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Posts with tag reallife

Do you drive people nuts talking about WoW?

Is this you? (image from Real Life Comics.)

Because man, it's me. I talk about this game way, way too much. I stir up hornet's nests in my columns because I love to back and forth about it. I love it when people agree with me, and I love it even more when people tell me I'm full of crap. I like arguing, debating, and speculating about World of Warcraft. Frankly, I bore the heck out of my friends who don't play. I once sat in a crowded restaurant with a friend and his wife and went over the minutia of rage generation with so fine toothed a comb that not even light could escape, and only realized by the stricken, panicked look on their faces that they would have welcomed an axe wielding maniac at that point if he'd only kill me first so that the discussion of threat per second vs rage from damage dealt would finally somehow end.

I guess it's a good thing I ended up here at WoW Insider. It's not like there are a lot of socially acceptable venues in which rambling for solid hours about 2.6 speed fist weapons is considered perfectly normal and acceptable. My wife, who plays as much as I do, manages much better at presenting a normal facade, and yet is still capable of explaining how ranged weapon speeds can affect hunter shot rotations in frightening depth and with extraordinarily broad references with which to make her point. The Wolfslayer Sniper Rifle has no idea how much she knows about it.

So again, how about you? Are you truly casual, barely ever discussing the game? or are you seething with the potential to explain spell damage and haste rating to passing strangers?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, WoW Social Conventions, Virtual selves, Odds and ends

WoW is a Work of Art, part 1: A journey into Azeroth

The day I walked into the store to buy World of Warcraft, I had been taking care of my mother as she underwent chemotherapy for brain cancer, and I desperately needed something to do that wasn't cooking, cleaning, sorting pills, or running errands. I needed something that would connect me with people while at the same time letting me stay at home and care for someone I loved.

When I picked up a box with a pretty, yet severe night elf woman's face on the cover, I wasn't thinking, "I want to get to level 60 and start raiding Molten Core for epic gear!" or even "I'm going to be a PvP god!" Instead, I was hoping to create characters with a personal background, with feelings and ideas all their own, and act them out in an imaginary world where no one knew who I really was, a world in which our purpose was to share creatively and interact as a team, not to make money or exchange gossip.

In short, I wanted to roleplay. But what I got was something much more than even a roleplaying experience, more than me and my characters, more than an endless stream of quests and rewards, experience and reputation, monsters and loot. I found myself in a world filled with its own people -- real people -- and a series of problems for these people to overcome together in order to progress and travel even deeper into this world. At every stage, I found something new opening up to me, whether it was access to more abilities of my own, more ways to interact with others, more vast landscapes to please my eye, or more stories to capture my imagination.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, RP, All the World's a Stage (Roleplaying)

Real friends vs. virtual friends

A few weeks ago, I had some trouble with my real life friends-- they were organizing an impromptu run to the movies, but I had committed to a Gruul's raid, and had to decline, to their consternation. And yesterday, the exact opposite happened-- I went on a raid with my guild for the first time in a few weeks (because different real life issues had kept me from raiding for a while), and they gave me a little ribbing about being so behind.

It just doesn't seem fair. I'm getting trouble from both my real life and my internet friends for choosing to hang out with one over the other. Of course, both groups aren't really angry at me for doing what I choose to do-- my guild isn't really bothered by my absence of late (although I don't exactly get first choice at loot rolling any more, understandably), and my real-life friends can't blame me for staying in sometimes and playing videogames (although they worry about me if I do it more often than not).

As ippy says, there are really two camps on this-- either you think that real life is always more important than virtual interaction, or that both are equally worthwhile. In the past, I've been closer to the first option-- that I should always go hang out with people in real life rather than stay at home playing WoW or Bioshock (which I will be tomorrow, no matter what my friends are doing). But lately, as my relationships in WoW grow stronger, I'm feeling more of a pull to give that priority sometimes, at least when it doesn't affect my other relationships.

Is that bad? This seems like a topic for our Azeroth Interrupted column (featured today, by the way, on the front page of the BBC's tech site-- cheers, Robin!), but I'd like to hear what you all think as well. Does real life get priority always, or is it more nuanced than that?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Guilds, Odds and ends, Raiding

Study says social games make people more social

Our good friends at Joystiq reported on a study earlier from Nottingham Trent University (it's in England) about MMO gamers and their social behaviors. And supposedly-- are you sitting for this one?-- massively multiplayer online games actually help people meet others and make friends. Go figure!

They surveyed 1,000 gamers (which is not a huge sample, actually), and found that almost half had actually met another player in real life, and one in ten developed "physical relationships" with someone they'd met in a game. 40% of people discussed sensitive issues with online friends rather than real-life ones, and 30% of players were attracted to another player. 80% of players also played not only with online friends, but with real-life friends and family as well. And according to the study, women were more likely to both be attracted to other players, and to eventually date them, and while women play for "therapeutic refreshment," men play for "curiosity, astonishment, and interest."

50% of respondents said World of Warcraft was their game of choice, so while the study was actually about MMO players, it's not a stretch to say it's just about WoW players (and pretty hardcore players, too-- average play time per week was 22.85 hours!). Like I said, 1,000 people is a pretty small sample, but apparently a journal approved it-- the study will be published in CyberPsychology and Behavior.

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

Breakfast topic: WoW in the world

It's been a while since we last did this, so let's do it again: Where have you seen WoW in your real life world?

Umi on WoW Ladies sees BOP, and automatically thinks Bind on Pickup. I was once driving around looking for a party, and had been playing WoW so much lately that when I realized I was lost, my first thought was to type /1 (without a computer in the car, mind you), and ask where the party was in General chat. No one was in the car, but I felt pretty stupid after having a thought like that.

And my favorite lately came from that post on boss quotes the other day. Here's what happened to commenter Thingy at work:

Person 1: "How about we get that stuff in next week?"
Person 2: "Too soon"
Me: "You have awakened me too soon, Executus."
*odd looks from the rest*
Me: *finally realises what I just said*

Funny. Where have you seen WoW in the world?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Breakfast Topics, Humor

Breakfast Topic: WoW vs. Real Life


Sometimes it happens: you get online and meet up with some of your Azerothian friends, and they invite you to go do something interesting when suddenly your phone rings, and one of your Earthling friends invites you to go do something interesting in real life! You're faced with a choice of staying in Azeroth or returning to Earth.

For my part, I mostly made one of those unconscious choices a long time ago, that if this sort of thing happened, I would usually choose to leave Azeroth and go experience real life. I had realized that it's too easy to lose oneself in the imaginary world and then come back to real life with a sense of emptiness. But with the right kind of moderation, I feel like both my time on Earth and my time in Azeroth are full and enjoyable.

What do you do when someone says "do you want to go hang out with us?" when you had planned to play WoW? Do you usually choose one or the other, or does it totally depend on the situation?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

WSVG makes a deal to show events on CBS

Looks like at least someone thinks there's an audience for arena PvP-- World Series of Video Games has announced they've signed a deal with CBS (yes, that CBS) to show four one-hour episodes featuring four of their upcoming events. Which means you could be seeing WoW arena matches (including a few guilds dueling it out in real life) on network television in the near future.

Our good friends at Joystiq say the play-by-play will be done by some dude named Greg Amsinger, who has called WSVG events before. He's not the same guy they've got calling arena matches now, is he? Because if so, they should shell out for someone new. No word yet either on who's producing it or what it will be like-- we don't even know for sure that they'll show WoW. They may decide to stick to the slightly-more-accessible first person shooter matches for network TV.

But if you want to watch, the first special is supposed to drop on July 29th, just a few days after the WSVG event in Louisville. Are eSports really going to turn out to become big ticket spectator sports? Looks like we're about to find out.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Machinima, News items, PvP

Goal!

Sometimes I find myself just standing around somewhere while lost in a deep conversation with a friend, perhaps wandering my character around in some pattern while I talk. It feels good to just let go of time, and immerse myself in that conversation.

Some of my friends, however, would never do this, because they have solid goals that they always want to work towards achieving. Whether it's getting keyed for a high-level instance, attaining some new gear for fighting in PvP, or even just leveling up a new alt they like, many players seem to be in motion all the time. Sitting down to talk just doesn't feel productive, especially if they've reached the level cap and there's no such thing as rested experience anymore.

Once, a friend of mine told me about his brother's 3 level 70 characters and several other characters getting close to 70. He said his brother is always doing something related to leveling or gear whenever he logs into the game. Sometimes I inspect someone I know, and as I mouse over their various epic items, I feel like I'm getting left behind, like maybe I should get busy like my friend's brother, doing something --anything -- to get farther along in the game. Something inside me says, "What do I need to do to get that item or level up that kind of alt? ... but wait a minute... How much do I really want that? Am I playing this game for the loot, or am I playing it for something else?"

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends

Real life guild meetings


Over the years I've played a great many different MMOs. There have been communities as varied and interesting as the surrounding lore of the worlds involved. That said, the thing that has continued to keep me coming back for more in World of Warcraft after two and a half years is undoubtedly the absolutely fantastic people I'm honored to be guilded with.

While there have been the occasional odd visits and meetings, this weekend marked the first concerted effort at a real life "guild meeting." While sadly not everyone was able to make it, I feel relatively certain that I am speaking for the livers and/or tummies of all the people involved when I say that it was a smashing success. From Thursday to Tuesday we grilled out, drank, sang, danced, invaded local nightclubs, eateries, shops, and even "raided" both the zoo and an art museum! Many truly bad inside jokes were born ("Philosophically, you have already eaten the cookie.") and many people were introduced to a drink that has been dubbed "the Smitey Paw." (This is due to it's noxious green color, it's reference to a certain evil cat, and especially the fact that it has a tendency to smite you with very little warning.) But the absolute most amazing thing that came out of this weekend was getting to spend real-life time with my guild mates in the picture above -- and those were just the ones willing to pose for WoW Insider!

Over the last two years we've geared our mains, geared our alts, raided everything from AQ20 to Ragefire Chasm. (Yes, you can raid RFC.) But no matter what we've done, we've been focused on doing it together. Some folks have come and some have gone, but our core group has stuck together despite setbacks and guild drama and everything else that is no surprise to anyone who's ever been in a fairly large guild. This weekend was a celebration of that togetherness and those friendships that have been formed (or grown closer in some cases) thanks to World of Warcraft. So to my awesome guild mates -- and to all other guilds out there who have members that get together in real life to show that Gamers can party down too -- I raise my Smitey Paw in /salute to you!

Filed under: WoW Social Conventions, Guilds, Odds and ends, Humor

Breakfast Topic: WoW outside of WoW

If you're reading this site, I'm guessing that you spend at least some time during the week playing the game World of Warcraft, amirite? But I'm specifically not asking about the time you spend in-game -- but the time out of it. How many times do you spend away from your computer talking to friends about how you leveled last night or the awesome new piece of loot that dropped for you in Karazhan?

For my part, since my best friend recently decided to give in to the addiction (read: fun!) that is World of Warcraft, we rarely have a conversation that doesn't include references to the game. To the puzzlement of our non-playing friends, we'll have detailed conversations full of game references and in-jokes. So I ask you, dear readers, has the World of Warcraft crept into not only your virtual, but also your real life? Have you turned your homework into a series of reputation-grinding quests and do ordinary pieces of punctuation hold new and interesting meaning to you?

[Image courtesy of Tom, who sent it in to Around Azeroth describing this New Jersey quest-giver.]

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Breakfast Topic: Meeting other WoW folks in real life


The other day while I was packing up after doing some research at my local library, a small group of people stopped me to ask what the stickers on my laptop were about. I replied that they were symbols from World of Warcraft. It turned out that several of the folks in the group were also WoW players – although they were all Alliance. One of the girls in the group happily told me all about her Night Elf Druid, and how her boyfriend had gotten her into WoW. She then followed up by noting that she was surprised to meet someone who played Horde out in real life. We chatted about WoW for a good ten to fifteen minutes, I told them about WoW Insider (because this place rocks) and then we all headed our separate ways.

With the sheer amount of merchandise now available, like t-shirts, book bags, and stickers, WoW players are making their presence known more and more in the real world. Have you ever worn or displayed something with a WoW reference on it and been stopped by other gamers or people asking about it? If you saw someone wearing a WoW shirt, what would you do? How about if they were of the opposing faction, as most of the group I was talking to were?

Personally, I think it was awesome to meet other gamers, no matter if they were of the opposing faction. After all, we're all just people out to have fun in Azeroth when it comes down to it. I also thought that it was really cool to hear (and remember) the excitement of someone new to the game, as well as sharing experiences with other people who have raided the same places I have.

That said, if you ever see a girl with multi-colored hair who has Horde stickers on her laptop (as seen above) feel free to pop over and say hello!

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Breakfast Topics, Features

Breakfast Topic: Recruiting regrets

I've never recruited anyone to the game (I have helped convince a friend to play, actually, but the truth is that he didn't need much convincing), so I've never imagined a situation like the one that faces Aerna: she and another friend recruited a third friend to play WoW with them, but now he's become nothing but an annoyance. He begs for powerleveling, doesn't know how to play his class, and generally makes a mess of things, forcing her to run away from him to play Horde (so it's not a complete loss..).

So what can she do? I'm trying to figure out why they're friends in the first place-- can it really be true that someone you like hanging out with in RL can turn into a menace inside Azeroth? It could be that he just needs some guidance on ingame etiquette and strategy. On the other hand, I can definitely see how two people who don't have much in common (co-workers, maybe) might find their relationship pushed to the limit when brought to the world of Azeroth. Have you ever recruited someone to play the game that actually ruined the experience for you?

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

What John August learned from WoW

Some of you may be asking, "Who's John August?" Well, I also asked myself that when I came across his article. Turns out I already knew a lot of his work, and you might too. John's written a bunch of movies, including Go, Charlie's Angels (and its sequel Full Throttle), Big Fish, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, the Corpse Bride, and has actually written and directed his first film with The Nines, which garnered some great reviews at the Sundance film festival.

Okay, before this becomes a Cinematical entry, let's get back to what this post is actually about. John, like many struggling (or not so struggling) writers (please take that giant hunter's mark off my head now, thank you), has a lot of free time on his hands while scheming up ideas for scripts and stories. For a while, John chose to spend a good portion of his free time in the World of Warcraft.

What stands out about his article, "Seven Things I Learned from World of Warcraft", is that he's taken what he learned in-game and applied it to his now WoW-free life. I found it amusing and also semi-educational, if not a bit GTD in inspiration. So go hop over and take a read, then come add to his list. What life-lessons have you learned from the World of Warcraft?

Filed under: Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Humor

Real life wedding rings get Soulbound


A member of the WoW Ladies livejournal group, Tsuraibara, and her husband figured out a completely awesome way for them to customize their wedding rings. Since they "met on an online game, the engraving was free, [and] 'soulbound' sounds nice even if you aren't familiar with WoW," they actually went out and got "Soulbound" carved on the inside of each of the rings. That's great!

I liked the plush Shammy a lot, but I think this might be my new favorite real life WoW item. Of course, this does mean that they won't be able to put these on the AH anymore. But if for some reason an upgrade drops (maybe on a wedding anniversary), a vendor could probably offer them a few gold at least.

Filed under: Fan stuff, RP

Why the IRS won't invade Azeroth

The Weekly Standard is the latest media publication to take up the flag on an interesting but so far theoretical subject: the idea of placing taxes on goods bought and sold in online universes, including our own World of Warcraft. Their latest issue has a look at the markets, both virtual and real, appearing around online games, and they claim the markets are "much bigger than you might expect."

They quote both CNET and Wired on studies of the interaction between real and virtual dollars inside games like Project Entropia and Second Life, and come up with what seems like a pretty inflated figure to me: $880 million to $1 billion annually in the market for virtual goods. That, they say, is a big target for the IRS to go after. They end on a recent summit, at which an economist apparently claimed he was striving to determine "what is a taxable event in a virtual world."

Interesting article, even though it does get a little bit too overspeculative at the end. For those of you who want it, my analysis is after the break.

[ Thanks, Vince! ]

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Filed under: Items, Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, News items, Economy

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