Friday, April 29, 2005

v4.1 - Games Google my Gelatins

Morning Folks,

{slurp}

Well, another week has passed us by and here we sit. Today is bloody cold outside and I wish I had called in sick. So far this year we have had 119 days, we have 246 more days left in the year and 171 more working days. Doesn''t that sound hopeful?

{slurp}



So last night Katie and I went out and had some alone time. We made our way down along 16th Ave in the NW to The Keg. Really nice place and the food was quite tasty. I didn''t like the prices much, but the food was worth every penny. We sat there for a little over an hour talking, looking back and looking forward. It was nice to get out with just Katie and no kids.

{slurp}

It hasn''t all been roses and good times, but the memories and experiences have been priceless to me. Good times and bad times alike and I wouldn''t change a thing if I could.

{slurp}

Anyone have any big plans this weekend? Myself, I want to sit back and relax with my family. Depending on the weather, we may just stay in doors and watch movies and play games.
If its nice, maybe a BBQ and a walk to the park. In other words, we have no plans :)

{slurp}

In WoW we are in the middle of possibly recreating the guild under a new banner. All of the members have submitted their suggestions for a new guild name and we are in the process of voting on the top 4 names. One of the names on the table right now is Chaotic Intentions.

Chaotic: A condition or place of great disorder or confusion.

Intentions: A course of action that one intends to follow.

{slurp}

Taken in a certain context, this describes us to the letter. :) My reasons for wanting to change the guild name are:

1) The current guild name (Hands of God) was the name we used in DAoC. That guild broke apart twice while Katie and I were in charge and we let it die. I think it is time to let
it die for good and remember the good times we had.

2) I want a name that will stand out and give cause for remembrance. I see guild names all over the realm of Azeroth and only a few of them stand out making me remember them.

Hands of God may stand out for some and I''ve recieved several compliments on the guild name from various individuals. I also feel the current guild emblem looks a little off. Yes, the colors are nice and the design is nice but not in this game. You see, we are used to wearing our guild emblems on our Cloaks and Shields in DAoC, to have them as a Guild Tabard on our chest and backs is a little different and in some cases, you may not see them.
For example, my friend Fred has a Dwarf toon. You can''t see the guild emblem on his chest because of the long beard his toon has, and you can''t see the emblem on his back because of the cloak. So what''s the point? We are hoping Blizzard sees some of the suggestions
to have emblems in other locations on the toon. Some have suggested cloaks and shields which would be nice to see since almost everyone wears a cloak in this game and some of the
tanks carry shields. Keeping this in mind, when we redesign the guild emblem with the new guild, we want to make sure it is going to look good. Also unlike DAoC you are not able
to dye your armor. This can make for some nice clashing of colors and odd looks :) Our current emblem seems to clash with pretty much everything except maybe Black or White armor. I would like a neutral colored emblem that would look good on almost any canvas.

{slurp}

But hey, its only a game right? :) Perhaps to some, but I think the majority of the people who take the time to level up a character and pay the monthly fees don''t see it as "Just" a game.

Folks, it is so easy to get tied up in a game like this. Hell, I do it all the time. I''ll be the first to admit to you that WoW is NOT just a game to me. Yes, it IS a game, but
it is so much more than "Just" a game. Yes, I get a little upset when my character dies,
yes I jump out of my chair when that huge ass dinosaur came out of nowhere and starting chomping on my ass, yes I get excited when I''m about to complete a quest. These are REAL LIFE emotions which I can in turn project through to my character. I am much more enjoyable to play with when my RL person is in a good mood. I like to laugh, tell jokes and be a social person. Yes, DAoC, WoW, UO, etc are more than just games to me. When playing games like these you need to learn to exercise a certain... discipline. You need to realize you are NOT a Night Elf Hunter and you are actually a man and a father. I have challenges with this sometimes and I''m working on it. Do I make mistakes? Bet your ass I do! Do I learn from them? Not always, but when it comes to family and life I do my best to learn what I can. Will I quit the game because it takes up too much time? No Way!

{slurp}

Games are a way for me to release and take a break from "life". Granted life waits for no man and will do as it pleases, I still like to detach and be someone (something) else. My Night Elf Hunter is my alternate persona and I enjoy playing that character in a fantasy land. You guys remember the TV Show "Fantasy Island"? Why the heck did people go there
in the first place? You guessed it, to experience something different and detach from what is normally right. Fantasy Island is a bad example, but you get where I''m trying to go
with this right? RIGHT?!

{slurp}

Anyway, I won''t rant for hours on this subject :) Some people are unable to grasp the reasons behind playing video games. I have done it most of my life and I bet my son will do
it as well. When I was a child my parents didn''t deter me from playing video games. Yes
there were limits and yes I would throw massive temper tantrums when I died, lost or was told to shut it off. Do I still get mad today? LOL.. of course :) However I have learned to curve that anger somewhat. Not as bad as I used to be (keyboards are expensive these
days), but I still get angry. MMOGs (Massive Multi-player Onling Games) are good (not great) for learning how to deal with people. I have met a lot of people online and most of them I would consider my good friends. Hell, there are a couple of you who get this musing on a daily basis. I have never met you before in real life but we''ve chatted on TeamSpeak and in-games. I consider you guys my friends.

{slurp}

MMOGs have opened up an entirely brand new way of making friends and communicating. The XBox has that XBox Live kit you can get where you can chat voice to voice with the guy you''re playing with/against. We use TeamSpeak which is a voice chat room where we can talk to each other while we play to eliminate the need to type back and forth. Trust me, there is a HUGE difference hearing someone laugh through my speakers than to see the words LOL on my screen. Building that bond of friendship in an MMOG is very important. These are the people who make up the guild/group/social structure of the game for you and these are the people who care about how you''re feeling and don''t just play the game for the "Game" aspect. I can''t count how many times I''ve heard people say they only play because of the people. I''ve done it myself quite a bit.

{slurp}

To someone outside looking inside, they see pretty graphics and flashy animations. They see character A with a big sword laying the beats to character B. Hack, Slash, loot.. etc.. Until you can experience the social aspect to these games, you are only getting a part of the game. Making new friends is what this is all about. Creating a Band of Brothers all coming together under one heading and helping each other out. THAT is what it is all about.

Of course, these are my opinions. Some people actually see this as nothing more than a game and they treat it as such. If you''re one of those people, you''re only getting a small
fraction of the game and that saddens me. There is SO much more to it.

{slurp}

On the other side, the company running the game can also be a positive or negative factor. I played Dark Age of Camelot for about 3.5 years. That is a LONG time to play one game
and I enjoyed it quite a bit. My biggest loss when I quit playing was losing touch with my in-game friends. Yes, I keep in touch with my guild and the people I used to play with
the most, but I still miss everyone else I used to talk to. You see, my character in DAoC was quite well known. Not because I was some super star player that blew everyone else away. I was known because of who I am. I don''t crave attention but I do take my characters image in a game quite seriously. I was respected by those who knew me and when the name Ralic appeared in a chat window, most of the people knew me. It is hard to NOT be known
in a game after playing for 3.5 years, but I pride myself in being known as an honest, funny guy who was blast to hang out with :) I wasn''t the best player in the game, but I wasn''t the worst either :)

{slurp}

Anyway, I''m done ranting now :) I had to get some things off my chest regarding gaming and setting the record straight about how I really feel about them. If you don''t let them consume you, MMOGs can have a very positive outcome in a person''s life.

{slurp}

Well gang, I''m going to bid you all a fond farwell and get some work done :) It''s FRIDAY!! and that makes me glad :) Don''t forget to tip your waiter.

{salute}

{slurp}

Cheers,

Al