Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Socializing the Beast

The last few days have been interesting, as on Monday night when I returned home from work I found something called Mumble sitting on my computer, and my wife emphatically bringing me up to speed on the world of audio chat on a microphone. Apparently, much of her guild (which is spread out between Star Wars: The Old Republic and Guild Wars 2) had suddenly migrated to Rift. As I was the lone de facto Rift aficionado in the house, and also a known spouse to "The Wookie" as my wife is known by, it was now being made clear that I was going to socialize with other humans. Or else!

Mumble is a voice chat program, and of all those I've seen in the past (which amounts to Teamspeak and Ventrilo) it seems to be the nicest. I think my wife and her crew pay for their extra deluxe edition or something, not entirely sure. I don't own a mike...well, I didn't, so I picked one up yesterday.

Overall the experience of suddenly interacting on a voice level with humans on the internet was interesting. Nice people in my wife's online social club, so I definitely can see why she enjoys talking with people so much (and ergo spends enormous amounts of time in MMOs while doing so). It wasn't at all like the old Xbox 360 experiences I had back in my Halo 3 days when rampant swarms of 13-year old (either mentally or physically) racist homophobes would run in packs on voice chat, rendering the entire experience a bit akin to a metaphorical slog through a sewer.

The main problem I've noticed is: how the hell does anyone get any gaming done when you're too busy chatting or listening to chat to focus on the game? I guess I am an attention-focused person when I play, but I got zilch done Monday night and the only game Tuesday night I could focus on was Diablo III, part of the Blizzard family of "games that require no attention span whatsoever to play." In fact I was stunned to see I finally got through Act I on Diablo III, and I didn't get groggy once....amazing!

To Tony Harris and any other dumbasses  bitching about cosplay women: I officially revoke your geek cred cards and kick you from the clubhouse to make room for more female cosplayers. So there.

In Diablo III's defense I actually like the game, primarily for the aesthetics and attention to story. It also plays well (unless you're having a lag/connection issue, then it plays like tootin' monkey butts). What it doesn't do is keep me awake: it's almost certain that I will get drowsy while playing the game. No idea why, same thing happens with Dungeon Siege III and both Torchlight I and II. Someting about isometric hack and slashers has an almost metronomic, hypnosis/sleep inducing quality to their play mechanics for me.

So I guess the moral of the story is I'm trying hard to be more social online as my wife has never before been so interested in bringing me into her "secret circle," but I may have to mute the chat if I plan to get anything done in a more attention-demanding game like Rift or Guild Wars 2. Either way, it's an interesting social experiment she's engaging in, taking her husband who considers his time at work and his Wednesday night Pathfinder campaign to be all the socializing he can stomach, and adding this dynamic to my PC quiet-time. Maybe she's trying to stave off the grumbling curmudgeonism that seems to grip all men who are past their prime? Who knows...

The Rude Crude Badass Dude

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