Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Line. I is Walking It.

A decent amount of the blogosphere is experiencing renewed interest in gender commentary. Gender issues always seem to be kind of a touchy subject and people either want to drive right in and dissect behaviors and stereotypes or they want to dance around the issue.

Forewarning: I'm one of those second types. I prefer to avoid stating strong opinions until I have enough to back myself up and if I think I'm likely to offend someone I prefer to say nothing at all. So if you want to really get into the issues with some people who seem to know what they're talking about and who are much more articulate than I, posts from Righteous Orbs, Bossy Pally, and 'Mental Shaman will all see you in the right direction.

I'm just going to talk about me. Because, you know, that's really what OP is here for. For me to talk about my experiences with that game we all love. WoW has it share of problems, like any other game/community/lifestyle (depending on which discussion you're currently involved in). But sometimes we let these problems distract us from our purpose in interacting with WoW; namely defeating fictional enemies through methods that provide us personal satisfaction. (Die INTERNET DRAGONS!)

I certainly don't say this to demean the gender discussions that others are currently having and that we may kinda-sorta touch on here. Maybe. I have always found gender discussions intriguing. Fascinating. It's something I like to read about or listen to but tend to feel vaguely distanced from.

I followed the discussions on RealID being forced on the forums avidly. When I first read the blue post the idea made me fairly uncomfortable but I didn't let it bother me overmuch. Everything they said sounded reasonable and I am all for getting rid of trolls on the forums. Of course, I wouldn't want my RealID posted for just anyone to see. But, I can also tell you that I've posted on the WoW forums exactly twice.

Then I started reading the replies to the Blue who so foolishly told everyone that publishing his real name was no big deal. Internet savvy posters had his home phone number, address, you name it in minutes. It was like a light clicking on, as I began to understand. I know there are people who can pull a picture your house with no more information than just your last name. I've watched them do it.

I know RealID is a bit tangential to the current topic and that the kind of people who would be interested in doing this sort of thing (apart from proving a point) don't usually need a reason to seek you out. However, a great number of replies to this issue centered around not wanting to share a real name because it would identify them as a woman. To be fair, a number of people also do not want to share their names because it identifies them as belonging to a certain ethnicity, but those discussions seem to be strangely absent.

I don't care if people know I'm a girl. I would care that they knew my real name. I would be perfectly happy to use a singular "alias" for posting on the forums and I don't doubt that the name I would pick would be noticeably feminine.

When I first started playing wow, I didn't hesitate to pick a character that looked like me. Marariel was, and is, my avatar for the WoW universe. She's a human female with dark hair and no bangs because I need to SEE what I'm shadow bolting thank you very much.

Since then I have added 8 other female characters on my home realm. One male character. Chas, over at Righteous Orbs, got into the interesting subject of how unrealistic the male character models tend to be. This is what started me to thinking about my lone male character on Hydraxis. Mathias is a Blood Elf Hunter. He is intended to be a combination of strong and graceful. Despite his tendency to stand away from things and shoot them full of arrows, I've always liked the fact that he looked strong. And I believe that's because I built him as an older brother and protector to Shinai.

They look like siblings, right?

I don't want to get into issues about why I might feel Shinai needs a protector and that sort of gender-based conundrum. I can tell you the answer is simple. I created and played Shinai first and she felt like she needed protection. A mage at low levels seems particularly squishy and I got tired of dying but I still wanted to do the then-new-to-me Blood Elf starting zones.

Chas' discussion of character models led down an interesting path of guys playing girl characters and the guys who sometimes catch grief about it. Memento is not a very big guild and two of our main raiders are guys with at least one female raiding toon. And apart from a few minor inquiries ("Why are you playing a girl character?" "I dunno. I like it." "K. Cool.") most of us think nothing of it.

In our happy-meal-sized guild there are also two females in the raider core. We usually run with a female friend from another guild. And we have strong rules against discrimination of any sort.

I think the place that I'm trying to end up at is this: to an extent I think stereotypes affect you as much as you let them. That isn't to say there aren't sexist and racist people out there. There are. You take steps to protect yourself from them in game as you would outside of game by surrounding yourself with people you trust and not taking outlandish risks. At least, I hope you do.

The following, completely unrelated entertainment is for Ann. Sorry your day is long.

Shawty had them Apple Bottom Jeans
Boots with the fur
The whole club was lookin at her

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

New things are good, right?

Summer is drawing slowly to a close. People are finishing up their vacations and settling in for the long haul again. Memento is starting to look ahead to the next semester and the raid time adjustments that need to be made.

Our raid day and times seem to change so frequently, I guess it's sort of a good thing that the only people affected are people I can call up and discuss the problem with. When we recruited we found people for a particular day and time that no longer suits many of our members.

Currently our best times appear to be Wednesdays and Thursdays from 8-11. Too many people managed to get themselves signed up for Tuesday night classes. Wednesday isn't particularly convenient for me, I'll have to rush home from school, but I don't foresee it being a major problem. The updates here at OP will probably also change days accordingly. I like to be able to talk about raid the day after it happens.

Last night, of course, there was no raid. Hydraxis was on the 24-hour maintenance list. We're going to give our anticipated new schedule a trial run this week and see how it happens. I'm looking forward to jumping back into ICC tonight. Assuming our server-hamster is fully recovered, of course.

Being cut off from my usual server-home didn't stop me from playing. Ann, a casual RL friend Vandrellee, and myself trouped over to Ravencrest where another RL friend has a character. We started some new alts in the hope that we can all find some time to play together in the coming semester. It was an interesting experiment... casual RL friend #2 only plays hoard. And all the alts I've ever put any amount of time into are all alliance. Or Blood Elves. Do they really count?

Anyway, I have a new baby druid named Bersera. Thanks to the random name generator for that one. She's a very lovely cow.

Now that I've done the dps thing and the healing thing, I've been practically itching to try the tanking thing. Well, it's bound to happen now. If we get into nonsense with our new hoards it will be as a bear. (Vandy picked a hunter and Ann has a new shaman.) If we stay on the home server for our lulz, I have a paladin at just the right level. (Vandy is a rogue and Ann has a hunter.) So, be sure to send some pity towards Ann and Vandy for being my test subjects as I l2tank.

Better news? If we stick to the home server, we're staring Scarlet Monastery right in the face. I've certainly been there enough times, I think I could reasonably lead a group through there. It's going to be great.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Who's Putricide?

My return to WoW from vacation was rather lackluster, all things considered. There are real life considerations that come from returning from a long trip; missing deadlines for school being an unforeseen and unfortunate one. So rather than dive back into the pleasant world of Mara and Aioka, I have been spending my time with laundry baskets and portfolios.


Anyway, nothing prevented me from last night's raid. I was online 15 minutes before we were due to start and had already completed my jewelcrafting daily. In complete silence, I might add. While it would have been nice to get "Hey Aioka, welcome back. Did you have a nice trip?" I wasn't excessively bummed when it was not forthcoming. But to not even receive a Hi/Hey/Yo/Sup/etc. was rather disappointing.

At raid time, Mord announced he was going to run with his rogue because "we had two good tanks and his healers were already online". ... It's kind of like in school, when the teacher calls your name but you're not expecting it so you look around waiting for someone else to answer. Oh wait, you mean me? Lol.

It was a nice thing. I enjoy healing my crew and we have fun. But if I'm being prefectly honest, I'm extremely nervous about ever having Aioka in a Rotface fight. I don't usually think before I dispel people. So much of my healing is completely reactionary, quick clicks and spams, that to stop and think about something before I do it is tantamount to letting someone die.

While I was still hanging out in Dalaran another person asked if I was heals and if I was interested in their run. I told them I was otherwise engaged, but (re-emphasizing the point from earlier) its nice to be recognized as a healer.

I was in some danger of getting a big head.

Especially after I managed to keep a tank alive with a meager combination of Flash Heal and Bubble. The other healer was busy eating dirt after a surprise Bone Warden trap. I can't pretend is wasn't a near thing, because almost everyone else died. But it was not a wipe.

But right before Marrowgar one of our tanks dropped, necessitating some rearrangement of roles and people. Mord pulled in a different healer, and I switched over to Mara. The result being that neither of my characters got to complete the weekly: being Marrowgar this week.

I was disappointed at first (and even more when both Midnight Sun and Thaumaturge's Crackling Cowl dropped) but I had an excellent time with Mara. I miss a lot of the action when I'm staring at a box of healthbars. I got to roll face without really worrying about if so-and-so was eating too much damage.

And roll face we did. The run went very smoothly and very quickly. Militia's comment: "We should try to balance the raid every week." I was amused. And, in terms of quickly, I went looking down Mara's achievement list again and saw something I found interesting. Below is what time we killed stuff.

Marrowgar - 8:55 (We took awhile to get started.)
Deathwhisper - 9:06
Gunship - 9:20
Saurfang - 9:27 (No time for marks!)
Festergut - 9:54
Rotface - 10:22
Putricide - 10:34

One hour and forty minutes for 7 bosses. Totally awesome.

Also, we downed Putricide. It was a good night.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Blog Fail

Mara is on vacation. Weeee.

And no, I didn't write any back-up posts to schedule for this week. I am a fail blogger.

I hopped online during raid last night for awhile to scope out the latest drama. Of course there was some. I think I'd really rather just stay out of it. And I don't think OP will disintegrate if I leave out a little bit of Memento's Drama.

I went over to the Exodar and shoved cloth at them until they exalted me. It's the only advantage of having tons and tons Runecloth stocked up. Hail Ambassador Marariel. I guess if that's the only thing I accomplish while on vacation, it's still a worthy achievement.

While I was in the area, I did all the Azuremyst quests I could find. And I'm considering going over to Bloodmyst to do the same thing. Despite having two little dreanei alts, I have never done all of the dreanei starting area. This is not a prelude to a Loremaster attempt. At least, that's what I keep telling myself.