Sense of Humor Fail.

It’s been a long weekend.  It was the local Folk festival which meant work was pretty much insane.  And my car broke down on friday.  So maybe I am not in the best of moods today.  So when this popped up on my Facebook friends list I kinda grumped about it.

 

 

 

Ok, I maybe having a total sense of humor fail today, but this pissed me off.  For one thing, I don’t do this (there was a famous time a freind made me jump playing the first Resident Evil game and I trew the controller across the room though), and second of all I have witnessed male gamers do it just as much as female gamers, especially playing racing games.  And I realised over the weekend that even though I now have my PS3 linked to the net I have a fear of joining multiplayer games as my username is obviously female and I have read too much Fat, Ugly or Slutty to dare do it.

The Secret World and I

In an effort to ease my WoW burnout I’ve been pretty much only logging on to raid, which off has left a huge hole in my schedule. So decided to give The Secret World a go.

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Published by Funcom, it’s described as a ‘modern day’ mmo. Horror based, it has elements from HP Lovecraft, Stephen King (the is an Overlook Motel), as well as conspiracy theories and urban legends being thrown in the mix. You can chose from 3 factions, The Illuminati (they aren’t giant lizards sorry), The Templars and The Dragons. I chose the dragons as I liked the deck combos, but more on that later.

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I was a little disappointed with character creation. In someways it’s really detailed, you chose you entire outfit, and there are loads or hairdos and make up choices to chose from, but you can’t customise your height, weight or build, which I liked about the other Funcom title Age of Conan. So you are stuck with a generic skinny and slightly flat chested female character, whereas I like to make my character of a bigger build.

It’s not a newbie friendly game I have to say. It tells you about Ability Points and Skill Points, but not much more than that. The beauty of the game is you continually gain AP and SP, so you can eventually get every skill in the game, but it doesn’t make that clear at first. You build what are called Decks: Weapon and Skill sets that suit your play style. When you start the game you chose your first weapon skills, then you can combine it with a second weapon skill. For example my character uses Blades and Elemental magic, but you can have any combination. And as you gain more points you can build more decks, so you aren’t stuck with one role. Rather than character levels you progress through gear level, or Quality Level. And you can repeat quests aft a set amount of time, so say you have completed all content with one Deck, then you can go back and do it again to build other Decks. This isn’t however explained to you when you start up, or it’s not very clear if it is explained.

Gameplay wise I love it. Rather than buttloads of quests to ‘kill X number of Y mobs’, there are investigation quests which involve puzzles and research, and sabotage missions, which involve stealth and cunning. For example in one quest you have to decipher a message in morse code, so you have to look up how to do that. There are even web pages set up for the game you have to find to get needed info. However I am well aware this isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, so whilst it attracts me, it probably puts others off.

Graphically it’s very pretty, but it requires damn good hardware to run on anything more than the lowest settings, or so I’ve found. And the background music is very atmospheric, though maybe a tad repetitive after a while. It’s one of the few games recently to creep me out and I feel the BGM has a lot to do with it.

But does it have staying power? Can I see myself continuing to play it once MoP hits? I honestly don’t know. But what the hell, I’m having fun now, and that’s the main thing!

So if you are on the EU servers look out for Elphane.

The Battlechicken July Challenge

As I’m not gaming much at the moment, I figured I’d try and blog about a few other things to pad my blog out a bit.  So after reading a very brave post by Dragonray I decided I would make a post too.  It’s something I have thought about blogging about before but I wasn’t sure if it was too personal for a gaming blog (though I do talk about other stuff a lot too so I guess it would have been ok anyway) and it is quite a personal issue, not as heartrending as Dragonray’s post, but still something that is difficult to write.  So here goes.  My entry to the Battlechicken July Challenge.

Why Does Morrigu Play MMO’s?

It’s kind of sad really.  And not easy to admit.  But I have crippling self-esteem issues.  I find it very hard to interact with people in real life, so I started playing MMO’s.  I’m ‘me’ but not me in online games.  The game offers a safety screen between me and other people, so I don’t have to face them IRL and risk… Whatever it is I am scared of.

A bit of background here.  From the age of 10 I was badly bullied, at the same time I became a carer for my mother who has MS.  I was always an independent child, I liked what I liked and it wasn’t a problem until I left primary school.  I was a tomboy who liked The Beatles and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Sonic the Hedgehog.  The summer holiday between primary school and middle school seemed to change everything.  My mum became ill, and a new girl arrived in the village, a girl I didn’t get to meet until school started but who everyone else seemed to have met and become friends with.  For some reason, she took an instant dislike to me, to this day I don’t know why, and that was the beginning of the worst 3 years of my life.  I went from having a good number of friends, a couple of them close, to pretty much no friends at all.  Anyone who spent time with me came in for the same treatment as me, so to them it just wasn’t worth it.  The only person who stuck by me even for a while was G, who was my best friend back then, and is now my fiance, but eventually even he distanced himself from me after rumors were spread about him getting me pregnant.  We were 11 or 12 at the time.  I don’t hold this against him, god knows he feels terrible about it to this day though.  The school did nothing to help me, according to the head teacher there was no such thing as bullying, there was something wrong with me and it was all my fault.  I was sent to special classes, my tormentors got made class principles and bus monitors.  Yay.

So school sucked, and at home I was in charge of caring for mum.  Dad worked full-time, and my brother and sister were grown up and lived 200+ miles away.  So pressure there as well.  Not that I hold it against my mum, it wasn’t her fault, but back then there wasn’t the support for carers there are now, so I was pretty much on my own.

Luckily when I went to high school at 13, the teachers there promised me my bullying would stop.  And within 6 months it had.  They didn’t punish me, they punished the bullies.  But by then the damage was done.

My social skills are pretty bad.  Or I think they are, I’ve been told they are not.  But no matter how close I seem to be to people, I still feel like the outsider, and that I’m not really welcome.  I hate to say it but I even feel that way in my Warcraft guild.  After all, why would anyone want to be friends with me, I have something wrong with me.  I don’t know what that Something is, it’s just there, and people can sense it.  Sometimes I think even G senses it, there are times I am convinced he will turn round and tell me this whole relationship has been a cruel, elaborate joke.  Which doesn’t make sense I know.

I work as a barmaid, which isn’t as hard as you might think for someone like me, but it’s not been that bad.  The person I am behind that bar though?  It’s not the real me, and wouldn’t stand up to close scrutiny if that makes sense.  I can chat away about random stuff, but no one, not even the regulars will even get to know the real me.

I have people who I call friends.  I care about them dearly, but I can’t even pick up the phone to call them in case I bother them.

So I play Warcraft, and SWTOR and other games because I can be me without people getting to see or hear the real me, because if they did, they wouldn’t like me any more.  I can pretend, for a while, I am  a Worgen Druid, not a damaged 30 something human.

Scary thing is?  This is a huge improvement on how I was 4 years ago.  I lead a relatively normal life.  I work, I go out, I can even socialize up to a point.  But there is always that nagging doubt that I don’t fit in.

And bloody hell, am I lonely sometimes.

The ‘Right’ Way to Play a Game?

In my quest to relieve my WoW burnout I have been trying to get into Star Wars: The Old Republic again. I rolled a cyborg Bounty Hunter, who looks a little like Lady Gaga:

And yeah, I’m actually having fun.  I’m not sure if I am in it for the long haul, but it’s certainly passing the time.

But a converation in General chat made me think (quite a feat eh? :P ).  I rolled on an RP server.  I do RP a bit, and tend to find them a nicer, more mature type of server. I don’t create big, detailed character bio’s and stay IC 100% of the time but it is fun to decide what my character is going to be like.  Now as those who have played SWTOR know in every zone there are Heroic areas and quests where you have to group up to complete it.  The latest patch has added a LFG function, but not everyone seems to use it.  And sometimes finding a group for these Heroics seems a little hard.  Which a few days ago triggered a rant from a rather entitled seeming player about it sucked no one wanted to group with him, and if people don’t want to group with him then why do they bother playing an MMO, as the whole idea of the game is to be multiplayer.

Now I will admit to being a bit of a soloer in games.  When it comes to normal content I am happy to run around on my own and do things at my own pace. I am happy to group up for quests etc and I enjoy dungeons and raiding, but I like to be able to do things at my own pace when it comes to levelling.  I don’t believe I am ruining the game by doing it, and at the end of the day I play my £8.99 a month and I will decide how to play my game thanks very much.

But after laying into the soloers in game, the guy then laid into RP’ers.  And a few people joined in, saying that people who would rather RP than do Heroics or Flashpoints should GTFO and stop spoiling the game.  That the only point to SWTOR is to group up.  Well I didn’t agree with that, but ofc I got called names when I tried pointing out that RP was a multiplayer activity just as much as instances were.  But PvP is ok apparently.

What is it with people who seem to think the only way to play a game is THEIR way.  PvE, RP, PvP, it’s all good.  I hate PvP personally (I become a nasty person and yell alot whenever I try), and I spend most of my time PvEing but if a person wants to spend their game time knocking the snot out of other players then that’s their choice.  And I wouldn’t roll on a PvP server and then whine people don’t want to run dungeons all day long with me.

So yeah, Mr McWhiny Pants, if you don’t like people RPing then get off an RP server.

Gender Stereotypes and Your Not So Average Tom Boy

I was lying in bed this morning reading some MMO Melting Pot articles when one got me thinking. Or rather one of the posts linked did, by Mataoka, and what she said about being a Tom Boy AND a girly girl.

Let me show you my last two purchases.

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And

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So a computer game and a handbag. Pretty much sums up my life.

From a young age I was a bit of a Tom Boy. I hated wearing skirts, and would tramp up and down the local countryside with two of my best friends, who were both boys (one of whom was G, who I’m now marrying), climbing trees and getting covered in mud exploring. But at the same time I loved My Little Pony, and would play with them for hours with another of my best friends, a girl.

Fast forward to now and it’s pretty much the same. I love computer games, and horror movies, and caving, and I loathe Sex and the City and Desperate Housewives, give me Supernatural or CSI any day. But I also love pretty jewellery, I own far too many handbags, I like expensive perfume, I buy dresses and I still love My Little Pony. All mixed in with the Goth stuff, but that’s not relevant to this post.

I’ve had my fair share if being judged by men for being a girl and playing computer games. But that’s been written about a few times. I’m going to write about the other side of things.

Being judged negatively by other women for liking ‘manly’ things. Because other women can be just as sexist as men.

Now don’t get me wrong, this isn’t the case with every single woman out there. I have female friends quite accepting of my Tom Boy side. And not all of them are Tom Boys themselves!

But I’ve had women sneer at me for liking computer games. I’ve been calling a “f***ing lesbian” because of it, and accused of being a slut because the only reason I show interest in games is to get men to like me. More often though I am judged not worthy of attention by them though, or someone to be humoured. This is usually by women I’ve worked with, though relatives and friends of friends have reacted the same way. And in a few, thankfully rare, cases, it’s come from total strangers.

One example: At an old workplace I turned up at a get together in a dress. I’d really made an effort, it was a special ‘do’, and I got quite a few compliments. And then a condescending comment of “Oh, you’ve tried so hard to be normal! You look great!” from a female coworker. Kind of ruined the night.

And it’s been the same in most places I have worked, because I like things perceived to be ‘male’, my interest in things ‘female’ is treated as a thing of ridicule by some. Sexist? Damn straight it is.

What hope do women have for equality if women themselves enforce gender stereotypes? Why CAN’T a woman like gaming without being feminine as well? Why does one aspect of our lives prejudice others against us in this day and age?

“A woman can be whatever she wants” shouldn’t be followed with “But she’s a weirdo if she’s _______”.

So sadly, in some way men and women are equal. Equally ignorant.

When I have kids, the will be free to be whoever they chose with my full support. That’s a promise.

Act Your Age? Or Why I Was in Asda This Saturday.

I had a bad week last week, depression wise. It’s something I’ve fought on and off for years, and the stress of the previous weekend caught up with me last Tuesday. After a few days of moping G asked on Saturday if there was anything that would cheer me up after work. I got him to drive me to the local Asda supermarket.

Now a supermarket doesn’t cheer me up, in fact when they are busy I find them oppressive. But Asda sells something that I decided to buy to cheer myself up.

These to be exact.

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They cost £1.97 and have a random pony figure inside. I bought £10 worth.

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Bagged them up, went back to the car and opened them, cheering when I got Twilight Sparkle and Applejack. G just looked at me, thinking I’d finally lost it. Then he decided if it made me happy, what the hell. But he did ask if I felt childish buying them.

I’m 31. I cared for my disabled mum from the age of 11. I still care for her on and off now, as well as my 74 year old dad (they are no longer together). I work 5 days a week. I am grown up a hell of a lot of the time. So I buy ponies, play computer games, cover the top of the tv with stuffed animals and watch cartoons sometimes. Childish? Who cares! It’s my way of forgetting about the stress of my mums illness, the customer who was a prat during the day, the bills I have to pay. It stops me feeling so depressed I can’t function. I can’t understand people who are serious All. The. Time. Where do they get their joy from? I watch My Little Pony Friendship is Magic and see the positive messages it puts across and it makes me feel good. I love The Gruffalo, I can’t wait til I have kids I can read it to!

So a bit of childishness sometimes is a good thing.

And don’t forget the words of George Bernard Shaw:

“We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.

And if all else fails, remember this from Dr Seuss:

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