More Than a Game (on MMOs)

Winds of Change

After a very long month and a half, I’ve found myself in a brand new guild with some familiar faces, and a lot of changes having taken place. I refuse to go into detail, but there were some interpersonal conflicts between people that led me to get stuck in the middle of things. This was difficult.

…but it’s ‘just a game’…

I found myself on a path of being forced to choose between guilds, and it ate me up. I lost sleep; I didn’t feel like eating much (or ate way too much sugar!); I cried.

…but it’s ‘just a game’…

I’ve ended up in a situation where some people don’t talk to me now because I wanted to talk to some people still because hey, I choose who I’m friends with and I choose how I play my game. Still, now there are people I may never play with again (due to their own choice). These are people that I may not even get to say hi to anymore.

…but it’s ‘just a game’…

If you don’t get where I’m coming from on this, it’s that as much as I’ve tried to convince myself that Guild Wars 2 is just a game to me, it’s so much more than that. There are people I have on Facebook, on Steam, and some I even have on Skype. There are people that I’ve shared some pretty deep challenges with. Heck, last night I had someone share her life challenges with me on how they’ve just been given a really crappy hand in life the past year and a half, and I had the amazing opportunity to be a listening ear. Yes, Guild Wars 2 is a game, but what it facilitates is so much more.

Real tears were shed over people who were hurt.
Real pain was felt when I watched friendships be torn apart.
Real decisions were made when I had to figure out who was showing the most integrity, especially since I was told I would eventually be forced to make a choice.

Opportunity

This is not a game. The game creates the opportunity for real people, with real lives, real insecurities, and real hopes and dreams, all to come together to know each other and build into each other’s lives for the better.

So in spite of the pain and frustration I had felt, I’m happy with where things are moving when I’m online in Guild Wars 2. Is it perfect? No… but I’m thankful for the beautiful thing that ArenaNet has created for me–a medium to share greater love and greater care with more and more people throughout the world.

This is more than a game… this is an opportunity…


What have been your experiences of MMOs being more than a game? Share them in the comments below. I’d love to hear them!

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Traveller Thursday #2

As I continue adoring the new First Person Perspective, I’m excited to keep sharing #TravellerThursday with you! Check out some of my latest pictures!

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The magic (science?) of the Asura!

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I honestly adore the Shiverpeaks. Since GW1, it was my favourite place, and now I get to enjoy it with such beautiful perspective. This one’s from Frostgorge Sound.

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The Colossus Fractal is probably one of my favourites. This moment, the first time I saw it, was one of the most beautiful and exciting moments I had in Guild Wars 2.

The Colossus Fractal is probably one of my favourites. This moment, the first time I saw it, was one of the most beautiful and exciting moments I had in Guild Wars 2.

Also, be sure to tweet @gw2traveller your latest screenshots with the hashtag #TravellerThursday for Tyrians to see! I’ll even retweet some of them for the Twitterverse to behold.

Elitist or Elated?

So Happy Together

Many people will disagree, but I stand by the fact that I’ve had better experience with the community of Guild Wars 2 than I have had with any community in MMO gaming (other than LOTRO, before Free 2 Play). Still, there are always some things that make me step back, look, and shake my head.

One of these things was highlighted in a recent experience I had in WvW. Honestly, it was a strange experience that perhaps I misread, but I’ve seen it a few times. There were two tags running around in the particular borderlands and my wife and I, after roaming for a while, decided to run towards the tag who was taking a tower. We figured this would be a great opportunity to jump on some fun battles and capture some places for our world!

The first tag’s commander messaged us and honestly, in retrospect, they weren’t really rude (although I took it as rather rude at the time). They messaged us insisting we “join [guild tag] thx.” Frankly, I wasn’t impressed. I left them alone and we started roaming some more. Then we encountered another tag and thought: “Hey, this’ll be great.” Until we noticed it was another guild who seemed rather abrupt with us (without going into detail).

Finally, we swapped borderlands and saw repeatedly through map chat: “join Mumble on this channel, or gtfo.” I get it that people want to increase the world score; I understand that there’s a competitive element to this part of the game; I know that sometimes people can be overly insistent. Still, to angrily push that people join their channel or get lost? This is toxic.

Please note that this is not normally my experience! I usually love WvW and thoroughly enjoy it some days!

To be honest, an open Mumble, VoIP, or TS service to do WvW is an awesome idea and I wholeheartedly support. The issue is when it moves from the elation of the competition to an elitist atmosphere being created. Think of this from three angles:

1) The Newcomer

How does a person who’s brand new to the game get involved in WvW? If there’s an elitist attitude that’s pushed through, that’s going to isolate quite a few and stop them from getting involved. The thing is, WvW is a phenomenal opportunity to game with a little bit of a PvP environment, but with much less pressure to succeed. There’s often freedom and opportunity for somebody who has no clue how to play the game, to make lots of mistakes under the wing of those who are much more experienced. This is how I’ve learned a lot about the game.

Should we force (as opposed to encourage) others to join, use, or operate under a very specific set of rules, we’re going to miss out on new players that want to explore what WvW has to offer them. Once again, I’m not saying we shouldn’t encourage Mumble to be used, but with a ‘gtfo’ attitude we’re going to host a toxic community for anybody wanting to join.

A balance must be struck between competition & community.
2) The GW2 Player Who Fears PvP

I’m sensitive to this one, because I’m rather terrified by PvP. People say I do great, but I’m constantly feeling the pressure of not disappointing my team, especially if it’s a PuG of people (oh, how I adore Guild PvP nights!). WvW, being a great in-between of PvE and PvP offers less pressure. Because of my sensitivity to those who feel the same as me, I worry when the attitude is overly driven. Should we say: “oh whatever, who cares”? No. Definitely not. I want my world to succeed in WvW and be the top. Still, there is a balance that must be struck between competition and community, and WvW can make that difficult in the upper tiers.

3) The Experienced WvW Gamer

I know of many experienced WvWers (is that a word now?) who are insanely friendly and supportive. I can think of one guild in specific (who will remain nameless) that I get excited when I see them roaming. Often, they’ve allowed me to roam with their guild on and off, so long as I wasn’t getting in the way or being a jerk. Only once did they ask me to back down, and I listened immediately (all the while, I got carried away because we were all laughing so hard).

Still, there’s the reality that when high-achievers gather for a purpose, great things will happen–but at what expense? To have that out-of-left-field experience was pretty surprising, but I’ve been noticing it more and more the past few months. Sure, I get that guilds will do guild-only events in WvW and that’s great, but exclusivity on a grand-scale isn’t going to be healthy. Will we hit a point in our Guild Wars 2 community where those who are more experienced will push out those who are less experienced, all for the sake of victory? I’m not sure this is right. What’s the balance between the competition and the community? I’m not sure I have a real answer.

Elitist vs. Elated

I think it’s important that we recognize that in our passion for this amazing game that tends to bring us great joy and happiness (at least, it does for me), we don’t let our zeal become something that ruins the opportunity we have to continue building a better community. Elitism is never a healthy solution, but being competitive in a healthy manner can be. It’s all about respect. So Tyrians, let’s think outside ourselves and our passions to honestly think through the impact we have when we make ultimatums for others in their gaming. Perhaps this isn’t a solution, but it’s definitely something we ought to consider.

I guess it all comes down to remembering that, like drivers behind the wheel of a car, gamers behind the avatars are real people too.

Traveller Thursday #1

With the new First Person Perspective that I posted about here, I figured I would start something called “Traveller Thursday” where I’ll be posting some of my favourite screenshots I’ve taken around Tyria! Here are some new ones for you to enjoy.

Also, be sure to tweet @gw2traveller your latest screenshots with the hashtag #TravellerThursday for Tyrians to see! I’ll even retweet some of them for the Twitterverse to behold.

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And I Say to Myself… (Camera)

What a wonderful world…gw273So yesterday I received one of the most amazing announcements in the patch notes ever… First Person View! For the longest time, it would drive me crazy when I blogged that I always had to have my character in the shots. Even worse, I found I could never really get screenshots that made me want to make them my desktop. ArenaNet… you have changed that–radically. Today I took my first screenshot with First Person perspective (Field of View turned to about 4/5 of the way), and it was marvelous. I’ve always been amazed by the amount of beautiful things to see in Tyria, and now I feel like I’m going to be discovering them all over again, and in a whole new light. There are a few things I wanted to note: First Person View

  1. You have to enable this under your options. Very important to get you started!
  2. I highly suggest turning up the Field of View so that you get a better glance at everything. I find I can’t go all the way, as it makes me motion sick. Still, play around to find that sweet spot!

Adjust Camera to Character Height

  1. This is one of the most significant things I’ve had added to the game. It affects the next point I want to highlight. The great thing is that it lets you see more of what’s ahead of you and to your sides. Field of View will affect this, as will Vertical Position.
  2. You may find it takes a bit of getting used to, as it’s not consistent with each character (obviously, adjust it to your character’s height). At first, I felt like it made things seem like they used to be until…

Vertical Position Slider

  1. This slider was one of the biggest game-changers to me (and I’m still tweaking it). What I’ve found is that as you scroll your screen out, it’ll zoom more vertically instead of just straight out, allowing you to see the battlefield around you more effectively.
  2. Note, that the higher you put this, the harder it will be to see what’s behind you, so be sure to change your Field of View appropriately.

I know that’s just a very brief overview and doesn’t really give you much advice, but just be sure to play with it all and see what works best. My biggest issue was the Field of View being too high, thus making me motion sick. Ultimately, expect more beautiful screenshots (especially with having my new computer and playing GW2 on max settings) without having to see my sexy norn as often! Q: Have you tried playing with the new camera functions? What’s been your experience (positive or negative)? I’d love to hear in the comments below!

Bonus Blog: Liebster Award Nomination!

Some of you may have heard of the Liebster Award. This is brand new to me (I haven’t been around the blogging world very long), and I think it’s a rather sweet concept. Sure, some may call it a “chain letter,” but I consider it more of an opportunity to make some people feel loved, as well as let you get to know me a bit better. Google the Liebster Award if you’d like, but I hope you enjoy the opportunity that I’m seizing here.

I was nominated by Urebril from the Ranzington Scouts. I’ve known him for just under a year now, and he’s been one of the greatest sources of encouragement online. So thank you for the nomination, my friend! He’s provided a list of 11 questions, and I hope you enjoy my answers to them. 😉

  1. If you had to start the last article you wrote over, what would you do differently?
    Interesting question… I think as my first blog back in a very long time, I probably would’ve put more energy into something that felt like fireworks were going off, and there would be trumpets sounding, heralding my return. Oh, and my friends over at Dragon Season would also be feeding me grapes and the like.

    No, seriously, I don’t think I’d change anything. To come back to blogging after a very challenging few months of my life, it’s exciting to return to the community. I stayed active on Twitter, and my followers have been the most loving, supportive people ever–this includes even many employees of ArenaNet. Thank you all for your love–it’s gotten me through.

  2. What is your favorite MMO? Why?
    Once upon a time I wouldn’t have been able to answer that. I’ve tried everything from LOTRO to WoW, and from Rift to SWTOR. Yet I’ve found an amazing home in Guild Wars 2. Why? 3 Reasons:

    a) The Community – To see so many people who are so supportive of one another, I believe Guild Wars 2 is more than a game. After some recent in-game conflict that had taken place between many friends, I was distraught. Finally, I realized that this is not “just a game” as some may say. No, this is a game with real people. The game seems much less progression-driven than most, which has fostered a beautiful community environment.

    b) Fashion Wars 2 – I love aesthetics. I have an entire category on my blog called “aesthetics” that I haven’t done enough with. I love Transmutation Charges. More than anything, I LOVE DYE!!!!! Oh my goodness. If I could have all the enameled dye, as well as some of the more expensive ones with high saturation like Blacklight? Oh, I would be in Tyrian heaven.

    c) Pick up and Play – Although I spend way too much time doing too little, usually it’s because my options are so wide. I log on, I can do anything with a few mouse-clicks. Dungeon? Done. Silverwastes? Done. PvP? Done. WvW? Done. I get sucked in and can join anything easily. Favourite game ever!

  3. Do you feel the need to role-play your character when playing MMORPGs? Explain.
    I recently had been asked about the origins of the names of all my characters, and the roleplaying element to it all. Honestly, I deleted my first Thief who was an 80 with full exotics. Why? I didn’t feel a ‘connection’ with him. When I create characters, it’s like writing a story: each has personality, conflict, history, preferences, and their own thoughts. Some of my characters get along, while others don’t. Tie that in with being married to a woman who loves stories and roleplaying, and you’ve got many nights of fun. We actually spend time with the two of us, writing stories of the adventures and conflicts of our characters.
  4. What so you consider to be the biggest challenge when writing?
    Accurately conveying my heart. I can convey concepts, but how do you convey a genuine sensation or feeling? How do you convey the impression you get on something–not just from your head, but your heart? This has been the greatest challenge for me to try to get out there, and many seem to connect.
  5. What do you use as your source of inspiration when you write?
    I honestly don’t know how to answer this. It’s like asking what my inspirations are for my music as well (I recently released a single on iTunes). I can’t really tell you. They come from the depths of my heart, influenced from all sorts of fantasy, other bloggers who have nothing to do with gaming, and many books that I read for personal development.
  6. If you could be any character in a story, who would you be and why?
    That’s an insanely difficult character. The first one that comes to mind is Ganoes Paran from the Malazan Book of the Fallen by Steven Erikson. This is my favourite series so far (ok, so I’m only just finishing Deadhouse Gates [book 2]) and I found in Gardens of the Moon, he was real, somewhat feeble, and compelling. Yet the series is all about the evolution of the characters, and that really draws me in. I guess in a lot of ways, I can relate to him in his struggles with identity, self-worth, and purpose.

  7. What is your favorite book of all time?
    Strange question for me to answer. Favourite epic fantasy so far is Gardens of the Moon by the aforementioned Steven Erikson. Favourite for personal guidance and life, the Bible. Favourite for self-development and being challenged to bring life, love, and value to the world would be the Irresistible Revolution by Shane Claiborne.
  8. Name one goal you hope to achieve this year.
    In terms of blogging, my goal is for consistency of releasing my blogs each week. For personal, that goes down to development in my business selling gourmet coffee. So I guess that’s two goals?
  9. What do others say is your best quality? Do you agree?
    Most people say my best quality is my ability to listen/love (as the two are inseparable). I’d say I agree, only because it’s a huge value of mine and something I try really hard to emphasize in my life.
  10. What inspired your online name?
    The Traveller of Tyria actually comes from a title I have in Guild Wars 2–“Traveller.” I was trying to figure out the purpose and heart of the blog. Originally, I figured it would simply be a place for roleplaying-esque jabbering with lots of scenic pictures of what one can find all throughout Tyria. It quickly developed into much more, becoming much more philosophical in nature. It may have been my wife who asked me what I wanted to do involving the blog, and I said: “Travel Tyria.” Thus, the Traveller of Tyria was born!
  11. Do you feel your writing inspires your readers?
    I sometimes find it hard to understand why I would inspire my readers, as I think I babble too much about philosophical concepts in gaming and community, but I know that my friend Urebril frequently encourages me that I’m one of the influences of his writing. So the evidence of at least one is that I do inspire. Do I fully embrace it and believe it? I suppose I don’t want to become arrogant, so I shelf it and say “thank you” for the kind words.

With that being said, I’d love to nominate someone who inspires me greatly. It’s up to you if you want to answer these following questions, but sometimes it’s nice for your readers to hear a little bit more about who you are. The others who I would have nominated have already been stolen away because they’re that amazing.

I nominate…
Aster – My #1 contributor to my blog in 2014, and an all-around great guy. Every encounter I’ve had with him has been positive. He’s encouraging, exciting, and his blog is *always* worth reading! I challenge you to answer the same questions I was asked (copy & paste, baby) to let your readers hear a bit more about who you are, and how awesome you are!

A few others to specially note that you should check out are Dragon Season, Chronicles of Tyria, Varr (who writes for Chronicles of Tyria but I believe deserves special mention), and Wyrmhole Gaming. There are many more, but there you go!

I hope this has given you an insight, so I leave you with a question…
What is one thing you’d like to know about me?

The Juggernaut: COMPLETE

So after too long of a hiatus, I’m back! I hope to be updating this much more regularly now, so bear with me as I try to get myself back in gear. I know a few of my readers were sorely disappointed about having to step away. I had so much going on in my life, from working my full-time job, starting up a business selling gourmet coffee, taking care of two little boys who I absolutely adore, and working on balancing some depression and anxiety challenges that my wife and I have been struggling through.

All that being said, things are going MUCH better now! So I have returned! *Trumpets*

So let me share with you the most exciting thing that I could ever announce…. COMPLETION!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Thanks to my wife and all of her donations, I’m excited to show this off. I’ve had it for a while now, but figured you should all see its full glory–Carapace Armour, Black Wings, and all!

As a little side note: Luminescent Gear works very beautifully with Juggernaut as well…

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I’ve missed you all. So let me know… what’s the most exciting thing that’s happened to you in Guild Wars 2 in the past 6 months?