A reply where I write a whole lot of letters.

Was going to reply to @Alternative chats blog post  http://www.alternative-blog.net/2014/08/big-gun.html#sthash.EUr1Lmvf.dpbs but ran a bit too long

We both come from a similar era.  I have played games going on 40+ years since I was 10-12 years old. Interesting enough, while looking for things for a yard sale next week, I ran across the box with my Atari 2600 and some game cartridges. I recall growing up as a teenager going to the arcade and playing anything new as soon as they wheeled it in.  We never paid attention if it was another boy or a girl next to us, ok maybe we noticed if a girl was standing next to us playing.  We were all there to play video games. If there was a girl next to us that was pretty cool.  We shared a common love of playing games.  When I was near graduation in High school, we were given a test to see what kind of career we should pursue in life, boys ended up with responses like Engineering or Airline pilot, Girls were steered to Accounting and Business.  So maybe that is part of the fault, that our parents that grew up in the 40’s and 50’s were the ones steering us into careers that shaped a culture.  My cousin who is a few years older than I am went to college for computer programing, she graduated as one of 4 women in the school, granted there were only maybe a dozen in that particular field of study but still a small percentage.  She went on to work for NASA for many years and is at least in my eyes a pretty big thing in the computing world being one of the lead team for CERT at Carnegie Mellon.  I have never heard her say she felt like she was isolated because of her gender, or that she could not find work because of it.  I think she has the job she does because she has the respect of those in her field.  When I was to go off to college they did not have the cool computer programing classes like they do today, if I had gone to school 5-10 years later I may have been out in California working for Blizzard or Microsoft or Apple.  I was told by my school adviser that I was good in math so I should be an engineer.  I did not like it at all, I liked drawing and eventually became a draftsman.  I get to draw huge commercial buildings, and Parking Garages, and Stadiums. The coolest thing is going some place and seeing it in person.  It is a thing, I can touch it and take pride in what I drew.  When I was in college for engineering I would say about a third to half the people there were women, when I went to school for drafting many were women.  I have never looked at life as being a part of the boys club, or felt I was better than any woman.  Maybe it is just me or the way I was raised, or how I look at a glass being not just half full, but that the half missing is a part of me.

I guess somewhere along the way the joke, that girls don’t play video games became a mantra and a call for equality.  From my standpoint it never mattered.  I don’t care, your gender, your race, your sexual orientation.  What matters to me is if you are a good person at heart and how you treat others.  We all, regardless of how many years, started playing WoW or any of a hundred games, because that is what they were, Games. WoW is a bit unique in the social aspect of it being more community oriented, and many have taken that to mean it should be more than just a game, that the gaming industry needs to be more acknowledging of social issues in the world.  I wrote a blog post back in May http://marathalbt.wordpress.com/2014/05/27/some-times-a-game-should-just-be-a-game/ No matter what, as we get older our priorities in life change, and we try to hold on to things from our younger days like games we play and some want it to grow with their view of life as they have gotten older and the reality of the world around us.  I do not envy Blizzard or any game developer.  For every cause out there I am sure you will find many for, many against, and even more that honestly don’t care either way because for them it is just a game they like to play.

For a period of time I was a moderator for Shadowpriest.com  (Rest in Peace)  One of the interesting things with having the rank was being able to look through the archive of postings going back all the way to the earliest days of the site.  What I do sorely wish I could link to are discussions from the Burning Crusade beta, on how Blizzard was dumbing down the game, and catering to the casuals.  It is not some new argument or call to arms by the elite players, it has been a part of WoW since they announced a 2nd expansion.  The game is not being dumbed down, on the contrary it is becoming more and more complex and to reign in button bloat they are simplifying the complexity by reducing the amount of buttons you need to coordinate the maximum result.   You will still need to CC, still need to dispel, watch your threat, cleanse, beat enrage timers, track multiple buffs or debuffs.  If you put 40 players today with all of the fancy add on programs into original WoW content in original gear enchants food flasks etc they would destroy it without breaking a sweat.  Because we all have become more skilled at playing our classes, and because we have a bunch of programs that assist us to do so.  Ask any developer at Blizzard if they feel Heroic end game content can be played with the default UI and program and they will all most likely say no.

On the hate being talked about in the gaming community.

When I stepped up to lead the guild I currently run, we were in sad shape, on a Friday evening it would be myself, my wife, and one or two others in guild.  We may have had 135 members in guild, but that was realistically only 20 people and alts, and many had quit playing WoW.  So when I stepped up, I had read the Guild leaders handbook, had thoughts and ideas, but overall I had the core statement of the guilds original GM in my mind.

The idea behind FC was one to create a place for “mature” World of Warcraft players. No, not just for old people, but a place for players who have kids and/or are married. Or people who are serious about school but still want to have people to enjoy the game with. In short, we created a guild for members who have real lives. We are a close knit group that enjoys all aspects of the game together with the understanding that families/real life comes first.

So I set out to recruit people that were good people.  Along the way we may have picked up a few that just did not fit in, and they would leave for a time, some came back, only to leave again.  I had hoped to maybe get a handful of decent people that liked to treat people like an actual person.  Having a server Facebook group helped some, seeing that this player was really a person, and that they had real life issues added a level of intimacy for lack of a better word that you just don’t get talking to a stranger in a random group.  As it is the guild has grown to almost the cap in a year.  We have so many great people, I believe it is something along the lines of 460+ accounts.  If you ever want to see, just type /guildinfo  But it seems like an ideal I had may be growing.  People are getting tired of being berated for the way they choose to play, the casual players are gaining a voice, and there are some listening to us.  Maybe the percentage of those at the top is shrinking along with every other level and now we represent more of the monthly income.  It is slowly changing to a more positive gaming enviroment.  Surround yourself with great fun people you “Like” and soon others will come and wonder why are you having such a great time not doing current cutting edge stuff?  Some day they may get it.

I think what we may be seeing is not so much more of a viciousness to the community but more a small vocal minority grasping at a lifestyle changing.  We use to put up with nasty, ignorant, mean people if they were a great player.  Now we are finding that it is just as much fun to play with people that laugh at our jokes, or share in our joys outside of the game.  The game is not our lives anymore, but more of an extension of it.

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