How do you talk to non-gaming friends about MMORPGs?

This weekend’s Big Topic appears to have been non-gaming friends and family, and how you tell them that you spend hours out of your week staring at a screen with 24 other people trying to kill Internet Dragons.

The entire thing kicked off with A Sunnier Bear’s post on talking to non-gamers about gaming, which covered the entire gamut with lots of real-life examples, from Sunnier’s mum and her increasing understanding of WoW, to how Sunnier actually landed a job through blogging:

“It came up again the other day during a job interview. The guy who was interviewing me asked what skills I had outside of programming. I told him I like to draw and write, blah blah blah. He asked me what I write and I told him it was a video game blog. I didn’t really go into much more (other than saying I was thinking of moving it toward a User Experience in Video Games blog, because User Experience is pretty valuable in software design too). The last thing I wanted was to tell my potential boss that I spend countless hours on this soul-sucking video game.

Funny thing is, I think mentioning my blog helped quite a bit in this interview. Turns out several of their employees run programming blogs, so it’s a popular thing there. I got the job; maybe I got it because my blogging makes me special? Who knows.”

I’ve heard blogging recommended in several places on the internet as a way to stand out during job interviews. Particularly for technical jobs, it’s a major draw. And as Sunnier proves, even if your chosen workplace might not be gaming-friendly there are ways to introduce your hobby positively.

Anne Stickney at WoW Insider found Sunnier’s article interesting, and this morning wrote about her own experiences introducing family and friends to her hobby, particularly her 83-year-old father

“My Dad came into my room one night while I was raiding, just in time to see my guild finish off heroic Halfus Wrymbreaker. I remember the look of intense curiosity on his face as he watched, while my guild was cheering happily in my ears via my headset. He absorbed the candy colors on the screen, the little elves, orcs, tauren and other assorted players scurrying around a glittering corpse, and asked, “So did you just kill that thing?” I said yes, and then he asked me about what I was making for dinner the following night, the technicolor celebration forgotten.”

As usual, Anne writes a very interesting and engaging post – worth reading just as much for her descriptions of her father’s attitudes to ground-breaking things that have happened during his lifetime. Her anecdote about his seeing Snow White at the cinema when it was first released was particularly entertaining!

Meanwhile, Windsoar has been sharing her home with her mother, of late, which prompts her to write on a different aspect of non-gaming people’s understanding – getting them to understand what it means when you’re in a raid

“I’ve owned a headset for a number of years, but my preference, and the kind that I don’t have now is the simple one headphone model. I liked it because I could still hear my game without the volume turned up to some ridiculous level. However, now that I’ve got a roomie, I’m really glad that I own a pair that actually has a full headphone set-up because it’s obvious that I can’t hear a darn thing.

It’s also a firm visual reminder that I am not available. If the house if burning down, the person can come make theatrical hand gestures until I get the thing off, but boy, wouldn’t you feel silly if you did all that hand-waving just to say we’re out of milk?”

Windsoar’s guide is brief, practical, and to the point, and concludes this weekend’s flurry of non-gamer posts nicely. After all, it’s lovely if your roommate/parent/dog understands what you’re doing when you’re swearing at the brightly-coloured pixels, but it’s a good minimum if you can persuade them to leave you to it!

What have your experiences with non-gaming friends and family been?

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In which leadership is scrutinised, friends are missed, and Johnnie proposes International Officers’ Day

Today’s Pot has been mixed and stirred by Johnnie, while Hugh is on a break.

All being well, Hugh will be back with you tomorrow. Being the Pot’s caretaker for a few days has really made me realise how much effort Hugh puts in to writing and maintenance. This isn’t as easy as it looks.

In fact, this isn’t the only time Hugh’s taken on a job that I wouldn’t be capable of doing long-term: he’s also my WoW guild leader. Guild leading has never been something I wanted to do. It’s a tricky, intensive, skilled and often thankless job … but one without which most of us wouldn’t be able to play the games we love. Over at World of Matticus Lodur has been sharing his thoughts about the highs and lows of being a raid leader.

Truthfully it wears on you over time. You have to make a lot of hard decisions that are not always easy, and certainly aren’t popular with everyone. … Working out ways to do what needs to be done, and convey that the decisions aren’t personal, that the raid group as a whole is a larger organism thriving on everyone in the group working to the same means. It’s hard sometimes. It’s frustrating, and borderline infuriating some nights. But, it is what it is. At the end of the day, it’s the officers who bear an incredible amount of burden.

This post is worth reading, particularly if you’re not an officer or a raid leader: it’s often good to see how much thought and preparation goes into raid leading. For those of us who are perhaps guilty of occasionally taking our officers for granted, this is a good opportunity to see what it’s like on the other side of the officer’s channel. Perhaps we should designate an arbitrary ‘Officers’ Day’ – when we buy our raid leaders flowers, tell them how much we appreciate them, and make them breakfast in bed? Maybe not that last part. That very much depends on just how friendly your guild is.

Speaking of friends, Klepsacovic at Troll Racials Are Overpowered has been discovering just how much fun WoW really isn’t when you don’t know anyone on your server:

Someplace before the well of eternity. I zone in and immediately the group is gone, hopping around trash and lava. I tried to keep up and hoped for no surprises in the bosses. There were none. How… boring.

It was quite fitting when I got to the last boss and his death yell includes, “You know not what you have done,” and all I could think was “Yea, exactly.” I grabbed a couple healing items because there were no other paladins and got some new DPS gloves from the quest. I’m not sure if I’m annoyed more by the easy loot or by the way I ended up stumbling through an anonymous and rushed instance.

I certainly sympathise with Klep’s confusion over rushed instances. One of the first times I ran Well Of Eternity was (stupidly) in a PUG rather than a guild group. We rushed through that thing like we’d left the oven on, and I was left utterly baffled at the end. Being able to peruse the content at your own pace is much nicer. MMOs, just like the MMO blogosphere, are at their best when they’re friendly, sociable, and mutually encouraging … on which note, I’ve just got time to squeeze in a quick shoutout to Keeva of Tree Bark Jacket who appears to have given birth to the Most L33t Baby Evar. Seriously, how cool is that t-shirt? Congratulations, Keeva!

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Should you play MMORPGs with Real Life friends?

One of the things I love about running this site is coming across a well-argued, interesting, passionate article promoting a point that I totally, totally don’t agree with. And such is the case with Murloc Parliament today, who are advising, in no uncertain terms, that you should not ever play MMOs with real life friends

“I’m a raider who likes to raid. RAID RAID RAID. My RL friends may not have the same style as me. They may want to wander off and do achievements. Ugh. Yech. And in order to play with them, which I want to do and, let’s be honest, feel obligated to do, I have to do what THEY want, or they have to do what I want. And I don’t want to say “NO I HAET THAT” which leads to…

Don’t Want To Eff Up The RL Friendship

You can probably tell a guildmate (nicely) that he or she is doing something totally wrong. You can bench a guildmate from raiding for performance issues. You can have a lengthy disagreement with a guild officer about a guild policy. You can’t do that with a RL friend without it being at least a little awkward. And then your friend is glaring at you. Or you keep it to yourself and feel a bit resentful that you have to deal with OMG THAT EFFIN NOOB all the time. Or your friend yells at you to get out of the effin fire and you FUME about it.”

Zelmaru’s written a short, punchy, interesting piece here – and there are some great points for thought in it. It’s true – and I can speak from recent experience – that having a conversation with a friend about their play and how they can improve it can be pretty damn tricky. It’s true that there’s no guarantee that all your friends will like the same things you do.

However, as I mentioned, whilst I find Zelmaru’s arguments fascinating, I, respectfully, don’t agree at all!

I’ve played WoW with RL friends for 6 years now with no real problems. Sure, there’s the occasional tense moment, and there can be disagreements, but that’s true of guilds with total strangers too – and it’s easier to settle disagreements with friends because they’re, y’know, your friends. And the joy of sharing as involving and satisfying an experience as an MMO can be with your friends is nothing short of awesome.

I play with total strangers sometimes too – my now-girlfriend was one of them – but refusing to allow friends into your gaming life just, well – doesn’t sound much fun!

I’m really interested to hear what other people think on this! What do you think? Friends in MMOs – yea or nay?

Article Source: Murloc Parliament .

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Grouping With Friends – For A Price

The big kerfuffle this week is about Blizzard’s announcement that they’re planning to allow WoW players to group with Real ID friends – for a price. This is a huge move – so much so that the blogosphere’s alight about it – and well worth a roundup post.

Most folks are saying that it’s a good idea but they’re split into two distinct camps over whether it’s fair to charge for it. Many folks have a unique take on it which is leading to a really interesting debate – let’s take a look at some of the reactions out there…

  • Corath: Premium Dungeon Finder – “One big question I know a lot of people will have is whether this will support cross-faction groups along with cross-realm.”
  • Typhoon Andrew: Fee To Play With Real ID Mates? No Thank You – “its frigg’n cheecky for them to say, “oh please don’t scream till we price it”, as that misses the point. This is the thin edge of the wedge for wow’s subscription fees.”
  • Graylo: A Fee To Play With Friends – “On one hand this really doesn’t have any impact on how we play the game. If you don’t buy the service nothing changes for you.”
  • Jar: New App: Dungeons With Friends – “Call me “old” (in wow terms i guess) and crusty but I really don’t get why there is so much vitriol and venom being spewed in response to Blizzards newest premium service idea.”
  • Matticus: Would You Pay For Premium? – “The point I’m trying to get to here is would you rather pay a higher monthly cost for included services or have a lower monthly cost along with optional services?”

That’s it for now – and I bet there will be more reactions than this out there. What’s your take on it?

Quotes all taken directly from linked articles.

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WoW Levelling As Its Own Game

Yesterday we highlighted Tobold’s idea to strip raiding away from WoW and have it as its own solo/multiplayer game. Well, you’re not getting the full scope of Tobold’s idea if you only get the half we ran yesterday, as it was only half Tobold’s brainwave. Today he’s posted up the other side concerning making WoW’s levelling game an entity of its own.

Tobold says the basic problem is that reaching the level cap and going into heroics/raids isn’t an end to levelling, just that levels start being measured in terms of gear. Once you realise that raiding and levelling are both ‘levelling’ games (it’s called progression for a reason), Tobold says, you can approach each as a means to itself. Levelling then becomes the end-game: your goal. He has a lot of ideas how to make it work to keep us engaged.

The same principle would also serve to create a flexible social game. It would be possible to solo, but the efficiency in experience points per hour would be relatively low. Group, and you advance faster. And you wouldn’t need a full group for that, as a group with 2 or 3 members would simply advance faster than a solo player, but slower than a full group. Thus given the possibility to temporarily adjust your level for a group, and a flexible group size, you would always be able to form a group with whoever of your friends is online…

Tobold says there needs to be enough levelling content to keep players entertained, and being able to change your level would keep things fresh and sociable. He points out this would have impacts on game mechanics from guilds to taking pride in your levelling gear, and everything in between. The only thing I’m not sure on is Tobold’s logic of how this would affect peoples’ role choices.

Go, read. What do you think – would a pure-levelling version of WoW mean people were more sociable and took up roles they didn’t like, or would it skew it too much towards social (or even casual), and fail to satisfy you?

_Quote taken directly from Tobold’s post

You can find Tobold’s MMORPG Blog homepage here_

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Thought for the day – why can’t we friend people in the Dungeon Finder?

Rather than a full-fledged editorial today, I thought I’d post something that’s been bugging me as more of a topic for discussion – I really want to see what the opinion of the blogosphere is.

Why, oh why, doesn’t Blizzard seem to have any interest in including a “friend” or “favourite” function in the Dungeon Finder? You can ignore idiots, but you can’t say “yay” to great people.

That means that you can’t use the DF for the positive experience of building a social circle. It makes the experience center more on avoiding idiots than finding awesome people. It prevents strong social bonds forming, bonds that would make Blizz lots of money as we come back to WoW for our friends.

Why doesn’t that seem to be something that’s even being discussed?

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