Wednesday, 7 March 2012

What would you be if you were a WOMAN playing an MMO? - by Katie Highnam

I was recently asked by a friend of mine to join his league in DCU Online as it is full of boys, and they need some motivation to stay in the group, and talk more to each other, building a team mentality etc.etc. so I started thinking about girls and how they affect groups in gaming situations.
The reasons for women’s importance in MMOs are obvious, there are very few “proven” women in the genre in the form of “Pics or gtfo”, World of Warcraft has about 20% of its users as real women, and that’s pretty high for an MMO. So when there is a proven woman her personality can have a much greater influence on the group than would happen in normal life.

I would say there are three general types on women in MMOs and obviously these are highly stereotyped and there are degrees between the types but there is one type that can bond the clan together, another that doesn’t affect the clan in any way and the third type either causes conflict or drama without knowing or intentionally and can damage the clan.

The first type of woman in the MMO world is the “Tag-along” type, the girl who joined because her boyfriend plays and she wants to share something with him. Unless her boyfriend is involved in some politics or drama in the group this girl usually stays out of the way, is good support in PK or PVP but doesn’t commit too much to the group, she does no harm. 

Pictured: The Tag-Along

The second type of girl is the “Drama Queen” type, the girl who loves playing MMOs and really gets into them, but is over reactionary to anything that anyone says. Either she flirts with everyone and tries to cause drama with the rest of the guild relationships or she acts out because she feels under-represented and hard done by because she is in the minority. 

The third type of girl is the “Mother-figure” type, she cares about the MMO and loves to play it and care about all the people in the clan like it was a family. She helps mediate disagreements between the clan and keeps the clan working together. She can help motivate the clan and bond them into a team. 

Visual representation of a protective mother. Dumbo is a Lv.12 Paladin at this point in the movie.

A mix of these women is ideal for the balance of a guild, the Drama Queen is usually great at taking her anger out or proving herself in PK or PVP, the Tag-along is a great support and the Mother-figure obviously does what she does. I figure I am a mix of the Drama-Queen and Mother-figure and I have written a quick quiz for you to find out which type you would be!

What keeps you playing?
a) The PVP!
b) Being able to spend time in a fantasy with my partner
c) The friends that I have made here

d) I'm a man

What do you want most?
a)  Better equipment for the PK and to make lvling easier.
b) A teleportation system that means I can teleport to my partner or vice versa whenever we want.
c)  More team activities

d) I don't know but I'm a man

What Pet do you have in game?
a) Anything that gives me the best boost for my stats, I wanna be MORE powerful!
b) Anything that matches my outfit and looks cute
c) A pet that balances my character and supports my style of play well

d) Something manly because I'm a man

Why did you join?
a) I looked around for a game with good PK or PVP that ran well on my PC
b) My partner found this game and enjoyed it, so I thought I’d give it a go too
c) My friends told me about this game, and even if I don’t play with them now, I have made some good friends here

d) I'm a man is why.

Michael Jordan about to dunk a basketball. Just thought it was time for a picture! Trollface.

What graphics style do you like?
a) I modded the style anyway to make it run faster for the PVP
b) I’m not too fussed, I got used to the game because of my partner
c) I like it to be friendly and not too bloody

d) Any graphical style that appeals to my manliness as I am a man.

What needs to be improved in the guild you are in?
a) The way items are given out I’m not given enough stuff from the team activities!
b) Sometimes I feel that my partner and I aren’t taken seriously enough
c) Less trash talk of each other, I feel I need to stand up for a lot of people in the guild

d) As long as these 'improvements' don't interfere with me being a man then I'm cool.

What type of class do you like to play?
a) Anything with a lot of power; DPS or massive AOE damage
b) I play full support and work with my partner or a team
c) Support/Damage mix I’m all about the balance

d) As long as it's male I'm fine.

Mostly As: Yep you guessed it! You are the Drama Queen! You love having power and being able to survive without support, but these games have party and team areas for a reason, just be careful you don’t upset your team, or you will find out why they say the whole is greater than the sum of its parts!

Mostly Bs: You’re the Tag-along! I hope that you keep playing the MMO if you and your bf break up as there are a lot of lovely people in the game who would love a full support character to help them and you can always make friends or morph into the Mother figure!

Mostly Cs: Surprise surprise! You are the Mother-figure, people in the guild look to you for political support, fairness and justice in guild activities. Just be warned, your status in the guild might be resented by the Drama Queen who thinks that her role is more important or less rewarded than your own, and it’s your job to keep her calm!

Mostly Ds: You're a man. Or at least you claim to be.

Monday, 5 March 2012

GLaDOS is nothing compared to the Helicopters in Half-Life 2.

At some point the well known gaming site IGN compiled a top 100 videogame villains list. Sorry to spoil the ending folks but the number one spot went to GLaDOS from the Portal series, as in "the cake is a lie" GLaDOS. Yep, you know who I mean. GLaDOS. Good. I remember reading this list about a year ago and being satisfied by IGN's choice. GLaDOS is a perfectly insane computer that not only forces the player character Shell to be a test subject for the Portal Gun to then go and reward her with a lie about a cake, attempted murder by barbeque and many other personal insults to boot. She even makes your befriend an inanimate Companion Cube only to make you roast it in some kind of waste disposal unit. A despicable yet brilliant villain through and through. 

This was the least annoying image for this concept I could find. 

But hang on. I really like GLaDOS. She's got good voice acting, she made me laugh out loud and without her in the game Portal would merely be a great concept game instead of the excellent experience that it was. The truth of the matter is that I didn't want to kill GLaDOS in the end because, quite frankly, I thought she was boss. I then came to the realisation that as Shell, the victim, I had every reason to hate GLaDOS but as Jak, the player, I had no beef with the deranged computer woman thing. I then started applying this to other so called 'great' baddies. I mean sure Link has reasons to go and kill Ganondorf in the Legend of Zelda series but personally I think he's got great style and he seems like a real man's man. He never systematically corrupted my home world so I don't have beef with him. 

See that? He's the Great King of Evil !  He's not the Annoying Douchebag of Impoliteness is he? 
I played through the entirety of Half-Life 2 this weekend for the first time. It's in my collection and it's a classic so I decided to just go for broke and power through it all. For the first time in a long while I found that my lungs filled with bile as I first came into contact with a Combine Helicopter gunner. My word I hated it's guts from the moment I saw it. For those of you don't know the game very well, this piece of shit helicopter starts appearing very early on in the game when you have nothing more than a crowbar and a couple of basic firearms at your disposal and it begins peppering you with gunfire, often when you have minimal cover to protect yourself and for the greatest part of the game you have no way of countering it's attacks or inflicting any damage on it at all. Your hard earned Health and Suit Energy bars are whittled down as you try and scramble past the sections that the flying git guards. The same kind of irritation was caused by the Dropships and Striders that plagued later sections.

I see this and I want it destroyed. Hate is all I feel towards Striders.


Although the main villain of this game is meant to be the conniving traitor to humanity Dr. Breen, I can only say that the joy I had defeating him was nothing compared to the elation I felt when I first got my hands on a surface to air missile launcher in the game. I knew exactly what I was going to need it for as soon as I was given it and bringing down my first Combine gunship was pure bliss. Not from the point of the character Gordon Freeman, but from me dammit. I'm sure the calm stoic character of Dr. Freeman would have just seen the act of downing the ship as just a necessary act of survival but I can assure you I was howling in celebration when I saw the ship crash to the ground. Well done Valve, you really have managed to make some great villains. Villains I actually love to kill. That doesn't happen very often and my only other example are the birds and hang gliding ninjas from Ninja Gaiden. Play it and you'll know what I'm talking about.