(Gnome) Tank for Life

WoW (sur)names
March 23, 2010, 14:29
Filed under: real-life, thought

The name’s Bond. James Bond.

At the risk of making my blog look like a wish list of features/functions that I’d like to see in WoW, this post questions why WoW still only features single-word names. No, there will be no quoting Shakespeare.

I recently read an article on wow.com which goes into the fine details of naming characters in WoW and it evoked a recurring thought: why Blizzard still didn’t implement surnames in WoW. Take a look at some other MMO’s, some of which even predate WoW (Everquest, Guild Wars, EVE Online, Anarchy Online, you name it)  where having a surname is mandatory. Not only does it effectively double the unique-ness of your avatar name but it allows for an exponentially greater number of names than currently. And a surname isn’t just for roleplayers either. Although there are addons for RP purposes such as flagRSP, which add a description to boot, these don’t really expand the range of variety when choosing a character name.

My main reasoning in giving surnames to players would be pretty simple: The game has been running for 5+ years with 5 million+ EU+US subscriptions and Heavens know how many millions of characters created all of which had to be uniquely named… there comes a point where we simply run out of unique, meaningful names.

My secondary reasoning follows directly – going by Blizzard’s own extensive naming policy and Support article, quote:

The bottom line is that we want World of Warcraft to be a fun and safe environment for all players. World of Warcraft is an MMORPG, and the key words are “Massively Multiplayer.” In playing this game, you will encounter thousands of other players who share different experiences and come from vastly different backgrounds. While a certain name may not be offensive to you, consider the fact that that same name may have a completely different effect on someone else.

one could be pretty damn hard pressed to find a name that is both unique, appealing to you, totally appropriate and unbeknownst to you, doesn’t contain some hidden cultural, national, scientific etc. meaning that people will read into it when they first see you in party or chat window.
although creative people will never have too much trouble with kuming up (ha ha-bad pun) with something (look no further than Tamarind and her masterfully named troll shaman 😉 ) But aside from purposely drawing on RL references, your name will always be at risk of sounding just like something else, something random that you never knew about but which exists in the world, just waiting for people to confuse it/associate with. For example, I lost count of how many times I’ve been asked in-game if I play hockey IRL. Huh? Yet no explanation was ever given, why? It wasn’t until the N-th time that I learned of Mats Sundin who was a swedish hockey player and since he’s been retired for some time, I guess SWE people just assumed that he just shuffled some characters around in his name and went by the name of Sudiin to play a gnome warrior in WoW in his free time, I dunno.

This isn’t a one-in-a-million coincidence, but perhaps could be avoided if I could properly name my gnome Sudiin Crimsonstone which is his surname in that hazy RP background I thought up for him.

Anyway, there were many was some discussion about this topic (and it has been brought up in another blog.. back in 2007) on the official forums and the answer was never a plain negative, so until Blizzard specifically states No (which they virtually never do, they always leave a door open) there is still some hope that this feature will make it into the next expansion or the one after that.


Is WoW & MMO’s one path of auto-evolution? Jane McGonigal@TED
March 17, 2010, 16:03
Filed under: gaming, philosophical, real-life, thought

“…it turns out, that by spending all this time playing games we’re actually changing what we are capable of as human beings, we’re evolving to be a more collaborative and hardy species.”

Celebrating the 1st double-post day with an awesome thought-inspiring talk @ TED, which was posted today on YouTube. The things she talks about are particularly interesting in relation to raiding…

It’s just pixels right?
January 29, 2010, 10:20
Filed under: gear, real-life, thought

I am, of course, referring to in-game items. Have you ever felt that despite WoW itself being an arbitrary non-reality, the things you acquire in this non-reality can and do affect your mood in real life?

The first time this happened to me way back in Vanilla WoW, after weeks of farming for [Foror’s Compendium of Dragon Slaying], and more weeks of trying I finally managed to temper that blade and pick up my Quel’Serrar. The following day my thoughts were primarily occupied with how I’m going to put it to use, what i’ll enchant it with, and generally how bad it will be tanking with one of the best looking and geared tank-swords in the game. And I was happy happy happy throughout the day, my only worry was not being able to explain to others why.

Then when I finally grabbed my first ever proto-drake from a Mysterious Egg (and I longed for a proto-drake, ANY proto-drake since Wotlk came out), the next day I would be cheerful at everyone at work and at home, with thoughts drifting back to my new mount every hour or so.

So finally I am getting very close to being able to craft the Ashen Verdict tank legs, which I have saved up for since before 3.3 even came out and I first heard about the material requirements. I have driven my alts mercilessly, almost all of them almost everyday to the brink of exhaustion in order to get enough saronite and  it will all pay off this evening. Yet again I find myself thinking about how nice it’ll be to grab another BiS item, how nice it’ll be to gem it, how much AP and EH will the extra armor offer, etc. In general, all the work I’ve put into making the thing without spending 20.000 gold on it (which I wouldn’t have anyway) will have come to an end after 1 last daily tonight. And it feels good. The fact that it’s Friday may also play some part in this, but my day is already made 😉

I guess it would seem somewhat strange to feel joy elevated by something that’s practically non-existant. Then again, often a simple idea, a picture, a sound or tune achieves the same result and nobody will find anything strange about it. I guess a little bit of it ties into Larísa’s take on the values we attach to in-game items, achievements, characters, guilds. After all everything begins with an idea in the human mind.

On health and WoW
January 21, 2010, 12:37
Filed under: gaming, raid, real-life

Now, I’m not a person of the best health and conditioning and I don’t do any sports (beside lots of Poi in the summertime) but it has come to my attention recently that too many people prioritize healthy gaming a little lower than they should. For example, I have friends who will forego eating proper supper before raidtime, instead filling their bellies with snacks and junk-food. Folks, the fact that your stomach does not rumble in protest of being empty, does not mean there is no cause for worry!

Here is a very, very good post on TankSpot (courtesy of Jalousie) which details the things you can do to minimize the stress that you put your body through during a 3-5 hour session of raiding. I will highlight some of the best pointers here:

  1. Sit straight, lift up your head and straighten your neck! This is imperative, lots of old-age backaches can be prevented by shoring up your back and not sitting like the letter C.
  2. In accordance with point 1. avoid looking down or up into your monitor! Your screen should be level with your eyes.
  3. Relax at set time intervals! Stand up, stretch out, take a few steps, lie down, at least for just for 2 minutes every hour. While /following someone back after a wipe if you have to.
  4. Tanks! Probably each one of us has heard of the infamous carpal-tunnel syndrome (or RSI – Repetitive Strain Injury), and we do NOT want it for ourselves.  Please do take your hands off your mouse and keyboard and move them around a bit when you take a short break. Try not to have shift/alt/ctrl as part of those keybinds you use the most (HS, devastate, shield slam most likely) as holding these while spamming the skill will really stress your shift/alt/ctrl-holding finger
  5. Eat well and drink well! Believe me it’s not worth saving those last 15-20-30 minutes before raidtime, it is a 500% better use of your time to consume some sort of hot dish before sitting down to raid 4 hours than to take a bag of chips with you. Prepare the meal beforehand and take it with you to eat in parts if you have to, but I cannot stress this enough: snacks are no substitute for a hot wholesome meal. Any sort of fruit is a great addition to a normal meal and/or during raid.
  6. Again, drink a lot! Mineral water or even tap water is the best but tea/other non-sugary drinks will well suffice too. Most likely nobody will take offense at any time if you “brb bio” during raid. If they do, they suck. Coffee/hot chocolate is great for keeping up till late but it does not substitute proper liquids like water.

Stay healthy! Remember if by any chance WoW is still going strong in 5-10 years from now and you’ll still be playing, you don’t want to suffer from the consequences of your earlier unhealthy gameplay.