Tag Archives: gaming

No, I Don’t Laugh When You Make That Joke

I’m about to get really personal and really long, so if that’s going to make you uncomfortable or you aren’t interested in that, that’s cool, and I’d advise just navigating somewhere else for this one.

If you’re still with me, it’s either because you’re genuinely interested or because that sentence worked like a DO NOT PUSH THIS BIG RED BUTTON sign. I’m cool with that too.

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Now see, that’s quality humor right there.

LUL WELL MEMED

In the environment in which I play games, most notably World of Warcraft (obviously), but it extends to most games I play and most groups of people I play with, shit talking is the norm. Jokes are the norm. And I’m 100% okay with that. I have no problem taking it or dishing it out (yeeeeeeah see, the joke is RIGHT THERE, you’re welcome).

And we can get pretty crass pretty quickly. Not that I would ever…yeah okay, guilty as charged, whatever. 😉 I’ve heard things that would make my parents blush, and my dad’s former military so I know he and I could go toe-to-toe with stories (not that I ever would. Awkwaaaaaaaarrrrd).

But when you use the word “retarded” or when you make jokes about autism or anyone with a disability, really; I don’t laugh. And I’m never ever going to. 

Yeah, Okay, It’s Personal

15697952_10101280715333428_8192020663234473160_nTruthfully, I’ve never been comfortable with this, as far back as I can remember. But I’ll make no pretense of the fact that my son is autistic and that my daughter is also likely on the spectrum and that it weighs heavily on how I feel about the subject.

The thing is, to you it’s a joke. Someone does something weird or stupid and you ask, “Are you autistic?” Every time you say it, it stings. Every time you say it, I wince.

Because when I hear the word “autistic” and I look at my son , I see almost 9 years of love and struggle and understanding and amazement and wonder and joy. 

I remember the night I realized that the way he was acting had a reason. I remember worry and terror struck into me by certain organizations that use fear-mongering to capitalize off of parents and families of autistics.

I remember the first time he spoke a word in context (it was “go” and I cried for 10 minutes). The first time he responded to his name. I remember when I thought he’d never be able to blow a bubble or tell me he loved me.

And then I remember the moments he did those things. And the people who helped me see and remember that “autism” isn’t a scary word. It’s just a thing that some people have. It makes my son different, sure; but it doesn’t mean he’s stupid. It doesn’t mean he has to be limited in what he wants to achieve. It’s going to be a different path for him. And so far, the kid he’s becoming is amazing.

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This year is the first year he’s been in a standard classroom for some of his subjects, and he’s excelling. He’s smart, compassionate, sweet, and he’s developing a pretty hilarious sense of humor. I love all of him, even (and maybe sometimes especially) the “autistic” parts. You don’t know what joy is until you see him flapping his hands because he just can’t hold the happiness back.

Some things are hard. It’s difficult to see him frustrated or upset because he can’t communicate in the way he wants to. I know he does things sometimes and doesn’t know why he can’t control it, and I know that must be really frustrating for him. I can’t always fix those things, I can only be there to help him cope with it and find ways around it.

But that’s okay, cause he’s incredible and strong, and my heart still melts every night when he says, “I love you, Mom.” When I go afk in the raid with a “brb babies,” it’s because that’s a moment I refuse to miss, no matter what else is going on.

So yes. It’s very, very personal.

But What’s Bad About It? I’m Not Insulting Your Son

Except you are. And every other autistic. When you make “autistic” synonymous with “stupid” or “weird,” you’re creating a new label while simultaneously removing the importance of the actual meaning of the word.

“You just ran into that patch of fire on the ground, are you autistic?” Change the word “autistic” to “stupid” and the meaning of this sentence doesn’t change.

“Amber’s son is autistic.” Change it to “stupid” in that sentence. You’ve just insulted an 8-year-old kid. You’ve also minimized the fact that autism is a very real part of our life and a very pivotal part of who he is.

You are devaluingthe word. And that makes it a lot harder for our voices to be heard when we’re asking for things like acceptance and asking for people to remember to always presume competence.

 

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April is Autism Awareness Acceptance Month. Learn more about it here.

 

So Why Haven’t You Said Anything Before?

tenorOkay, let’s be real here for a minute, me and you. Let’s put ourselves in one of those situations. Let’s be halfway through a raid when you say “are you autistic?” and it starts a string of jokes about autism. Let’s jump right in to the times you’ve actually insulted me as a mother or my son as an autistic (cause it’s happened).

What would happen if I said something? What would happen if I told you in that moment that you were being offensive? That I didn’t think that was funny? What would reallyhappen?

Things would get weird, at best. Everyone would feel a little awkward. Or, at worst, you’d start to make fun of me for being sensitive. The new joke would be that I can’t take a joke. Maybe it wouldn’t be a joke, maybe it’d just be whispers between people about “Oh, don’t make an autism joke in front of Amber, she’s gonna get all mom about it.”

Not only would it not make a difference in how you think or behave, it would make the situation worse for me. So I sit and I listen and I wince and I’m sad that people I otherwise really, really like have this ugly thing that I have to put up with. 

This morning, when I dropped my son off at school, we did our routine. He gave me a hug, a kiss, and one forehead kiss. He said “Goodbye, Mom,” like he always does. He walked down the hall by himself and into his classroom. And every day I couldn’t be prouder.

When you say autistic, I see my son’s face, and it’s not stupid or weird. It’s wonderful.

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Overwatch & Um–No News?

I haven’t posted in a while and there are reasons for that, but more to that momentarily. There are bigger fish to fry:

OVERWATCH Stress Test Weekend

I haven’t been this excited to buy a brand new game ever. I know there are a few people in the beta/stress test weekend who didn’t enjoy it, and that’s cool, but I enjoyed the hell out of it, and I want to play again (and again, and again).

Play of the Game seems to be connected to multikills/ultimate abilities, and as such it seems like Bastion & D.Va are (imo) the two easiest heroes to get PotG on, so here’s a couple of mine:


Thoughts on the Game

The Good

  • Objectives. I prefer objective-based play over deathmatches (most of the time), and I feel like the objectives are mostly balanced and equally achievable by both teams, which is one of those things that’s pretty important but you don’t usually notice it unless it’s a problem.
  • Heroes. There are a variety of heroes to choose from that fall into 4 different sort of “categories:” tank, support, defense, damage. Don’t get too caught up in that, though; not only do the playstyles differ between the categories, they differ strongly from character to character. For some maps, for instance; you’ll want to start with one tank and finish with a different one. On some you may choose to not have  a tank or support at all. Feeling it out is the best way to get to know the heroes. Though it’s tempting to play one hero when you get comfortable with it, try to play around so you have a small collection.
  • Pace. The pacing in Overwatch is perfect. You don’t have long periods of waiting for fights (thanks largely in part to the objectives), but matches usually last a good 10+ minutes. Every once in a while you’ll be part of a shutout that happens in 5 minutes or less, but I didn’t see this much (and hey, at least then it’s over and you’re already starting the next game).

What Could Be Better

  • Bastion (Bastion is a robot hero that can either shoot on the run or deploy as a shielded turret). I hate writing this because there is nothing better than setting up Bastion in sentry mode on a defending team and just thumping away at the enemy team. But having been on both sides of the onslaught, Bastion is just a little overpowered right now. If he’s in sentry mode against a wall or a corner, the only way to kill him is to get close enough to him to get on top of him, bomb him, or pin him, and that limits the heroes that can take him down and the circumstances during which that can take place. Put two Bastions down supported by a team on an objective, and as an attacking team, you feel pretty hopeless. The nerf I would suggest to fix the problem is make the shield a little less durable–just enough that if I’m targeting his shield and putting significant damage into him, it actually breaks. 
  • Personal Stats History. This may be something in the works that just won’t be live until the game is, but I have done exactly 0 reading (sorry!) so I’m going to mention it anyway. I like the commendation system and the cards and the ratings, but I would like to be able to see more than just my current match and averages. Somewhere I should be able to view my entire history on each hero with similar stats to what we see at the end of a game. Kind of like how you can look up your match histories on League of Legends–I want to do that for my Overwatch stats.

The game is super addictive. Really, really addictive. I’m going to have to set parental controls for myself when it comes out, but it’s addictive because it’s fun.

Okay, The Non-Update

One of the reasons I haven’t posted in a while is because my guild is no longer raiding. 

We were on Mythic Mannoroth, averaging (good) pulls in the 15-20% range with 70 attempts when the tank we had taken on and geared up to replace our druid tank evaporated. He stopped showing up to raids at all without warning. Last I heard, his work schedule interfered with raiding too much (which would have been something nice to know beforehand).

This lead to a few weeks of trying to do Mannoroth with offspec and alt tanks. This lead to regression, and if you’ve raided much, you can probably guess how the rest went.

In the end, the decision was made to take a break from progression. As you might expect, half of the raid team left to find new guilds, another portion went AWOL, and the rest of us are just off doing other things and occasionally checking back in.

We did come together just enough to get our moose mounts, so at least there’s that. I’ve been spending most of my time playing EVE Online and Hearthstone and cleaning house in preparation for the holidays.

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In other words, I’ve got nothing newsworthy to report. 

 

 

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I Don’t Like Flakes

flakesRaiding for the purpose of progression at any difficulty is a time commitment–at least, if you intend to be even moderately successful at it.

Experience and consistency go a long way in re-clearing farm content and killing new bosses in a timely manner. It’s not everything, but it’s definitely something.

When you flake out of your raid group, you’re being a selfish prick. There, I said it, and I’m not taking it back.

Am I saying that you shouldn’t quit when you’re tired of playing? That you shouldn’t back out when something in real-life supersedes in-game shenanigans? Of course not. But there are ways to handle these situations and still be considerate to the rest of your raid group.

The worst way to handle it? Stop showing up. That’s it–if your goal is to try to set your raid team back and be labeled a flake, that’s all you have to do. Easy, right?

If you are part of a raid team and you have real-life get in the way, tell someone. That’s it. Two seconds. “Hey, man, deal with itI’m really sorry, but my cat just developed super powers and is being taken to a private testing facility for magical creatures and I have to go with him. I won’t be available for the next few weeks.”

Granted, whether or not I believe your cat is teleporting around your living room is questionable, but hey, at least you told me.

If you decide you’re tired of playing/burnt out/not having fun anymore, warn your team and give us some time to find a replacement. “I just can’t get excited about the game anymore. I hate logging in and I’d rather snort glass than kill these bosses again. I’ll stay for the next two weeks, but then I’m done.”

Granted, it’s not as easy as just flat not showing up, but it’s also a) less of a dick move, and b) leaving your bridges in tact. Which may, as it turns out, be handy to you if you decide to come back in the future.

I’m an old lady, guys. I gotta stick by at least a few of my old-lady principles, and this is one of them. I love corn flakes and frosted flakes and honey-bunches-of-oats flakes (no, that’s a lie, I like the clusters). I don’t like raid flakes.

sad kitty

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10 Years, 10 Questions

There’s a lot of reflecting going on in the World of Warcraft community, from the things we love about WoW to this massive project from Alt:ernative Chat: 10 Years, 10 Questions.

10 years, has it really been that long? 8 years for me, now–hard to believe that one game can hold collective attention for this long. I guess asking “why” is a natural step!

1. Why did you start playing Warcraft?

Because it was epic. I watched my then-boyfriend raiding Molten Core and listened to him explain how he was playing with other actual people, each person with a different role; a different task. I thought that was incredible, and I wanted in.

2. What was the first ever character you rolled?

The same character I main today and have mained since day 1: Ambermist,, druid. I started out as resto, leveled some as feral, resto-raided through BC (if you can call it that, I was pretty awful), and then switched to moonkin, which I’ve been doing since Wrath.

It’s funny, I get a lot of crap when I forget to buff stats, and that’s been an issue since the inception–I remember my husband saying, “Wait. You have one of the strongest buffs in the game and you aren’t even using it?”

Buff Stats!!1!

Some things don’t change.

3. Which factors determined your faction choice in game?

I wish I could say there was some thought involved, but there wasn’t. I picked the faction my husband played; that said, I’ve never been unhappy being Alliance!

4. What has been your most memorable moment in Warcraft and why?

8 years of memorable moments and I can only pick one? I don’t think I can do that!

My first guild raid–Gruul’s Lair. I remember seeing the invite popping up on my screen and having a mini freakout, followed by a whisper from the healing lead, “Heal the tank and don’t panic.”

Every memorable moment–raiding through BC, those achievements I just had to have, my legendary staff, shenanigans with guildies, becoming an officer, the last half of heroic Siege, even Challenge Modes–started with that invite.

CMs

5. What is your favourite aspect of the game and has this always been the case?

At this point, I must sound like a broken record, because every time this comes up it’s the same answer: raiding.

And yes, it has always been the case. I got sucked into WoW because raiding looked like the most fun thing I could imagine in a video game, and that hasn’t changed. I play to raid.

6. Do you have an area in game that you always return to?

It changes, there’s never one place that I’ve stayed since the beginning. The bank area in Dalaran, the clock tower in Stormwind, the tallest hill near Halfhill, my perch or the stoop in Shrine–each of these areas has been a place for me to park.

7. How long have you /played and has that been continuous?

Oh dear. Hang on.

90s Played

The calculator tells me that’s about 588 days on my level 90s. Holy crap!

I have played since September 2006 with a 9 month break in 2011.

8. Admit it: do you read quest text or not?

Yes, I definitely do, at least the first time through a zone.

9. Are there any regrets from your time in game?

All of my regrets are related to people in the game, not the game itself. Times when a miscommunication or misunderstanding led to a parting of the ways or when friends ended up being not the friends I thought they were, those are the things I regret.

10. What effect has Warcraft had on your life outside gaming?

At different points in time, it has had different effects. I had to back out for almost a year to get some stuff in my life together, for instance; but there are a lot of things I’ve learned about myself, people, and communication as well.

Besides, at the end of the day, it’s just a good time. 😉

– See more at: http://www.alternative-blog.net/2014/09/time.html#sthash.yofgrt2P.8qPRhAkd.dpuf

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Going Mobile

Six years ago, a week after they were available for purchase, my husband and I ordered keychain authenticators. The day it came in the mail, I taped it to my desk, and I haven’t moved it since that day.

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To understand the importance of this, you first have to understand that I am about the most scatterbrained individual you can imagine. I lose my phone for at least 2 or 3 days about once every 2 months. My keys are a daily adventure. And then there are the extra special moments, like “Honey, why is your wallet in the freezer?”

My husband switched to the Mobile Authenticator not long after it became an option, but I declined. It’s safer there taped to my desk–sometimes you have to recognize your weaknesses and work with them.

Mobile Requirements

When the Armory app required an authenticator, I considered switching to mobile. I wanted to be able to log in and use the app to chat with guildies, but it wasn’t worth losing my authenticator to me, so I sucked it up and lived without it.

Yesterday, though, everything changed–Hearthstone came to the iPad. We have two iPads, one that the whole family chipped in to buy for the kids, and one from my husband’s work, and I have used them both extensively. It turns out I love tablets.

I knew the minute I opened the Hearthstone app, I would need my authenticator number. Drat.

The truth is, I like the incorporation of mobile options into our games. On Twitter the other day, I couldn’t help but wonder if Blizzard will take the desktop launcher chat-with-friends feature mobile. It seems like the next logical step from Guild Chat on the Armory app to Real ID Chat on a mobile app, and I honestly would think that’s pretty cool.

The Decision to Go Mobile

I can’t deny the importance of being able to have my authenticator on the move anymore. I want in on this mobile movement, and I’m going to have to go for it.

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Hey, you can’t deny that it’s mobile.

 

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I’m Still Okay with the Timeless Isle

I can’t even keep up with the rate my Twitter feed moves anymore, but every now and then when I’m scrolling through, something will catch my eye. A week or so ago, it was a link to Blog Azeroth’s shared topic idea, which boiled down to: “How much time do you spend on the Timeless Isle, and why?”

Edit to add: Okay, so after I posted this, I realized that I had used the headlining picture previously. Can’t have that, so now there’s a brand new bonus pic. 😛

Timeless Isle Redux

 

Rare Hunt

It stood out to me because I have spent a ton of time on the Isle, and truthfully, I don’t hate it yet. I don’t spend all my time chasing after rares or completing events like I did at first, but I’m still there at least a few times a week.

On my druid, I’m working on Shaohao exalted rep. Yes, really. At least 3 members of my guild think I have gone completely stupid. I’m not sure they’re wrong.

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Every Tuesday, I go out to the Isle, pick up the weeklies (cause Valor), and go kill Ordos Fire Dudes on Fire Dude Hill. So many fire dudes have died, guys; sometimes I feel the need to preserve their legacy.

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Of course, Timeless Isle is best for alts–I have at least one complete set of each type of Timeless armor tokens sitting on my bank alt just in case, I don’t know, I decide to level 4 more warlocks or something. It could happen.

Each of my alts has spent at least a tiny bit of time on the Isle, certainly some more than others.

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Both my hunter and shaman dinged 90 on the Isle thanks to the convenient worm packs and friends who didn’t mind killing large scores of mobs or dragging me through the crystal cave in search of a Crystal of Insanity (<3 Frenzie!).

And, of course, my druid and my shaman go out there every week to kill the Celestials and Ordos, because I sure love boxes of gold. Who needs loot when you’ve got BOXES. of GOLD.

I imagine that the Timeless Isle will continue to be at least a part of what I do every week until I throw my computer out the window in a rage fit one raid night or 6.0 drops, whichever comes first.

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What about you?

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Why I Don’t Like You, And Probably Never Will

UPDATE: There’s been a meeting of the minds, so to speak, and our guild and the guild that is the subject of this post (and the myriad comments below) has reached an agreement. Good grief, I sound like I’m writing some kind of political release.

Fahget about it. We’re starting over, clean slate. Nothing to see here, move along.

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For weeks, I’ve been telling my guildies not to feed the trolls, and (for the most part), they’ve been great. Here I go ruining it, because I have a big bag of troll food, and I’ve got to use it up before it goes stale.

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So this is an open letter to whom it may concern:

It’s one thing to win, and the truth is, I don’t fault you for being first. I’m not all that jealous of your progression or gear. See, our guild never set out to be first. We were (mostly) content to do the best we could do, which sometimes was great and sometimes wasn’t.

We got a new team at the helm with some new ideas about raiding, and we got a little better. A little more consistent, a little more focused, a little more driven. That, combined with the server we’ve called home for nearly 10 years now crumbling into pieces as guilds drifted away, transferred servers, or just collapsed completely, resulted in us being in the number one position. It was cool, but we didn’t stop being, well; us.

If you think my dislike comes from a place of jealousy, I’m afraid that’s your pride getting the better of you. If you had arrived on our server and taken the lead graciously, we’d probably get along extremely well. In fact, I’d probably look up to you and encourage our raiders to take notes from yours. We’d still be driven to try to keep up with you, no question, but I imagine I would think you were pretty cool.

Instead, I watched as you easily took over the 10-man progression slot and immediately started giving crap to the only 10-man group that was, at the time, actively pursuing heroics.

Why? What did putting them down do for you?

Then it was Challenge Modes, and again, you circled around those players with the previous bests like vultures, ripping on them whenever the opportunity arose. I knew as soon as I heard that we would be next.

See, I knew you guys would probably catch up and overtake us, and I knew the minute it happened that the silence would break. You wouldn’t sit around watching our players at the dummies anymore, you’d have to say something.

And, unfortunately, I wasn’t the least bit wrong about that. The day after you took the lead in progression, your members immediately started in, trolling and mocking ours as they waited outside the instance on raid night or stood in the Shrine. It made me angry, not because you had passed us in progression, but because you felt the need to turn around and try to make my friends feel like crap about it.

So I asked them to maintain the silence; to take the trolling in stride. There were some–interesting–ways my guildies took this request, but by and large, they did as I asked.

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And yet it continues. Maybe you think you’re just being funny, but that’s not the way it comes across. So no, I don’t like you, and I probably never will.

I’ve been on the internet long enough to know the responses to this post, so in an effort to save your time, I’m going to list them below and you just circle the ones that apply to your reply:

A. It’s just a game, get over it.

B. You’re being stupid.

C. If you don’t want to hear crap, then get better.

D. You’re just jealous.

E. It’s just fun, lighten up.

And maybe it’s true, maybe I do take it too seriously, too personally–but I only do because people like my husband and some of my friends do, too. I’m protective of them, and I don’t like to see them feeling frustrated because you decided it’s your job to remind them that you’re first and we’re not.

Well, congratulations, but there are different kinds of winners.

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