Monthly Archives: April 2016

Public Service Announcement: Online Gaming Etiquette

*Suits up, sits on obligatory white chair in an all-white room, puts on Best Morgan Freeman Voice Mod*

So, lemme tell you a story.

Once upon a time, I hated playing online games. I liked sticking to single-player adventures, avoiding the masses like they were teh plague.

Because a lot of them are.

Sorry, getting to that. Anyway.

I would only play online with friends on my team. Strictly people I knew, and when the party was done, back to single-player offline goodness for me. This went on for years.

Like, so many years, that it only changed last year.

In Summer of 2015, a beta popped up on Xbox Live for a little game called Smite: Battleground of the Gods.

At the behest of my Dudebros, I downloaded it, and we played together. We started off in Co-Op, because holy shit it’s terrifying at first when you’ve got no idea what is even going on. We played almost everyday, finally working up the nerve to play Versus Mode against other players. We really enjoyed the game- our Three-Man team was Artemis, Zeus and Ah Puch; four-man added Ah Muzen Cab. Eventually there was a fifth, who played as whoever the hell, whenever the hell.

He had the advantage of a LOT of knowledge already being out there, joining much later.

We played through the beta’s duration, each of us buying the Founder’s Pack to get every God ever released for the game. We continued to play over the months, collecting Diamond Rank characters, picking and learning new Gods, gaining confidence when the game handed us a random God and said, “go kick ass.”

Now, I’ve got two Diamonds: Zeus and Medusa; a VII Bastet; V Aphrodite; IV Bacchus; a bunch of IIIs, several IIs, and a ton of Is. I have every God mastered, save the one that came out two days ago (SKADI IS THE BOMB DOT COM, PEOPLE).

In short, I know what I’m doing.

This part leads into the point of this post. I play in a group of all guys. I’m one of only a handful of lady-gamers we have around. My gamertag is clearly female in nature, and I’ve had the same one for over a decade. Recently, I have had an utter shit-ton of flack in-game from random strangers. In April alone, I have gotten a hateful/sexist/scathing message from a random player almost every single day of the month!

What do these messages say?

Some ask for Kik chatting or sexy pics or offer dick pics. Others bitch about my performance– which I can promise you, in all but ONE of these messages, I outperformed the person. Some complain about my gear choices.

If you haven’t heard it already: I have been playing this since it existed on Xbox. I know how to build anything, especially a mage. I keep up with item changes and updates. I know what I’m doing.

The problem? No one else on my team gets these messages.

No matter the situation! Just last night, I got spammed by a guy who wanted me to get more DEFENSIVE ITENS, as he said. The problem?

I DIED THE LEAST. MY MALE TEAMMATE (IN PARTY WITH ME) DIED THREE MORE TIMES THAN ME. I OUTPERFORMED IN ALL AREAS BUT ONE, WHICH THIS RANDOM GUY BEAT ME BY 200 PLAYER DAMAGE.

Did he message my party teammate, leaving disparaging remarks about how much he died, or his gear, or anything at all? Nope.

I used to bite my tongue, promise not to feed the trolls, report/block them, and move on. But they aren’t holding their tongues- why should I anymore? I sent a well-worded message, as I care about my online reputation, then reported and blocked him.

I am utterly SICK of how people act online. What makes anyone think they have the right to private message someone to say anything at all, much less to simply be a dick to a stranger? And why am I the only one getting them?

I don’t like making anything about gender. I am female. I like being female. I love my guys. They are my tribe. But not a single one of them is receiving messages like this. Over all these months of playing Smite, two of them have received one message each. I’ve received more than that since the beginning of April!

Why, people, why? Why is that okay? And why me in particular as the only target? Why not everyone else? I’ve checked and verified this with other players– they just don’t get the same treatment, no matter how much worse they perform, or any other variable.

So, this post is all about Online Gaming Etiquette. It can be summed up in one of my least favorite, but most accurate phrases:

Wait no.

Don’t have anything nice to say? Don’t say anything at all.

* Please DON’T take to the Xbox message center to spam people for ANY reason, especially if you’re just trying to be a dick to a stranger. And seriously, don’t pick on a chick because she’s a chick. Don’t be that person.

* Please DON’T constantly ping on your teammates when they are not playing the way you want. You are different people on the same team- learn the MMO adage of “Don’t piss off your healer. You’ll end up face-down in the dirt.” And if you decide to behave this way, don’t be surprised when they don’t help you anymore. You are not entitled to that.

* Please DON’T berate your teammates or abuse in-game chat systems. Seriously, rarely ever is someone legitimately trying to perpetually steal your kills. Again, same team, people. Now, if they’re following you and clearly trying to, then tell them to knock it off in party chat or in-game chat system, however you’re connected, but don’t be that guy. You are capable of civil conversation.

* Please DON’T join a team-based game, just to quit out on your team or be a jackhole to them and not help. Seriously, why are you even playing a multiplayer game, if you’re going to either not help or intentionally feed? Especially if you go to great lengths to make sure your team knows you’re not going to help.

I don’t want to have to quit Smite because of the obscenely shitty environment it has these days (just like everything else really), but I will, because holy fuck it’s stressful and infuriating. Most people play games to escape the stress and strain of daily life. Please, please don’t ruin that for them. The online gaming world– hell, the online world in general– is incredibly volatile. Please don’t be a part of the problem. Help foster a positive environment for you and your fellow humans. We never know when the alien overlords are going to come for our butts, so we should ban together while we can.

Until next time, please be kind and rewind, kids.

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Into the Dreamscape: Final Fantasy XV Platinum Demo.

This past week, Square-Enix FINALLY released a playable demo for Final Fantasy XV!

Huge emphasis on the FINALLY there. My Facebook memories reminded me just a few days ago that I was talking about FFXV 3-4 years ago. Sheesh, SE. Anyway! I’ve played the demo to completion on both Xbox One and PS4, and here are my musings!

**HEY, LISTEN! From here on, I’ll describe the demo in mucho detail. There are no actual story spoilers to be found, but hey, I WARN PEOPLE, NAVI STYLE.**

The demo itself is fairly short- you play the majority of it as a young Noctis, making your way through your own dreams. Ever-awesome Carbuncle is your guide (HOHMAIGAH CARBY!!), via a stray cellphone found in there. Follow me.

You begin in a lush, wooded area, following Carbuncle through a rocky terrain and seeing a few classic Summons/Avatars/Aeons before finally plunging into a lake… which leads to an oversized version of your dining room at home! Wheeeee~ dreams are fun. You encounter some very Kingdom Hearts-esque nightmares (think heartless with blue skin) as enemies, and dispatch them with either a sword or a squeaky hammer.

I was all for the squeaky hammer.

There are some awesome items hidden in the demo, such as the Shuriken and the spell Meteorain. There’s a detailed set of videos by Pixel Precision to help you CATCH FIND ‘EM ALL.

By the end of the demo, you’ll come across your hardest (and only) boss: the Iron Giant. Even if you don’t remember them from nearly every single Final Fantasy game, surely some of you guys will remember these dudes from Final Fantasy X, farming the Thunder Plains!

At this point in the demo, Noctis transforms into an adult, much to the shock of his radioactive squirrel friend. (Okay, I’ll say Carbuncle is way less radioactive squirrel in FFXV, unlike his FFXI days where he earned the nickname. WE RULED THE WORLD, CARBY! *cries over FFXI*) During this fight, you’ll learn several of Noctis’ abilities and most of the battle mechanics. The warp ability is pretty cool, and it very much reminds me of DmC: Devil May Cry’s Angel Lift with the Ophion. Which, at least to this girl, isn’t a bad thing.

Once you’ve defeated the Iron Giant, you follow Carbuncle to the end of your dreams, and the demo, at which point you’ll be able to name Carbuncle for future summoning! Wheeeeeee.

Overall, I thought the demo was quite fun. The call-backs to classic FF touched me in *just* the right places (giggity) and really made me excited for the game. In previous years, I lamented straying from Ye Olden Days of Final Fantasy where we took turns in battle and I could take 500 years deciding when I wanted to die to Sephiroth. But things change, and baby, I’m changin’ too.

Wow, that felt really Fleetwood Mac. I’ll take it.

The battle system is smooth and intuitive, though the targeting system made me crazy. Yes, it’s the standard lock-on system, but much like Dark Souls, it gets wonky as hell in some places, especially pushed against walls or objects.

Many people have talked about the frame rate dropping during gameplay, but I will say, I didn’t experience that on Playstation 4. On Xbox One, I had frame rate issues and the demo crashed out twice. I also got warnings of being in a restricted area (ala Borderlands), and being “returned” to a safe area, which meant me standing in the exact same place in the middle of town. Derp. I also felt that the graphics looked much better on PS4.

YOU GUYS HEAR THAT?! I SAID IT. PEE ESS FOUR, OKAY?!

I normally do ALL THE THINGS on my Xbox, but in continuing tradition, I’ll be getting Final Fantasy XV on mah Sony. Also because my PS4 library is like 5 games big. SRY NOT SRY.

So! What did you guys think of the Platinum Demo for Final Fantasy XV? Love it? Hate it? Wanna do weird things with it? Me too! Share with us in the comments.

Until next time, you stay classy, Dreamscape.

Guys. SRY.

First off, you find some funny stuff when you Google “SRY” for a sorry meme. Sexy shenanigans!

So! A LOT of life has happened in the past year. Again. DAMN.

I launched my debut novel, Godeater: The Second World, and my writing blog takes up lots of time, being mah job and all. But! I’m gonna try to balance that one with actually friggin’ updating this one. Thank you to everyone who is still hanging on!

This week, I’ll be covering the Final Fantasy XV reveal + Platinum Demo, so stay tuned!