutation stones can be used to customize armor looks as well, but while inquiries about raids are occasionally peppered with a suggestion to “go back to WoW (or insert MMO here),” an alarming number of these responses just wanted the concerned parties to go away entirely (because there really aren’t MMOs where female avatars don’t have skimpy armor at all. Not that anyone was really asking for that, of course – it was a strawman to be knocked down – but it’s worth noting that there isn’t an MMO for such proponents to go to, if those people existed).

And therein lay the amusement for me. So many people were so worried that their option to clothe their female avatars (person behind the screen’s gender not relevant) as skimpily as they like would be taken away, that the fact that there is no alternative vision made their arguments all the more absurd. In what universe has anyone ever successfully lobbied to have skimpy armors removed from a game? None? Then why so serious? Really, look at the percentage of arguments out there in favor and defense of the featured PvP armor (especially the ones accusing others of being sex-negative or white knights) and tell me the vehemence of that response is warranted.

So, yes, check out the article. I really can’t recommend it enough.

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Last week, Mr. Randomessa’s excitement got the better of him and he, too, re-subscribed to Star Trek Online to join me in boldly getting ahead of the free-to-play launch.
Of course, then Cryptic opened up access to anyone who had previously held a subscription as of January 5th. D’oh! It would just be our luck.

Since then, my husband has gained a rank on his Klingon and he and I have quested together Fed-side, and even done a couple of the PvE scheduled events together Klingon-side. I have been going to bed earlier the past few nights, so my own gameplay has been spotty, but the wonderful thing is – no worries; I just match his rank when we group and all is well!

He is also very enamored of the Duty Officer system and is taking it extremely seriously. Tipa has referred to Doff management as Facebook-style “cow clicking,” and I have never played a FB game so I can’t comment on how close that comes to the mark, but at any rate, it’s helped me set a new criteria for what I’m looking for in any future MMOs I play. In fact, one of my only existing concerns about Guild Wars 2 is that all of the minigames I’ve heard about so far involve competitive gameplay of some sort (bar brawl, keg rugby, shooting gallery) and what I really want is something with a non-combat focus and in which I do not need to compete against other players, but can still advance my character. I don’t need it to be all of the time. Just some of the time.

More and more I’ve been thinking about the MMO features I prefer and how they affect my enjoyment of the games I play, such as how greatly world travel and level-gating has impacted my husband’s and my enjoyment in LOTRO. These are old issues, familiar enough to MMO players that we have our cute slogans and practices, our static groups and our spousal leveling contracts, but something about wanting to enjoy my time in Tolkein’s universe and feeling thwarted instead of welcome every time I tried to share my gameplay with someone outside of a PUG made me snap, and I have decided I just won’t put up with these kinds of things anymore, no matter how intriguing the subject matter or setting of an upcoming game. I think this is what made it so easy for me to pass on the launch of SW:TOR after one beta weekend, my other reservations notwithstanding.

If I were to have a New Year’s Resolution this year (I haven’t made any), it would be: I will not participate in another spousal leveling contract.

There was an excellent forum post put up at MMORPG.com recently, called The Tao of Arenanet, that explains Guild Wars 2′s features in light of ArenaNet’s design philosophy and thus attempts to show why GW2 is not merely a collection of features that may or may not be represented to some degree in other MMOs such that they are interchangeable. I have been arguing this in a more or less incoherent fashion, here and in forum and blog comments, for the past two years, but this post says it so much more eloquently that I now tip my hat and say, “QFT.”

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Knowing Myself

Through an interesting journey of blog clicks, I stumbled upon the following link via Nil’s MMO Blog

A New Taxonomy of Gamers: Know Thyself

I found it a fascinating read, and I think sums up quite well why I approach the MMOs I play the way I do. As a Tourist with Completist tendencies, and a Premium outlook, I can see why I liked Guild Wars so much and look so forward to Guild Wars 2: I strive to be skilled enough to beat the content (and once is enough; I don’t need to do it with perfection) so that I can be rewarded not with goods and loot, but with the next cutscene, the next breadcrumb on the story trail, and my goal is to finish the story. While it would be nice to see the end of GW’s elite dungeons, I am comfortable in the knowledge that they don’t keep me from being able to progress in the story, or prevent me from being able to be effective in new content that is released with the game.

Meanwhile, I find it difficult to connect to more traditional MMOs with their subscription fees (assuming subscription fees appeal to the Wholesaler) and end-game raiding – where, presumably, the bulk of the story resides. I can’t complete that content, so I end up dropping out long before, wondering what the point of leveling at all is. As much fun as I am having with Rift, I am still struggling with this. I do also wonder if this carries over into my view of PvP. My thoughts on griefing/ganking and uneven odds aside, open-world PvP has no end condition, unlike battleground/scenario-based PvP. It feels a lot more like a treadmill to me, which might explain why I want to stop for the night once I’ve had a particularly good match in the Black Garden. I won, right? I’m done. Yay!

I know there are a myriad of psychological factors that drive us and this 11-part series only serves to scratch a surface of a surface of why we do the things we do. For one thing, there’s no accounting for taste; why I like Guild Wars but really didn’t enjoy LOTRO for long remains a bit of a mystery to me. But I find it far more enlightening than a simple “hardcore” vs. “casual” debate, or even “carebears” vs. “everyone else.”

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