LFG: I Want to Talk / Silence is OK

Random thought inspired by a discussion about an LFG tool in an MMO I don’t even play:

What if our LFG finders had two radio buttons with the options

  • Prefer talking
  • Prefer silence

Would both see equal use? Or at least sufficient people opting for either option that both would be functional?

Would the social be able to find similarly oriented people and have great conversations as they do the group content, or would it just be full of too many chatterers and not enough listeners?

Would the group content of the talkers slow down because they’re spending additional time conversing, or would it conversely speed up because they’re actually communicating strategies and getting everyone on the same page faster?

Would the silent group gather a disproportionate number of ‘lazy’ players who can’t be arsed talking and would they gel naturally without words into a model of speedrun efficiency or devolve into an uncoordinated uncommunicative mess?

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The SAD Project – Day 5 – Mooning Around

Low effort post today.

I -was- intending to write something exuberant about the impending WvW improvements, and how it might be a great time to join the gold rush and get back on the WvW bandwagon.

But I feel drained as all hell after raid night tonight.

I don’t even think it was the raid mechanics per se, even though there were some substitutes into our regular team, and the regulars were on different classes and playing different roles, hence some minor struggle and unfamiliarity.

I think it was simply three hours of exposure to a very exuberant extroverted personality. As an extreme introvert, just -listening- to someone talk my ears off drains the hell out of me. Tonight just felt a bit worse than most nights.

No real reason. Maybe I drained a bit too much social energy at work or with the family over the last couple of days. Maybe I shouldn’t have tried to spam multiple fractals yesterday, upping my MMO social exposure. Maybe I’m just a touch sleep deprived.

All I want to do is crawl into a quiet dark room and spend time with myself to recharge.

A quick foray into Minecraft: Space Astronomy seemed like a better idea than being overwhelmed with future planning, potential builds and overladen inventories in Guild Wars 2.

spaceastro1

Bird’s eye view of the modest moon base, via jetpack.

I solved my light problem. Instead of glowstone torches, I used the glowstone block itself, using the Chisel modpack to shape it decoratively with a color, and then cut it up into teeny tiny nodes with a Forge Microblocks saw.

spaceastro5

One glowstone block produces 32 mini-nodes that take on the characteristics of the parent block, that is, they glow just as brightly.

Huzzah, I have my new oxygen-independent torches.

spaceastro2

Mostly, I’m hanging around on the moon, wandering in different cardinal directions trying to look for a deeper than normal crater. This indicates the entrance of a moon dungeon.

A moon dungeon is a fairly simple linear affair, interspersed with a couple of mob spawners in certain room

spaceastro3

This was a nice change of pace. The evolved skeleton, as skeletons do, shot an arrow into the evolved spider, while both were trying to get at me.

They then turned on each other, and I hung around the corridor, watching the new entertainment show – Skeleton vs Spider: Low Gravity Fight!

The skeleton would shoot slow arcing arrows, affected by low gravity, at the spider – some of which hit for 1 damage and knocked the spider back, and some of which missed entirely.

When the skeleton missed, the spider would skitter around and then pooounce at the skeleton in slow motion low gravity and hit the skeleton for *2* damage.

This gave the spider a fighting chance, but alas, it was not to be, the skeleton managed to hit more than it missed, and the spider died with the skeleton at some 6hp remaining.

I appreciated the ease of cleanup though.

spaceastro4At the end of the moon dungeon, an Giant Evolved Skeleton boss lurks.

It has some 134-150hp or so, and can grab you while in melee range to throw you backward into the walls (or the lava pillars in the corner, supposedly.)

Fortunately, my armor at the current time is a little heavier duty than the skeleton can penetrate, and a jetpack in low gravity can quite easily move away from any potential danger after being thrown.

I fought my first at range, with a very slow drawing bow. But tonight, I was feeling lazy, so I just soaked the hits and flew back to thack the boss on the head with a sword that did about 11 damage at a time. It eventually died.

The treasure chest at the end is supposed to contain either schematics for a moon buggy, or a Tier 2 rocket.

I really want the Tier 2 rocket schematic.

Naturally, this means of the two moon dungeons explored, both end chests produced moon buggy schematics.

*sigh* more dungeoneering awaits.

Random Thought About Solo Play and “Aloneness”

Assuming no limitations or restrictions on time, schedules, desired rewards, whatever:

1) Would you prefer to play an MMO mostly solo on your own? Or would it feel more enjoyable with friends/company?

2) Are you comfortable eating out at a restaurant alone? Or would it feel somewhat weird or less enjoyable?

Just a completely random thought out of nowhere.

I’m wondering if there’s any correlation between the two activities, or no.

NBI: Talkback Challenge #1

Great big wolfy yawn...

How GamerGate affected me: It didn’t.

Not interested in Twitter. Not interested in social justice warriors.

I don’t need a self-elected “look-at-me” celebrity purportedly fighting for “my” rights. Keyword: fighting.

fighting
ˈfʌɪtɪŋ/

noun
 1. the action of fighting; violence or conflict.

adjective
2. displaying or engaging in violence, combat, or aggression.

Like Tyrannodorkus, I chose not to participate.

I neither want to enable or acknowledge.

You may very well have a point but if you use the wrong means to do it, it can very well become counter-productive and shoot your own cause in the foot (or knee)… several times over.

Extroverts or those with a western bent (or perhaps just the activists with the herd mentality and lack of critical thinking) may think this bystanding behavior is “hiding” from issues and allowing more vocally obnoxious groups to get their way, that if you don’t automatically join up with every social group that comes your way espousing the same belief, that you must be “against us” if you’re not “with us.”

*shrug*

I’m an introvert.

I come from a pragmatic culture that blends both east and west in equal measure, that is used to keeping their heads down when political speeches start getting thrown around (cos you can get sued or thrown in jail for saying the wrong thing against the right people) and finding other quieter (almost sneaky) non-confrontational ways to affect change and sway the hearts and minds of a populace over time.

I don’t believe in binaries, dichotomies or black-and-white thinking.

The obnoxious people are doing just fine making a fool or a nuisance of themselves and getting into car accidents with a lamp post (in the case of obnoxious drivers) without anyone’s help or involvement. In fact, you risk getting hurt via their stupidity and confrontational behavior if you do join them. Let ’em win their Darwin Award elsewhere.

You don’t feed a troll with attention. You starve it by utterly ignoring it and not letting it succeed in getting a rise out of you.

(You can also quietly moderate them out with as little fanfare as possible so that their efforts go unnoticed and unremarked, or even better, costs them money, which makes them take their focus elsewhere to someone more “fun.”)

No need to bring yourself down to their level or get into a car wreck fighting with them.

You want to know who I think the real game-changers are?

The many girls and women who are simply out there playing games each day, making it a perfectly normal, everyday, boring, no-need-for-commenting-on experience. (“Dude, I Played A Game With A Girl Today!” would be kind of an amusing blog post to make in this day and age, right?)

Everybody who just goes right on ahead in our games treating everyone equally, following female raid leaders just as respectfully as male ones without a single off-color comment or sexist remark.

Folks who build, lead, join or support communities where mature, rational, respectful behavior is the norm.

Whoever in the game industry who supports and introduces more choice and customization in art assets and the depiction of PCs and NPCs to represent a broader and more diverse representation of humanity (and other fantasy races.)

It’s a slow process, but patience and little everyday things change minds and cultures a lot more successfully than direct adversarial confrontation.

We can normalize open-minded behavior through our everyday actions – you don’t reject sexism (or any kind of -ism, really) by waving a banner or noisily cheerleading and then feeling good and continuing on with your lives like you’ve done your part:

  • You reject it by treating everyone you meet equally regardless of their gender (or whatever)
  • You reject it by choosing not to label others or thinking before you say sexist (or whatever-ist) things
  • You reject it by calmly saying, “hey, that’s not cool” to someone acting like an ass and proceeding to model desirable behavior
  • You reject it by creating and supporting positive egalitarian diverse communities that can discuss and dissent (not ghettos of one color or gender, or cults that support only one way of thinking, or groups that automatically default to dichotomous “us vs them” viewpoints)
  • and by teaching the generations to come to be just that little bit better a person than our generation.

Until then, here’s Jeromai – the wolf of indeterminate gender, providing a perfectly gender-neutral blog, hoping to make a point of their own – signing off.

No, seriously, have you got nothing better to do than to
No, seriously, have you got nothing better to do than to keep fixating about what’s down there?

NBI Writing Prompt #3: “Dude, I Played A Game With A Girl Today!”

Bloggy XMAS Day 14: Community and You

I come across a very common theme when I read MMO blogs:

It’s a lament that someone is looking for a community to be part of, but somehow can’t quite find the right game or the right group, or can’t quite spare the time or effort or investment in order to belong.

It made me very curious about the age-old questions on “How do communities form?” or “How do we join a community?” or even “Why do we need community?”

Google, you may be surprised, was not much help.

I got a lot of hits on questions regarding forms, the word “community” just happening to be in some sidebar or other, whereupon which clicking will bring you to that site’s forums.

I got told that you can “join our community” by “clicking this button or this link!” (Yeah, right, as easy as that.)

And, of course, I start getting religion thrown at me when I ask Why questions.

I did, however, find a few interesting links:

  • Michael Wu differentiates between social networks and communities by specifying that an individual generally has only one social network of pre-existing relationships, made up of all the people you know, while communities of various groups of people are formed around and held together by a shared common interest.

He goes on to discuss the formation of relationships between two people and how a weak tie might become a strong one, as well as further overlap and interaction between social networks and communities.

  • Social Media course website provides further reading links, where communities are defined from an economic standpoint, with social capital flowing through the system.

Still, all of this theory doesn’t really answer my main burning question on how to help or encourage those who are seeking a community to find and join one – and just how precisely they should be doing that, since it’s much easier said than done, without clear and constructive suggestions on how to go about that.

Psychochild comes at the community question from the perspective of a game designer or community manager, which is rather fascinating from a non-developer’s standpoint, to see a dev’s take on things. He’s got a lot of grounded advice on how to create, manage and/or lead one.

But what about the just regular joes, the followers, the introverts, the socially anxious, or the players like me that are more than a little allergic to leading these days? The ones that just want to be part of something, and might even settle for a zerg or one of the faceless crowds in lieu of anything better?

Well, if it’s only introversion standing in your way, David Seah’s “Community Building For Introverts” is worth a read.

He finds that it’s worth standing up to lead and “be the mayor” because that way, it’s easier for introverts to control the extent of their interactions with people and who and how many get to enter their community. There’s always a lot more followers than leaders, after all.

What if you’re like me though, and have been so burned out by the effort of leading that any suggestion towards being a nucleus or the center of something makes you want to run screaming to hide in a deep dark quiet hole somewhere away from the hell that is other people?

You see, I got good news and bad news.

The bad news is, if you want to be part of a community, if you’re feeling lonely or just a wish to maybe feel like you belong somewhere, you DO have to make some kind of effort at it.

The good news is, you don’t have to be the center of attention, you don’t have to lead.

Here’s an inspirational idea from a TED talk on “How to Start a Movement.”

You can be the Second Man aka the first follower.

You can be the guy (or gal) to join the first crazy person and offer support and validation of that idea. That reassurance and support encourages others to join in.

Before you know it, a community has surrounded you, and phew, you’re still not the freakin’ center of attention. That’s the first crazy person’s job.

Personally, this appeals to me a lot because I like being behind-the-scenes and still a right-hand person sort of figure.

But what if you don’t have the time or effort to be the Second Man?

Well, you can still be the third, or the fourth, or the fifth, or the Nth person to join in.

The important thing is, you still have to show up.

If you want to be part of a community, you have to make the effort to be there somehow.

In order for others to recognize you, your name or your face has to turn up regularly enough for people to make a connection.

Watching TV doesn’t take a lot of effort, but you still gotta sit your butt on the couch at a certain time and turn the TV on. (Even in the days of Netflix where TV comes on demand, you still have to set aside an hour to watch that show, even if it’s at an hour of your choosing.)

No one’s asking that you jump in there and start leading or become 100% active in whatever community you’re after, but you can take small baby steps of joining and belonging.

Log in. Play for whatever set time you’ve decided. Take note of the people or guild tags that play at that time. Research a guild. Join a guild. Attend events. Participate.

It’s not necessarily a linear sequence, mind you. You might go back and forth for a bit. Some days you might just only be able to do one step or two. Or not at all. Just get back on the wagon when you can.

If it’s a blogging or forum or social media-y community, then y’know… Read posts. Make an account. Lurk. Toss in a comment or two when you can. Maybe even get around to full creation of a post when you have the time.

Sometimes it’ll involve a bit of personal sacrifice.

Tradeoffs of time where one could be sleeping, or doing something else equally tempting, and maybe even personally profitable over merely being social with the community.

But you know, social capital has value too.

Regardless of whether it pays off in just good feelings or the power of reciprocal relationships to get someone else to help you out with something you need or want.

If you want that sense of community, then invest in it.