Being a Woman in Gaming

Typically there would be at least one other female gamer in the guild that I was in.  I don’t know if this is because we tended to find each other due to the type of leadership that the guild had.  I had refused to play with certain guilds due to how I was treated, or if they had provocative pictures on their forum.  I am fine with pictures of beautiful women but I’ll be out the door if they is pornography in your player forums…just….no.

In my experience there is always a lot of flirting in games.  When your guild has a male to female ratio of 15:1 you tend to see the women getting a lot of attention.  I have benefited from lots of help over the years in the game, I will assume that it was due to being a female.  I always try to pay it back or pay it forward but I’m sure there is an imbalance in my favor.

Along with the attention, women can also be the target of unwanted harassment.  There have been more than a few times where I received inappropriate and unwanted private messages.  It was even worst if it came from people that I played with on a regular basis or members of my guild.  It was a difficult position to be put in.  If a woman deflects advances she gets called a bitch and I’ve seen this type of negative notions get spread throughout a guild because rather than nurse a bruised male ego quietly, it was done with rumors and trash talk.  For about 2 years I refused to play in the same guild as my husband (boyfriend at the time) because there was this ONE GUY that would call me a “little c**t” every time I joined up with them to do group content.  I told him to cut it out, but he saw that it irritated me so he kept doing it.  One of the benefits of being the guild leader is that people don’t test my boundaries like this.  If they were to call me any sort of derogatory term they would be out the door faster a speeding ticket.

I’ve been exploring the world of how female players are treated in gaming to gain a broader understanding beyond my own experiences.  I found the Not in the Kitchen Anymore where a Jenny Haniver publishes clips of negative interactions that she has with other gamers.  I will tell you that I’ve listened to these clips and was shocked to find that my initial thoughts were “yea I hear this all the time” and it didn’t seem out of the ordinary.  Have I grown complacent to the verbal abuse that we face in these games as women?

So why do these men berate women in these games?  Is it a power thing?  Are the motivations to cat call women on the street or call them whores in video games the same?  I’ve often heard that women would be better off if they confronted the abuser and to this I am conflicted.  A few weeks ago I was the target of unwanted advances while at a fair grounds.  I will tell you that I did not give him an ear full for a few reasons, first – he was operating a ride that my child was on and I didn’t want her to become a target for retaliation after I rejected this man.  Second – I didn’t know what this guy was capable of, was he prone to violence?  or stalking?  I don’t know and I’d rather not put myself in a position to find out.

A Tale of Two Guilds

I hadn’t been looking for a merger but one seemed to find me. Our guild was doing well making steady progress through the game, killing a few new bosses with each week that passed. My officer and I were hard at work tapping into a health pool of eager raiders. Since heroic raids both were cross-server and flexible in size. We were able to bring in player without too much investment. Many years ago a player could only play with a guild if they were all on the same server. This meant that in order to even get a shot at raiding you had to shell out $25 to move your character to a new server. Time have changed and the barriers that once kept us apart have evaporated…unless you want to do the hardest content. We are close to completing the heroic difficulty of Uldir which would mean we are ready to start those super hardcore mythic raids that only 1% of players experience. We want to get there but we have a logistics challenge – we need more players. Unlike the heroic version of Uldir which scales up and down between 10 and 30 players, the mythic raids are for 20 players and 20 players only. We are a bit short of the mark and my officer and I have been pounding the internet pavement looking for those perfect players for our guild.

When we started building up our roster I talked about how one way to get a big influx of players was to merge with another guild. Merging is a scary thing. You work hard to build up the type of community and culture that you want and if you look to combine forces with another group there are usually sacrifices that need to be made. One of the big questions that is usually at the forefront is “who will be the guild leader?” Back when my guild was struggling in Wildstar we looked to merge with another guild who wanted to retain absolute control and make me an officer. This was a deal breaker for us and something that the other guild was unwilling to compromise on so we ended up not merging.

We have in the past absorbed some struggling guilds and found these type of transactions benefit us greatly.

This merger was messy, as combining 2 groups usually is. There were some people pushed out and a few pushed up. The greatest circumstance that the leadership of the absorbed guild was that the day before we agreed to bring in the tank to trial, one of our current and I would consider him our “main” tank decided that he didn’t want to raid anymore. This left a vacuum in the tank positions that were then able to be filled by the two tanks from the merger.

Tanks are such a crucial position on a guild. Consider them the leaders in their own right. They control the big epic boss battles from start to finish. Ideally you want someone who can be there 100% of the time, can follow instructions and can communicate clearly both expected changes and changes that need to be made on the fly. There is a lot of coordination between tanks so having a pair that can work well together is also crucial. If you have two people that are forced to be partnered on a project and they dislike each other that will cause your guild nothing but problems.

SSC and Guild Drama

Today I wanted to share an old story about my guild.  At the time these events were very upsetting for all of us. I was a holy priest raiding in Dies Irae which was one of my very first guilds in WoW and we held the #2 spot on the server in terms of progression.  When you are not quite the best but still have a lot of great players, it makes you a target for sniping members and attacks on your team’s moral.  I will tell you the story from our perspective, since this reporter didn’t seek out quotes from both guilds involved and the only quote used was a whisper of a guild member that was not representative of our guild as a whole.

So here is the story from our perspective:  Clockwise was a guild lead by the brother of a Nightmares Asylum member who started a Karazhan pug with around 3 people from Clockwise and at least 3 from Dies Irae.  They killed a couple of the early bosses in the raid instance and then the pug raid ended.  Using the general pug rules, a couple guys from Dies Irae who were part of the pug decided to continue the pug raid.  Later that night the Clockwise guys started another group to continue the raid as well.  When they attempted to zone in, they could not since there was the max amount of player in the raid for that specific raid ID.  Of course the perceived “stealing” of the raid ID was not done intentionally or with malice.  And I’m sure you can decide for yourself if the raid belongs to only the raid leader?  Or does it belong to each and every person who participated?  I’ll let you decide.  I can’t say what was said between the Clockwise member and my guildie because I can’t view their whisper history but it sounded like the Clockwise leader was flipping out and because of his attitude, the players that were already in the raid decided to just continue and finish the raid.

At this point in time raids were assigned a unique ID number which locked you to the progress of the players that are saved.  If you were saved to different raid IDs you could not play together.  This feature has since been been changed to allow any player to join and leave any raid that they wish.

What happened next was a bizarre turn for our guild.  We were working on the last boss in SSC and before our scheduled raid time, Nightmares Asylum created a raid group and whispered one of our raiders to help summon someone.  Him being a nice guy said “sure invite” when he was expecting to join a party of 2 or 3 players he instead saw a full raid group and was promoted to leader which allowed Nightmares Asylum to zone in under our raid ID.  They went on to kill the boss that we were working on.  It was a shitty thing to do and I’m still mad about it ten years later.

I wanted to save the contents of this post just in case it ever gets purged, the original post can be found here.

DI Vashj

Today’s story comes from the realm of Smolderthorn, home of one of the U.S.’s top Horde guilds, Nightmares Asylum (obligatory note: Blizzard apparently doesn’t let you use apostrophes in guild names.)

Our tale begins in Karazhan this weekend, where the guild Clockwise was just learning the instance. They didn’t have enough people for a full group, so they invited in some puggers to help them down some bosses. Unfortunately, they weren’t able to kill too many bosses, so they left half of the instance for the next day. One of their puggers, who was a member of the medium-level guild Dies Irae, invited in some of his guildmates’ alts to clear the rest. Dies Irae claimed they didn’t know it was another guild’s instance at first, but only decided to kill Prince after Clockwise’s guild leader got angry at them and told them to get the bleep out. Whatever the cause, no one disputes that it ended with Dies Irae’s alts clearing Karazhan on Clockwise’s raid ID.

Now it gets interesting. Apparently Nightmares Asylum decided it was time to stand up for the little guy and get Dies Irae back. So Monday night, they asked one of Dies Irae’s members to help them on a quest. Suddenly, the DI member was promoted to leader and kicked out of the group as Nightmares Asylum members ran inside their Tempest Keep and Serpentshrine Cavern instances. (SSC, by the way, was completely clear except for Lady Vashj, who Dies Irae was planning on working on — Nightmares Asylum apparently no longer runs SSC.) Nightmares Asylum then proceeded to kill Vashj, made a screenshot of her dead with their raid members forming the letters DI, and — this is the best part — tracked down various Dies Irae members and disenchanted the Vashj loot they would have gotten in front of them. Man, I feel bad for that rogue who watched the Fang of Vashj dissolve. DI claimed not to care, since it “gave them another day to PVP”, but the attempts to report Nightmares Asylum say otherwise.

So who’s in the wrong here? We don’t know the full situation, but both sides have given their account. Dies Irae says they didn’t intentionally steal the Kara ID and only cleared it after being provoked by the other guild’s leader, while Nightmares Asylum was malicious in their thievery. Nightmares Asylum defends their actions as karma and standing up for the little guy, and it’s pretty obvious they didn’t do it to get the phat loots. Ethically, they’re both probably wrong, since stealing raid IDs is pretty nasty, but I can’t help but feel a soft spot for Nightmares Asylum after this. They may have done a vicious, petty thing, but they did it with style.

What do you think about this situation? Should there be a way to remedy the “stealing” of raid IDs, or should people just be careful who they accept raid invites from?

Why Finding a Guild is like Dating

I am no stranger to recruiting players and have talked to dozens of people over the past month who are interested in what we have to offer.  We often chit chat a little bit.  We ask each other questions and get to know each other.  If I get any responses that are deal breakers I stop them right there and thank them for reaching out and let them know that this conversation isn’t going to go any further.  If we are on the same page during our initial conversation I invite the potential recruit to come play with us on a specific night.  I set the time, the place and tell them what to bring.  We see if it’s a good fit.

The world of building algorithms for matching us up with another person has gone from being a scary taboo corner of the internet, to the mainstream way to met people.  So why are we still relying on general boards and yelling in the middle of town to find people to play with in our guild?  It seems like our recruiting methods are 100 years behind.  We must rely on our voice being heard and someone noticing that we are looking for someone to fill a hole in our social group.  If only I could filter a long list of warlocks that are looking for a raid group and swipe right once I found someone who might be a good fit?

Tinder

Recruiting members for your guild is like courtship in the early 1800s where your best bet is to have some obscure connection to the person that you wish to pursue.   We spread the word that we are looking for someone and hope that against all odds that the perfect person will hear our call.

Once we start building a gaming relationship, it is much like dating.  We put on our best outfit (gear), spend hours thinking about what we are going to say and how best to impress our date(do crazy dps and try not to eff up).  We screw up(not on purpose) and make mistakes and show this person we want to impress that we are flawed human beings and see if that is enough to scare them away.  Sometimes both of us want a second date and more than a couple times I would end up waiting for my date to show up, just to figure out that they had blocked my phone number.

There were a couple of times that I decided that I didn’t want to continue building a relationship with someone because their personality did not mesh well with the rest of us.  Now those could have been messy breakups, but for the most part they were mature about the rejection and moved on to someone who would appreciate their unique personality.  I want to know about your experience making friends in games?  How did you meet?  What about them made them a good companion?

How to get into Mythic Uldir

Progression is a marathon not a sprint, unless you’re Method.  If you have the drive and dedication to play a game 12+ hours per day until you beat all of the hardest content then you can view the game as a sprint.  Of course guilds like Method, Limit and Wildcard Gaming are the exception and not the rule.  For the rest of us that fit comfortably in with the other average raiders, we take our progress and character progression week by week and lock out by lock out.  For those not familiar with how raiding works let me go into a little more detail.  Each raid typically has a lock out period where you can kill the bosses a get loot from their corpses.  We then parade around town in our shiny new, possibly bloodstained and partially digested new set of armor (grotesque, I know).  On a certain day of the week all of the bosses will “reset” which means they are alive again and able to be killed for another chance at that epic loot that you have your eye on.  Why do we want to raid?  For one, it how you usually get the best gear in your game and who doesn’t want to have the best stuff?  Another reason is it’s fun fighting dragons and big giant mosters!  These are games after all and having fun should be the primary objective.  Third of all, you create friendships because you can’t kill dragons by yourself.  We need to bring 20 of our friends and make sure we are able to handle many whelps.  What keeps me coming back to raiding year after year for the past 15 years is the relationships that I build and the prospect of forming new bonds with my guildies.

So how does one get into Mythic Uldir?  If your guild is new or your players are inexperienced with mythic content, you will want to start with the normal and heroic versions of Uldir first.  My goal for our guild is to work our way to clearing the heroic version of Uldir in one raid night, which is three and a half hours for us.  After clearing the heroic version of the raid for the week we are able to step into the mythic version and begin working on those bosses.  We will want to continue to clear (defeat all the bosses in) heroic Uldir until we are killing 3-4 bosses in mythic.  We continue to do the lower difficulty raid so that our group continues to get upgrades for their gear.  Raiding is an all or nothing reward system,  you do not get anything for trying to kill a boss, only when that boss is dead do you receive your reward.  So it makes more sense to try and get the most bang for your buck in rewards for your raiders.  The more gear you get, the easier the fights become and that is how you progress in raids.

Of course you need to know where Uldir is, in order to raid there:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LCYnicIAKcw

Barely doing Mythic + dungeons

So I used to think that gaming was going the way of catering to the more casual gamer.  Although, what I’m finding is that I can play some of the things but I’m punished for playing as little as I do.

Back in Wrath of the Lichking people lamented the use of addons like Gear Score and to our surprise Blizzard thought that scoring system for ranking a player’s overall gear was a good idea and implemented it into their base game and call it item level.  You can view a person’s item level when you are using the group finder addon and it is one of the few pieces of information that you see along with their name, class and role.  If you want to take your selectiveness to the next level you can use a website and addon called RaiderIO In theory this type of system is great for weeding out the inexperienced and poor performing players.  There was the occasion where I wish I had more information on the people that I was partying with people who end up freaking out in chat and then leaving.

The way that Raider IO scores a player is a little bit odd.  You get points based on how many mythic + dungeons you complete during the current week and you get more points for completing a variety of dungeons.  You get more points for completing these dungeons with a favorable time but you are penalized if you had a great completion the week prior and did not run that same dungeon this week.  So, in order to maintain your score you must continually do the dungeons.  I currently have a score of 211 which is considered pretty low, I have completed 4 dungeons for the week which were all between level 7 through 9.  If I had time I could complete a bunch of +4 or +5 with a great time and that would give me a better score than simply completing the 9 that I did where we didn’t make the time.  I don’t really get any points for completing raid bosses which is where my focus is for now.

I don’t have a ton of time this week to run these dungeons but I do plan on the future to do some sort of experiment.  I play a desired class for dungeons due to our roots and slows (frost mage) and I shouldn’t have trouble finding groups with my gear.  I want to run some +4/+5 dungeons and see how that effects my score.  I’m viewing my raiderio score as a metagame within World of Warcraft and while I’m a bit angry that I’m being excluded from groups based on this score, I would probably exclude players as well if I were the one making the group and wanted to succeed.

All of this being said, I love the mythic keystone system and its ability to challenge you.  I do want to form a more consistent group to do these so that I can do better.  I really need more practice since I’m a little fuzzy on the mechanics of all the trash and the boss fights.  There is a lot of information to remember and running through these dungeons more will definitely help with this.

What are your thoughts on scoring players based on a point system?  Do you find it helpful or hurtful?  How could raiderio be improved?

Streamers that I’ve been enjoying lately

We have been using an amazon fire stick and alexa remote to watch tons of twitch on our living room TV lately.  Here are some streamers that I’ve been watching lately.

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Elspeth – She is a talented voice actor that has been playing a variety of jump/scare games lately and it is hilarious.  I love listening to her slip into different characters while shes playing through her games.

Drjayfisto – Method raider and pro mage who may be streaming from his Gothic style dining room?  Sometimes I watch to learn how to play better and sometime I have him on for his music.

Lirik – He is probably the first streamer that I’ve made a point of watching consistently and have been a fan of his for the past 3 years.  He is honest, humble and will often seek opinions outside of his own on topics that he is curious about.  He plays a variety of games including tons of indie projects, the new latest and greatest game and shooters.