Jasyla’s Gaming Questionnaire

Have we established I like answering surveys yet? Nope? Okay, well, in case you needed further evidence of how much I love them, Jasyla posted a pretty awesome gaming questionnaire on Cannot Be Tamed, and I couldn’t resist. These are my answers:

1. When did you start playing video games?

Honestly? I have no clue. I remember playing a number of games when I was a young kid, around five or so, although my parents were pretty strict with the whole thing; the first video game I ever played that I actually owned was ‘DuckTales: The Quest for Gold’ when I was around eight.

2. What is the first game you remember playing?

You know that terrible ET game people like to make jokes about? The one that got buried in the Arizona desert? Well, my grandmother used to have an old Atari in her apartment and the only functional games were ET and Pong; being a tiny alien just sounded a lot more appealing me. I know people like to talk about how awful that game was, but I loved it. Even though I spent most of my time playing it fruitlessly trying to levitate out of pits.

3. PC or Console?

PC! Mostly because I find console gaming is more expensive (at least, it is if you PC-game my way, with your regular laptop and mostly taking advantage of Steam sales and Humble Bundles). I’m also something of a shameless multitasker, which is a nice way to say I have a terrible attention span when it comes to games and constantly alt-tab out of them for a few minutes. Gaming on a PC enables this behaviour.

4. XBox, PlayStation, or Wii? 

I’m going to default to XBox because it’s the only console I’ve ever owned.

5. What’s the best game you’ve ever played? 

I don’t know if it’s the best game, but my favourite is definitely Portal 2. I loved the writing, and I loved the puzzles. (Oh, and Tetris. Tetris is a masterpiece. I’m not even kidding here.)

6. What’s the worst game you’ve ever played? 

Silent Hill: Homecoming. I bought this because I wanted to try playing a scary game and someone suggested it. Lo my disappointment. Not only was it not particularly scary (it felt more like an action game than a horror game), the controls felt super clunky and the story was lackluster.

7. Name a game that was popular/critically adored that you just didn’t like.

Bioshock: Infinite. I found a lot of the combat incredibly tedious and repetitive and had to push myself to actually finish it. The story itself wasn’t terrible, but i never found Booker to be a particularly compelling protagonist, and the character I was most intrigued by throughout the game, Daisy Fitzroy, was treated horribly at the end along with all the Vox. Elizabeth was cool, I guess, but I would’ve at least liked to get a chance to play as her. (Other answers include all the GTA’s. That my favourite activity in those games is to cycle to the top of mountains and then parachute down should tell you a lot; I also feel very uncomfortable stealing pixel people’s cars.)

8. Name a game that was poorly received that you really like.

Does Star Wars: The Old Republic count? It got fairly good reviews from most gaming sites, but I wouldn’t say it was received too well by the player-base. To be honest, it’s a hugely flawed game, especially as an MMO, but I love, love, love playing through the stories for all the different classes. I also really like the lore for the Old Republic era in general.

If it doesn’t, I can’t really think of any. I think I may just be boring and play stuff other people already like. (I guess I could always go with Early Cata and its healing model.)

9. What are your favourite game genres?

Mostly, I like RPGs with good stories, or puzzle games. I also love platformers.

10. Who is your favourite game protagonist?

FemShep, all the way. I also really like the most recent iteration of Lara Croft.

11. Describe your perfect video game.

It would have an engaging story with well written characters, platforming elements, stealth elements and a protagonist who wielded a bow because bows are just the best weapons. 

12. What video game character do have you have a crush on?

Carth Onasi from KoTOR, and Alistair and Morrigan from Dragon Age (even though Morrigan always hates my characters for being too nice).

13. What game has the best music? 

I’ve never been someone who pays too much attention to game music, but the Bastion soundtrack is just amazing.

14. Most memorable moment in a game:

Probably the first time I beat my cousin in Super Smash. He used to be very smug about being better than me at the game, despite the fact that he actually owned it and got to play it more than once a week. It was very satisfying to get to win for once. Go Kirby!

15. Scariest moment in a game:

Well, as I mentioned above, my one and only attempt to play a scary game didn’t go so well, so I’ll have to go with the first time Lara Croft impaled herself on the newest Tomb Raider. I was like nope, nope, nope. Actually, scratch that, it was the first time I fought a Thresher Maw in Mass Effect. Those things are effing terrifying.

16. Most heart-wrenching moment in a game:

The decision you have to take at the end of Legion’s loyalty mission in ME2. It left me feeling gutted for days.

17. What are your favourite websites/blogs about games?

I like reading Polygon and sometimes Rock, Paper, Shotgun, and Gamasutra.

18. What’s the last game you finished?

Depression Quest. I can’t really say I enjoyed it, but I think it was pretty successful in what it was trying to do.

19. What future releases are you most excited about? 

Dragon Age, Dragon Age, Dragon Age! *runs around excitedly*

I’m also pretty excited about No Man’s Sky.

20. Do you identify as a gamer?

For the longest time, I didn’t feel like I could identify as a gamer, since I didn’t feel I’d played enough games (a very large amount of the time I’ve spent playing games throughout my life has been spent playing either WoW or The Sims), and was really terrible about actually finishing the ones I did play. Ultimately, though, I enjoy games; I enjoy playing them and talking about them and reading about them and thinking about them. ‘Gamer’ is a handy label to describe this, so I’ve come around to using it to describe myself. 

21. Why do you play video games? 

For fun, mostly. And sometimes for a challenge.




ALT: ernative Chat’s “10 Years :: 10 Questions” Project

WoW is officially almost ten years old and Alternative Chat has put together an interesting project that involves WoW players (current and former) answering a ten question survey. I figured it’d be a fun thing to do (and I would encourage anyone who reads this to give it a go), so here are my answers:

1. Why did you start playing Warcraft?

The answer to this question is sort of embarrassing. The short answer is that it struck me as something any self-respecting nerd ought to try, at least once. I only stuck around for the free trial back when I first tried it, at some point during the Burning Crusade; I had a blast playing it despite having spent the first few levels whacking mobs with my mage’s staff (because why else would your character have a weapon?), but I couldn’t quite bring myself to pay the sub.

Fast forward a couple of years to Patch 3.3 in Wrath of the Lich King, where I casually mentioned it to my best friend as something I’d like to try again. He got incredibly excited about it, and not two weeks later I was having LAN parties with him and a few of my other high-school friends. Sadly, only him and me really stuck with it.

2. What was the first ever character you rolled?

The first character I ever rolled was a human mage named Karwyn, during the aforementioned trial. I had originally wanted to roll a healer but, like the sensible person I am, I figured it would be too much responsibility for a total newbie like me, and I should hold off on it until I understood the game better. I’ve always liked the mage archetype (because books!), so that’s what I went with instead.

3. Which factors determined your faction choice in game?

When I came back with my friends, we decided to try both factions. My best friend and I both rolled tauren druids Horde-side and a human mage and priest duo Alliance-side (me the mage, him the priest). Ultimately, we discovered we liked our Alliance classes better and so we stuck with that faction. Plus, Stormwind is clearly the better city (I always get lost in Orgrimmar).

4. What has been your most memorable moment in Warcraft and why?

Such a hard question!

I think the most memorable moment was my first actual progression raid, which was an ICC 10-man run. I’d originally joined the guild with the intention of participating in their weekend 25-man (usually at least part PuG), but one of the healers for their main 10-man was a kid who couldn’t always make it so they were looking for a replacement. I wound being asked to join the raid about an hour before it happened. I was so incredibly nervous. I hadn’t had time to research the fights so I had to ask for explanations and my voice kept shaking and I kept fumbling my English. I think I must’ve apologised at least ten or twenty times for messing up something or another. It was awful, but strangely exhilarating.

I suppose there’s also the time I healed all the gold Challenge Modes over two days in order to get my title, but I’m not sure thirty-six hours can really count as a moment (three was probably already stretching it). 

5. What is your favourite aspect of the game and has this always been the case?

I think healing is, by and large, what I enjoy most in this game. The role has always appealed to me, but I was scared to try it until my friend convinced me to level a priest as a pocket healer for his druid tank. I had some discouraging experiences while I was LFD-ing my way to eighty and trying to figure out how to keep people from being dead (most notably, there was an endless string of wipes through Auchenai Crypts that culminated with one of the DPS’ers whispering to my friend that it was okay, it was the noob healer’s fault we were wiping). I think it speaks to how much I like the role that I stuck with it despite stuff like that, to the point where six out of my seven max-level alts have healing specs (which I am now using to try and get Proven Healer with all the healers).

6. Do you have an area in game that you always return to?

I love Elwynn. Most of my alts are human at least partially because it’s my favourite starting zone, and I quite like idly flying around it while chatting with my friends or listening to podcasts. I don’t know why I like it so much; maybe because it was the first area I got to explore, or because I really like the music. Possibly, I just really like forests.

7. How long have you /played and has that been continuous?

Calidyn, my main, has 140 days played. My alts probably amount to about half that, added together. It definitely wasn’t continuous, though, since I took a year long break during Cata. It wasn’t the expansion’s fault; I wound up in the middle of some guild drama that I had no clue how to handle so I *poofed*. Definitely not my proudest moment.

8. Admit it: do you read quest text or not?

Sometimes. I enjoy the lore of Warcraft quite a bit, but find questing to be pretty unpleasant since it requires I pew pew stuff (which I’m not very good at), so I tend to rush through it unless I know ahead of time the quest is an interesting. Every once in a while, I tell myself I’ll really start reading quest text now, but that lasts all of two quests usually.

9. Are there any regrets from your time in game?

The aforementioned *poofing* is a big one. I cancelled my sub and kept telling myself I was going to log in and tell my GM I was quitting before it lapsed; then proceeded to procrastinate this until it did. Definitely not the most mature approach. The other one is not having pursued somewhat more serious raiding until MoP for fear of being terrible at it. (Not that I’m at the pinnacle of progression now, but my first guild, with which I stuck to the end of Cata, was about as casual as you could get, and it drove me a little insane.)

10. What effect has Warcraft had on your life outside gaming?

I’m painfully shy in real life and struggle a lot with social anxiety. This started out being the case in WoW, as well, (with me not saying much more than ‘hello’ and ‘thank you’ in dungeon runs) but my impatience and the fact that it’s a fairly structured environment with very concrete goals eventually made me start speaking up in group content in order to get things get done.  While I still have a long way to go, this has somewhat reflected in my real life and I’m significantly more confident when talking to strangers. 

The Paragon Fallacy

‘Given enough raiding hours per week, any guild is comparable to Paragon’.

A few weeks ago there was a conversation in our guild’s chatbox that basically amounted to this. I’m not sure if the guildie who posted it meant it literally (I’m betting on hyperbole here), but I do think it’s a common line of thinking among raiders that if they could only raid a couple more hours, the group would be far more progressed.

There’s obviously some truth to this. More hours a week means more attempts so it’s more likely you’ll get a kill, and then you can work on the next boss earlier and you’ll get more attempts on that boss per week so you’ll kill it faster and so on and so forth. It’s certainly a pleasant thought. At an average of eight pulls per hour and ten pulls to kill a boss, you’re looking at almost an extra kill per week!

Except this fantasy fails to take into account several factors. For one, the faster you get to a certain boss, the less geared you will be for it, pushing the number of attempts required for a kill upward. Plus, the deeper you go into a tier, the more it’ll take you to do a clear up to the boss you’re working on and the harder the fights become (ostensibly, though I suspect this is only universally true when you’re doing heroics and you can pick the order, and not even then if you pick wrong), meaning your average number of pulls needed to get a kill will also go up because of that and the number of pulls you’ll get per week to work on progression will start to decrease. I’m not saying the effect of added raid time would be completely negated, but it would definitely be mitigated. And while you may be Paragon in your head, you’d realistically only be few bosses ahead of where you are currently (I guess it should be noted that if you’re working on the latter heroics on a limited schedule, you may very well be comparable to Paragon, and this generic you is not really addressing the very specific you).

But I don’t have a problem with this argument because of its inaccuracy; I have a problem with it because it becomes a mental crutch that hampers progression. There’s nothing wrong with being a little optimistic when it comes to your own skill (no one wants you to sink into a pit of despair because you’ll never be as good as a raider in a top ten guild), but this sort of thinking can lead to people forgetting that they still can improve themselves. That the skill gap between a guild far more progressed than their own is very much real, and that work can be put into shortening that gap.

I know it’s very tempting to fall into this sort of thinking (I’ve been guilty of it more than once, myself), because the time we raid is often the one thing that is out of our control (beyond just switching guilds, but even then, our own time constraints might not allow it). No one likes to think that a lack of progression is their fault, or the fault of their teammates (in the majority of cases; I’m operating under the assumption that we all like the people we raid with). Except that it always is, because we could always be doing better, we could always be working on improving something. It’s just a matter of how much effort you’re willing to put in, and how much you care about your guild’s progression.

(Sidenote: this post could very well be called ‘the Method fallacy’. I picked Paragon because it was the guild that got mentioned in the conversation. Really, just choose your favourite high-end guild.)