I’m cranky and scatterbrained today, so you get a cranky and scattered post. Lucky you!
Syl asks how WoW affected people’s perceptions of MMOs and of themselves as players. It’s a tough question for me to answer since WoW was the first MMO I ever really played so it is responsible for ALL my initial ideas of what an MMO should be. I guess if nothing else WoW taught me that simultaneous normal and hard modes in raiding are dumb, and if I can see content with only the click of a button, as in Looking for Raid, then I will go see it and then never log on again. Basically I’m a huge elitist casual player. Thanks, WoW. :)
Spinks posted about her personal satisfaction with the SWTOR transfer system, and also wrote briefly about sticking with the game and making an effort to post about it more often. This resonated with me quite a bit! After over a year of hopping around between MMOs and single player games, I declared a couple of weeks ago that I was picking a game and sticking with it, by god, and that game is going to be RIFT. Almost immediately I was beset by worries. The official forums say that no one plays RIFT anymore! How will I raid in another 20 levels (plus gearing) if we don’t have enough Cats in the game? Should I start recruiting? Are clerics still cool? Maybe I should find a guild alliance and OH GOD I HATE GAMES NOW.
I know, I know: lighten up, Francis! Although it was only a couple of sentences, I found Spinks’ posts to be a nice reminder that part of playing an MMO is sticking with it and seeing how it changes and evolves over time. Also, I should write more about RIFT, as she is doing about SWTOR, because if there is anything I enjoy more than having fun in an MMO it’s writing joyously all about it later. No, seriously.
Rohan wonders if people who complain about the portrayal of women in video games understand the marketing reasons why it happens, or if they’re just being “righteous”. Although I’m sure that Rohan’s intensions were good, and I should hope by this point it’s clear that I consider Blessing of Kings to be pretty essential MMO reading, this post totally bummed me out. If someone complained about the way male Asian actors are treated in Hollywood movies to my mind saying “well you just don’t understand marketing”, which is how I interpreted Rohan’s post, is not a valid or helpful response. Yes, it’s driven by a perception of the market and a quest for maximum profit. And?
I have never met a self-identifying feminist gamer who believes that the head of EA or whatever is sitting in his office rubbing his hands gleefully as he thinks of new ways to keep women out of his products. However, whether it’s being done for money or for misogyny doesn’t change how I feel when I hear that Lara Croft is being almost raped so she’s more likeable to male players. From the receiving end, both are exactly the same.
Plus, and to be fair Rohan totally acknowledges this, assumptions that women are bad players or only like easy games or only play for cosmetic reasons are completely dumb and wrong. Letting it go by without comment because it’s just capitalist morality at work only perpetuates the problem.
See also: today’s Kotaku article by a female game journalist who was turned away from the keyboard multiple times at E3.
Wait, I said I was lightening up, right? Sorry, sorry. Here’s something nice: last week I played my very first tabletop RPG! Only there wasn’t a table, per se, because we played it in a Google+ Hangout using the Tabletop Forge app. I’m going to write more about this at a later time, but suffice to say that a) group video hangouts are rad; b) creating a RPG character is actually pretty hard work!; c) it took me a bit to get used to the format, but tabletop games are a great excuse to have a few beer with friends and use silly voices. Yes, I may be the last nerd alive to realize this.
Okay, that’s it. I’m going to go do something happy like kill Guardians in RIFT and think about the perfectly focused and upbeat post I’ll write tomorrow.