Posts Written On June 2015

About camping

Camping is one of the few morally wrong things to do in a game. And I like it. I am one. I am a camper.

When Destiny came out, the shotgun was op. So, what you could do was hide, and hit and shoot someone who didn’t instantly notice you. As a camper, you never get away with the same spot for long, of course, the ones you killed know. They will take it personally. Going on a mission to hunt you down. Running to the hide spot, blinded by rage. And, if things work out completely for me, by that time I would have moved to a place where I can snipe my former hiding location. Headshot, baby!

Love that feeling.

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Gaming and Self-esteem – Part 2

A lot of research done on gaming is focused on its harmful effects. Our self-esteem and social life is known to suffer especially from MMOs. So why do people want to game? Are we simply satisfying our human, self-destructive nature by doing so? Or is it just maybe possible that gaming can have positive effects on its “victims”?  Could it help us better our image of ourselves?

Last week I wrote an article regarding some research done by Barmy on the connection between online gaming, self-esteem and escapism. If you haven’t read it yet, you can do so here. After looking closer at this subject and discussing it further with Barmy a lot of thoughts came to me. In this part two of the article I will explore these questions and reflect deeper on my own ideas about gaming and how it relates to self-esteem.

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Why we develop feelings for people we meet in games

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After reading the comments to Pyxis piece “Red’s Lesson”  my head was buzzing with thoughts. Hearing these stories of people falling for someone they meet online in a game is very interesting and it’s a story I’ve heard many times before. The number of people this seems to happen to surprised me greatly when I first started playing an MMO.

Seeing the comments in Pyxis post reminded me of what I read about “The Online Disinhibition Effect” when I was guest writing for Rav about why we ‘troll’.  This study by John Suler presents six features of online society which can elicit us to act differently than in the real world.

“Everyday users on the Internet—as well as clinicians and researchers1–7—have noted how people say and do things in cyberspace that they wouldn’t ordinarily say and do in the face-to-face world. They loosen up, feel less restrained, and express themselves more openly. So pervasive is the phenomenon that a term has surfaced for it: the online disinhibition effect.”
The Online Disinhibition Effect, John Suler 2004

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What is a gamer?

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A gamer. Who is that? If you would take it literally, it means someone who plays a game. So that would make practically everybody a gamer, and it would be a pretty empty word to describe yourself. Like t.v. watcher. Or driver. Gamer is not an empty word though: you see people calling themselves a gamer everywhere.

The connotation I have with the word gamer is someone who plays games professionally, or at least passionately, or is a games connoisseur. Hence, I would never describe myself as a gamer, just like I would never describe myself as a pianist. I’d say, I play the piano, or I play games. To me it would sound wrong to state that I am a gamer.

But the word gamer is out there. Not just for the professional gamers. There is something else going on here. It is the designation of a subculture. It is an identity label. Like hipster, foodie, emo, goth, etc.

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Gaming and Self-esteem

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In this two part article I will be looking at the effects of gaming on self esteem. We’ll start by looking closer at some research into the subject. How does self-esteem tie in with escapism? How are these two effected by our motivations (achievement, social and immersion) to play? How does self esteem differ between healers, tanks and DPS? Let’s explore these questions.

I recently came across the results of a study made by a fellow gamer. I was instantly intrigued by what I read and a friend of mine was kind enough to get me into contact with the researcher himself. If you, like me, are a SWTOR player, you might know him as “Barmy” from The Red Eclipse. Barmy studied psychology at the University of Derby where he wrote his dissertation “Escaping Reality into Fantasy: Online Survey Design Examining Self-esteem and Escapism In Relation To Internet Gaming Disorder and Motivation to Play.” The study utilised an online survey design that investigated multiple variables: general demographics, gamer demographics, motivation for playingInternet gaming disorder test (Pontes & Griffiths, 2014)escapism scale (Stenseng, 2009) and a self-esteem scale (Rosenberg, 1965).

Demographic:
Amongst the gamers who partook in the survey the…

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The Mystery of Ancient Hypergates

As long as I can remember, when you enter an Ancient Hypergates game, people gather up at left. Left is default. Both sides are just as far away, you could go either way. (Like in a Voidstar.) Or you could always go for a split, like in ranked. But no. Left is ‘ours’. Right is ‘theirs’.

Why?

In my short career in retail, I was taught that shoppers cruise predictably through a shop. Counterclockwise. And sure enough, once you know this, you see it. All of them moving around counterclockwise. Like programmed drones. Scary.

But, in Ancient Hypergates counterclockwise would mean right…

What is going on here?

So far I have two theories.

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Will The Fallen Empire ‘Res’ SWTOR?

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“Knights of the Fallen Empire”, the new SWTOR expansion, was announced at this years EA’s E3 press conference. This was done through stunning CG story telling. The expansion is due this October but has already created a stir within the SWTOR community. Holding our breaths, we are all waiting to find out if this is what will bring Star Wars: The Old Republic back up on its feet.

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Red’s Lesson

Normally you don’t exactly know what makes you ‘like-like’ someone. It is a mix of smell, looks, environment, personality, that day, everything. In game, you lack these magic ingredients; you have the typed sentences and maybe a voice. Why do so many people fall in love in game?

I used to think that the most fun thing about games and the Internet in general was, that you could be whatever you want to be, and change that every day. It doesn’t matter. Questions about ‘me’ or ‘you’ are of no importance and could be answered at random. Who cares about the real us. Let’s just play.

Others didn’t think like me.

A guy, Red, told me I should reply to someone that had whispered me. He thought I might like to talk with him. At that moment I was sort of busy whispering, so I had been forgetting to answer this particular person. I replied. And, oh yes, did we hit it off. Almost instantly, he sparked something in me. How he talked, what he said. I was interested. Romantically. Over a couple of sentences. I liked him. Like-liked him.

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Social Identity and Guilds in MMORPGs

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As you might have noticed by now I am always keen to know the reasons why people choose to game, especially in MMOs. The answer to this can reveal so much. So please, humour me for a second and answer me this:

Which of the following reasons describes your motivation for gaming most accurately?

  1. I like competition and enjoy pushing myself to be better.
  2. As well as meeting new interesting people, I play to spend time and maintain contact with the friends I have made in game.
  3. I log in order to sometimes get a break from RL by exploring virtual worlds, characters and story lines.

Of course we are most likely effected by more than one of these motivations but it is possible that one of them is more dominant than the rest. Are you an achievement, social or immersion focused gamer? What is interesting in thinking about this question is that it can effect how important your “Online Social Identity” is to you.

How we are seen by others is extremely important to us in real life but it clearly also transcends to online gaming. Let me explain myself.

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Addiction

…, and some drug and bewitch the soul with a kind of evil persuasion. Gorgias

Are you an addict?

To define addiction, I will limit myself and use one of the definitions of Michael J. Kuhar: an addiction is seeking and taking drugs, in spite of personal distress and harmful consequences. An addiction is something that you do; it is a behavior.

Is there a connection between substance addictions (like cocaine, alcohol, painkillers) and behavior addictions (like gambling and gaming)?

In the DSM V gambling changed from being categorized as ‘impulse control disorder’ to the category of addiction or the ‘substance use disorders’. This means that gambling is now seen as best understood when it it regarded like substance abuse. In other words addiction to a substance or to a behavior works similarly. Gaming addiction is not (yet) officially diagnosable as an addiction/disorder.

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