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Gaming News: Halloween Events in Games 2018

Hey everyone! It’s my FAVORITE time of year! October! Halloween! Black cats and Vampires roam! And hopefully they find their way into our favorite games! I know that all year I look forward to Halloween events so I thought I’d share a few that have great looks and fun stuffs to do!

First up, Fortnite.

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As I’m writing this, we are in week 2 of Season 6 in Fortnite Battle Royale. This season is full of spooky costumes, new pets and challenges to keep you busy. While Epic hasn’t officially said what is going on for Halloween this year, there are big expectations since their original release was around Halloween. There has been some information leaked that there will be Halloween quests for the PVE side, Save the World. Also, they have already decorated for Halloween on the Battle Royale Map for Season 6. You can find spooky ghosts hoisted up randomly on lightposts and houses. There are spooky cornfields in Fatal Fields and a Halloween Store in Retail Row currently. And they’ve already had a few costumes out in the store. I know I’m looking forward to seeing all that they release this year!

Next, Overwatch.

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Everyone knows that Blizzard loves their holidays and this year is no exception. As always with Overwatch, previous years skins are available during Halloween Terror. There are also 6 new skins available this year and a limited-time brawl. Junkenstein’s Revenge is a fan favorite, including mine, where you can rage against your friends or random people. New this year to Junkenstein is the ability to use Brigitte and Tracer. Also, if you feel like dropping some cash on it, if you buy the 50 Halloween Loot boxes bundle you can get 10 free. This even started on October 9, 2018 and goes through the end of October.

Another Blizzard Favorite – World of Warcraft.

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Every year, we get the Hallow’s End event. There are temporary broomsticks to ride, masks to wear, and tons of Inns to trick or treat at. There are achievements for wearing all the masks, eating so much candy you get sick, and interrupting the other sides fun. You get to go burn the opposing faction’s wickerman and you can eat G.N.E.R.D.S and kill them in PVP. It’s always fun to put out the fires and kill the Shade of the Horseman. Make sure you put pumpkins on all races, clean your teeth with toothpicks, get transformed by all the wands, and going to all the Candy Buckets. Most of all, make sure you ready up and kill the Headless Horseman in the Scarlet Monastery. I don’t know about you, but I’m still itching to get his mount! This goes from October 18 – November 1, so don’t miss it!

A new game this year – Monster Hunter: World

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Currently in this game, they have an Autumn Festival going until October 18th. This seems to include their Halloween activities this year and has costumes for your Palico and Poogie; as well as a new dress for your handler. Not to mention, the spooky gear you can get for yourself. There are quests as well which seem to be extended to October 25th due to some issues. If this is your game, make sure you don’t miss this!

P.S. If you already have this game, you got a free voucher on the 5th for a one-time character redesign!

Another MMO, Black Desert Online.

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It isn’t entirely clear what is going on in BDO this year, but if it’s anything like last year there will be quests with hat rewards, event boxes, and possible login rewards. They do already have bundles for sale (IRL money) on their store from previous Halloweens. There are costumes, mount skins, prop bundles, wall décor, a lighting set, a table set, and even a Jukebox available. Some are in limited quantity so make sure you get them while you can!

An honorable mention for Halloween that makes me sad: Ark is foregoing its annual Fear Evolved event because of the new DLC drop the beginning of November – Extinction. Until next time, play what you love!

– Azkadelya

Microtransactions: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

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Microtransactions in gaming have been around awhile now, and are likely to be with us for some time.  They’ve been covered in the gaming press over and over, and discussed by gamers on various platforms ad nauseam.  I did find a pretty good breakdown of the history of this practice, the whys and hows that I don’t want to bore you with.

If you want, hop over to the Intelligent Economist and take a look.  Despite what we think of them, there is a purpose to some of them and it isn’t entirely nefarious.  We, as gamers, also have to accept that to a certain extent we are responsible for how widespread they are and how long they’re likely to be around.  They aren’t all bad however, so if you’re expecting me to go on a long-winded tirade about the evils of microtransactions, you’re only half right.

The Good
There is some benefit to microtransactions, believe it or not.  The best example I have in my experience is with Guild Wars 2.  If you aren’t familiar, it’s a popular MMO that’s been around for almost 6 years now.  It has no subscription model, and has been receiving constant updates, improvements, patches, and free content updates all that time.  It also has microtransactions.  They’re all cosmetic and convenience items though; nothing that’s considered pay-to-win.  It’s a necessary function of keeping a game going with constant maintenance and updates and it’s all optional.  If you want another character slot, you can get that.  A cool outfit?  They have that, too.  A better sword that you can only get in the online store?  No, not going to happen.

See, there’s a reason to have either a subscription model or microtransactions in this case.  I’m old enough to remember a time before the internet and online gaming.  When you bought a game in the early years of our hobby, it either worked or it didn’t.  There were no updates on the regular, or added content you could just log in and start playing.  We didn’t have servers maintained by the game company to play on whenever we wanted.  Even in the early days of online shooters like Medal of Honor, most of the servers were paid for and maintained by gaming communities and clans that paid a lot of money sometimes to make the game available to play online.

This was well before World of Warcraft revolutionized online RPGs, but there has always been a cost.  You don’t just make a game, put it out there, and expect the initial sales to fund the ongoing support, updates, and server maintenance.  Even now people still play the original Guild Wars on servers maintained by the company since 2005 with no monthly subscription.  Whether we like it or not, microtransactions in Guild Wars 2 help make that possible 13 years after release.

In these cases, I can’t really fault companies for using this model.  We really only have a couple of options if we want our games to be available with that sort of content and care for a long period of time.  It’s not like a game that’s released, and once purchased has no real contact with the developer any longer unless there’s a patch.  Some of these companies hire dedicated staff to do nothing but update a game while they also try to make new ones.  As long as they aren’t dipping into the pay-to-win or loot box model I don’t really see an issue since it keeps me from having a monthly bill just to play the game.

The Bad
Not all pay-to-win is bad, as long as there is a reasonable time gate sort of option to unlock the same content.  I don’t mind a game company offering early access to weapons or equipment for people who want to burn their money if I can do the same thing over a few hours of gameplay.  In a way, I like the feeling of achievement one gets from unlocking weapons and kits in games like Battlefield 4.  Sure, those higher tier weapons are better, and for a time people who paid to unlock those kits would have an advantage but it seemed like a fair trade off.  I’m going to play the game anyway, and I don’t care to spend any extra money just to have a weapon I’m going to get eventually.  Where it gets bad is when the time to unlock isn’t reasonable.

Battlefront 2 was a good example of this, though I thought the game was garbage before loot boxes were even mentioned.  Not only were there microtransactions, but there was also a randomized element incorporated into the loot boxes.  It was likened to gambling by some and in general it was just a bad idea.  The time it would take to unlock everything through grinding was exorbitant, which would leave players at a disadvantage in game for a lot longer than is reasonable.  The feature was met with a great deal of uproar from gamers, and EA made some temporary changes, but ultimately people still bought the game.  Sales for BF2 did suffer, and it has raised questions about what is acceptable regarding microtransactions.

The Ugly
The ugly truth is as long as people keep buying them, companies will keep doing it.  That’s sort of how the market works.  Companies try different things to make money.  If that thing sells, then the company will believe that is what the market wants.  If it doesn’t, then they try something else.  We can rant and rail all we want, but at the end of the day there’s only one language a business understands.  Will the awful sales of BF2 be enough to deter companies from using this tactic?  I don’t know, it’s too early to tell.  I can tell you if the next game from EA or Activision has microtransactions and people spend money on them, they’ll forget about the Battlefront sales.  It’s not a pleasant thought, but we are partially to blame for this marketing ploy.

The other ugly head of this beast is the manipulative marketing.  It’s one thing to present things for people to buy and let them decide.  It’s entirely another to make it so enjoying the game at all depends on spending more money over the purchase price.  It started with mobile games and the whole, “Pay another 99 cents to unlock 30 minutes of gameplay.”  The worst of what I’ve heard is from Activision recently though.  The idea is that, through matchmaking, they will encourage you to buy in-game items.  Pairing players who have good gear they bought, with those who have not purchased items, in order to trigger purchases through envy.  Manipulating our need to ‘keep up with the Joneses,’ so to speak.

Personally, I don’t think I own any games with pay-to-win schemes built in, but if I do I can say for certain I’ve never bought any of the items.  I have purchased some convenience items through the Guild Wars 2 store, but as stated above I don’t see that as an issue in this debate anyway.  I think the only way we’re going to change these practices is to stop feeding the beast.  The publishers certainly aren’t going to just stop offering to take our money if we keep giving it to them.  The whole thing is a mess but we gamers have the means to change it for the better if enough of us want to.

Top 10 (Nerdy) Ways to Spend Your Tax Refund

So here we are, deep into February with March right around the corner.  It’s the beginning of tax season and with all that’s fit to buy, I’m going to offer up my top ten choices to spend a tax refund on:

10. Steam Wallet

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First off, Steam is addicting. With a sale for every season and weekly deals the year round, I suggest you dump part (or all) of you refund into your steam wallet. When the Spring sale starts, you won’t be able to cry you don’t have money in your bank account; it’ll be right there on Steam waiting for you to spend.

9. Kickstarter

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Following a close second to the constant games on sale are games yet to come out. Feeling nostalgic for a game you used to play? There’s likely a reboot, or an anniversary edition being crowdfunded on Kickstarter. I’ve got my 20th Anniversary Whiskey Box Edition of Deadlands coming and I can’t wait. New ideas abound there as well. There might be an awesome game you don’t know you’ll love just waiting for you to back it.

8. VR Equipment

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Virtual reality is hot, even Pornhub is into it (so I’m told). The high end phones, and even the PlayStation all have VR tech waiting to gobble up your cash.  There are inexpensive models you can purchase for your phone if you’re not ready for a setup the same price as a full console.

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Women in Gaming: Felicia Day

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I can’t even tell you the first time I heard of or saw Felicia Day. To me, it felt like she burst out of nowhere and was suddenly everywhere I looked. I knew she was a nerdy girl but that is about all I was sure of until I saw The Guild on Netflix and, after having it on my list for months, decided that I was going to watch it.

I was confused because the episodes weren’t long at all and quickly found out they were webisodes, so entire seasons were only 20 mins long. I dove in, watching an episode lead to more until I binged everything they had to offer.

I quickly identified with Codex.

A quirky, weird girl who loved to play video games and didn’t get people. Just wanted to have friends and for people to get along. Couldn’t help but be awkward at the best and worst of times. Check, check and check. Hell, I am still all of those things; there is nothing I could do to change any of that. However, representation matters. So, more than anything, here I was, being represented. Even the character Tinkerballa wasn’t a healer (nothing wrong with healers).

I played World of Warcraft, my main (the character I played the most) is a two-weapon fury warrior. No one believed that I am a girl. Girl’s should be healers, boys play warriors. Watch me roll my eyes. I love my warrior and I always typically make a warrior first in all games I play, even RPGs like Dragon Age. /End Mini Rant.

So here I was staring at my representation and at first I had no idea how to take her. Not only did she fit, but she was the center of the show. A show full of awkward, nerdy, typical geek stuff. Ok, some of it’s exaggerated but not always and not always overly so. So of course, I looked into her even further.

In real life, she is a quirky, weird girl who loved to play video games and didn’t always understand people. Um, what now? I was floored. What am I supposed to do with that? More representation at my very finger tips. She geeks out, is running a successful Gaming Entertainment Company with a fabulous community and is just like the rest of us. She is an inspiration.

Felicia even appeared in one of my favorite shows (Supernatural, so jealous) and played a quirky, weird gamer girl. Even as I do research for this article, I realized that she did the voice acting for a character I just encountered in Guild Wars 2, last night. SHE’S EVEN BEEN IN BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER. Holy crap, I have to go back and watch that again.

She is accessible. Even if you’ve never been on YouTube or Twitch, people typically know who she is. Maybe they remember her from that one episode of House, a commercial from Supernatural or caught her one of the millions of places that she has popped up.

Of course, we could name the tons of times that she has appeared in video games, even getting her own character in Dragon Age 2 DLC, Mark of the Assassin, Tallis, a character she created. They created DLC for a character she created. I can’t even wrap my head around that.

To me, Felicia Day is epic. She is helping to normalize women in all forms of gaming, while actively affecting the gaming industry in more ways than one. Not only her, but her company raises so much for charity. Even more, her representation continues as she announced she is going to have a baby very, very soon.

I wish her all the luck and welcome her to the geeky mom club.

Am I Addicted To Video Games?

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I’ve been considering this question a lot over the past month, as I’ve been working on this article.  It started when Crymson posted an article(1) about reSTART, a rehab facility near Seattle that specializes in treating video game addiction.  The article profiled some of the patients, and I saw myself in them.  Guild Wars 2 is a huge part of my life.  I spend hours every day playing, just like the men in the article.  Do I belong in reSTART, too?

Addiction is a complicated disorder with many factors.  The traditional view of addiction is chemical: the brain releases pleasure-neurotransmitters based on a certain stimulus (usually a drug), then person performs the behavior again and again to initiate the pleasure response, while the brain releases less and less of the chemical each time.  The person has to perform the behavior, take the drug, at higher and higher doses to feel the same effect, and isn’t able to stop without experiencing withdrawal.

Newer theories of addiction look deeper.  Scientist Bruce K. Alexander believes that addiction is a social problem.  In a famous 1981 study(2), he looked at how rats’ addictive behaviors changed based on their environments.  Alexander et al found that rats housed in isolation became addicted to morphine easily, whereas rats housed in large enclosures filled with enrichment items and other rats did not.  He believes these findings can carry over to addiction patterns in humans.

The theory goes that people who have difficulty connecting with others socially may instead turn to drugs, ‘connecting’ to the drug when there is nothing else to connect with.  History seems to back up this theory: according to Alexander’s website, “Addiction can be rare in a society for many centuries, but can become nearly universal when circumstances change – for example, when a cohesive tribal culture is crushed or an advanced civilization collapses.”(3)  Maybe the cliche about having an ‘addictive personality’ has less to do with actual personality traits than it does the addiction-prone person’s social and economic circumstances.

Looking at addiction as a result of social isolation puts video game addiction in an interesting position, because many so-called ‘video game addicts’ play social games.  World of Warcraft is famously addicting, and the majority of the patients mentioned in the reSTART article were at the facility because they played WoW, or similarly massive multiplayer online games, so much that it interfered with their other activities and relationships.  Were those men addicted to the games themselves, or to the social connections they formed through those games?  If addiction is a social disorder, is it even possible to be addicted to social connection, regardless of the form it takes?

Dr. Hilarie Cash, reSTART’s co-founder and executive director, has a theory that social connections formed over the internet are lacking compared to in person interactions.  She claims that “limbic resonance,” a brain process related to the warm fuzzy feeling we get when we interact with people, doesn’t occur when the people who are interacting are not face to face.  “We have to be able to see and hear and touch and feel and smell each other for that release to occur,” she told an interviewer. “But what happens is that people seek to satisfy their social needs online.”(4)

I’m not convinced that this is true.  Some of the most important relationships in my life right now are with people I know through online gaming, whom I’ve never met face to face.  Interacting with them feels different from interacting with my “RL” friends, but I can think of plenty of times when I’ve had the warm, fuzzy feeling that Dr. Cash associates with limbic resonance while chatting over text or voice.  I have a different hypothesis for why gaming can become addicting in a way that in-person socialization doesn’t.

Laws against talking on cell-phones while driving have become commonplace.  When they were first being enacted, there was a lot of controversy.  “How is talking on a phone while driving different from talking to the person in the passenger seat?”  It turns out that there’s a big difference.  David Strayer, a leading researcher in the effects of cell-phone usage on driving ability, conducted a study comparing the two types of conversations.  The results revealed conversing with passengers to be much safer than cell-phone conversation.  According to Tara Parker-Pope of the New York Times, “There is something uniquely distracting about talking on the phone when you’re behind the wheel; conversations with people inside the car are far less distracting to drivers. Unlike cell phone callers, chatty passengers instinctively stop talking when driving conditions change, and they offer an extra set of eyes to alert drivers to nearly-missed exits or erratic drivers.” (5)

I believe something similar is going on with MMO addiction.  We get the same feelings of connection, the same social benefits, from interacting with each other online and in person.  The difference is that, while our computer screens are windows into other people’s lives, they are narrow ones.  It’s easier to hid things from the people we know online: things like gaming may be negatively impacting our performance at work or our relationships with our families.  You can raid with someone every week, all the while never realizing that their life is spiraling out of control.  Instead of being an extra set of eyes in the passenger seat, we are the cell phone caller: oblivious to danger.  It’s no wonder that so many of our friends and guild-mates crash and burn.

I’m one of the lucky ones.  Over the past several weeks I’ve been working overtime to keep my guild running smoothly, ensure its stability, and maintain its growth.  It’s left me stressed-out, exhausted, and unhappy.  My in-game friends know me well enough to notice, and care enough about my well being to intervene.  In this ‘intervention,’ they insisted I take a break from raiding and offered to take over some of my duties as a guild officer.  It’s given me the chance to recharge and catch up on some RL duties I’d been neglecting (writing this article, for example).  I couldn’t be more grateful.  With American Thanksgiving approaching, the RWoG staff have been asked to submit a short statement about something (preferably gaming related) that we are thankful for, and this is mine: I am so, so thankful that these people, people whose faces I’ve never seen with my own eyes, are looking out for me.

So, am I addicted to playing video games?  I don’t think so, at least not in the classic sense.  And, thanks to the people in my life, both online and off, I don’t think I’m going to be.

If addiction is a social disease, then we, as social gamers, have the power to combat it.  One of my guild’s founding principles is game/life balance.  We have a flexible attendance policy and prioritize members’ wellness over progress and scores.  I hope other guilds will do the same.  If we can stop being ‘callers’ and become ‘passengers’ in each others lives, gaming addiction will never be able to take hold.

References:

  1. NPR staff  20 October 2013.  “When Playing Video Games Means Sitting Along Life’s Sidelines.”   http://www.npr.org/2013/10/20/238095806/when-playing-video-games-means-sitting-on-lifes-sidelines
  2. Alexander, Bruce K. et al 1981.  “Effects of Early and Later Colony Housing on Oral Ingestion of Morphine in Rats.”  Pharmacology Biochemistry & Behavior vol 15, pp 571-576 http://www.brucekalexander.com/articles-speeches/rat-park/212-ratparkjournalarticle1981
  3. http://www.brucekalexander.com/
  4. Gravening, Jagger 2014.  “A Day at the First Video Game Rehab Clinic in the US.”  Motherboard, VICE.com http://motherboard.vice.com/read/a-day-at-the-first-video-game-rehab-clinic-in-the-us
  5. Parker-Pope, Tara 2008.  “Chatty Driving: Phones vs Passengers” NYTimes.com.  http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/12/01/chatty-driving-phones-vs-passengers/?_r=0

5 Classic PC Games that are Still Worth a Play

5 Classic PC Games that are Still Worth a Play

Guest Post by: Caroline from Culture Coverage

I would like to thank Real Women of Gaming for publishing this article. They cover everything related to gaming, including conventions and reviews. Check out their Indie Spotlight section if you’re looking for some great new titles to pick up. 

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There’s never been a better time to get into PC gaming. Not only does PC get a majority of the best titles, it also boasts one of the largest catalogs available to users. With hundreds of new games released daily on sites like GOG and Steam, it can be difficult to choose which ones to buy. If you’re not quite sold on the latest releases, why not revisit some of these classic PC games?

StarCraft

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Although not the first real time strategy (RTS) game, it remains one of the most popular PC games even today and has sold over 9 million copies worldwide. It gained a huge following in South Korea, leading to the rise of eSports and the pro-gaming scene. The reason StarCraft stands out against other RTS games of the time is its focus on offering three distinct play styles with the different factions: Zerg, Protoss and Humans. Each faction had different strengths and weaknesses, yet somehow the gameplay managed to be balanced and challenging.

Besides the competitive multiplayer mode, you can also create your own challenge maps or download them if you feel like the game isn’t replayable enough. Before you consider downloading maps off other sites, however, you should first connect to a VPN such as IPVanish as it will encrypt your data and protect you from spam sites. Unfortunately, that has been a problem for some users.

SimCity 2000

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There’s something to be said about SimCity 2000. While not the first of the series, it took the original concept and expanded upon it with new features such as different elevations, underground layers for pipes and subways, and a diametric view. All of these changes improved the overall gameplay experience, making it one of the best simulation games on the market even when compared against more recenttitles. Maxis brought in deeper gameplay and strategy with their improved budget and finance controls. They also included the ability to connect to other cities.

If you get tired of just building up your city, you can also jump into scenarios to rebuild a city after some disaster. Most of these scenarios are based off of real events such as the Oakland firestorm of 1991. The main building mode doesn’t necessarily have an ending, but you can move on to work on a new city. Alternatively, you can unleash your wrath and destroy it with monsters, floods and fires. SimCity 2000 is still incredibly fun to play and even the graphics are acceptable by today’s standards. While not the most realistic game, the pixel art is incredibly detailed and still some of the best in the style.

World of Warcraft

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Say what you will about the game, World of Warcraft remains the most subscribed massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) around. Building off of the lore in Warcraft: Orcs & Humans (and other games in the series), World of Warcraft continues the story between the Alliance and the Horde. One of the reasons the game remains so popular today is because of its rich story, great balance and ability to play casually or more seriously. As with other MMORPGs, players can customize not only the appearance of their character, but their class and skills as well.

Regardless of what you choose, you can always find other people who have the same interests in terms of gameplay. Many people have started friendships with other players and some have even forged romances in real life. World of Warcraft continues to update their game with expansions and patches to increase and expand content, update graphics, and balance the various classes. While its subscribers might have dropped since its maximum of 12 million players, there are still millions of people playing the game.

Doom

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With the remastered version of Doom now available, you might want to check out the original game that started it all. The graphics definitely don’t hold up to the test of time, but the gameplay is just as frantic and fast. Generally considered the game that pioneered the first-person shooter, Doom introduced a pseudo-3D first-person perspective. This affected both level design and the overall gameplay experience as well. Players can gauge how far away enemies, obstacles and alternative paths are from their position.

Besides the “3D” aspect, Doom also introduced the ability to equip various weapons from a shotgun to rocket launcher, another feature that has become typical for other games within this genre.

Half-Life

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Half-Life 2 might be the more acclaimed game in the series, but if you want to understand Dr. Gordon Freeman’s back story, you’ll want to check out the first in the series. Debuting in 1998, Half-Life took the framework of first-person shooters from Doom and improved upon it with actual 3D graphics and more realistic gameplay.

Although technically a first-person shooter, Half-Life also integrated puzzles for players in order to progress through levels. This differentiated it enough from many other shooters whose sole focus was on defeating enemies. In another departure, the game did not use cut scenes to tell the story. Instead, it used scripted sequences seen through Gordon’s eyes. Many other developers have used a similar mechanic to make the story more immersive and seamless.

There are hundreds of other classic games that still stand the test of time in terms of gameplay. Which ones did we miss? Tell us in the comments below.

About the Author: Caroline is a freelance writer who enjoys all things related to tech and gaming. She’s excited to see how games will change with the advent of new technology like virtual reality, but also doesn’t want to forget the classics.

Confessions of an Alt-aholic

By Max Urso

WoW Alt-aholic

Character Creation in World of Warcraft

I love games. If there is a mechanic to create my own character, then I’m hooked; the more complex and flexible the better. New character ideas are always popping into my head, and that’s the problem. I rarely stick to one character. If there’s an account limit on toons (slang from City of Heroes I still use to this day), I will fill up my roster in no time. There might be one hero that gets leveled above the others, but inevitably I will have a dozen in their mid-levels while my “main” sits there waiting for the end game that he can never quite reach.

Why? I think I have a Pavlovian reaction to leveling. In City of Heroes, we would toot our own horns in super-group (guild) chat simply by stating, “Ding.” Our fellow SG members would respond with some version of, “Gratz.” I was addicted to the reward, the gratification of progress. I had a small handful of capes that had reached level 50…and were mothballed. Guess who reached level 50? Guess who’s rolling another new toon? Each capped out hero unlocked another character slot as well. They were keeping me hooked. One game after another, new purchase after new purchase, subscription after subscription; It’s not cheap being an alt-aholic.

Superhero games (there are few) are great for satisfying my Alt-itis. It’s the costume creator that reels me in. Champions Online (based on the pen and paper game) has, in my opinion, one of the best costume creation systems ever. It’s not for everyone though, and why play an MMO that your friends aren’t into? So I switch it up, try new game after new game looking for the one that will end my affliction.

I thought it was RIFT. Finally, I had found a character I could stick with. Life gets in the way and might slow me down, but I managed to reach the cap with my rogue. What was different? The secret was in the class system. There were only four classes, but each one had a dozen souls. These souls could be combined by picking three at a time and making the character you want. All rogues are not the same. I leveled to 65 but found the soul system was simply enabling my Alt-itis as I kept changing what souls I had equipped.

It’s not just video games either. I’m the same way with pen and paper RPGs. I have actually gotten upset when my hero makes his death save in D&D. I’ve begged some DMs to kill off my character so I can play the new one I had waiting in the shadows. It’s not as easy to satisfy that fix among your regular Sunday group, though. Continuity trumps boredom. The level progression in D&D is slower compared to video games, too. There’s less “Ding” so I have to find another creative outlet; I DM. Why create one hero when I can create a whole world? The need for new, an alternate game, is strong here as well. I don’t recall how many systems I’ve learned. All different, all fun.

Each game I play, each character I create satisfies a hunger in the moment. I feel a rush flying around Millennium City in Champions Online as the theme from Superman streams in my ears. I track down each new hunter’s pet in World of Warcraft, debating on what new name to give it. I stare in wonder at the backstory I’ve created for my Sunday group, most details of which they may never know. There is definitely a need that creating fills.

My name is Max Urso, and I’m an Alt-aholic.