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MMO's & The Modern Man (err...Woman)

An honest, irreverant look at various MMO's from a typical player's point of view. OK, maybe not a typical player. Maybe a hardcore emo PVE but PVP lovin' chataholic with alt tendencies. What's that? A new beta!? BRB...

Author: Oridi

Skirmishing in LOTRO or Can You Handle Teh Weathertop!?!?!?

Posted by Oridi Tuesday December 8 2009 at 2:44AM
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It's a windswept night and you're a hobbit trudging along a strange road with a few of your pals and a weird guy that's ok if you happen to like human rangers.  Up in the distance looms a mountain with a flattened top and standing stones perched on the flat height like jagged teeth.   You know the mountain don't you.  It's Weathertop and the first time I wandered into the Lone Lands in LOTRO and saw that pivotal mountain rising up out of the land I had to stop and marvel at how perfectly the devs made it.

Questing on and around Weathertop still sticks in my head as some of the most awe inspiring moments of the game for me.  For the last year I've been hanging out in the mines of Moria which, while grand and truly massive, are dark, creepy, decaying, crumbling and filled with a lot of stuff that wants to eat a tasty little minstrel snackcake.  So when the new expansion came out and it brought us into the area of Mirkwood I was a bit underwhelmed.  Yay.  More dark and depressing places.  Woot. More grey on grey environments. Sigh.  Places like the Shire and Weathertop shine like jewels in my ingame memory as I slog through another rancid pool of bubbling mud and target giggling orcs that shout, "Die!" and "Kill Heeeeemmmmmm" in a frenzy of gender ignorance as they stab at me.

After a bit of questing and my usual "run the entire area of the new map to open up every overhead view I can as well as get all the horse travel locations" escapades I headed back into 21st Hall, the central spot in Moria to repair, sell, check the auction house and just breath easy in a safe corner for a bit.  But hmmmm.. what was this?  A big new area chock full of NPC vendors all offering pretty shiney sparkly stuff?  Yes indeed.  I found the skirmish camp.

Skirmishes are new.  They're instances that you order up like ham and eggs at a diner except you get a way bigger menu than they offer you at Denny's. On top of that, you get a buddy to come fight with you.  Yep. You get your own NPC teammate that sticks with you and fights or heals or whatever you want. Interested?  I thought you might be.

There are 3 parts to the skirmish process. Part one is you set up your NPC soldier.  You can make them a tank, a healer, a caster, a dps ranged, a buffer.. basically any of the classes in the game. You can also get them traits that are attacks, heals, buffs etc and you can make them particular races or dress them up like 3 dimensional paper dolls. I made a tank since I'm a healer and yes, I picked a hobbit lad to champion me.  I know what you're thinking - how can I fight with hobbit feet as fine as his so close to me, but I'm a woman of focus and I do just fine.

Part two is you pick your skirmish.  There's a join window that lets you determine if you want a group skirmish, a solo skirmish, what level range you want it to be in and which particular skirmish set up you'd like to use.  I noticed one titled "Stand at Amon Sul" and it tickled the back of my mind a bit so I chose it in solo form and headed in.  A few moments later I was standing on Weathertop.  Windy, stormy skied, Weathertop and I nearly shouted outloud with surprise and, well, joy.

Part three is the skirmish experience itself.  Every skirmish has an objective that is spelled out at the beginning.  You'll need to defend a town, or clear a camp, or find items or any number of things.  While you're doing the objective there are usually waves and waves of bad guys coming to wipe you out.  You've got your soldier that you brought with you and any NPC's that are part of the skirmish scenario and you just do your best to stay alive and reach your objective.

"Stand at Amon Sul" took me by surprise as far as location but then it really got me with the actual experience of the skirmish.  Check this out.  I'm on Weathertop and there is my lil fearless Warrior Soldier Tank hanging out and ready to fight.  There's also another NPC that is a ranger and my instructions are to defeat all foes that attack and keep the ranger and myself alive.  There's a central bonfire in the middle of the area with two torches as well as 5 unlit bonfires in a ring around the outer edge of the plateau.  I learn that the bonfires can be lit with the torches and when lit they add a buff that assists myself, my warrior hobbit and the ranger. 

Since I can't direct the ranger and my warrior has no "light bonfire" command anywhere that I can find or ever have seen it's up to me to light fires.  So I happily do so as a distant horn sounds in my ear, I'm warned that bad guys are starting their attack, and the ranger starts notching his first arrow.  The torch gets lit at the central fire and then carried to an outer bonfire to light it.  There's a timer on the torch so if I'm lucky I can get 3 outer fires lit with one torch run.  I'm feeling like this is a breeze, fighting the first wave of batlike things and skeleton guys when suddenly,  the first bonfire I lit goes out.   Yep.  The bonfires are on a timer and so I'll need to keep running around and relighting them if I want the benefit of the buffs.

Which, by the way, I want.  Distant horns are sounding faster and faster and wave after wave comes at us.  3 to 6 at a time, with me healing and dps'ing, my warrior guy bravely facing ghouls, ghosts, skeletons, bats, firebirds, and more in an escalating series of more and more mobs. I'm tossing out a heal to the ranger (he has to live, remember?) and saving my lil warrior's skin then yelling at some zombie looking thing and stunning him for a few as my crit lands.  And did I mention I'm running around lighting bonfires in the midst of all this...

A brief pause as I learn that we've beaten back the first wave of attacks (FIRST wave? Wha????)  and then it's round two. Then three.  I'm ready to run down the mountain and strangle that blasted horn blower.  Then notice is given that a particularly mean fellow is taking the stage and we're fighting a boss as I'm healing, dodging, attacking, lighting, healing and somehow the 3 of us down the boss and fight off the swarming adds at the same time.   I swear I /hugged the ranger when it was all over. I lived, the ranger lived and my lil warrior guy lived and I was cheering and hollering and having more fun than I've had ingame in the last year.

Skirmishes.  Love 'em.  Try them out, let me know which ones you like best, and what soldier you're using.  And if you don't play LOTRO you might want to check it out.  Few things are more fun than a night on Weathertop, fighting ghouls and keeping the wonder and magic of it all alive.


Rooting For A Global Community or Are We The World?

Posted by Oridi Monday December 7 2009 at 1:55PM
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So I went back to Istaria after a break in the form of a few days in Fallen Earth to curb my compulsiveness with all things dragon.  And while FE was fantastic and I had a great time flailing around in the Great Wasteland, for me it's not a keeper as far as an MMO.  Why you may ask?  There's only one server and it has been drinking its own kool-aid. Which is a vague and ineffective way of saying that the dominant personalities on the server have warped the global community into this wierd mix of fierce independence and micromanagement that sorta matches the theme of the game itself.  Creepy.

I'm one of those players that loves to roll a healer.  I'm a touchy feely squishy player, one that tends to interact and gets involved in server wide stuff.  I send in screenshots to contests, help new players, start non-guild associations for raids, and generally hang out on a global level.  In case you have not noticed, I'm not shy :-).  And so, the global community on a server is one of the 3 things that I look at when I check out a game. 

I'll always find good in a game (even if I have to dig through muck and mire to find it) but I don't stick with games that don't have a global community, a solid level of tech that lets me play without excessive lag/bugs/crashes and a great concept that has me hooked.  FE has a level of tech that will let me play, a fantastic concept that is truely fun to wander around in but the game fails for me as far as a global community.  From what I understand, the devs themselves are the ones that don't want a global social network.  Which is fine, but I'm not buying the whole it's armageddon so folks could not interact globally thing.  Last time I checked there was no roleplay requirement to play FE.

So what is it that I need so badly in a global community that makes a game go into the Naaaaahhhh Not This One bin if it does not support one? Um.. well.. the community.  And I don't mean guilds or kins - those are small groups of players that obsess over the same things.  I want a server to interact with and folks that range from newblet to veteran all mixed up in one channel.  I like server wide events, and plenty of watering holes/pubs/town centers to drop into and just mess around with people.  I love running into someone in the game that I just talked with in global chat and being able to /bow or whatever to show respect if not agreement with their position.

I prefer a global community on a server.  It gives me access to an enormous range of people and ideas and information that I can't get any other way.  Creating a global community takes work though, and you have to have a global chat, places for folks to gather, and a strong community that directs trade and lff to the right channels and knows how to use their /ignore buttons. 

Why a global chat channel?  There's no time in the game to seek out and meet the other people ingame (at the same time I am) that like to interact.  A global chat channel lets me instantly find the other cwazy folks that consider interacting with other players kind of a part of an MMO.  (*cough ironic sarcasm done lightly there cough*). 

Why places to gather?  Because it's great to drop into a spot ingame and know that you'll find folks to mess around with and just talk.  Playing an MMO is not just racing from quest to quest and leveling as fast as you can for everyone.  For a lot of people it's about having fun with each other and finding friends ingame that you enjoy hanging out with.

Why a strong community?  Because without one the chat can get ugly.  AO and LOTRO have both shown that a strong community in the global chat can result in a self policing system that simply /ignores the barrens chat kids and redirects the folks that need a different channel.  One of the flaws of FE is that the community itself in the one global help channel is dominated by the GM's and there's no chance for the players to actually step up and bounce the idiots out of the chat themselves.

I think that having global level interactions is a good thing in a game.  If I am going to collect 87 thousand ant legs or even 10 pig intestines, I'd like to at least comment in global how rank pigs smell when you're pulling out innards from their still steaming corpses.    Perhaps you feel differently and if so, please drop a line.  I will say this though.  Of all the games I've played and all the beta's I've run, the MMO's that have stayed with me and the ones that still get my sub money every month are those with a strong global community.  Sheesh, I'm such a joiner.

How to give Good Chat or 5 Ways Not To Appear An Idiot.

Posted by Oridi Sunday December 6 2009 at 3:40PM
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Welcome to what is sure to be my Least Popular Post Ever!  Let's get right to it...

Fallen Earth is having issues about chat.  Yes, chat drama and it's fun but kind of silly and for me it's enough to trigger me heading back to Istaria where it might not be as cool and apocalyptic but at least the community is a bit less maniacal. 

Apparently the CoC for FE has a no cursing policy and the GM's have started patrolling the one global channel - the Help channel - pretty fiercely right now and warning folks that are cursing as well as those talking about topics other than help.  Yes, it's an M for mature game and yes, the NPC's cuss and your actual character curses during fighting.  But they're enforcing both the no cussin' and the no OOC/only help chat aspects of the CoC and channel and so folks are up in arms.  One side is hollering that the game will fail if players are driven away by teh mean ol' GM's while the other side is yelling that the dev's designed the game as an isolating experience and get over yer carebear need to emo globally.  Wait a minute.. a game that is based on the world coming to an end.. but no one is allowed to cuss or interact with each other without strict monitoring. Hmm... exactly who are these dev's?  ;-)  I kiiiidddd I kidddddddddd....

Personally, I think that the game is 2 months old and needs all the players it can get so hey - just add an optional global chat channel for OOC.  Problem solved.  But as I was listening to err... reading the drama :-) ... I realized that my opinion was being swayed more by how folks were saying/spelling their POV than what they were actually saying.  With a jolt and a shock and a final swing at a mutant coyote, I got to safety and mulled over my shamefully shallow ways.

Was I actually judging people by their ability to type? Was I turning into some old withered crone muttering in the corner about the nefarious ways of miss-spellers? What was wrong with me?  I realized that after 6 years of playing I had reached my maximum lifetime allowance of idiocy and from this point on it was gonna bug me that folks wrote loose instead of lose.  Yes, I'm not ashamed to say that with this realization I wept bitter tears.  You see I love MMO's and part of MMO's is goober chat.  It's the folks that don't have a clue and don't want a clue - the ones that type like they drive, erratically and just aiming to stay off the curb. According to popular opinion they're not going away and if I want to stay in MMO's I am going to have to get used to them.

In the words of my Fallen Earth character as she downed a Kopesh Dancer ... F*** that.

I'm going on the offensive.  No, I'm not going to correct folks ingame - I don't have time for that.  But I will offer the following Top 5 Ways Not To Appear A Goober In Chat.   I know I'm preaching to the choir here so bookmark this and send the link to the next person ingame that says they're "excited cause there friends new weapon is uber and their going to kill orcs".  *Shudder*

1.  Lose vs. Loose-

You lose your mind.  You let your horse loose.   Loose means that you unrestrict, make less tight, or let go of something.  Lose means that you can't find something.  You can remember the difference by thinking that you lose an O in the word lose.    I'm going to start sending ingame gold to random people for spelling lose right in chat.

2. Personal Attacks or You Live In Yer Mom's Basement-

Every time you attack someone in public chat with comments about their real life you lose the argument automatically and look like you're 12 years old and playing from your.. wait. NVM.  It's a clear indication that you have no actual logical way to fight their point and so you're just randomly swinging at them in the hopes that a blow will land and they'll be distracted.   The whole "yer fat/ugly/a ho/impotent/livin' in yer mom's basement" set of comments along with the accompaning "i did yer mom" collection (Do they sell these as a matched set on the home shopping network or something?) just turns off the debate and you lose.

3. They're.  Their.  There.

Oh. My. Gawd.  This one I have no witty saying for, no fun tricks.  Just learn the bleeping things.,-Their-and-They're

They're-  They're on the way to kill us now for miss-spelling this in chat.
It's a contraction for they are. They're.  The A is removed and replaced with an apostrophe.  They are going to have some pie.  They're going to have some pie.

Their- Their dictionaries will be heavy as they beat us to death with them.
It's the ownership form - they own something.  Their feet stink.  Their blows land often.

There- There better be a way to learn this or Ast is gonna kill us.
This one references a lotta different stuff..  a point in time or action and a place.  There needs to be fishsticks or Tommy won't play.  There is the pile of worthless rubble to scavenge!  Perhaps we will find a fishstick there for Tommy!  There needs to be a better way to remember all this!

4. Hawt Steamy Luv Talk

This is usually done by a female wanting attention or a guy that reallllly loves to make other guys uncomfortable.  The female is usually underage and a'larnin' about them ways teh boyz respond.  Conversations are not innuendo and teasing, they're specific descriptions about detailed actions and usually poorly described.  The end result is that the girl is branded a slut - which she then proudly embraces (ahem pun not intended ok mebbe yeah) and the guy is branded as gay.  The guy usually tries to refute his new title by hitting hard on the girl and they spin downward into a global chat luv fest with more privacy then they realize as everyone has put them on ignore after the first "My eyes widen as...".

5.  It's and Its.

It's always fun finding ways to torment my kinmates.  Last time I let loose a Bantha in front of the kinhouse and its foul breath made the guildhall unlivable.

This one is easy.  It's easy to remember and easy to apply.  With the apostrophe included it's a contraction.  It is = it's.   Without the apostrophe?  Possessive and its clear and total ownership is like a shining light in the dark.   The way to remember is that the possessive form is so greedy it won't even let go of the apostrophe.  It's clear that gaming is way too much fun to get hung up on grammer.  When Astrialla tried to teach the Bantha the correct spelling of words its first response was to bite her head off.

Sigh.  I think that I've probably offended, alienated, and annoyed you all enough for one blog post.   I promise I'll be back next time with something spicy and entertaining with a dash of intellectual stimulation.... really....

Schizoid? Paranoid? err Addictoid? or A Few Days of Fallen Earth

Posted by Oridi Saturday December 5 2009 at 2:53PM
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Fallen Earth.  We all know it's the winner hands down of best game logo for the year (SO cool those horns coming out of the skull and the clearly mutated to the bones of the face gas mask) but what about the game?  It showed up all sparkley shiney in September to us general public newblets and truthfully I was busy.  I had games to play and was enmeshed in a random and pointless comparison of crossbow use among different games.  No, I don't know why I found the "who lets you level with crossbows and what classes do they assign to them" thing interesting but I did.  Just put it under the "weird/pointless but somehow compelling/fun" header on your list of stuff to do.

So I missed the launch of Fallen Earth.  I'm not really a FPS kinda gal (unless you count Portal, which I still randomly play just to make up conversations with the central computer) and I don't like the whole murder and pillage the whole dang village kind of mentality that FE seemed to require.   Yes, I admit it, I've never played grand theft auto in any of its forms.   Post-apocalypse world where you scavenge stuff and everything is mutated just appears on the first view to be another favorite game for the fellows hanging out by the local army surplus and storing 7 tons of food in their underground bunker.

However.  And of course there's the however otherwise why would I be writing this post?  I got all 3 of my toons to adventuring level 15 in Istaria in one coffee fueled burst of dragon lovin' energy and thought that it would be good to ease up and take a few days off Istaria.  Did I mention my biggest challenge in life is not going overboard?  I sternly shut down Istaria, got some sleep, handled real life, then looked around for something to distract me before I blew another 13 hours in Istaria.   I wandered around the forums and stumbled upon some posts about Fallen Earth and felt the old, familiar hmmm that might be interesting thought snake its way through my brain.

Yep. You got it. I downloaded it.  Free trial this time rather than just paying for the game because I'm serious about ToR and don't want to blow my ToR buying stash on something I may or may not like.  Download was easy but they did that thing where most of the game downloads when you login for the first time which I always find a bit bait and switch.  Got the game installed (which was seamless) and started in on my first character.   Characterization was well done but minimal, which truthfully is necessary given that it's after the end of the world in this game.  When it's the end of the world everyone does indeed need to choose from a set of eyes that are either blank due to the trauma suffured, haunted with memories they can't let go of, or filled with a steely rage as they plot their revenge.  In FE's defense, you do get to pick the color.

Loaded into tutorial, which ran me through the combat system and here's where the schiziod part starts.  You've got weapon slots everywhere.  You switch between weapons by holding down the Ctrl key and rolling your mouse wheel and it's just nuts when you fight.  You're ranged to pull them with your crossbow (starter weapon -yay for my list!)  then you're melee with a pipe in one hand and a dirk in the other.  Your hits trigger off of left and right mouse keys so you have control over which hand hits when.  You can use a wooden plank, a corkscrew, a pistol, rifle, old hammer... it's nuts.  There are so many weapons that drop off of mobs that keeping track of what is best for what slot is crazy and after a while the whole Ctrl/scroll thing gets to be second nature and you're switching weapons mid-fight like a multiple personality damage dealing freak.   It's insanely fun.

Your enemy targeting system is your mouse.  Friendly targeting system is the ol' fav the F1, F2 keys etc.  What's that?  Yes, you heard me right. No autotargeting that I could find.  If you want to hit something you need to get the target brackets or dot or whatever is the target graphic for the weapon you're holding OVER the target and in the right place.  Please.  Stop crying.  No the dev's don't hate you.  Yes, you can target stuff by keeping it within the target graphic range, yes, yes you can. 

Which brings us to the paranoid part.  There's a definite ambiance of "everything's screwed and the world has ended and it's only us now and really big mutated stuff" in the game so it's smart to be cautious running around.  But the true paranoia realllllly kicks in when the players realize that the game is hard.  Not in your face let's make you fail hard but rather a hey you wanted to play a post apocalyptic game and so here ya go kinda way.  There's a lot to learn and some of it requires dexterity in real life as far as mouse/keyboard coordination.  Your horse (which you get right away... THANK YOU dev's) runs out of food and you have to feed it.  Your car will need gas.  You need to target whatever you want to hit and specify each hit down to which hand hits at times.  There is no auto-fighting.  Again - there is no auto-targeting.  There are no markers for a lot of the places you need on the overhead map and one of the two view options on the map does not scroll in and out, making finding things out of your immediate area difficult.  There's little ingame info as far as documentation and I was soon suffering myself from the paranoid certainty that there were dev's watching me in the game- pointing and laughing and saying things like, "she can't even find the horse merchant... look.. her horse is dying of starvation.. what a noob... it's so easy to do... laugh laugh laugh laugh... ". 

So why play.  Well, here's the addiction part.  The game is really fun. It's challenging and difficult but it's a blast to play.  The community has been excellent so far and the Help channel is both social AND helpful.  Just a few idiots popping up here and there but I've seen no bots that I could recognize and there's so much to do and so many different directions to go in that the issues of kill stealing or someone camping a boss just are not here.  I don't know how to describe the game to tell the truth.  The best I can do is to paraphrase what is in the chat window over and over which is that it's like pre-NGE SWG, or like Anarchy Online with a heavy population, or it's like a game for actual gamers.  The crafting is intricate like AO, the various ways to tweak your character and change your actual build are diverse like LOTRO and SWG, the landscape is detailed and solid feeling like Aion.  This game is harsh, but great.

Fallen Earth is rated M for Mature.  They're serious, not because of the occasional F bomb your character drops as you hit mutated ants, but because of the truely disturbing nature of the game.  I've been trying to define why the game reminds me so much of pre-NGE SWG and think that a large part of it is that the game developers don't get between you the player and the game itself.  If you play FE there is the feeling that it is real, that you're riding your horse out into a deserted wasteland trying to recover precious lost books that carry information that will be gone if the books are destroyed.  You feel like you're doing something worthwhile, important, necessary and the entire game gives you this intense level of immersion  by virtue of its very structure.  When you're fighting huge spiders (btw have NOT seen any pigs yet :-) you really have to have them in your targets and hit them hard with everything you have or you don't live.    As you wander through the desert and come across a grave you do actually feel like you want to pause and take a moment to acknowlege the departed.  And then you move your mouse, it swings over the grave, and you realize you have the option to scavenge the contents.  You can be the best and worst of whatever character you want to be in this game and the wonderful and horrible thing about it is that often the worst parts of your character help you survive.

Open up your head and dump Fallen Earth in for a few weeks. See what shakes out.  This game is hard, fun, diverse, challenging, rewarding and deserves to succeed.   Come get lost in the wasteland - and see if you can take it when the world comes to an end.

The New Improved InGame You! or What Survives Past The Login Window?

Posted by Oridi Wednesday December 2 2009 at 4:40PM
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Hey this blog thing is fun!  Whilst (<--note cool word)  muttering via comments on a previous post I realized that there's a difference between my own real life morals and values and those of my online characters in MMO's.

Down boy.  I'm not talking upstairs at the Serpent or a back room at the Pony or double sitting on a mailbox or any of the other Hawt! Cyber! experiences that you may be turning over in your mind.  I mean the basic structure of stuff like it's bad to kill living things and it's good to leave some for others.

When you get to the login window and type in your name and password how much of yourself do you leave behind?  All? Some? None? 

We all kill things in MMO's - we all then steal stuff from their corpses and then sell our plundered loot to either an NPC or another player.  I don't know about you but in real life? Never done that. Never wandered into some strange place, killed someone, went through their pockets and then sold the stuff I found.  Ever.  

So I feel like it's safe to say that I'll do stuff in game that I'd never do in real life cause yes indeedy it's fantasy. It's not real.  It's a game and in a game I can fly or run barefoot over icy stone roads or ride a goat.  I can have horns or spines or transform into a leopard. I can kill trolls or goblins or snakes or pigs (EVERY game has pigs) and whatever else I'm assigned and it's all good.  Its.. not.. real. 

But- and here's the catch - the other, non-NPC characters?  They're not real either except they are created and played by people that are.  The pixels are constructs but the motivation and the movement is generated by another real person and here's where things get dicey.  If you're rude to another character ingame are you being rude to just the character or to the person playing the character?  It gets tricky.

Kill stealing is universally frowned upon because it takes away the hard work another player has already done.  So somehow or other the concept that you should not take away the fruits of someone else's labor has made it past the login screen for most players while the whole you shouldn't kill things concept has not.  I'd like to suggest that the reason for the descrepancy is that the killing is done to computer generated characters and the kill stealing is done to another player.  You can do whatever you want ingame to an NPC but you can't do whatever you want to another player is a simplistic but accurate way to say it.  Even PVP is a permission based system - people are either on PVP servers where they've given permission to everyone else to try and kill them or they're in a PVP zone or stance where they've given the same permission.  But there's no way in game mechanics to kill other players unless permission is given and this backs up the players' characters are different from NPC's concept.

So.  What is inappropriate behavior to another player?  Stealing their stuff (unless that's written into the game mechanics.. full loot PVP is kinda sparkley shiney in an OH $#%^ kinda way) is forbidden and usually a bannable offense.  But what about the classic /slap?  Did you leave the part of you that would never consider walking up to a stranger in an airport and slapping them behind when you logged in? For most players, the answer is yes- no one gets banned for a /slap.  How about trash talking?  Would you actually start spewing curses and insults on the subway on your way to work if there are no seats?  Most people wouldn't in real life but they would ingame.  What about ragequitting?  Ninja'ing loot? Rez camping?  Would you do the real life equivalent and what is it about being in a game that changes that in you?

I leave a lot of myself behind when I play MMO's, mainly because it's fun to have a vacation from myself (and I can hear the comments now lol).  But I do bring with me a lot of the awareness of other players' feelings and as such it's rare to see me /slap or the like.  As a result, I usually find the most fun ingame hanging out with the roleplayers.  It's not that they bring more of themselves into the game, it's that when they play they're trying to be the best of someone other than themselves, if that makes sense.  If they're a champion, they're aiming for noble or inspiring etc. and they just don't have time to do things that their character would not do had they been actually alive.  It's ironic but true - role players are by far the most realistic characters in a game.

And the other parts of us that we bring with us past login - the dream parts as I like to call them - these are the strong parts, the calculating parts, the intelligent or strategizing parts, the aim for the higher good parts.  These are the areas in us that want to succeed, to win, to bond with others, to share excitement and to feel that adrenaline rush from a great fight or well done game puzzle.  How much of these parts do we bring back with us to real life after we logout?  Do we stop and explain a process patiently to someone that is clearly new to a situation in real life? Do we patiently save over time in RL the same way we'll patiently save ingame for a new piece of gear or a house or a mount?

Here's a challenge for ya.  Next time you login, just notice how much of your real life self you take into the game with you and how much you leave behind.  At the least it will make your playtime for that session interesting as you cut a wide swath killing your way through NPC's and then stop to help someone with their lower level quest ... or avoid doing a boss via a workaround but then hold yourself to strict ethical parameters when handing out loot.   And when you logout - notice what parts of yourself that you bring with you back into the real world. How much of ourselves to we leave behind when we login and what parts of ourselves would we benefit from having in the real world after we logout?

God I love gaming.