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Posts with tag real-life

The student's guide to balancing real life, good grades, and video games

The student's guide to balancing real life, good grades, and video games
If academic success for fans of video games were as simple as "Do your homework and limit your time online," we'd all be LFG amongst a population of Rhodes Scholars. But maintaining your sanity (and your grades) when your most beloved hobby is designed to be an endless maze of virtual delights involves more than vague notions of buckling down during key pressure points. Achieving balance requires effective tactics to help you keep your life in balance -- and that's what we'll be covering here.

Playing an MMO like World of Warcraft as a student drops you into a minefield of inflexible teachers and schedules, disapproving parents, unaccommodating raid schedules, and blithely tempting guildmates. Trip on any one of these drama bombs, and you're in for what we sometimes ironically refer to as "good times." Whether you're an independent college student or still working out your schedule with Mom and Dad, we'll show you how to set and stay on course while heading off the most common school/life/play issues before they strike.

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Filed under: Drama Mamas

On the surreal attack ad against a State Senate candidate who plays WoW

Do Not Want
First, let me assure you... yes, we heard about it. We weren't blithely ignoring the news that a bizarre political campaign attacks a Democratic candidate for the Maine State Senate, or that actual mailers using actual paper were also printed. Trees died for that print campaign.

We tend to notice things like that, somewhere between our advanced Google alerts and the Cataclysm-level flood that hit our inbox like it was time to wreck Booty Bay all over again. We're reaching out to Colleen Lachowicz for comment and interview, because frankly, we question her gem and talent strategy.

Oh? You mean, we should comment on the political absurdity? Huh. Okay. Thing is, we're not a politics blog. We're a site about World of Warcraft. We don't tend to dwell on politics around here, unless it's about the unmitigated incompetence of Garrosh. Some folks have Very Strong Feelings about the Wrynns, the Thralls, and the national climate of Azeroth. But when it comes to real-world politics, we resemble a LOLcat screaming "Do Not Want." We're about WoW here.

And this incomprehensibly surreal attack on Colleen Lachowicz shares as much to do with World of Warcraft as my socks. They just happen to sit on the feet of somebody who plays WoW, just like all that forum chatter and such coincidentally takes place on WoW-related forums.

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Filed under: News items

Breakfast Topic: What WoW spell would you most like in real life?

Zen Flight
We recently tackled the Blog Azeroth Shared Topic: What spell would you most want? The question was meant for your class in game, but reader Andrew wanted it to be about having spells in the physical world. So here we are.

For my part, my answer would be exactly the same: Zen Flight. This minor monk glyph won't be released until Mists of Pandaria, so you can't find it in game yet. But you can see my monk Krikkit above being all zen-like in the beta.

Wouldn't it be great to float in line at the grocery store, looking all relaxed and glowy? Sure, people would look at me funny, but they do that already -- I have shocking pink hair. Oooh the Zen Flight colors would look great with pink, wouldn't they? Hmmm ... maybe a bit too 80s.

Anyway, I could use it everywhere. Waiting for mass transit? Yes. Crossing the street? Yes. Disneyland? Yes, please.

What spell would you most want in the physical world and why?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Breakfast Topic: How do you handle real-life interruptions?

AFK Goblin
You just can't take a picture of yourself during Love is in the Air without a heart on your head.

I actually don't like the phrase "real life" when describing what happens in the physical world because it implies that the interactions we have in Azeroth aren't real. Captain Obvious says that WoW is not a single-player game. When we are playing Mass Effect, we don't affect anyone else if we get up to take a bio break or comfort a child. But in World of Warcraft, if we are in a group of any size, we affect others every time we AFK.

The phrase "real life is more important than WoW" is a mantra we hear all the time, and it is true in that you shouldn't shirk responsibilities in the physical world in order to play. However, if you have committed yourself for a period of time to other players, it is the same thing as committing yourself to any group of people in the physical world. Breaking that commitment falls under the same etiquette umbrella, whether in game or out.

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Filed under: Breakfast Topics

15 Minutes of Fame: McGonigal on why you're as awesome in real life as in WoW

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.

Last week, we gave you the lengthy part 1 of our interview with game designer and fellow WoW player Jane McGonigal. This week, by way of a re-introduction, we give you her most recent biographical note:
Jane McGonigal is the director of game research and development at the Institute for the Future. Her work has been featured in The Economist, Wired, and The New York Times, and on MTV, CNN, and NPR. In 2009, BusinessWeek called her one of the 10 most important innovators to watch, and Fast Company named her one of the 100 Most Creative People in Business. In 2010, Oprah Magazine chose her as one of the 20 most inspiring women in the world. She has given keynote addresses at TED, South by Southwest Interactive, and the Game Developers Conference and was a featured speaker at The New Yorker Conference. She has a Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley in performance studies and games research.

Okay, then – the lady knows her stuff. Pull up a chair and let's wrap up a visit with McGonigal by talking more about her own WoW experience and her take on how other WoW players should view their gaming hobby.

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Filed under: 15 Minutes of Fame

Breakfast Topic: Who's the most unlikely WoW player you've met?

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

I first started playing WoW during the open beta right before launch. It was my freshman year at college, and I had eagerly awaited its release since reading a magazine article almost two years before, as I had been playing since the first Warcraft RTS game. While I was excited like a 6-year-old bound for Disneyland, however, very few of the people I knew even knew of the game's existence.

A few weeks after release, I came into my dorm room, which I shared with an international student from Malaysia. Although we were both computer science majors, the cultural and language barriers had yet to really be broken. Surprisingly, when I walked in, I noticed him at his computer, riding through Desolace on a human mage. While I was, am, and always will be a Hordie, WoW managed to break the ice for us.

A few years later, I was working at a pizza shop full of non-gamers. One of the guys working there, a mohawk-sporting gearhead, just so happened to be another fellow WoW player (albeit another Alliance). Shortly after returning to the game late last year, I was working with a person who was on work release from prison. While I was giving him a ride back to the jail one day, he revealed that he couldn't wait to be finished with his sentence so he could try out ToC, which had just dropped at the time. Even more exciting, he was another Horde player.

I've met some unlikely WoW players in real life, and it's made me some unexpected new friends. What about you? Tell us about some of the most unlikely WoW players you've met in your real life.

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Guest Posts

Breakfast Topic: Have your guildies inspired you in real life?

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

We all have people in our guilds who are better at WoW than we are. They have amazing reaction times, are great leaders, or put up amazing numbers on the damage or healing meters. But often we know little about the person behind the keyboard. Since my guild is full of mostly adults, we talk a lot about real life in guild chat and on our guild forums. Some of the stuff is merely about TV shows we are watching or books we are reading; seriously, we have a 15-page forum about MMA from all the UFC fans in our guild.

Occasionally, however, truly major life events are discussed, some of which are sad and some are inspiring. We have used the forums to say goodbye to a few members for reasons ranging from personal tragedy, to moving and changing jobs, to simply getting tired of the game.

Some of the stories inspired me to make changes in my own life. One of our guild members talked about his diet and how through exercise and cutting out some fast food, he has lost nearly 60 pounds. This caused me to start watching how much I was snacking during raids and got me back to the gym. Another guild member went back to college for his master's degree, and this led me to look into what it would cost for me to go back and get my culinary degree. Two of our guild members got engaged, and this led me to realize I had better start thinking about ring shopping before my girlfriend gets fed up with me.

Do you ever discuss important real-life events with members of your guild? Have any of their stories made you examine your own life? Have any of their advice or personal insights inspired you to make changes or tough choices in your life?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Guest Posts

The Lawbringer: Consequences 2010

2010 has been a good year for consequences. Comeuppance. Karma. Crime and punishment. These three stories from this year all have one thing in common -- World of Warcraft. Sometimes we forget that our actions inside our MMO of choice can have real-life consequences that don't go over too well with the local, state and federal authorities. This week on The Lawbringer, we go all Cops on you, talking about some 2010 WoW criminals.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, The Lawbringer

Breakfast Topic: Fancy meeting you here

A random reader email we received this week sparked an interesting topic of conversation among the crew here at -- the odd places and ways people happen to meet or bump into fellow World of Warcraft players.

Some of us find fellow players through work, some of us meet them on the street or in the store, and there's no real way to identify them. Whether it's a hoodie, a sticker on a car, or someone making the familiar mouse and keyboard hand motions when mentioning they play video games, there's a peculiar thread that connects the millions of people that play WoW. It's identifying that thread that can sometimes be tricky. By the end of the conversation, it was pretty much decided that WoW players need some sort of signal to indicate they play, a secret hand gesture of some sort.

As for myself, the most random of these moments was selling my television. I found a buyer who arrived with a friend to pick up the thing and noticed the friend was wearing a WoW hat. Upon asking him if he played, I discovered not only did he play, he had played on my server, and not only had he played on my server, he played a character that I'd randomly /licked in Dalaran out of sheer boredom one evening when turning in a cooking daily.

Small world.

With a game that has over 11 million players, running into someone that plays the game at some point in real life is almost a given. Where have you met your fellow players? What's the most random, unexpected moment you've run into someone that plays WoW?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

All the World's a Stage: Anonymosity

All the World's a Stage, and all the orcs and humans merely players. They have their stories and their characters; and one player in his time plays many roles.

Roleplaying is a journey of trust you take with strangers. You may now and then start out with a group of people you know in real life, but for the most part, the people you roleplay with have no idea who you really are, or why you are sitting here at the computer. You can tell them if you want to, but most people don't ask. Roleplayers tend to keep personal details private, and don't intrude on one another's space.

Besides, other roleplayers don't necessarily care that much about who you "really are" either. They're there to get to know your character, not you as a person, unless your character first makes a very good impression and they decide that they actually want to be friends as real people. Even though you respect each other as people who share the same interest, there's still a distance between you which either (or both) of you may wish to maintain.

And yet, the relationship you have is one of trust. It's not at all at the same level as a best friend of course, but you still have to trust one another in a very creative sense -- you rely on each other to create interesting things for your characters to share with one another. You're not just buying a shirt from a salesperson or holding the door for a passerby -- you're exchanging behavior and language in an unpredictable and totally interconnected way. Any little surprise a stranger brings to an interaction may completely alter the whole game session and stick in your mind as one of your most memorable gaming experiences. Roleplayers have to trust other roleplayers to help make those experiences positive, even without knowing anything at all about one another. Sometimes two characters can even become very close friends, even though the real people behind them do not.

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Filed under: WoW Social Conventions, Virtual selves, RP, All the World's a Stage (Roleplaying)

Player stories on the official site

Blizzard asked for real-life stories from players a little while ago, and now they've posted a pretty big collection of them over on the official site (this page was around last year, but they've added many stories since then). As Bornakk says, these are personal accounts from players of how playing the game with others has helped them grow relationships in real-life. I'm not sure what exactly the point of posting these is (maybe Blizzard wants to stave off some of that negative media reporting about the game and addiction to it), but then again, if you dive into a few of these, you can see that they don't really need a point -- they're really interesting (and in some cases pretty heartwarming) stories about how players are using this game to enrich real-life relationships.

They're still accepting more stories as well, so if you've got a good tale of some WoW-sharing in real-life, hit them up over on the submission page and put yours in the mix. Hopefully Blizzard will figure out a way to get these out into the real world -- harsh stories about addiction are so easy for the media to jump on, but great stories like these are the real reasons we all play this game.

Filed under: Fan stuff, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Blizzard, PvP, Leveling

Breakfast Topic: How do you cope with burnout?

Burnout is a natural part of doing anything for a long period of time whether it's a game or your job. Right now I've got WoW burnout, I can't be bothered to log on and the thought of raiding Ulduar (Ignis specifically) just makes my eyes and head hurt. It's not too bad and I've certainly had worse pre-Wrath but it's exacerbated in part I think by the lull. Patch 3.1 is out, Patch 3.2 is coming and the next unannounced expansion is a long time off yet. On top of that there aren't enough hours in the day to work, sleep, raid and play with my cats.

It makes me wonder what's the best way to get out of this phase? Do I go cold turkey for a week? Do I reroll or do I just try a new instance? Tell me your suggestions, please, how do you cope with burnout?

Filed under: Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Breakfast Topics, Raiding

WoW, Casually: What is casual?

Robin Torres writes WoW, Casually for the player with limited playtime. Of course, you people with lots of playtime can read this too, but you may get annoyed by the fact that we are unashamed, even proud, of the fact that beating WoW isn't our highest priority. Take solace in the fact that your gear is better than ours, but if that doesn't work, remember that we outnumber you. Not that that's a threat, after all, we don't have time to do anything about it. But if WoW were a democracy, we'd win.

Turtlehead wrote in wanting to know "what the heck casual is." This is a good question, but the answer seems to change according to the context. I learned long ago to explain how I'm defining casual for a particular article, or else face the wrath of my readers. When I write Wow, Casually, I define casual as a player with limited playtime and address my content accordingly. But there are many other kinds of players that could be called casual and we use the word to describe any or all of them. So, is it possible to define the word to please everybody? Probably not, but I'm going to try.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, WoW, Casually

Breakfast Topic: WoW analogies

I don't know if it's because I blog about WoW, or just because I play a fair amount of it, but analogies between WoW and other parts of life constantly leap into my mind. This happens often enough in everyday conversation that it doesn't even annoy my girlfriend anymore; she's just used to it.

Most recently, I was at a large family event, maybe 30 people. I was noticing how hard it was to get the entire group to do anything - waiting for people to get ready, deciding what to do, etc. I immediately thought of 25-man raiding, with its horrendous logistics. By comparison, a group of 10 people, in raids or real life, is much more manageable.

What sorts of WoW analogies have occurred to you recently? Or am alone in this particular affliction?

Filed under: Odds and ends, Breakfast Topics

Contemporary raiding and real-life obligations

An unidentified reader wrote to WoW Insider explaning that while he is in a raiding guild, his life schedule does not allow him to raid. He feels he's being left behind as groups ask for higher DPS.

What practical advice is there for progressing in the game while being a player with RL obligations?

First off, I'd like to tell you that you're not an outlier, there are many of players in similar situations. Nearly all WoW players have real life obligations including work, school, and families. The two most important things to work on are balance and realistic expectations.

It's easy to get suckered into playing too much WoW. To balance WoW with life, you need to determine how much time you can spend in game, while leaving plenty to meet your other responsibilities. If you can, try to schedule WoW at regular times, that way you build relationships with folks you play with often.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Tips, Guilds, Instances, Raiding

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