27 May 2012

How Gaming Levels My RL

Tired and Fussy by Nancy Dunne
Tired and Fussy, a photo by Nancy Dunne on Flickr.
First, let me say for the .0000 of you that are Lettuce Readers that didn't know, I'm a gamer. I play Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games (MMORPGs). Currently I play Everquest and Star Wars:The Old Republic but I have toons (Avatars, characters, etc) running around in Jade Dynasty, World of Warcraft, Guild Wars, Runes of Magic, and probably Free Realms and Shaiya. I say probably because those two...oh, and Perfect World International as well...those THREE didn't hold my attention long enough to count, really. Now then, disclaimer done, on to the post.

Simon and I are currently on a long-overdue honeymoon. We started in London on the 17th of May, flew to Paris on the 19th, and have just returned to the UK yesterday. We're currently (as I type this) at his folks' place up in Newcastle for a few days before heading off again to spend the rest of our trip in one of my fav cities on earth, Edinburgh.

The picture to the right, there, was taken last Monday. We went to the Louvre because it was chucking it down with rain (dontcha love Yorkshireisms?) and we thought it would be a good way to stay dry and see Paris. Dry, yes. Massively huge with ridiculously hard floors and lots of steps? Yeah, sadly.

So...onto how "Gaming Levels my RL" (Real Life). The idea for this post came to me as Simon and I were learning how to navigate the insanity that is public transport in Paris. There is a train, called the RER, a subway of sorts called the Metro, and then a tramway that thankfully we didn't have to even think too hard about while there. We had gotten turned around...for about the millionth time...when I took hold of the map and started navigating. We found the right transit line and sat down, and Simon mentioned how good I was at navigating. I started thinking about where I learned to read maps with such ease and came to the conclusion that it happened in the old days of Everquest.

When your character got killed, you had to run back to where you died and 1. hopefully get resurrected and/or, if no "rez" was possible, 2. collect your things. I spent a LOT of time running all over the game world of Everquest (Norrath) and most of that time the in-game map was superimposed over the view of my toon running. Map reading should have been a skill set in that game. I would have been a Master Mapper.

Okay, that sounds too much like a hip-hop performer gone very wrong. Moving on.

The revelation about my Master Mapping led me to think about the other places in my life that my gaming experience has helped me level up (gain experience and progress to higher ability and content) in my real life. I came up with two more things that I'm good at in real life that I think I can tie to gaming.

The first one (or second one, really...that is counting which is part of Math, in which my skill level is a fat (0). Anyway...): Navigating crowds and new places without drawing agro. "Drawing agro" is a gaming term for moving your toon too close to something that wants to eat you. It realizes that you are close and BLAMMO. Dead Druid. Okay, maybe that's just me. Again, moving on...

I am pretty good at not getting in anyone's way, especially in a crowd. I think Simon was annoyed with me a few times because in a long queue I would move out and around a corner (opening up a place for someone to cut in front of us) just so that no one would accidentally back into me, thus drawing agro. I can also weave through a crowd when on the move, avoiding the very social (meaning one mob/bad guy will see you and will bring several friends to eat you) survey takers and beggars in London and Paris and managing to not knock anyone out with my backpack as I run past.

The third one (hey! Math (1) for me!) is auto-follow. In Everquest and other games, there is a command that you type that lets your toon follow along where someone else's toon goes. That can be dangerous, in game, when that other toon runs into a forest or around a path through a mountainous area. In real life, if you don't pay attention when you're following or watch out for the person on /af with you, one or both of you will get lost. Occasionally in Paris I almost got knocked out cold by Simon's backpack because I was following too closely and he decided to look around to see if I was still there. Bless him, he doesn't game.

Anyway, those are ways that gaming has positively affected my real life. Don't try to comment on the negs, okay? I know all of them...and to quote Stan from South Park, " I am socializing *****! I'm logged on to an MMORPG, with people from all over the world and getting XP with my party using teamspeak."

And yes, I realize how sad that was, quoting a cartoon character to rationalize online gaming fandom. So? /rude

/camp
/ex

09 May 2012

I have a question...

Dunstanburgh Castle by Nancy Dunne
Dunstanburgh Castle, a photo by Nancy Dunne on Flickr.
Or several, actually. I'm thinking a lot about the vote yesterday in NC that added an amendment to the constitution of that state which legal defines marriage to be between one man and one woman. To be honest I'm pretty disappointed.

Of all the southern states, I always thought of NC as being sort of progressive, at least in parts. Charlotte and Raleigh seemed to me to be kind of like Greenville and Charleston in SC...small pockets of sense in an otherwise right-wing religious led extremely conservative state. I had hope for NC, that NC would not make the same divisive and exclusionary decisions that the other southern states have made. Oh well.

I heard on the radio this morning a woman speaking from a victory party last night in which the refreshments included a wedding cake. She said they were thrilled that the amendment had passed because the same-sex marriage ban they already had was okay, but that marriage needed more protection.

Protection? From what? Roving gangs of monogamous, committed, same-sex couples? I truly do not understand her statement.

And this morning...this morning I am sad for all the families that face being discriminated against or having their rights to support each other and be a part of each others' lives taken away...seriously? Is the group that is so threatened by couples that love each other and raise their families in loving homes...jealous? Maybe?

Ugh. Disgusted. That's about all.