Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to…

Wotcha everyone,

Spinks put up a link to this story from Gamespot, but here is the BBC’s version.

God bless the BBC.  Instead of the usual tabloid shocker of “Online Gamer in mass serial murder with ritualistic cannibalism!”, they put this lovely little cautionary tale of the perils of the online quicky divorce.

Now, this is still all part of the whole “Online Gamers being a bit strange” theme, but…  Well, I giggled.  It’s bad of me, because I am taking delight in not just one but two people’s misfortunes, but the strangeness of the situation almost demands it.  Obsessive behaviour in any way shape or form is bad for all involved, but to my mind Online Gamers are always far more interesting and zany when compared to other obsessives.

Aaaaanyway.  Back to the divorce.  Which got me thinking about Role-Playing relationships.  Personally, I don’t do it.  I did once try out the wedding thing in the original Fable.  I really got into Fable.  It may have been short, it may have had it’s flaws.  But I loved the story, and did find myself shouting “Oi!  Fuckface!  You killed my mam!” when it came to the final showdown with the bad guy.  Just before he got many arrows to the face, in fact.

Ahem.

So, even though I was that emotionally involved in the story, I still didn’t do the “your character can get married” thing.  I did the side quest where you get to put various silly haircuts and beards/moustachios on your character, and whilst doing it did the “flirt” emote at the lady hairdresser.  To the extent that she fell in love with my little fella (no, not that, you filthy lot!) and I did do the marriage thing (okay, so I’ve done the marriage thing once.  But read on.  And it was a single player game anyway, so it doesn’t count).  Hey, wife with a career, good for a bit of extra cash, I thought.  No, no such luck.  She retired, I had a change of mind about the haircut, so back a-reloadin’ we went, and the wedding was off.  Yes, I am the last of the (not) romantics.

I’ve never even dared to go anywhere near a “relationship” in an online game.  I’ll happily role-play about most things, but I run like a startled bunny when that sort of topic rears it’s head.  Does this make me a bad role-player?  Maybe it’s because some things are easy to draw the line with, but I’m worried that my emotions might run away with me, and I think there’s more to it than there really is.

Or even worse, the other person thinks there’s more to it.  Real life relationships are enough of a minefield, how does one navigate a pretend one?  And anyway, this is WAR now.  Do we have time to get all lovey-dovey when there’s zealots to chase around a scenario map?

Oh, wait, can Warrior Priests officiate at a wedding?  Or would you be better off getting in a Rune Priest?

Cheers,
Hawley.

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What I didn’t do yesterday in game

I wasn’t around too much yesterday because of visiting friends (and sisters!) up in London, so I didn’t take part in a lot of these events myself. But the guild was chatting about them happily when I logged on in the evening to play my Ironbreaker gal for an hour or two before turning in.

1. Tier 4 RvR. Apparently it had gotten quite lively with warbands from both sides raging pitched battles up and down Thunder Mountain. Order eventually retreated after being outnumbered 4:1. I wasn’t there so can’t report in person on what it was actually like but it all sounded quite fun. And all the chatter on the realm boards is about people wanting more of the same. We always thought it would just take a little time for the community to settle out in Tier 4 — I think this is the first sign of a lot more to come. (Thunder Valley wins my award for worst T4 scenario though.)

2. Roleplay. Apparently we had a witch trial and witch burning in Altdorf yesterday. I know some of the guild Witch Hunters went along and got involved and enjoyed it a lot. On the Destruction side, they were organising some big Cult of Slaanesh type RP that we mock because it involved lots of sleazy semi naked elves. But so does everything in Destruction, it seems.

3. Tier 2/3 RvR. Has been very active on our server for weeks. Continued to be active yesterday.

4. Tier 1 RvR. This is the bit I actually did myself! So I was messing around with my little Ironbreaker and doing a quest that led me to a PQ area in Mount Bloodhorn. And there were a couple of other dwarf players there, an Ironbreaker and a Runepriest. So one thing led to another, then a foolish sleazy semi-clad (and flagged) witch elf showed up and took a pop at our healer so we killed it. More people turned up and we moved off to take all the Dwarf Tier 1 objectives as a group with some scenario queueing on the side. There was some light roleplaying.

I like this game 😉

Life in the RP Lane

We decided one of the ways to give you all a glimpse into the Roleplay server was to keep some anecdotes of RP episodes we’d enjoyed. Not giving conversations, but moments when we realised we were very happy with our server choice. So, here’s a few quick clips into life on the Roleplay server.


Today I had my first roleplaying encounter in game. I was up early and was polishing off a quest that needed me to kill some NPC witch elves in a Public Quest area. I saw another Archmage there too, so we teamed up. And when she joined the group, she greeted me with, “Hello, sister.” (No, it wasn’t Arbitrary.) We had a brief in character (IC) chat and then got on with the business of killing witch elves. It was going well so we went on to duo the second stage of that PQ before parting ways.

Fortunately it’s easy to RP a High Elf. Just be vaguely polite to other HElves, vaguely snotty to everyone else (to some of us this comes naturally), and no one minds if you use cheesy fantasy expressions and say ‘Aye’ instead of yes.


A couple of us hardy dwarf lasses were out fighting in Mount Bloodhorn, slaying Dog Soldiers left and right while scavenging their corpses and butchering their hounds. We were staying fairly in-character, except for me noting on guild chat that we looked like a pair of mini-Valkyries. But we did.

Along came a lone male dwarf a couple of ranks lower than us. He was bravely slaying bandits on his own, so with a hearty ‘hello’, we invited him to join in and participated in a little Dwarf Roleplay, mostly to do with death, destruction, gold and beer. I enjoyed it. It was just enough for me to feel part of the setting, but it didn’t stunt my ability to say I didn’t think we could do stage 2 of the PQ we were in. In fact, I just didn’t say it. And we got very very close to doing the stage!


Another time, a group from the guild decided to tackle some Public Quests in Troll Country and we quickly got together a group to do so. As we started slaying the undead with great righteousness, we spotted another group. They hailed us in Sigmar’s name, and we quickly slipped into roleplay mode, from our usual chit-chat in-party. After rather easily completing the quest, the other group suggested we merge and go attack the local Destruction-held Keep. All in roleplay terms. In fact, just when a couple of us were asking privately how to describe some aspect in a roleplay way, one of the other group would manage it perfectly. Phrases that will stick in my mind for the next time I want to inject some in-character-ness to my RvR.

Roleplaying Servers: Good Sides and Bad Sides

Wotcha everyone,

At game launch I, along with the rest of my guild, will be looking to play on a Role-Playing server.  However, my reasons for creating characters, and playing on, a Role-Playing server may well be different to yours…

I’m a real world role-player.  I have been playing table-top roleplaying game for two thirds of my life.  I’ve been a live role-player for over half my life.  Hey, it’s my hobby, and I love it.  But I have problems role-playing online, and I think most of them stem from that lack of actual personal contact.

An avatar is just a dolly, really.  It’s incapable of facial expression, and emotes just cannot portray the range of facial expressions that we all use and read during our daily lives, never mind when we’re pretending to be someone or something else.  Just like speech.  We are social animals, and we use our voices for communication, not just words.

All of my memorable characters have had their own favoured facial expressions, and voices.

When those two tools are taken away from me, I have problems maintaining anything approaching a viable character.  Oh, there are all sorts of things I can do with just text and emotes, but they’re not the same, they’re not as immediate, and they’re not as… visceral… as they could be.

So why a role-playing server?  Well, the closed beta reminded me.  We all play online games for our own reasons, and for me it’s to relax, have fun, and generally be fabulous wherever, and whenever possible.  But to be honest, the attitude of many online gamers annoys me.  When I mess up, I don’t need the handy advice of; “Noob!” being offered to me.  And I definately don’t need that attitude from someone called “Pwnzjoo”.  I exaggerate only to try and reinforce my point.  I realise I cannot escape this completely on a role-playing server, but at least it’s rarer, and the names are, on the whole, less likely to be an insult to other players.

However, being on a role-playing server has it’s own little ways of annoying me.  Yes, I have been known to get tetchy about…  Incorrect channel usage!  If it’s in “/say”, your character says it.  Whichever monkey decided that double brackets means out of character is an idiot.  Do not follow his monkey-like ways!  Following his example ((Makes you dead to me)).  As well as being bad punctuation.  There are plenty of channels to use – so use the right one at the right time.  Please?

I also wonder at the broadcast-thinkers.  I’m pretty sure emotes are for displaying emotion and action that the game does not automatically.  Not for broadcasting your innermost thoughts to everyone within 50 feet.  Please, some of us might be eating whilst you go on shouting your thoughts out; at the very least, you might be ruining my brew.

But, now that I’ve finished moaning, I must say I’ve had some fabulous times role-playing in online games.  And role-playing servers do attract some really, really cool people.  So I think it’s more than worth the odd moment of irrational anger to play on the super-geek servers.

Cheers,
Hawley.

Men playing Witch Elves

Jalaar has an interesting thread on Warhammer Conflict about Men role-playing as Witch-Elves.

Fact is, most MMORPG servers are not designated as RP servers. So surely just rolling on a non-RP server would mean that everyone realises you aren’t RPing as a witch elf? But no, people feel the need to add explicitly, “I might play one but I won’t be playing as one.”

Here at the Book of Grudges we have no issues with people roleplaying (or just playing) characters of opposite genders: go play, have fun. But is there something about the highly sexualised witch-elves that makes guys just a little bit awkward ? Perhaps even the non-RPers identify with their characters more than they like to admit.

This reminded me of one of my funnier roleplaying experiences back on a RP MUSH. I was a staffer and I was playing a female character to run a scene for another player (who was male, but had a female character).

It was great, lots of conflict, good roleplaying all around. At the end of it, the other player sent me a whisper to say that he’d enjoyed the scene but he thought I needed more practice in playing women because my character wasn’t feminine enough.

What do you think? Can men RP females more convincingly than women? Would the idea of being represented online by a semi-naked ninja elf toon make you a bit uncomfortable?

Getting tickets for UK Games Day 2008

Let’s start with a bit of background. Spinks and I were pretty avid tabletop roleplayers growing up and through to today when we can get a group of like-minded individuals together. But we’ve never played Warhammer. Games Workshop, miniatures and the cost of starting up always seemed a little intimidating and we were happy with the games we played.

Fast forward to yesterday. We’ve been discussing between ourselves checking out Games Day in the UK in September as it’s held between where we both live and it’d help us get a fairly intense insight into the game, how it all works, the varieties it comes in and just how popular it is. Plus, looks like Warhammer Online will be represented there too*, which is an added bonus. We thought we’d write a series of articles for others who might be coming to Warhammer Online without knowing all that much about the mechanics of Warhammer – ie, our personal experiences might inform others out there.

So with that in mind I headed into the Games Workshop, steeled myself and went in to speak to them. Why steel myself? Well, despite meeting a woman around my age who played Warhammer just last week, I still kind of have the feeling that it’s generally aimed at a different demographic and I’ve always felt a little intimidated when I’ve popped into the shops before. This time though, it was totally non-intimidating and the guy I spoke to was lovely and gave me all the info I needed. So here’s the deal for anyone thinking of going:

Games Workshop Games Day 2008 is being held at the NEC in Birmingham on September 14th. It’s 10am-4am, but 10am is when the doors open for non-Golden Demon participants (that’s the miniature painting comp – I have some details about that if people want to hear about them). If you subscribe to White Dwarf you can go buy a ticket now, if you don’t you need to wait till 28th June.

At that point you go to your local Games Workshop (or any actually ;p) and you can grab a ticket for £30. Shops also arrange coaches to and from the event on the day, which costs extra but given sunday trains is worth considering! But coach tickets are more limited than Games Day ones, so if you’ll need that, get to the shop early on 28th (and check opening times, I ended up wasting half an hour in town because I hadn’t!). We both ended up speaking to our local stores and were both really happy to find it such an easy and friendly experience. My only criticism of Games Workshop in relation to Games Day was the difficulty in finding this info out online (something I hope to help rectify!) ;p

Apparently there are a ton of tickets this year because they’ve gone for bigger numbers and taken more space at the NEC. There’s also plenty of parking at the NEC if you want to make your own way there.

It sounds like it’ll be lots of fun and really informative (for us). If anyone wants to meet up while there, we’ll put something up nearer the time and maybe UK-ers into Warhammer Online can have a little meeting – who knows!

*Josh Drescher says as much on the comments to his blog here, plus I spoke to Games Day Manager Brian Aderson and he said as much too (thanks to my local Games Workshop shop for suggesting I ring him and providing name and phone number!). Also Mythic have it listed in their Event Calendar.