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This morning I set my alarm bright and early (for a Sunday, for a Mother’s Day we didn’t have immediate plans to celebrate) so that Mr. Randomessa and I could cobble together a small krewe and complete the Molten Facility dungeon for Guild Wars 2’s Living Story conclusion. Real life has been kicking our tails and intruding on the time we have to indulge in the game, but we’ve been eking out the achievements in bits and pieces over the past several months, and I finally managed to catch up to the last event late last night.

Thanks to some wonderful (and also late-coming) guildies from the stellar Stonewall Vanguard (SWG), we were able to knock the thing out, despite three drops along the way and an embarrassing number of wipes. Fortunately, despite having finished the dungeon some two hours after the noon PST deadline, we all still received the achievement, and some good times were had, as well as a sense of pride at having pulled things together at the end.

I can’t say I’ve played GW2 as much as I’ve liked to since its release, and I certainly haven’t played enough or often enough to reliably offer commentary (which is why I’ve chosen to remain silent so much of the time), but days like this just remind me why this is the game I come back to.

Oh, and Happy Mother’s Day.

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Randomessa:

Well, it’s been a great run. I’ve been honored and humbled to participate in the Newbie Blogger Initiative, taking in the copious amounts of advice and experience being handed down from bloggers big and small. I’d like to think we all have a lot to learn from each other, whether veteran or newbie – at least, I have learned a lot at y’all’s feet the past several weeks.
Syp has the roundup information handled and summarized, so all I can add is: go forth and blog awesomely!

Originally posted on Bio Break:

View original 1,022 more words

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Well, we were there at launch, and Mr. Randomessa and I made sure to be there again for the 2nd anniversary celebrations (let’s never mind that we sat out anniversary number one). Cryptic sweetening the deal with awesome flagships for both Fed and Klingon side didn’t hurt, either.

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Party on, dudes!

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An Exercise

I don’t have the readership numbers to justify polls, but I’m curious nonetheless.

Call to mind single player RPGs such as the iterations of the Elder Scrolls, GTA, or Fallout series. Do you consider these to be sandbox RPGs?

Why or why not?

Now imagine that these games had a massively multiplayer component. The same game, but with the floodgates open for thousands of players at the same time, with NO other changes made to the game. The multiplayer versions of the above games are, in your view:

Why or why not?

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Words -> Mouth

I was trying to think of a good topic to post on juxtaposing my experiences in LOTRO with my expectations and excitement about Guild Wars 2, but then November 11th hit and, well, Melmoth says it better and more succinctly than I could.

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Thwarted by IE

I am finding pickings slow for internet activity these days, for a combination of factors:

1) The only information coming out of Guild Wars 2 these days is heavily mechanics-based, and honestly, I’m just not that interested in the nitty-gritty details of energy potions or the precise number of traits to choose from, etc. I leave the number-crunching and theorycrafting to Mr. Randomessa, who delights in that sort of thing. Me? If I can kill the thingy with the thingy and get the next bit of yummy story, I’m more than satisfied. Just don’t ask me to name the thingy.

2) I’m up to my eyeballs in non-disclosure agreements. I’m not complaining, by any means, but I have never been so busy with non-gaming gaming as I am now.

3) The new Massively website (via Joystiq) does not play nicely with my workplace’s version of Internet Explorer. This means that the “submit” button on comments is not visible to me and I am effectively unable to communicate. By the time I get home to my CometBird, I have lost all interest and inclination to post, and the discussion has moved on far past my point of entry (as all forums are wont to do). It’s a real momentum-killer.

4) I’m feeling a bit lonely in Guild Wars these days. While I was glad for the ability to finish up Hearts of the North in one evening of play with few mishaps, my work hours have increased and that, in addition to my time zone, prevents me from making regular play dates. As a result I haven’t seen the MVOP crew in months, and am unable to join up with the Relics of Orr folks. See also #2).

(I am fortunate indeed for the odd chance meeting with Nugget.)

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Around the Bend

Although Guild Wars and Guild Wars 2 fans are gnashing their teeth a bit at the slowdown of information out of ArenaNet since Gamescom and PAX (there have been some nice exceptions), I welcome this time to catch my breath from the whirlwind of reveals.

I will be scarce around these parts for the next while, as I have been taking time to gear up and gather consumables for an upcoming boss fight that admittedly grants some pretty fine loot.

I do so love talking about real-life events using gaming terms. Did I mention I’m going to be leveling up, too?

Have fun, Guild Wars Pilgrims and veterans alike, ArenaNet scouts and watchers of all kinds.

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While having some fun viewing different STO fans’ pictures of their characters and bridge crews on this thread (thanks, Syp!), I came across an interesting bridge crew picture and commented on it to my better half.

“Hey, this crew is pretty diverse,” I said, when he looked over my shoulder. “They have a couple of aliens, a few different ethnicities, a Borg and two blondes.”

“That sounds like a joke waiting to happen,” he responded. “Two blondes and a Borg walk into a bar…. Three Borg leave?'”

I may be biased, but that was the funniest thing I’ve heard all morning.

What would your punchline to the joke be? Suggestions in the comments!

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I am bowing out of the Social Responsibility in Game Development conversation before I become too disappointed in the human condition and this becomes a political blog. But first, a comment I left on how all deviations from the idea of the default human are equal:

Why, it was only within my parents’ own lifetime that a couple like my better half and I would not have been able to have gotten married in several US states due to the People With Depression not being able to marry the People Without Depression Act. As it is, we are lucky to live where we do because there are still places where my partner could be assaulted or killed for being openly arthritic. Even at work, I have hidden the fact that I am severely myopic because I am afraid I’d lose my job – I’m not a protected category under anti-discrimination laws. It is especially distressing to think about the places we are not able to freely travel to because a world leader recently declared that there were no people with asthma in his country, because it is illegal to have asthma there.

In short, good points! Homosexuality is not “normal” and all differences in the human condition are exactly the same.

Star Trek Online’s headstart begins today Friday at 10AM PST, so let’s all get back to gaming and forget that we have differences of opinion again!

Edit: I am obviously more bleary-eyed than I thought, as it is clearly Thursday and not Friday.

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What, did we cure that too?

Darren of Common Sense Gamer has a thought-provoking post about the issue of representation in gaming, and rather unlike myself, I actually bothered to comment.  I have several other thoughts about the subject, though, so I am posting the overflow here.

Darren, and others in his comments, seem to wonder how much representation is enough, for minorities of all shapes and sizes, or rather how much is too much – how can one game represent every type of person in existence, and more importantly, should it be expected to? Is that a responsibility of a game, a noted method of escape and fantasy, to represent every minority, every uncomfortable reality, every frailty of human existence?

I can understand the resistance – it seems excessive on the face of it – but with a little consideration I pointed out in my comment that the apparently Herculean task of representing anyone and everyone at all largely comes down to a robust character creator and then a very few additional options if one wants to go down the path of portraying a romance. Furthermore I realized that none of this should have an effect on the story the game is trying to tell at all; unless a character’s ability to reproduce with their partner is paramount to the plot, I’m not sure why Soldier McHet needs to be straight at all. The key word here is option; if you want to be Soldier McHet, I believe it should be possible. I do not believe that the presence of other options should affect any player’s opinion of the game or story at all.

Further on the subject of representation, I continue to struggle with my fantasy life versus my real life representations in each new game. On the one hand, I would like to create an idealized character I enjoy looking at while I play. On the other hand, there is no shortage of tall, leggy redheads running about the game world, so why bother, amirite? What I usually end up doing is attempting to create a character that looks more like an idealized me. The reason I usually end up doing so is because I figure, if I don’t, who will?

This also has the effect of highlighting the number of game worlds in which someone who looks even remotely like me does not exist. I am a visible minority in my place of residence, the USA. Many games ported from Asia, with their singular skin tones and three hairstyles, are guilty of rendering me non-existent. Sometimes I play them anyway. Sometimes I am just sad. Who wants to not exist? Why would I want to fantasize about an idealized world in which I do not exist?

In worlds  in which diversity consists of aliens with different physiologies, or magical universes with talking Orcs, or the ability to blow yourself up with fire you summoned from your very own soul, please don’t ask someone to be pleased that they have been “cured away” by magic, by fantasy, by futuristic science and medicine. It’s really not that hard to imagine that we are there, if you try just a little. Trust me.

Edit: The Border House has thrown in its two cents.

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