Before World of Wordcraft

By Tim M. 

Prior to my enrollment in our class, I had never played an MMORPG.  I did, however, play a lot of console games.  Dating way, way back (at least for me it’s a long time ago), all the way to the times of GameGear and SNES, I’ve always loved playing sports, racing, fighting/shooting games, and even a select few RPG’s (I’m pretty sure Sonic, Zelda, and Mario installments are considered rpg but feel free to give me a verbal lashing if I’m wrong).  And although a lot of the games I played had very enjoyable single player modes, playing with or against my friends (and a large part with my brother) is the main source of my love for video games.

I never really bothered to think why this was true.  I mean, video games are fun, hanging out with your friends is fun, so I just took it at face value that playing video games with your friends would be doubly fun.  Once I read this blog topic (and played some FIFA) and started thinking about where video games fit into my life, I surprised even myself by realizing that the same qualities that are fostered through playing competitive team sports can be learned through playing video games competitively.  I learned to lose gracefully and become better by not making the same mistakes over and over.  I learned to compete, and not always by myself, but often with a teammate or teammates (2v2 FIFA or Madden) in the same way a sports team must compete together.

Though this is just a brief list of the things I learned from video games, I’ve realized that all the times my dad told me that video games were just fun and not useful he was wrong.  I was developing a very similar skill set playing video games with my friends that I did playing sports with my friends, which he supported to no end.  I think I’m going to have him download the podcasts of our class, maybe he can learn a thing or two.


Playing Sports Games: From NBA Jam to Madden 08

Ever since I first got a Super Nintendo, I have been consistently playing video games. And in the beginning, I would just sit on the couch in the basement, where I had my systems set up on a big TV, and just play for hours on end, taking a break now and then for food.

My gaming experience began with the SNES classics of Ninja Turtles in Time IV, Mortal Kombat, and NBA Jam. It continued on through Goldeneye, Cruisin’ USA and Zelda on the N64, all of which still happen to be sick games. Nowadays, I don’t get to play nearly as much as I have in the past, but I still definitely play my fair share of games, such as FIFA 07, Madden 08 and Hitman:Blood Money on my 360.

But more than anything other genre of video games, I have always been a fan of a great sports game. I have played against my friends in every kind of sports game imaginable, and they never cease to create competition and excitement.

For example, I don’t believe that anything in the video game world is more exciting than hitting the winning jumpshot with Kobe in NBA Live with 2 seconds left on the clock, scoring a goal in the 90th minute of a FIFA game with Thierry Henry, or even batting down a pass in the endzone to seal the victory in Madden. I find sports games to be the most social of games, which is probably why someone like myself, who prefers to play against someone than against a computer, is such a fan of the genre.

That being said, I do enjoy playing sports games by myself as well and have probably played way, way too many seasons in the franchise mode of Madden. My great affection towards sports games is clearly because I enjoy both playing and watching sports in the real world so much, but even having played all different kinds of games, I still stick to my opinion that apart from the really great games of other genres (such as Halo or GTA), nothing tops a good sports game against a friend.

Spudmonkey’s take on: Gaming and Life

I have been the biggest gamer I’ve known for a long time. I’ve owned just about every console there’s been since the original NES, and poured countless hours into each one. I’ve ventured into the PC gaming foray to a far smaller extent, however those games that did manage to catch my attention (Counterstrike, WoW, Diablo) all chewed up large portions of my life, easily. Not only do I tend to play large quantities of games for large amounts of time, but I have even been known to (okay now, let’s be honest, it’s a habit) listen to gaming podcasts from 1UP, Gamespot, IGN, and more.

I used to think that I may end up in a job at a video game developer. I took Computer Science for a majority of my time in High School, and have a pretty strong level of experience with developing all sorts of multimedia; 3d-modeling, photoshop-ing, and producing semi-professional grade music — all on my home computer. For whatever reason, I became disenfranchised with the whole game-development career path and decided instead to shoot for something a bit more traditional, business manager-/entrepreneur-style.

At times I wonder if it’s sad that I spend so much time thinking about and playing video games. It doesn’t take long, however, to make myself feel better about this. I just make sure that I don’t fit in with the stereotypical gamer (I’d also just like to say that it’s unfortunate that there is such a stereotype) in most other respects. I try to be extroverted in social situations, make sure that I’m pretty physically fit at all times, and… not wear pocket protectors or tuck my shirts into my underwear. All in all, I’d say that I keep my gaming to a hobby, one of many that I have. I try not to let it consume me… at least not for too long at a time anyway (straight up, you will not see me the day of September 25 – Halo 3, baby!). My name is Greg and I’m a gamer… but it’s not my primary profession. For everyone who gets the WoW reference, I applaud you.

My Gaming Life

       I had very little gaming experience up until my sophomore year in high school.  My first exposure to real gaming started when Call of Duty came out.  My friends and I used to play against each other or on teams, but our goal was always to beat someone else.  It was another way in which we could compete against our friends and prove our dominance and skill.  We would switch between FIFA and Call of Duty but always the joy came from winning a competition.  Luckily for me, I asked my friend if I could try the single player part of Call of Duty, and I became hooked to the history, the story telling, and the interaction I got from the different missions, or quests, my character went on during the game.  I felt as if I was living WWII.      

       Now, I cannot say that I do not like to play games for competition, but rather, I like to play games for two different reasons.  I can compete against my friends in a game when they are standing in the room with me, or I can play from far away via the Internet.  In fact, this has become one of the ways I am able to keep in touch with one of my friends who is now going to school at USC; we play a game of Resistance every weekend.  The second reason I play video games is to get caught up in the world that the game takes me in.  For me, it is like reading a book and actually interacting in the world I am reading about.       

       I do have to admit that sometimes I get so caught up in my gaming world that I will forget to something in the real world I am living in, whether it be something like taking out the trash or going on a date.

Michael Ray Shearer

So I just started playing Lord of the Rings Online, and I went in
enthusiastically but cautiously, having never played a MMORPG before. I
was expecting all the things my World of Warcraft-playing friends were
constantly moaning about: the grinding, the scam artists, and, of course,
the monotonous fetch-this and kill-that quests MMORPG’s are famous for.
I was not expecting a game that, at times, strikes an emotional chord as
deeply as the LOTR movies themselves did upon first viewing. I don’t want to give away too much for any readers out there who have not experienced the game yet themselves, but supporting characters do die, sometimes in bunches, and you will mourn their loss. There is even one quest where you have to go and bury the bodies of friends who have fallen in battle, an emotionally wrenching chore for those who were willing to invest time into the game’s numerous backstories and thus grew attached to certain NPC’s.

I was pleasantly surprised to discover the reactions that this game
invokes from me. Anytime one feels about a game reinforces the illusion
of reality that video games today attempt to foster. This delusion of
reality even calls to mind the Hindu idea of maya, which if I recall 12th
grade theology correctly states that the world we live in is an illusion
that leads us to think it is real. Maya even can denote magic. In one
sense, the best videogames create their own maya, and so far LOTRO is
doing an excellent job of it. I’m looking forward to continuing on.


Killing Dusk Wolves is Useless

by Timothy Patrick Maloney

Though this may seem a senseless and maybe naïve title for my first blog
entry, it actually represents my first MMORPG experience perfectly.
Shortly after my character was created (a human guardian), I found my way outside the safety of Archet’s walls and into open territory. I had read the manual and had my keyboard card (the oversized index card that tells you what the buttons do) in front of me and was ready to do battle with whatever I came across. This, of course, was a wolf, a howling dusk wolf I believe though my memory is hazy. I was of course victorious and set off to find and kill as many wolves and bristlehides as possible. Eventually, the repetitive murdering of weak animals lost its aura and I had lost mine: was this all there was to do?

I soon realized that I was very, very wrong. Once I discovered that a
ring over a person meant they had something they needed me to do for them, a whole world of possibilities opened up. My fear (albeit it an
irrational fear) that all there would be to this game was kill animals,
level up (slowly) and wait for a storyline to magically unfold was gone.
I began talking to every character with a ring over his or her head,
reading what they had to say (and often re-reading upon getting viciously lost), and wondering the vast, new world I found myself in trying to satisfy their requests of me. Upon completing my first big quest, saving Archet from the Blackwold, the world I could roam only grew, and I can only hope it keeps growing.

Screenshot caption: A spinner disturbed my swim and paid the price.


McLovin’s first week of MMORPG gaming

Playing LOTRO online this week has been my first experience with MMORPG games. I never really had an interest in World of Warcraft, although I had a few friends who did. One friend inspired me to give it a shot when he said that most people in the world would run from his level 70 character, but the game never really grabbed me. Maybe I just didn’t play it long enough.

Anyways, LOTRO has been more entertaining to me than my prior experience with WoW. I like that there is a mix of story-driven quests and side quests, so that you can determine to an extent how linear the storyline is going to be. You can run around and complete all of the side quests or go straight through the story based quests, as I had to do in order to quickly get my character out of Archet for Tuesday’s class.

I have been using a Kamikazee tactic with my level 7 man captain, a.k.a. running into a cellar infested with spiders or into the blackwold stronghold swinging my sword blindly while I get beat down relatively quickly and sent back to Archet. After enough failed attempts, I decided to try something new. I get close enough to an enemy so that they notice me, and then lure them off to the side so that the group doesn’t follow. Then I can have a straight up one on one battle, and this usually ends more favorably than running in guns blazing.

Heres one of the few times the kamikazee worked out: