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Over at the BBC there are some pictures of gamers and their avatars.



It's an interesting, but I'm not sure I'd buy a whole book of it.

Still, as anyone knows, my recent addiction is the massive online role playing game, World of Warcraft, and I delight in telling people about it, because outside J, none of my friends play it, and they all think it's incredibly funny and/or lame that I do.

It's the longest time I've played a game. I like games, don't get me wrong, but I usually play one obsessively for a week, finish it, and then maybe a month or two later, find something else I want to play. What I'm saying is that I wouldn't call myself a gamer by any means. However, we're now clocking up my fifth month on this game, and I recently discovered CT mods to alter my interface, and I have three different characters, two of who I dedicate the majority of my time to. In short: I'm not going anywhere fast. Yet, the true addiction of this game, at least to me, is not the actual game itself, but the thousands of people who are playing it with you: the way they flick around you in their avatars that are, by various designs, beautiful, ugly, and dead, and with names that range from the serious to the ridiculous and to the just downright stupid. Yet, by and large, I've found them--whoever they are in real time--to be friendly, helpful, and chatty as we kill our way through various monsters and quests. It's a strangely social thing, and I know people laugh at that, I do, but there's really no other way to explain it to you. I do know, however, that if there wasn't the social side, I reckon I would have lost interest in it months ago.

By and large, I don't usually wonder about the person behind the avatar, though I occasionally ask people where they're from in the world. Still, I do occasionally wonder who these people are that I play with, what they do, and what exactly they were thinking when they named their character Cowmunist.

Comments

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benpeek
May. 9th, 2007 12:25 am (UTC)
you are so the perfect candidate to lose his entire life in a game like WoW--all phd students are.

anyhow, i've never been on second life, either. i just don't have the time for another one.
ataxi
May. 9th, 2007 12:36 am (UTC)
I could never play WoW ... too cartoonish.

On, the other hand: http://www.ageofconan.com/
benpeek
May. 9th, 2007 12:46 am (UTC)
looks alright, though, i dunno, there's the whole movie thing for me. that's a bit of a hurdle to get over for a game--though the classes seemed neat.
benpeek
May. 9th, 2007 01:12 am (UTC)
PS--you going to beta test it?
ataxi
May. 9th, 2007 01:30 am (UTC)
Nah. I don't have time for video games at the moment (except for the odd LAN gaming session at work), and that's a good thing coming from someone who used to play Tekken for six hours a day.
strangedave
May. 9th, 2007 01:01 am (UTC)
I'm a WoW player. First MMO (unless you count Kingdom of Loathing), and thought I should start with the classic, plus its a way to do something social with a few friends I seldom see. And it might end up being work related.

I play an undead woman. I was hoping to experience some of that crazy online sexism you hear about, but actually the majority of players have all been not just helpful and friendly, but quite focussed - there is work to do! Some have been great, some have been dicks, but few have talked about much except the job at hand (except for the normal Barrens chat rubbish). And I'm on a RP server too.
benpeek
May. 9th, 2007 01:06 am (UTC)
the only bad experience i ever had was some dude called my female mage a slut. i told him he was a virgin and we swapped insults for a while before i left. i should have challenged him to a duel ;) but it was no big deal.

but, anyhow, yes, i've found most people do talk just about the job. it's usually when there's a lull, such as when you're waiting for a respawn, that the chat changes.

i've skipped the RP servers--i logged onto the proudmoore one where j plays. is there much roleplaying going on?
strangedave
May. 9th, 2007 01:59 am (UTC)
I'm on Amon'Thul - and no, I haven't really noticed any roleplaying at all. There might be slightly less tendency to call characters really silly things - but only slightly.
benpeek
May. 9th, 2007 02:10 am (UTC)
lol. yeah, that's what j told me.
jack_ryder
May. 9th, 2007 01:06 am (UTC)
I've been playing City of Heroes (keep telling myself that it's research hahahaha) and trying out Second Life - though you can really tell the difference between a game world and whatever the fuck Second Life is meant to be (the metaverse from Snow Crash maybe only a lot slower and clunkier)

I've got friends in WoW so I've been tempted to enter it but... it's a huge time sink (and I've got do other "research" too - as well as write.)

John August (the script writer) wrote a nice article about his ex-addiction
benpeek
May. 9th, 2007 01:07 am (UTC)
what's city of heroes like?
jody_macgregor
May. 9th, 2007 02:10 am (UTC)
That picture of the disabled gamer beside his able-bodied avatar just breaks my fucking heart.
benpeek
May. 9th, 2007 02:12 am (UTC)
i found it... i dunno, sad, yet at the same time, kind of good, too, if that makes sense?
jody_macgregor
May. 9th, 2007 02:22 am (UTC)
Yeah, that's what I mean; in the game he gets to be some kind of kickass space warrior and that alone justifies the existence of MMORPGs for me. That cheery wave his avatar is giving is so unlike the angry, grim-faced brandishing of weapons you see on some of the others.
benpeek
May. 9th, 2007 02:33 am (UTC)
yeah, that's it. we're all equal in the game (assuming you can afford it in the outside world, where we're not equal at any time).
jack_ryder
May. 9th, 2007 03:34 am (UTC)
You can create a variety of superheroes types by picking an origin (e.g. magic, scientific, mutant) and a class (tanker, scrapper, blaster, defender, controller). Then roam around city areas beating the crap out of anyone who's beating the crap out of anyone else (or nicking cars). You get missions which send you to a specific building where you have to accomplish an objective (find N things, kill boss, etc) and you can team up on the difficult ones (which is a lot of fun.)

There's player vs player which I haven't tried yet, but there's an interesting mishmash of genres (beating up elves one moment and zombies the next.)

When you level up you get a couple of new slots to add enhancements to your old powers and every second level gives you a new power. After level eight you get to choose a power pool which gives you access to more spectacular powers (i.e. after level 14 I could fly - which was my original objective.)

It looks good, but it's probably more constrained than WoW. They've just introduced crafting (inventions) into CoH but I keep getting the crap shot out of me when trying to recover salvage. You have to pay an experience toll when you're defeated so it can get a little annoying at times.

Still, it can be a lot of fun.
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