On the joys of being a girl gamer…

Clichés, we all have them and we all want to defy them.
As a girl with a gaming habbit (addiction?), I come across them quite often.

1. Hot gamer chicks.

No, I’m not some skinny, half naked hot chick with an XBox controller between her teeth. I don’t even own an XBox, ffs! So stop your imaginary drooling.

2. No-lifer, screaming at her XBox

I have a life thank you very much. I even have real life friends and a tangible boyfriend. /proud.
Also: I still don’t own an XBox

3. Favouritism / Girls can’t game

Back in my WoW days, I had to fight quite a bit for my raidspot. No, I did not get picked by the officers cause of my boobs. No, I did not bribe anyone with promises of half naked pictures with an XBox controller. I got on the team because I can actually kick your ass! And even though I do enjoy proving you wrong, having to defend myself every week gets a bit boring.

4. Girls don’t exist!

The cliché about girls on the internet: they’re not real.
Let me check here. Boobs, yeah. Lack of penis, yeah. Yep, I’m a girl. And according to Descartes, I’m very real. So get over it!

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Awwwww yeahhh!!

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This article has some very interesting ideas on instruction, literacy and media use. It certainly caught my attention!

Instructional Design Fusions

Storytelling is a powerful way of making learning stick. Moving from canned instruction to a narrative engages learners and helps them connect what’s being taught to their own mental models. Allowing learners to shape the narrative themselves is a particularly good way of allowing learners to pull what they need from the learning experience.

Enter transmedia

Transmedia uses different types of media to tell a story so it also sometimes goes by the name “cross-platform storytelling.” Transmedia audiences immerse themselves in narratives that  exist in parallel media universes and can dip into different expressions of a story, exploring this character’s perspective, or that setting’s context and history. An important way transmedia is different from simple multimedia delivery is that it’s participatory. Content is created and shared by users who, ideally, can take a role in shaping the narrative.

A good transmedia experience is a difficult feat to pull off and…

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Blog fail & finally clean

Apparently… I fail at blogging ^^

As in… forgetting I have one and not posting for -how long?- 1 week!
So WordPress, could you please install a ‘kick-me-in-the-butt-to-get-me-posting-when-I-forget’ function? Or would that be a lame name?

Also: quite proud of myself. And quietly proud too. I always mix up those two when it comes to spelling. Quiet, quite… Damn you, English language! And yet my spelling is still better than in my native one. Hurray! Oh yeah, the being proud part… (I get way too easily distracted lately). I ultimately and finally quit World of Warcraft! I managed to escape the addiction. Whoot whoot!
I was planning on actually returning to Azeroth and had a game card ready. But it basically sat in my backpack’s back pocket for a month. So I decided to give it away. I had no more urges to get back into that game whatsoever. The only reason I’d go back is my guild, but they turned into drama queens and a lot of cool people left. So here’s my goodbye note to them.

Dear guildies,

I’ve spent two years in your company.
Went from a noob hunter to a halfway decent dps and an almost decent healer.
I was there on our server first HC Lich King kill. (Ok ok, as a supporter on vent, but I was there on the other tries! And I almost shit my pants when you guys decided to almost wipe in the last couple of minutes!)
I picked up the pieces when raiders decided to QQ. Somehow I was good at being glue in the group. (Being a girl is awesome btw!)
You guys were my online (though not only, tyvm) friends for a very long time.
Some of you were on my own 10 man raiding team. Sorry for the yelling, but you should stop standing in purple shit on the floor.
Others had no faith in me when I got my full time raiding spot. (Being a girl sucks!) You did let me prove you wrong though.
A few of you were assholes. No other explanation needed.
But most of you were awesome. Amazing people I laughed and gamed with on a daily basis.
Oh and you introduced me to my boyfriend ^^

But times change. And it’s time to move on.
I’ll miss the days of old.


PS: I’m keeping the boyfriend. Been having a blast with him in the past year. Thanks!

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Vacation & the waiting game continues

Whoot, exams are DONE for this semester! A full week of rest incoming, whoot whoot!  Well… Rest… It’s all relative. I do have to work for my thesis of course. Remember that pile of books? Yeah, I want to read about half of it. Why do I always give myself impossible deadlines again?

Still waiting for an answer from my promoter. Damnit, answer me! Maybe I should go stalk him in his office. Steal all his research material till he answers. Muhahahah!

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Throw it on the pile!

And those are just the books… Add about 30 more articles on my hard drive to that 😉


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The waiting game…

On wednesday I finally mailed the second promoter of my research with my ‘progress’. It took me three days to get just about anything out of my head onto the screen. You’ll probably noticed the desperate SOS post from during the process. I’m glad to announce that throwing a message in the bottle from my island helped, even though I didn’t get any back. It’s a lonely island out here in my head. Maybe I should repopulate it with OompaLoompas!

I don’t expect anybody to be curious about my progress, but I’ll tell you anyway. Meanwhile I’m anxiously playing the waiting game, waiting for a response. Hoping for green lights and a great race. I wouldn’t like to hear I’m on the wrong track.


I’ll (hopefully) be performing my research about identity, the way J.P. Gee sees it in his books and articles (I’ll put some references later). Gamers have their own, real life identity. But their in-game avatar also has an identity: a virtual one. Put those two together and you get what he calls the projective identity. That’s when you, as a gamer, project expectancies and values on their avatar. It becomes an ‘in-between’ identity, not quite real but also not completely virtual. It’s those virtual and projective identities I’m interested in. How do people identify with their character(s), specifically in a very social and ever changing environment: MMORPGs.

Another important background element is the specific game I’ll be finding my poor case studies in. Despite two years of experience with World of Warcraft, I didn’t choose the most popular and obvious choice. I think there is already an overload of studies in that environment. I’d like to run in a different direction. A very different one. The game I chose is not set in a fantasy or a science fiction world. No, it’s based on our very own contemporary Earth, just a bit more… mystic. Just imagine that every myth and urban legend you ever heard, were true. Expect a surprise behind every corner!
But that’s not the biggest difference and not necessarily the one that pulled me in. The big fish for me is the game play. No traditional classes. Bye bye warrior, priest, shaman, paladin or druid. Hello skill based system with over 500 skills to choose and combine from. Hello freedom and hello complication. Hopefully not hello to jack-of-all-trades-that-fails-at-everything-but-solo-questing. Also there will be no progress by leveling. No level cap. I suspect the major progress will be made by gear and ‘practice’ with skills. It gets even more complicated as we speak!
Those that have been following the recent developments in the MMO scene, will know what game I’m talking about. A contemporary setting, skill-based gameplay and no leveling. Yep, I am talking about Funcom’s The Secret World, that will hopefully launch in April this year. Otherwise I’ll have a major problem. Oh well, I guess that’s my punishment for choosing a game that is not even released yet and I don’t have beta access to. But too be honest, I’ve been looking forward to this game ever since I saw this teaser trailer a couple of years ago.


So what will I do with all that background? Identities and a skill based system / lack of levels? How does that combine? It does, Gurren Lagann style!

I’m interested in how this not so conventional gameplay will influence people’s virtual and projective identities in group play. I’ll be focusing on group roles, which I suspect will still be fairly traditional.

  • Tank:  A tank is a tank is a tank. It’s someone big and strong that takes all the punches for the team. He can handle a lot of damage and keeps the attention (aggro) of the bad guys on him so the rest of the team can do their thing.
  • Healer:  This guy (or girl) has a fairly straightforward job: don’t let the tank die! And preferably keep everybody else alive in the process as well. Just throw those heals, baby! In bigger groups, there’s a chance the healer will be occupied with the whole group and curse at everybody that is stupid enough to stand in fire. It’s also the person that usually gets flamed when the group wipes (aka everybody is sleeping with the fishes).
  • DPS:  Damage Per Second. That says it all. Just do some major pew pew, don’t stand in fire and don’t do anything stupid. Like taking the aggro away from the tank and getting squashed by an ugly, slime barfing giant.
  • CC: Crowd Control. This is not necessarily a separate roll, usually a couple of DPS are charged with this. When you’re facing a big group of mobs (bad guys), it can come in handy to put some asleep or glue them to the ground. Just incapacitate the shit out of them.

In a class based game, it is usually fairly straight forward who takes on which role. A protection paladin is a tank, while a restoration pally is a healer. A hunter does pew pew and a holy priest heals. My apologies for basing all my examples on WoW. I know fans of other, equally awesome MMOs will hate me for picking the biggest one in the pack, but these examples are pretty straightforward. Your class and specialization define what you do in a group and 90% of the time you’ll perform a very similar routine.
I expect things to be a bit more complicated in The Secret World. There are no predefined classes. You decide what you do with your skills and how you combine them. There will of course be pre-cut templates, but nobody forces you to use them. It makes things a bit more tricky for a group leader to find what he needs. But it also makes it easier to switch in between roles. You don’t have to level a totally new character or change your complete spec. Just look for the skills and practice them till you’re pro. Simply put of course.

So what does that mean? My premise is that, instead of having a fixed identity when it comes to group play, there will be more opportunities to switch in between identities. The skill-based gameplay seems to encourage multiple identies and flexibility in using them ingame. But at the same time I expect it will be harder to acquire and develop said identities. There is so much versatility in opportunities, that I think it might take a while to find the play style that suits you as a player and you might get less support from your guild and the community. There will probably be tons of ninja’s around, but what if you want to be a fire-blazing revolver-wielding bounty hunter and there is nobody like you out there? It will take a lot of learning and practice to take on an identity and it will become even more complicated when we put five or ten people in a group to go kill stuff.

As I’ve stated before, I’m starting from Gee’s view on identity in games, applying that on group roles in MMOs. I think that, because of that thinking framework, discourse analysis will be the way to go. I’ll be taking and analyzing interviews with players, both experienced and new. I’m expecting I’ll look for players in a stable guild and otherwise players that play in PUGs (pick up groups, playing with people you find in the game world and you usually don’t know). That will give me ample opportunity to analyze and compare their language, their expertise in the game and their view on identities and group play.
After my last exam of the semester (on tuesday, fingers crossed and light those candles please), I’ll be looking more into this method, to define how it will help me in my research. Yay, more literature! Moar! Maybe I should post a picture of my stack of books and articles?

Wow, long post!

Lots to do, but now I have to go study educational policy and development. Yippee-ki-yay, motherfucker!

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