Posts Tagged ‘Blogs’

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Spreading The Holiday Cheer

December 23, 2011

First of all, thank you to the wonderful Stargrace of MMOQuests who once again ran Gamers Secret Santa this year — it took a lot of planning and organizing, I’m sure!

Anyway, I was very excited when I received my gift from my Secret Santa Naylie, Community Manager of EverQuest II. I confess, seeing something for me in the mail with Sony Online Entertainment in the return address was already quite the thrill.

I love my gifts!

Before this, I had never heard of Steam Powered Giraffe, so the first thing I did was look them up on Wikipedia: “Steam Powered Giraffe (SPG) is a musical project formed in San Diego in 2008 that is popular in the steampunk subculture. The act combines the visual of robot pantomime with sketches, pop culture references, improvised comedic dialogue, and original music.”

I didn’t even know Steampunk was a musical genre. But I love trying new things and I have to say, it is awesome!

And that’s not all. I also got:

It’s a Star Wars: Clone Wars Adventures lightsaber keychain that lights up when I press a little button on the hilt. It’s so sweet! Besides the fact that I love anything to do with Star Wars, I’m also happy that I now have something to keep all my MMO authenticators together. And by “all” I mean my all of two…but never underestimate my ability to lose things. Especially small things, like security keys. I keep the keychain by my computer monitor now, and it stands out amidst all the clutter on my desk.

So thanks again, Stargrace and Secret Santa! And to my readers, thanks for stopping by MMOGC. May your holidays be filled with love and joy, and I wish everyone a safe and happy weekend.

(Oh, there was also a candy cane…but I already ate it.)

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Dear Santa…

December 6, 2011

I know my days of sitting in your lap as a little tot may be over, but I figure one can never be too old to write. As well, I hear Rivs, Rowan, Scary, and Scopique have already sent you their regards, and I’m sure they can attest to the fact we’re all children at heart anyway. If I may, I’d like to put forth my wishlist too, because I’ve been really, really good this year. So here goes:

1. Above all else, I wish for good health for myself, my family and my friends. I can’t stress that enough. This holiday season, everyone please be safe, be balanced, be hale and hardy!

2. More time, for both work and play. Time for polishing off my art commission projects. Time for more books so I can finally put an actual dent in my to-read list. Time for more games so I can actually get to experience all the stuff in my Steam library (#$%# Steam sales!)  and my pile of unopened Xbox 360 games. Time for…ah, you get the idea.

3. Let the MMOs we play be successful and profitable. As well, let the ones currently in development like Guild Wars 2 and The Secret World be ever inspired and moving forward. Let the genre flourish, so those who make MMOs can continue doing so for the folks who love to play them. Let Star Wars: The Old Republic live up to expectations — not only because many of us have looked forward to this game for ages or the fact the devs have worked so hard for years, but also because I think you have to be a really jaded and curmudgeony person to actually want to see a game fail. Seriously.

4. One of these days, may I actually get off my procrastinating butt and finish the novel I started for NaNoWriMo. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that writer’s block has suddenly set in, right after the community support and self-imposed deadline ended with November. But I’ve come too far not to complete this.

5. Harsher punishment for parole violators, Stan… *crowd is silent* …and world peace!

Aaaaand when quotes from crappy Sandra Bullock movies start coming out, you know that’s a sign to quit while you’re ahead. Oh, who am I kidding? I loved Miss Congeniality.

Anyway, thanks in advance. Give my love to your wife, your elves, and the polar bears you drink Coke with. Take care, and be sure to stay warm up there!

Sincerely,

MMOGC

P.S. Have you heard from Blue Kae yet, or has he gotten himself on your naughty list this year? You know him.

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Girls On Games (With Thanks To MP.net)

November 22, 2011

Time to take a break from the slew of SWTOR posts I’ve been tossing up on here lately. Today, I’d like to bring your attention to a great post by Steve “Slurms” Lichtsinn, blogger and podcast host for Multiplaying.net.

A couple weeks ago, I got an email from Slurms asking if I would like to answer a few questions for an article that he’d been planning on for quite some time. It was to be a feature about women and gaming, and he wanted to know if he could get some of my opinions on the topic.

I was happy to participate for a few reasons. First of all, I found many of his questions to be interesting and insightful. Second, I think it’s great that people are actually contemplating these matters and are willing to reach out to female gamers to find out more. It definitely takes a discerning mind a certain amount of guts to approach others with a delicate topic such as this, God know we ladies can be a little scary sometimes. And third, I ended up having a lot of fun answering his questions.

I’ve received the go-ahead to repost my own responses here, but I do encourage you to check out the original article on Multiplaying. Over there, Slurms has included the answers from four other lovely gaming ladies from the blogosphere/twitterverse: Stargrace, Arislyn, Maeve, and Doc Swarley. I have to say it was fascinating to be able to read their thoughts regarding women and their place in gaming, and realize many of us appear to be on the same page.

* * *

Are you concerned with the current state in gaming in regards to how women are viewed? Is it too male dominated from an in game, lead character role, a developer role, or both?

Could there be more done in terms of how women are viewed in gaming? Always. But am I concerned? Currently, my honest answer has to be no. But then I’ve always been told I’m a glass-half-full kinda girl and you’d have to go out of your way to offend me, so take my answer with a grain of salt. I actually think women have come a long way in the industry, both in our games and in the gamer demographic. I wish I could give more insight into this question, but I’ve just never really sat down and contemplated this or encountered any reasons to despair for the future of women in gaming.

I do think gaming could benefit from being more a more welcoming and attractive hobby to female gamers, though. And yet, no matter what the industry does, I think our society still has a lot more to do with this. Gaming still isn’t considered as mainstream as I’d like, let alone be seen as a “girl” thing, and I still get weird looks sometimes when I tell people I game or that I write a game blog.

This is probably a stupid question, but would you like to see more female protagonists? Or at the very least, the option for one i.e. Mass Effect?

I don’t think it’s a stupid question. When there’s an option to play a female protagonist in a game, I ALWAYS choose it. It’s a personal choice, as it makes it easier for me to relate to the character, especially if it’s an RPG. I always appreciate developers for giving gamers more options.

And I love it when I see strong female protagonists, I wouldn’t mind seeing more. Be that as it may, it wouldn’t do to just insert them into a game for the sake of HAVING strong female characters either, or making that decision at the cost of game quality like story, etc. I notice a lot of voices currently appealing to developers for a stronger female presence in games, and while I agree and also admire their efforts, I personally prefer not to push the issue TOO much. I’d rather see a sincere effort than mere tokenism that would be a disservice.

I don’t mean to ask this in a negative way, but, do you feel that women are harder to please, thus making games for women a more difficult task?

Oh man, I am totally the wrong person to ask. Are women harder to please? Some are. Sometimes. Heck, I can be pretty high maintenance too about certain things (just ask my husband), but when it comes to my geeky interests and hobbies like games, movies, comics, etc. I gotta say I’m as easy going as they come. Forget the little details, just entertain me and give me fun, dammit! That’s all I ask, and if you deliver, then no complaints from me.

Ultimately, do you think that the core problem has more to do with the audience, or the creators? (i.e. do you believe that a game with a strong female lead isn’t being done much because of the people who buy the games, or is it a gold mine waiting to be cracked open by a studio who’s not scared to go for it?)

I don’t think it’s the former, because I believe historically games with strong female leads have generally been received quite well. With regards to your question about the audience or the creators, I may have already touched upon this in an earlier answer, but I think it’s a two-way street. Before creators can make any headway on the issue, there may be a few socio-cultural obstacles to overcome first, like the gamer image, and such.

If someone does create a “Triple A” title with a female lead, what would you suggest they do to keep the character likable by a majority of female gamers?

Keep her “real”. She can be drop-dead gorgeous, a super-heroine or whatever, just as long as there’s something about her that we can care about — whether it’s her hopes, dreams, ambitions, fears, etc. She’s got to be relatable to be likeable. Come to think of it, if you ask me, a lot of male leads in games these days can stand to be fleshed out like that too. Whether it’s games or books etc., I always love myself a good story, and they are always better when I can connect with the characters.

Do you hate the fact that people even talk about this? Part of why I’ve never written a post like this before is because I always figured women who are actually gamers (not the “GRL GAMER, look at my bewbs, oh btw I like Mario” type) are in some way disgusted when this stuff comes up and that I would come off like a jerk by even trying to include them in the conversation.

No, I don’t hate the fact people talk about this, even though I realize I rarely broach the topic myself. My blog name may be MMO Gamer Chick, but I’m aware I don’t often talk about female gamer issues. It’s not because I’m disgusted by or don’t like to talk about this stuff, but rather because my gaming life is more about the games, and I identify on the blog as a gamer first and foremost, the female thing being secondary.

Whether I agree with them or not, I’m always open to reading others’ thoughts and opinions on any topic, and maybe to offer my own. Actually, I think it’s quite awesome that people are aware of issues in gaming and are taking time to contemplate them and opening up to discourse. And I have to say it’s also kinda brave of you, as you’re touching upon a subject on which A LOT of people have A LOT of differing opinions, and I’ve seen sometimes that these discussions can get out of hand. The fact that you are even worrying and have to ask this question shows that it is controversial.

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First Week Of NaNoWriMo: Momentum

November 8, 2011

Just a quick post to get the creative juices flowing, and to update my progress (19,037 words). Feel free to add me as a writing buddy if you haven’t already.

There’s been only a few times in my life where I’ve genuinely shocked myself. One of those times was when this blog actually reached its one year anniversary. And now I’ve surprised myself again at actually keeping ahead of the NaNoWriMo curve. Pretty much I shock myself whenever I achieve anything that has to do with writing, because that’s usually the first hobby to go out the window when I’m swamped.

Okay, I know November’s not over yet and there’s still many days and many words to go. I foresee a dramatic plummet in my word count starting this Friday, for one — *ahem* Skyrim *cough* — so that’s another reason why I’ve been pushing so hard.

The thing is, I think I might actually be able to do this. Crazy. I thought I would be struggling every day, but so far it hasn’t been so bad, thanks to a couple of things. Unsurprisingly, deadlines are a great motivator. I love telling people I’m going to take your deadline, crush them, and shove it up your ass. I wrote 15,000 words by Sunday because of one such challenge by the NaNoWriMo folks. But I think blogging for the past year and half has also helped. I find the words flow more easily, in a way I’m not sure they would have if I had attempted this, say, three years ago.

It is mostly a matter of pushing myself, though it’s true that other things I do in my spare time have taken a hit, like gaming and reading. But I figure if I have to take an hour out of my free time and not play an MMO in order to write, it’s gotta be worth it. No matter how far ahead I am I still make myself sit down to some quiet time to write every day, even if I only manage a couple hundred words. That’s a piece of invaluable advice I received last week on my NaNo post, along with other comments and suggestions that have been simply phenomenal. So keep the advice coming if you’ve got ‘em, it’s always welcome.

Now I’m going to stop procrastinating and get to that sex scene I’ve been struggling with all morning. Happy writing.

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Asura: Cute But Definitely Not Stupid

September 12, 2011

Like many others keeping up with news on the AAA MMOs currently in development, I’ve had my eye on Guild Wars 2, and I’m so excited that it’s finally Asura week!

While I follow all the gaming news websites and relevant Twitter accounts, I also rely heavily on Hunter’s Insight blog to make sure I won’t miss a single thing on GW2. In fact, for as long as he’s used it, it was actually his blog banner that first sparked my interest in this peculiar race of floppy-eared, diminutive geniuses:

I can’t help it; I have a weakness for anything that adorable. And yes, I do realize I shouldn’t say that too loud, lest I want my throat crushed by a golem.

That’s why I really enjoyed reading today’s dev post by Matt Barrett on Asura design, though admittedly I find any commentary to do with concept art and design fascinating in general. It did remind me of a time when the Asura weren’t so cute, and instead looked like something you wouldn’t hesitate to roundhouse kick through the window if you woke up face-to-face with one in the middle of the night. I liked seeing the evolution of a design for an original race, because while tiny tinkering creatures like gnomes and goblins abound in the lore of other intellectual properties, it was really cool to witness a soup of ideas and concepts like “ambition”, “complexity”, and “underestimated” on paper gradually take shape and come to life in the form of an actual creature on a canvas.

I very much love developer posts like this, especially on subjects dealing with the “art” side of things (need more artist commentary videos!) and also because in my heart I’ve already chosen the Asura to be my race of choice. Like I’ve mentioned before, I don’t usually find myself attracted to the small, punt-able races, but there’s just something about these little guys and I have to make an exception. And not just because they’re cute as hell. Though they really are.

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SWTOR: Sounds Good

May 20, 2011

A quick note on the Star Wars: The Old Republic Friday update today, as the start of a busy weekend awaits me in approximately T-minus 3 hours. Luckily, it was a short update. I’m happy because I get to play padawan to the master of bullet points today!

  • Fan Friday revealing the usual community creations, fan site interview, concept art and forum avatars, but this time also a SWTOR event schedule for the year…listing all the huge conventions I will probably never be fortunate enough to attend. I think PAX East is plenty excitement enough for me, though some day I hope to be able to make it — at least once! — to the geek mecca that is the San Diego Comic Con. It’s on the bucket list.
  • The accompanying Studio Insider featuring a dev blog on Combat Sounds. I think it’s interesting that they hit upon many things that went through my mind when I first heard of the topic, most of all the fact (and Scott Morton puts it so well) that such a “long legacy” of signature sounds has been associated with the Star Wars universe. In a nutshell, they can play around with these — but just a little bit — as for the most part they must retain their “iconic aural identity”. In other words, don’t screw with the lightsaber whoosh or blaster pew pew.
  • I liked how they threw in that trivia tidbit about the core sound used by Ben Burtt for the TIE fighter’s screaming engines in the original trilogy –  an elephant call! Reminds me of a Jurassic Park documentary feature I once saw, where I found out the screeches of the fearsome velociraptor were actually created using a combination of walrus and dolphin sounds. When everything’s layered together, you can’t even recognize the source sounds anymore.
  • The example videos in dev blog show how it all just adds up to one big cool Bounty Hunter boom.
  • I love the idea of aural character for each class and establishing a “sonic palette”. The process behind capturing the “Zen-ness” of the Jedi extends even to the colors of the visual effects, and making the associated sounds match them with a “smooth and wavelike” quality.
  • The Q&A topic is something that I have a personal interest in — the art of the Old Republic. I’ve never made the comparison of the game’s look to the Clone Wars series, but I can see why some would. Mostly, I feel SWTOR’s style stands on its own. Clint Young’s “Old Republic’y” comment is the technical term for it, I guess?
  • Finally, the Fansite Summit Report. Recently, BioWare brought 15 fan sites around the world to their studio to play SWTOR. The PvP experience was the highlight for me, since until now we haven’t heard many hands-on stories about it at all.
  • The video is outrageous — fans actually being excited about a game that their entire fan site is built around? No way!
  • I do wish the report had gone beyond the usual “Awesome!” or “Epic!” comments and focused more on the soundbites with more substance, but it is uplifting to see that a wide range of people played and enjoyed the game, from younger men to middle-aged women.
  • AARRRRRGH! Jealous!
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Books Versus Games

May 19, 2011

Drew Karpyshyn (author of the the Mass Effect books, the Star Wars: Darth Bane trilogy, as well as the upcoming Star Wars: The Old RepublicRevan) is one of the authors I “favorited” on my Goodreads page, so that was how I saw the notification for a new entry on his blog yesterday, in which he contrasts Revan as a game character versus a book character:

“To put it bluntly, Revan in the book will not be the uber-powered death machine you controlled at the end of the video game. You might have min-maxed your character to smack Darth Malak down in seconds without breaking a sweat, but in a book that battle would have been a brutal, hard fought affair spread over multiple pages. In a video game it’s fun to kill hundreds of Sith Masters, but in a book that would just be boring. It would suck out any drama or conflict or tension, and as an author I have no interest in writing that.

Now, I suspect some of you are already getting worked up about how I’m ruining SW canon by nerfing the Revan from the game. Well, tough.”

You tell ‘em, Drew. Sometimes I think what FUN! it must be to be a Bioware writer and be able to write cool books, but in the end I see stuff like this and I can’t say I envy him his job. There’s already been resentment from some Knights of the Old Republic fans over the establishment of the male, “redeemed by the light side” canon Revan, and it’s hard to believe now that even his power levels are under contention.

I respect canon as much as the next gamer, but there’s gotta be a line drawn somewhere separating game mechanics and the elements that makes a story good. I played a female Revan in KOTOR and I’m not pissed off…heck, I’m happy I even had the choice to begin with! Like Mr. Karpyshyn points out, games and books are not the same thing. You do one thing to make a game fun for gamers; by the same token, you must do another to make a book fun for readers. Good to see him sticking to his guns.

To be honest, when a video game tie-in novel actually tries to work in too many of the game mechanics into the story, I get annoyed. I’m okay with a little bit — just enough for flavor — but I really don’t need it thrown in my face. It’s harder to get immersed when whatever I’m reading is making me think about stuff like class, levels, abilities, quests, etc. If an author needs to take a few “artistic liberties”, I say by all means — because I’m reading something, even a game book, I’m definitely in it for the reading experience.

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