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.

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?

Why aren’t MMOs monetizing mobile apps?

I’ve been playing online games for as long as the genre existed and have slowly made the transition from “I will never play a free to play game” to “I could totally pay $25 for that cool mount”  What I want to know is why none of the big MMOs that are able to make enough money to continue to add content are not capitalizing on mobile apps?  I’m absolutely obsessed whenever there is a mobile app for the game that I’m playing.  It helps me feel like I’m more connected to my character.

Have you done the fashion show micro event in WoW?  It puts you in a room with a few other people and you dress up your character based on a random theme that it selects.  They are usually along the lines of “summer” or “winter” or “faction pride” and you go from there!  The last time I played this event it was the only thing that I wanted to do, to the point where I got every armor set of ever armor type on several different characters.  Why is this game not a mobile app?  Do you know how much more time I would spend on my transmog if this was a feature?

There are tons of other MMOs out there that all they have is cosmetic gear.  I could imagine an app with your character model and being able to try on gear similar to how you can in game.  Am I crazy for think this might be popular?  Would this be hard to do?  I know next to nothing about game design so knock me down if what I’m talking about would be crazy expensive.

Also being able to do WoW pet battled would make that part of the game amazingly fun for me if I could do it on my phone.  When I do them in game currently I’m just reminded of playing pokemon on my green gameboy pocket and being able to do it in bed.  I want to play pet battles from the bathtub!  Yes I know I can play the real pokemon but I love the idea of being able to advance my characters in the MMO that I’m playing while not having to sit at my computer to do it.

Mythic dungeons and why your ilvl is never high enough

As someone who has spent the majority of the past couple years revisiting the Burning Crusade and Wrath of the Lich King expansions of WoW I have come to appreciate the group finder tools in game and how far they have come over the life of the game.  Gone are the days where you would type in chat “/who priest” and whisper everyone that came up to come heal your dungeon group.  The current looking for group tool allows you to group for anything you want with it’s highly customization options and categories. I mostly use it for dungeon and world quests but you can find some role playing or transmog or other various farming groups.

We do have quite a large community group and guild currently, but sometimes we still need to pug someone for our dungeon groups.  “Pug” means that you are finding someone that you don’t know to come help your group complete a task and is often viewed as a gamble.  This person could be good or they could be awful, it’s really hard to tell.  There is a ton of information out there about your character and if someone has the patience to do the research they can find out a lot about how you play.  In game there is a quick and dirty way of selecting your hypothetical best option and that is by choosing someone with a high item level.

I’ve seen a lot of people on twitter pointing out that one week into the expansion there is a lot of unreasonable requirements for finding a Mythic dungeon group.  The next level down’s gear is a 325 item level and the mythic is 340.  There are lots of groups out there that will require someone with a 340 item level to just join the group.  “Why would someone with that high of an item level want to run a dungeon with this group?”  The answer is, most of the time that requirement is not met when people sign up to be considered.  As someone who forms a lot of groups and uses the group finder to find players to complete our party,  I will tell you that most of the time we are too impatient to wait.  Now there may be some people that are amendment about finding a super geared player, and they are out there but are they willing to wait for the perfectly geared person?  Probably not.

Applying to join these groups reminds me of a statistic that I heard somewhere surveying men who were applying to jobs.  They would go after jobs that they only met 40% of the criteria in the job description.  Having a more impressive resume (or item level) will definitely help you land that position both in a job or in a dungeon group.  So I urge you, be bold if your endeavors but also keep grinding that gear 😉  When all else fails, make your own group 😀

 

Finding that Work/Life/Gaming balance

As we close out the first full week of the new World of Warcraft expansion I’m feeling accomplished.  I didn’t put in as many hours as some did but felt like I got a respectable amount done.  I played about 14 out of the first 30 hours that the game was out (don’t judge me).  Once we hit level cap, the hubs and I decided to do what all the hard core players were recommending which was to grind out all of the World Quests.  We did that the first night and that was all that we had time for.  Not wanting to spend 5 hours per day doing world quests, the second night we did minimal amount of world quests and began to explore the game.  I spent some time working through some of the story that I hadn’t finished yet, working on my professions, and doing some casual dungeon groups with our new community.  On Saturday, Sunday and Monday night I worked on the Mythic difficulty of the dungeons since those had some of the better gear rewards.  I was on track to complete them all when my high population server started to stutter.  We had a group and had completed one so far and were heading to the next zone when we got an error of “Instance Aborted”  and were sent back to where we came from.  I don’t recall this happening before and it may be the rose colored engineering goggles but I think this may be one of the worst wow expansions launches in recent history.  First we had a 6 hour period the first night where we couldn’t log on and now the server was having problems and preventing me from completing my last two mythic dungeons.  So sad 😦

On top of this being a busy week of exciting new video gaming, I also found myself extremely busy with work.  I’m part of a fairly fresh team and there is a lot that we want to do.  Anytime there is something that we want to do I add it to my list to work on.  Last week I was about to cross off 6 things from my list but ended up adding 10 more.  This is not the way you complete a to do list…There are a lot of technology challenges currently with the way things are set up and it creates a lot of roadblocks to automating tasks.  I’m a macro/automation junkie and I’m having a hard time when I need to manually do a task that will take me several hours if not several days.  On top of these challenges I’ve been slightly distracted at work last week, making sure that I bump my recruitment posts every hour.  I’m definitely not doing that this week since we seem to be in a great position with guild/community recruitment.  We have a general interest meeting next week that will give us a better idea as to number of players that actually want to do the large group content in the game.

The state of my house has been suffering a bit from last week’s video game binge.  We got take out for dinner more than usual, we almost exclusively used paper plates and the clean laundry has been living in a pile on the couch for the past few days.  At least I’ve been keeping on top of dishes, which I cannot neglect or we will soon have an ant problem.  My house is only moderately messy, thanks to my cleaning spree in preparation for the gaming that we planned to do.  Also my two year old need some more outdoor time this next weekend.  We normally go to the pool, but this past weekend it was cold and rainy and I think she got a little cabin fever from too much sitting around.  This weekend ACTIVITIES WILL BE HAD!  I’m making it a point to not be gaming while my daughter is awake during the week.  That few hours that we get to spend together during the day is precious and requires my full attention.

World of Lovecraft

We entered an underground cave where the fish-people had set up a military facility.  They patrolled back and forth as we waited patiently out of sight.  One by one, we jumped into the water and frantically swam as sharp fish teeth pierced our skin.  We were after the treasure and equipment the that was held by those running of the facility.  With sword in hand, we cut our way through our enemies.  It was a typical Tuesday night.

I was a healer and I was dam good at it.  So good, that when a newcomer came along and outperformed me, I took notice.  He had just joined the guild and I was watching him.  Watching him because I wanted to CRUSH him.  Did I mention I’m a bit competitive?  This is just what I needed to push me to be better.

Several years before I ever met my husband in person, we played a game called World of Warcraft.  We played together off and on as we would drive in and out of the game.  It was one of those online friends that you always got along with and was always down for a dungeon run.  It wasn’t until I was fresh off a long term relationship that meeting him ever occurred to me.  We had known each other for years and years but this was brand new experience for both of us.

Early into our courtship we sat down and played against each other in Halo. It started with me kicking his butt and as he got used to the controls…ended with me throwing the controller at his head. I HATE losing.  I love that he’s competitive but I also love that we now solely play cooperative games together.  Less things get broken this way.

It was a whirlwind romance of weekend visits, wine and video games.  He lived about an hour away from me and at this time I was a college student, working two jobs so we fit in time when we could.  Most Saturdays I would have to work a 7 hour shift and would come home to find him eating taco bell, pugging a raid on my computer.  I know that gaming is a major turn off for a lot of women, but for me it an absolute necessity in a partner.  The last thing I needed in my life was the guy I was with whining about how much time I spent on the computer.

Do you remember that newcomer that seriously put me in my place?  If you guess that I was talking about my future husband, you’re right!  Much later I’ll learn that he had just picked up the class that he was playing and that he barely knew what he was doing!  After 5 years of marriage we are still going strong.  Those that play together, stay together 🙂

Ikea, a Gamer’s Best Friend? Yea, I think so.

We have the good fortune of having an Ikea warehouse close to our house.  Anytime that we have had something specific in mind for a piece of furniture we look everywhere for options.  Most of the pieces that would work for us tended to be expensive.  Enter Ikea!  A cheap, modular furniture super hero.  Being a small family, we tend to be easy on our furniture which gives the inexpensive Ikea furniture a long life.  I also own a power drill which is necessary for any type of assembly.

Of me and my husband, I am the more handy.  I’ve installed a wall mounted tv, replaced the ice maker in our freezer and have put together countless desktop PCs.  Furniture is not much different.

I had a vision for my computer desk and shopped for months before I threw my hands in the air.  There were no good options for what I wanted to make.  I needed something clean and modern that was also ergonomic, I was getting neck pain from looking down at my monitors all day.  Looking for answers on the internet I found Ikea Hackers and found exactly what I was looking for.  Not long after I was building my desk and creating the simple, minimalist look that I wanted.

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My husband has been playing on a small glass top desk for many years and talking about updating his set up.  After settling on a design idea it took almost a year to pull the trigger.  We took a trip to the store and picked up the pieces to make the hub’s dream desk.  A month later the boxes are still sitting unopened and driving me nuts, which in retrospect may have been by design.  I was fed up!  If I get something new I want it set up right away and it was just sitting in a box looking ugly in my house!  One evening while he was working on something outside of our computer room I started clearing off his desk and carry it down stairs.  I emptied the first box of a zillion pieces onto the floor and got to work.

Ikea pieces

Later when he comes into the room I look up to him and say “the fastest way we can do this is if you take that box in the other room and start putting that piece together.  It will probably take 30 minutes.”  One hour later…we have most of the desk put together with just a few finishing touches needed.

It wasn’t until the weekend when I found myself staring at the mounting bracket spread out along the floor.  The hubs was in the next room taking a nap and I got to work.  I haven’t mounted a monitor before but I’ve done a wall mounted TV.  This was similar and the directions were good.

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We also found this LED sticky tape lighting which was a total impulse buy.  I ran this along the back edge and down the side of the desk.  The light will either scroll through the color spectrum or you can freeze it on a specific color.

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It was a long process, mostly of the pieces sitting in boxes in the hallway, but we finally have a new desk!  Just in time for BFA!  At least we got it done before our upcoming MMO bingefest!