Monday, August 29, 2011

The Blog Entry I Almost Forgot to Write

My husband and two oldest sons are off on a trip, and it's just been me and Logan here today. It's been a great day for getting things done, but otherwise it's thrown my daily grove off a bit. Here it is, 10:00 p.m., and I was thinking about going to bed, when I realized I hadn't yet written my blog entry for today. Yep, that pretty much summarizes how today has gone.

Looking down my list of possible topics to write about, two stood out as good bets for today's topic. First was World of Warcraft. The second was D&D narratives and anecdotes. WoW drew my attention because I've been playing it this evening. D&D narratives stood out because I was thinking informal stories, kind of like those told in taverns in D&D, and I have been drinking--not much. =P However, I haven't been drinking mead or elvish wine or anything remotely D&Dish, so I think I'm going to rule out writing about D&D. That's another one to save for next week *after* our D&D game for September. One of these weeks I'm going to post a special Saturday entry narrating our game as it happens, just to give you a taste of Team Sidequest craziness.

Thus, tonight's topic is World of Warcraft. Now, to make things clear right from the start, I am not a diehard WoW fan. I've been playing off and on for maybe 2 years  now. My husband likes it better than I do; I personally still prefer Ragnarok Online, except not how Ragnarok Online is right now, but how it was, and isn't anymore which is why I'm not playing it anymore. You know that was probably a run-on sentence, but I'm tired so I'm not going back to fix it. =P Back on topic... XD Let's start with a brief overview of how I got started playing WoW. Shortly after WoW was initially released, several of our friends started playing it--these were members of Team Sidequest before we called ourselves Team Sidequest. A year later, my husband and I started playing Ragnarok Online--he wanted to write a paper for some class or another while working on his masters degree on an MMORPG game. We picked RO because my cousins played it (also members of Team Sidequest, even though we didn't call ourselves Team Sidequest at that time, except they weren't part of it then) and I really liked the art and character designs. I'd found wallpaper art for the Priest and Knight classes and resolved to cosplay them about 1.5-2 years before we ever picked up the game. For the record, I have cosplayed as the Priest and High Priest classes. I still haven't gotten to do the Knight, and probably won't. XD

For many years, WoW was the game several of our friends played but we didn't, and we'd take turns trying to argue each other away from one game and lure them to the other. During that time, we moved; Shaun finished his masters degree and moved on to his doctoral studies. RO went through various changes, some good, some bad, and most the good came too late, as is sadly the case with many good games. For a little while it was still a decent game; I played mainly for the social atmosphere. However, once my friends from RO and I connected on Facebook and other places, our time on RO faded. Then during his dissertation work, Shaun decided he wanted to use 5 case studies featuring 5 different games from 5 different systems and 5 different genres. He studied Tetris--the cell phone release version, Halo, Wii Sports, Final Fantasy VII, and for the PC he chose World of Warcraft, which at the time was probably the most played PC game around--although it might have been 2nd to The Sims. Given his personal tastes, he chose WoW. And there was much rejoicing, among our friends. So, they set Shaun up with an account, and I borrowed my best friend's account. We poked around played for a little over a month, then quit. Shaun wrote his paper--although really, it was more of a book than a paper since it was made up of chapters and was more than 300 pages long.

Then, several months later, my mom decided she wanted to play WoW, and she wanted someone to play with her, so she gave me one of the trial account things she had so I could start up an account and help walk her through the interface and show her how to play. I played for a couple of weeks until the trial expired. Several more months passed, and everything (literally, everything) was in storage since Shaun had graduated and we were moving to be close to where he worked. We had computers, but no games to play, and for lack of anything better to do, we renewed our WoW accounts. We've been playing off and on since then. We're about to let our accounts expire again--they'll be up in a couple of weeks.

That's basically our history playing the game. Shaun and I like MMO's like WoW because they are games that we can play cooperatively together. There are other games where that kind of play is possible, but I greatly dislike first-person shooters and most any game that requires hand-eye coordination with a few exceptions; that rules out a lot of games. My favorite type of game has been and will always be the fantasy-themed turn-based rpg. WoW works; Shaun and I can play together, and it's close to a genre I really like, so I can forgive the fact that it requires some hand-eye coordination. We tend to compliment each other well in games like WoW, too. He likes wizards, and I like playing healer/tank hybrids. In Ragnarok Online, I played a priestess and eventually a high priestess who could function as both tank and healer for small 2-3 person parties--my husband played a wizard/high wizard, and between the 2 of us we made an awesome team. In WoW, I play a Paladin, and he plays a mage. We still make a pretty good team--questing is easy with a combo like that, and we can even manage to go through at-level instances--maybe a little slower than with a full 5-person group--with just the two of us.

This is really why we play; we like doing things where we work together to achieve a common goal. Part of why we're letting our accounts expire is we're trying to cut expenses and put any extra money we can toward paying off student loans, since we have a lot of those--that's the downside to being over-educated. XD The other reason is that we're really digging into some of the projects for Team Sidequest, the game company. We've got the makings of a zombie card game that should be ready for basic play-testing in the next week, and *might* even be ready to release by the end of the year. We get the same kind of fun out of these projects as we do playing WoW or RO or any other game like that together. One day, it's my dream that we can make a decent living off of making games and comics and our creativity in general. We really love what we do.

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