Rants tag

Rants, ruminations, and rambling reports from the front lines* of the Massively Multiplayer Multiverse.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Real Relationships in Virtual Space

Hey, everyone. I guess it's been a while; so much for my wanting to post more consistently. If you're wondering, a combination of too much work and not enough play left me without energy or inspiration, so I've failed to post anything since my anniversary post in January. I just realized that last month was the first calendar month since I started this blog that I did not post at least once. This is also the longest gap I've had between posts. If you're still around, thanks for hanging in there.

I got caught up on Battle Bards (though I just saw Syp has posted another), and realized I had missed Belghast's Bel Folks Stuff with Petter Mårtensson, of Csicon and other endeavors. Bel and Petter, discussed (among other things) "virtual" relationships, and how they can be just as real as what I would call "meatspace" relationships. This is the culmination of several threads and discussions I have had recently on this topic. My daughter and I were talking yesterday about Facebook, and how because of FB's stream algorithms, you might end up seeing a lot more from people you may not have been that close to in high school, and your best buds fall off the feed. I have actually met almost all of my "friends" on FB, but I feel closer to and interact on a daily basis with far more people on Twitter, most of whom I have never met in person at all, and then only because we had already cultivated a friendship online. In many ways, FB represents "somebody that I used to know," while Twitter (and G+) represents my current circle of friends.

Now, as I am sure is the case with you, there is some overlap between my virtual social sphere and my meatspace friendships. I have friends and co-workers that I have played MMOs with and that I occasionally hang out with if we are on trips. Of course, Scooter and I share our life together, both in person and online.

Xander from Beyond the Veil mentioned yesterday that he misses his buddy since I dropped out of the show. I worry about Scarybooster when he deploys to the Middle East. I wonder how MMOGC is doing with her family. These are real friends of mine. I know people who have fallen in love completely online, and their feeling is not diminished by its virtuality. In verifying that February was indeed the only month I had completely missed, I came across a couple errant comments covering the concept of the Monkeysphere, and my view that at a fundamental level, our brains don't comprehend the difference.

Petter and Belghast speculated about a future where we will be able to fully experience virtual reality, talking about direct stimulation of the brain's sensory regions. While I agree that this is a closer possibility than the holodecks of Star Trek: the Next Generation, I initially thought that holodecks would be better for us because of their relative physicality. But Petter and Bel pointed out that "jacking in" could free persons locked into the physical limitations of disabling injuries or illnesses, enabling them to interact once again with loved ones in virtual space.

And that sounds like a beautiful thing.
~~~
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Thursday, January 15, 2015

Five Years Blogging, Still a Noob

With full "pups" to Wilhelm Arcturus for inspiring the title of this post, I greet you, Dear Reader, on this auspicious occasion. As of this post—strangely enough, my first of the year—I have been blogging about MMOs for over a tenth of my life. It's honestly a bit of a surprise.
I played quite a few games this year: EverQuest 2, Landmark, The Elder Scrolls Online, WildStar, a return to Rift and Guild Wars 2. And, of course, The Secret World. Some were played more consistently than others. And at my side in each has been my lovely bride, Scooter.

I haven't been particularly consistent with IHTtS, either. Some months I blogged every day, or nearly so. Others, I barely posted at all. I would like to post more regularly this year. Thank you, Dear Reader, for joining me on this journey. And here's to many more miles together.
~~~
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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. If you are reading this post through RSS or Atom feed—especially more than a couple hours after publication—I encourage you to visit the actual page, as I often make refinements after the fact. The mobile version also loses some of the original character of the piece due to simplified formatting.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Farewell to the Old, Ring in the New

I have always found doing a year-end retrospective a little awkward, since my blogoversary comes so soon in January, and I feel like I would end up being doing essentially the same post over again. But it's great to read about what other folks have thought about 2014, and what their hopes and plans are for the coming year.

After sorta staring at this post for a couple hours (I am actually doing several things right now), I find myself in the same general stupor of thought that has plagued me regarding the blog and gaming since at least September. Even Rift, which I am still interested in, has fallen a bit by the wayside in the wake of a surprisingly busy December.

I'm watching a lot more TV, by way of Netflix. So many nights, it just seems easier to vedge a bit in front of the boob tube instead of pulling out my gaming rig. And that's actually saying something. I have ripped through the first season Agents of SHIELD after having let it fall by the wayside last year. And I am watching Cosmos, with Neil DeGrasse Tyson, which is proving to be an entertaining look at science. While much of it I've known for years, I'm actually learning a lot. I guess I haven't kept up with everything since I've gotten out of college—at least not developing theories.

This weekend, I dipped back into GW2. Almost deleted several characters just to start over, but I resisted the temptation. I'm relearning how stuff works in that game, plus there have been a few changes since my last foray into Tyria. Depending on her mood, I might even convince Scooter to join me. But even I am not really serious about returning. It's a nice diversion, though. Hopefully, January will involve less running around like a chicken with its head cut off, and we can settle back into a decent gaming routine. Telara needs us. Or something.
~~~
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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. If you are reading this post through RSS or Atom feed—especially more than a couple hours after publication—I encourage you to visit the actual page, as I often make refinements after the fact. The mobile version also loses some of the original character of the piece due to simplified formatting.

QOTD: Functional Plateau

I have a theory that all software inevitably reaches a functional plateau from a user’s perspective long before its designers are done with it. Consequently they go on fiddling and tweaking when we are already fully satisfied. Applies to MMOs, too.
~Bhagpuss, commenting on TAGN.
I have seen this phenomenon myself, over and over again. I believe it may apply to other, more durable, products, as well. But the relative ease of changing software means it happens faster in that industry.
~~~
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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. If you are reading this post through RSS or Atom feed—especially more than a couple hours after publication—I encourage you to visit the actual page, as I often make refinements after the fact. The mobile version also loses some of the original character of the piece due to simplified formatting.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Bloggy Xmas Day 20: Twisted Peppermint

So the Bloggy Xmas living advent calendar comes around to me. I share today with The Mystical Mesmer and I look forward to reading his post. One of the disadvantages of going late in the month is that I doubt I will have anything new to say about the topic of "Community." But when have I ever let that stop me?
I have covered the topic of community many times on this blog. In fact, a total of 82 posts, including this one, are tagged as community related.

Dictionary.com's third definition for community is as follows:
a social, religious, occupational, or other group sharing common characteristics or interests and perceived or perceiving itself as distinct in some respect from the larger society within which it exists (usually preceded by the):
"the business community; the community of scholars."
The (video) gaming community certainly shares common interests,  if not characteristics, and we do perceive ourselves as distinct from larger society, even if study after survey indicates that the vast majority of people in developed countries play video games of some sort. Game bloggers are an even smaller community.

I love participating in community events like NBI, Blaugust, and Bloggy Xmas, and am grateful for folks like Belghast and Syl who organize such events. Every year, Stargrace organizes a gamer Secret Santa. Much like guild leadership, it is not a job I envy. I, myself, lack the motivation (and perhaps charisma) to get folks to come together like that, though I am happy to encourage the leaders and my fellow participants.

I have had the pleasure of playing with many fellow bloggers, and enjoy reading about the exploits of many more. Living in the Internet Age, we don't have to reside in the same geographic locale to develop friendships and, in some cases, even familial bonds. Our community spans the globe. Like many other online communities, we discover that we are not alone and can find refuge with each other from the travails of our lives.

Sometimes we disagree, and sometimes it gets ugly. But we are not all the same, anymore than mere geography makes us the same as others in our offline communities. Things can get ugly there, too.

However, this is the season for communities to come together, help each other and spread goodwill. Much like Syl's Swiss fellow citizens come together to create a town-wide advent calendar, hopefully this Bloggy Xmas will promote good cheer and a greater sense of community in this blogosphere.

Syl, the MMO Gypsy, has organized a community of bloggers to present a post or two each day from 1 December until Christmas. Just click the calendar to go to the Event site. And may you find joy in whatever holidays you celebrate this month.
~~~
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. If you are reading this post through RSS or Atom feed—especially more than a couple hours after publication—I encourage you to visit the actual page, as I often make refinements after the fact. The mobile version also loses some of the original character of the piece due to simplified formatting.