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Posts with tag gamers

15 Minutes of Fame: Counseling people who happen to play games

Erinia
From Hollywood celebrities to the guy next door, millions of people have made World of Warcraft a part of their lives. How do you play WoW? We're giving each approach its own 15 Minutes of Fame.

Do your friends, family or coworkers still cling to old-fashioned notions of video games as the provenance of social misfits and those who can't stay focused on the demands and rewards of real life? Take heart -- there are professionals out there who understand the gaming perspective and are working to help normalize gaming as mainstream pastime it has actually become. One of the many leading the charge is WoW player and master's-level psychology student Erinia of Cenarion Circle, whose track toward becoming a licensed mental health counselor includes helping both players and other mental health professionals understand the pulls, demands, and concerns of players who enjoy games like WoW.

Erinia has discovered that magic sweet spot where work, play, and a passion for all of it come together. "Am I an exceptional player?" Erinia asks. "Probably not, but WoW has opened up a lot of doors for me in the real world." We would accuse the lady of understatement here; click past the break for more on counseling, World of Warcraft, and new perspectives on how to help troubled people -- who happen to enjoy playing games -- understand themselves.

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Filed under: Interviews, 15 Minutes of Fame

Breakfast Topic: Are you a closet nerd or a flag-waving nerd?

This Breakfast Topic has been brought to you by Seed, the Aol guest writer program that brings your words to WoW.com.

We all know about the idea of the overweight, basement-dwelling virgin, the idea that gamers and comic book nerds all look like the comic book guy from The Simpsons. Many of us know that is not the case. You even see people in trade chat calling each other "nerds" and "virgins," although the inevitable response of calling someone else a nerd in WoW is laughable. In my guild alone, we have a lawyer, an author and a chef, along with many happily married people with children. Some are openly proud of their nerdiness; some try to argue they aren't nerds over Vent.

My girlfriend hides her geek from a lot of her friends. She watches anime, is a gamer and even dresses up for our local comic book convention, but many of her friends and work associates have no idea about this side of her. Me, on the other hand -- I let the geek flag fly. I wear my gamer T-shirts. I talk openly about WoW and other games with my friends. I still complain about the fact Firefly never got a second season.

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Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Guest Posts

How gaming can make a better world

About ten days ago, an interesting video of a speech was aired on TED talk. For those of you who don't know what TED is, it is quite literally a meeting place of some of the world's greatest thinkers: economists, philosophers, doctors, environmentalists and so on. These are people who dedicate their lives to making the world a better place.

So imagine my surprise when I was notified of a talk from someone who said that gaming fit into that ideal?

Enter Jane McGonigal, game designer. She says that the video game-playing youth of today -- that's us, by the way -- have within us the power to save the world. I know, I know, sounds crazy, right? Well, put down that energy drink and listen in. Jane's mission is to "try to make it as easy to save the world in real life, as it is to save the world in online games." The basis of her theory lies in a few things: motivation, an investment of time and the need to be rewarded. Remember that time your guild downed Ragnoros? Or triumphantly came through to the end of ToC? Yogg-saron? How did you feel then?

That's right, you felt satisfied.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

WoWPals helps you find more friends in Azeroth

WoWPals.net is a brand new social networking site targeted at you WoW players that just got a nice bit of coverage over on VentureBeat's GamesBeat site. Social networking is taking off just as much as World of Warcraft lately, and so there's a whole slew of companies trying to step up and become the de facto social service for gamers, from GamerDNA and Rupture to wowtwitter and even our own little enterprise. WoWPals isn't too different -- it's run by a few gamers based in Israel, and is currently in alpha, and hoping for a beta by the end of the year. You register to the site with your first character, and after a short wait for an activation email, you can jump in and find friends by guild or server, or punch in your location and search around that way. Once you're friends, there's not much more to do but chat and message each other, but what more do you need, really?

Personally, I think WoW already covers the bases of a social network (though in the past I've said I would like to have the option to see more about players than the characters, and these sites can certainly fill that need), so all of these end up being either extraneous -- do I really need another Twitter just for my characters? -- or just plain unnecessary: maybe I don't want my friends to know exactly what I did in game last night.

So no, I personally haven't been sold on any of these sites yet (though I do like reading through the player blogs here on WoW.com, and I'm not just saying that because I work here). I'm active ingame, and I'm active on various social networks, and keeping the two separate is fine by me. But if you are looking for even more ways to find new friends in World of Warcraft, maybe you can meet some new pals with WoWPals, too.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Odds and ends

AbleGamer talks to Blizz about 3.1 accessibility

AbleGamers has a conversation with Jeff Kaplan about the upcoming accessibility changes to the game in patch 3.1. We saw in the patch notes already that there would be a new colorblind mode added to the game, but Kaplan goes into more detail here -- Blizzard is making sure that even when the interface depends on color to get information across (as in, how difficult your quests are or whether you'll get a skill point from making a crafting recipe or not), there will be other text and symbols in there that relay that information without color.

Unfortunately, while the changes that are going in the game will be helpful. AbleGamers points out that the game isn't perfect for those with colorblindness yet -- mob levels are often shown to the player in a certain color, and there's no option yet for players to see that information in any other format. Additionally, Rogue combo points are shown by filing those little circles in with colors, and colorblind players who aren't able to see that color will have difficulty with that mechanic as well.

The good news is that, while Blizzard does want to make sure their core game is as accessible as possible, there's lots of room for addon authors to do more. Colorblindness is surprisingly prevalent, and everything coders can do to make the game easier to play will be welcomed by those who need it.

Filed under: Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Blizzard

Happy Valentine's Day from WoW Insider


Just in time for Valentine's Day, Ataraxaven and Alastriona of Azuremyst sent us this picture of their "soulbound" wedding rings -- just like the other wedding rings we've posted before, the couple says that "soulbound" works well for them. It has a nice gamer reference (they're both WoW players, obviously, and they've been playing together for two years now), and even people who've never picked up a BoP item at least get the meaning.

Very cool. Being as it is Valentine's Day today, don't forget to check out our guide to the Love Fool achievements, and be sure to get your sweetie something nice, ingame and/or out. Happy Valentine's Day to Ataraxaven and Alastriona and all of the lovers out there this weekend, hope you have a good one.


Love is in the Air and on WoW Insider. Check out our continuing coverage of the event and our guide to earning the achievement. And you better hurry; the holiday only lasts five days!

Filed under: Items, Analysis / Opinion, Events, Fan stuff, Virtual selves, Buffs

Fatal1ty talks WoW at CES

Say what you want about Fatal1ty and his endless selling out (we know you will), but the guy is a recognizable face, something that's a little hard to find in the world of professional gaming. Allakazham caught up with him at CES last week, and in between talking about how awesome he and his products were (sigh), they did get some good Warcraft talk out of him.

He's been taking advantage of Recruit a Friend, so he's got a Warrior, Rogue, and a Death Knight all to level 60 (unfortunately, I didn't hear him say which faction he plays). His Death Knight's "get over here" "grappling hook" have captured his imagination -- hopefully he'll stick with playing with his brother and get up to level 80 so he can see some of the endgame PvP. Unfortunately, he says he's not into PvE at all, which explains why he's going slow, but if he can push the last 20 levels, there's some fun stuff to be found..

And then it's back to the selling -- he says he's looking forward to sponsoring some players under his brand later this year (though he has no plans to play WoW professionally), and he pimps some equipment, too. It's not exactly a hard-hitting interview, but it is interesting to hear one of professional gaming's biggest names talk about his time in Azeroth.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, PvP, Quests, Death Knight

Blizzard releases EU Wrath launch video


Blizzard has released some launch night video from the Wrath of the Lich King release over on their EU site, and it looks like things were pretty crazy across the pond. There were costumes aplenty, and there were crowds in London, Germany, Spain, and the Netherlands. Plus, the video even has a nice appearance by the man/demon himself, as you can see above.

Unfortunately, the US site hasn't posted any such video yet, so while you can definitely read here on this site about all of the crowds and chaos that went down on this side of the world, there's no video to compare. My guess is that while the EU folks were definitely excited, over there it was more contained to the big events and the big cities, while over here in the US even small towns had lines outside the gaming stores.

But it was definitely a night to remember for WoW fans, no matter where you were.

[via WorldofWar]

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Events, Fan stuff, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Wrath of the Lich King

New report: Gamers are not lonely losers

Gamers seem to get a lot of bad press. From controversial episodes in the early days of Dungeons and Dragons to WoW addictions that are more shameful than online porn. Anyone who doesn't know us might actually believe that we're 10 million basement-dwelling social troglodytes. The American Medical Association is even considering the addition of video game addictions to their big book of mental problems (also known as the Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders).

A new study by Victoria University found just the opposite. They found that about 15% of their 621 participants qualified as problem gamers, that is they spent more than 50 hours a week playing games. Even among that 15 percent, only one percent showed signs of poor social skills. While there are some who have a major problem gaming habit most of us are normal people who unwind with a video game.

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Filed under: Fan stuff, Virtual selves, News items

Breakfast Topic: Convention chaos

We are just about to hit full steam on the convention season, and Blizzard isn't taking any time off this year. Not only did we hear about BlizzCon on Monday, but we already knew that WWI was going to happen in Paris, and then learned that Rob Pardo would be visiting the Paris GDC. And while Blizzard may not be officially a presence at other cons this summer, their presence is going to be felt for sure -- PAX, GenCon, or DragonCon, whereever there are gamers together, there is WoW.

So where are you going to be? Planning on visiting any cons this year? I won't say it's hassle-free -- the crowds, lines, and just plain costs of these things tend to make me avoid them, especially right after I've been to visit one. But then again, every year around this time I start to get excited about maybe going to them again, and while I have no idea what my plans are right now, I can tell you for sure that WoW Insider will have a presence at all kinds of conventions this year.

What about you?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Events, Fan stuff, WoW Social Conventions, Breakfast Topics, BlizzCon

Cake battle update: Horde wins (so far)!


The cake madness continues! Ackman from the Burning Legion got married recently and his (oh-so-supportive) wife agreed to a cake design of his choosing. His idea? A Horde crest identical to the one designed by Samwise. The cake looks absolutely awesome, if not necessarily delectable (are those real or fondant feathers?). Ackman attests to its edibility, though, as he describes the cake as chocolate fudge with mint frosting and fondant, highlighted with silver leafing. That certainly makes me hungry like an orc!

To recap this cake battle, a couple of cakes that resemble the Alliance crest put the Alliance at two, while an Orc shield and one of Orgrimmar give the Hordies a score of three along with the cake pictured above. So, are any creative bakers up to the challenge of making another Alliance-themed cake? Maybe one of Stormwind or -- even more challenging, the Exodar! If you send it to the WoW Insider offices, we'll generously put the score up by two. I'm We're greedy for cake. Check out the link for another pic.

Filed under: Horde, Cooking, Odds and ends, Humor, Fan art

Alliance cake!


There is nothing we love more than a tasty and delicious game-related cake, be it Alliance or Horde (ok, a new content release is nice, too, but beggars can't be choosers on that one). And so this Alliance cake, made by Katalysta on Korgath for her husband's birthday, pretty much hits the spot. The crest looks great, but is that really icing on the "fabric" around the outside? Looks amazing -- no wonder it took her three days to put together. She says it's white chocolate flavored Fondant and plain Fondant, and everything else is done with dyes. Amazing!

By my count, this puts us even on the Alliance vs. Horde cakemaking -- 2 and 2. Who'll be next to serve their faction with some amazing cake-making skills?

Filed under: Cooking, Fan stuff, Odds and ends, Humor, Fan art

Earth Hour and WoW

Tonight the world will be celebrating Earth Hour, with individuals, cities and businesses turning off and unplugging as many of their electronics and lights as possible. How can you get involved when you have a scheduled raid, or when this is the only time for you to play today?

You need not feel pressured to unplug everything. Turn out as many lights as you can throughout your home, unplug the electronics and appliances in rooms you are not using, and consult Well Fed Buff for the perfect lights-out snack you can prepare before 8:00 p.m.

This event is important, not because it will change the entire world, but because it will send a message. Not only will we have the opportunity to think about our impact, and learn about just how much power the world did save in that one dark hour, but businesses and governments will realize just how serious people are today about the environment.

Gamers should be a part of that message. Lately, we have been garnering a poor reputation for ourselves, and not because we might all turn into mass murderers from staring all day violent images.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

WoW Mom! An interview with the newest newbie on the block

I got a call from my mom on Friday night that she was having an emergency and needed me to call. It turns out the emergency was that she bought World of Warcraft and needed some instruction on how to play. Since I was at work, I told her to get started by reading up a bit on the WoW Rookie until I could spend a little more time with her. I was excited and somewhat terrified. I really hope she likes it and doesn't get too frustrated the first week.

My mom isn't what you would call a gamer. I'm not going to tell you how old she is, but she could tell you where she was when Kennedy was assassinated. She's a master Euchre player and a wiz at Scrabble. Her video gaming experience is limited to Bejeweled and online versions of card games. She used to love me watch play Tetris, but would respond like the controller was made of lava when I tried to hand it to her. I invited her to join Dungeons and Dragons sessions, but she always declined.

I moved 2,000 miles from my native Michigan for graduate school about five years ago. Since then my interactions with my mom have been limited to phone conversations and the occasional short visit. I'm really glad to get to share this time with her.

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Filed under: How-tos, Virtual selves, Leveling, Classes, Interviews

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