Thursday, May 21, 2009

In Search of AR-PEE?

WoW can be a strange beast sometimes. I have pushed what I can be bothered to do with Sunraven as far as it goes on our PvE server. I've got titles, I've levelled fishing, I'm got decent equipment and I am casually raiding Ulduar. There's not a whole helluva lot more to do apart from raiding and no incentive to farm, as I have more money than God. Even the Argent Tournament doesn't seem so much of a temptation, now that I have 50 pets, my Gruntling and a cool banner.

'A Cool Banner' is a very strange phrase. I've found that one of the things that I have been doing is gathering more and more roleplay-style bits of fluff for Sunraven, for no purpose other that something to do. So she has a nice wardrobe of dresses, the now-defunct Ruby Shades and some other tat. Its all fun, but with no real purpose apart from tarting around Org in a dress. Like I said, a strange beast.

However, it is a lot of fun and I decided that I would take this urge to play the game in a slightly different way and use it to try one final experiment on the dread WoW RP servers! I've been here before. I played a dwarf warrior on a RPPVP server for a while which was kind of fun, but got swamped by other things. I have tried twice again to start a Night Elf Druid, but they have failed miserably because I lost my temper with the RP-Nazis in the starting areas. This would be my last throw of the MMO-RP-G dice.

Now in the spirit of managing expectations, I'll outline what I am looking for in this 'RP'. What I want is a crucible to experience the game world through a different pair of eyes. A different focus. So rather than considering what I do with everything focusing on what my mechanical output is and whether I am doing the game 'properly', I want to do it 'realistically' from an RP P.O.V.

So what does that mean? Well, my character is Vudunn, a male troll shaman. As a one liner background for him, he was raised by goblins in Ratchett and is seeking the true Troll home, guided by the spirits. He's an engineer - from his goblin background - and has a tiny little pyromaniacal streak, giving him the nickname 'Da Boom! Boom!' Nothing earth shattering there.

So in-game, I have tried to interact with and 'do' as many of the troll or goblin areas as I can, whilst avoiding as much of bloody Silverpine and Tarren Mill as I can. Its not totally possible - just mostly possible. I have a plan, about my ongoing quest through Zul Farrak, Sunken Temple, Zul Gurub, Zul Aman and into Northrend. Its all there, to be done.

I'm part of a guild, the Shadowbranch Tribe - an ad hoc tribe of trolls who have no home and wander Azeroth, searching for their home. Hey, thats cool, that fits with my backstory. Score one for the writing team! They are a canny bunch of people and they take their 'RP' seriously. So seriously that in-guild chat is carried out in the faux-Jamacian patois of the game. Which can be fun, but can also be very tiring when you aren't in the mood.

As with Sunraven, items become very important - because they form more who you appear to be, rather than what you are capable of doing. My engineers goggles are far more in keeping with my character than an early leather helm, so they have stayed. I have some kit that I wear 'off quest' which are my Shaman robes - I even have a cool troll shaman off-hand staff frill. Part of the game is looking for and gathering stuff like this and its a part that I really enjoy. I'm looking forward to trying to get my voodoo mask and robes at later levels!

However, I have yet to encounter the famed WoW 'RP'. It happens, apparently, in Silvermoon City. It happens in Dalaran and Stormwind. It doesn't happen in Orgrimmar, as far as I can see. It may happen tomorrow night, as I will be attending my first ever in-game, in-character troll wedding!

I have fireworks. Boom!Boom!

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

The Gamer Diet

I think we have missed a trick here.

This weekend, my family decided that we were going to begin to address our main health issue - weight. We sat down and we discussed what we all thought about it and why we eat as we do. With the exception of my wife we are all overweight and it is effecting the way we live and operate. The first thing I realised was that the kids know a whole helluva lot of dietary issues from school! The second thing I realised was that whilst exercise and portion size are things to be addressed, the main issue was grazing - what we used to call 'eating between meals'. So, as a first step to some sort of dietary regime, we put a housewide moratorium on eating between meals. And it has worked. Not one of us has had a bite between meal times and it has made those meals all the sweeter when they come.

The second step was to hammer home to the grandparents that this was a family wide initiative and it had to be adhered to when the kids were at their houses too. And that seems to have worked really well.

Which got me thinking...

A number of our gaming family have, for one reason or another, given up or radically reduced the amount that they drink. We were, previously, quite an alcohol-friendly group of gamers with bottles of wine and multiple pints of cider being the order of the day at most gatherings. Not once have any of us felt the need to put pressure on another of us to start drinking again. Indeed, there has been a palpable level of support and understanding for that and some other dietary-related issues that have occured.

A lot of us suffer from the traditional gamer problem of being overweight too, and some of our number have made concerted but fatally flawed efforts to lose weight. Some have considered going to slimming clubs like Weight Watchers. Personally, I have a number of issues with these establishments but I considered recently the thing which people get from them. If you are a pessimistic person, they get the threat of humiliation. If you are a optimistic person, they get support from their peers.

Gamers exist in communities. Between us, we have identified on a number of occassions a shared goal - lose some bloody weight. The way that we do it might vary, but the goal remains the same. What we lack is support. We lack that peer group support that says its OK to have a baked potato on a Wednesday night instead of a Mixed Grill. We lack the encouragement to celebrate the successes and to provide a shoulder to chew on for the setbacks.

I'm not talking about a gamer diet club or some sort of competitive dieting regime (because knowing some of our personalities, it would turn into a fact fest on exactly what is the best way to lose weight and where we are all going wrong!). Rather I'm talking about making 'losing weight' (for those that choose to) the new 'not drinking'.


Omnihedron on Twitter

After evaluating what I might use Twitter for, and realising that as a personal thing it is next to useless, I have decided to give it a bash from a more commercial context.

So, you can now follow Omnihedron Games on Twitter -

Hopefully, this will be more fruitful as it has an actual purpose!