Friday, January 20, 2012

Here is another thing that's important about the internet.

This is just one thing, not a list, but it's all-encompassing, so there's that.

Once you find a community or ten that you like, this is such a weird and wonderful place for sharing absurdity and support and knowledge and fun and all of this good stuff. It never ceases to amaze me how widespread and how niche-y it manages to be all at once.

My real-world friends are, for the most part, almost exclusively moms. That's just how your social circle works a lot of times when you've got kids. Soccer moms, so to speak, and while I love them dearly they would never in a million years appreciate the hilarious absurdity of this. They wouldn't get it if I started talking about how, if you really think about it, the process behind something going viral is really amazing and OMG isn't the scope and speed of that such an awesome manifestation of how cool the internet really is?

They don't reflexively wince when I say "Paul Christoforo." They don't understand why I laughed and laughed and laughed when my son made his Gmail chat status "And then Jesus was all like ╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻".

If I start in about all of that stuff they just sort of ... smile and nod and act interested because they are awesome like that. But it's not really their thing. I love that there's a place full of people who get it.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Things that are important about the internet.

1: People on the internet blow things way way way out of proportion, in a negative way. They also feed off of one another, which is part and parcel of the first statement. So a minor negative thing will quickly form a sort of feedback loop until people are saying crazy-eyed stuff about "he should be fired!" or "omg I wanted to shoot her!" Somehow, they find this acceptable behavior. Which never ceases to blow my mind.

2: People exaggerate and make false claims to support their tenuous-at-best conclusions. They will claim to know someone else's motivation, reasoning, or thought process, usually in a direction that says the opposite party's actions came out of either malice or dishonesty. Since nobody is a mind-reader, this is a completely invalid misrepresentation that lends no credibility to the argument.

3: People on the internet dearly love to criticize. It's related quite a bit to the aforementioned mob behavior, but it's also because of this. I suspect most of these people would never dream of treating someone so nastily face-to-face, but when you throw in internet anonymity it becomes very easy to say the most hurtful and cutting things, then go merrily about your day feeling very proud of yourself for it. The recipient's just an anonymous internet person, so it doesn't count, right?

4: It's supremely easy to sit back, watch someone's performance, and then mouth off about how you could do better. Especially since you don't have to put your money where your mouth is. (Thank goodness you don't, because you know what? You are very very wrong.)

4a: Related to the above. You will find that the people who sit around and criticize are the ones who do nothing but... well, sit around and criticize. If you are one of those people? Look around at other members of the community who do this either for a living or as a serious community service. Do you see them mouthing off in the way that you are? Nope. You know why? Because those people know firsthand that you are wrong. Also, they are way too busy working their butts off on your behalf.

5: This one is unique to me. My name has four letters in it. It's quite simple. It is also attached to everything I do: It's on my byline of every single thing I write for Massively. It is plastered across the bottom of the Gamebreaker screen multiple times per episode. It is the name of my Twitter account. It is my forum handle *everywhere*. If, in the course of your crusade to let the world know of my failings, you still manage to spell it wrong? You just lost all credibility with me and here is why.

You are screaming about my perceived inadequacies in a situation where I am in a live setting, on camera, in front of over 1,000 people (many of whom are giving real-time feedback that is flashing past out of the corner of my eye in a constant stream), with some strict time constraints and two other hosts who also have things to say, and being called upon to remember every detail of a story that encompasses more than seven years of writing and design. Furthermore, I do not know exactly what I'm going to be called upon to remember or discuss at any given second. Sometimes I do not remember things in their entirety. It doesn't mean I don't know those things, it means my recall is imperfect at that moment, and yours would be too, no matter how wonderful and superior you are up in the peanut gallery. Other times I make a deliberate decision to only skim details of something. In fact, if you are getting all worked up because I did not say enough about something, 99% of the time I made that decision deliberately. It didn't have anything to do with you and it was the correct decision, so move along.

Now. You are pitching a fit because I either a) did not spit out enough details to satisfy you personally or b)did not say something in the way you personally think it should have been said. You get all worked up and indignant and personally offended, thinking it is your civic duty to alert the world to my crimes.

And yet. You consistently misspell a word that only has four letters, that you have obviously seen before and are most likely looking right at. And you rage about my mistakes while you are doing so. To paraphrase, get the log out of your eye, then we'll talk about the splinter in mine. Okay? Okay.

In fact, I'm going to point to this quote: "I’d be working on Asura stuff all day and somebody would walk up to my desk and ask something completely different about some random area of the Shiverpeaks. I’ll stare at them for 3 to 4 minutes with a blank look on my face like “you’re in another world and I need you to back up and tell me more”, because it’s JUST so big and JUST so much."

Do you know who said that? Ree Soesbee. She wrote this stuff. She created it. Are you telling her to get out and make room for a "real" fan? I mean, she's the author of it, she should be able to remember every letter of it on a split-second's notice, right?

To apply #5 to everyone: The person who is yammering on about how awful you are? They're just as awful by their own standards.

So! Keep these things in mind on the internet. At some point, someone is going to appoint themselves judge and jury and decide that it's their Sworn Duty to take you down a notch. Why? Don't know. I assume to make themselves feel important. Who cares? Share this if you like. Hell, print it out and stick it to the wall. (Feel free to delete the parts of #5 that do not apply!) But these are good things to keep in mind.

One final thought: I gave my daughter very good advice in the past, if I do say so myself. I'll give it to you as well. "It's been said that you can learn something from everyone, and I think that's true. Sometimes what you will learn is how not to behave or how not to treat people. Never be the kind of person that people are glad when you are gone."

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Hooray for sheer stubbornness, and thoughts on assisting your community!

Wurm update: I made it back to my home village! More importantly, I made it back to my home village with no weapon and hardly any tools. I made it more than halfway across the server with nothing more than a huge talent for running away and screaming for help from guards at guard towers. Along the way I ran into two very kind players. One of whom patched me up when I sustained a bad spider bite and one of whom offered me his horse. We'd bumped into one another at a point where he was finished with it. I accepted the bandaging and declined the horse, both with sincere thanks for the kindness. I like players like that -- people who want to make a multiplayer world better and reach out to other players. Kudos to them.

Kudos also to the Wurm Online Epiphron who replied to my previous post. Definitely read what he had to say, because he makes some excellent points. I'll address that more in a minute, but first let's finish my Tale of Scary Travel. I arrived at the shoreline of the mainland and stopped, wondering what to do next. You see, the old Massively village is on an island off of the mainland and I couldn't possibly swim it. My character would have run out of stamina and drowned long before reaching it. The only way is by taking a boat, which I did not have. I was chatting with Beau about it, and he was considering coming to pick me up the next time he played. I was also toying with the idea of crafting a rowboat and rowing myself across since I was in no hurry. Then who should I see in local but another member of the old Massively village. He'd started playing again that very day out of pure coincidence. We were happy to see one another and couldn't stop laughing at the fact that we'd both come back after a months-long absence on the very same day, AND stumbled across each other. He had a boat and was planning to drop a small deed on the old village site, so I hopped on board his boat and off we went.

I've now reconstructed my old house, the two of us are rebuilding from the ruins of Hindmania, and I've planted a little garden. I'm having a *blast.* I found an interesting and significant change that came about in my absence. See, previously, hostile wild animals did not enter a deed. A deed's NPC guardians (spirit templars) will only attack hostiles that venture onto a deed, so if you wanted their help with a wild animal you had to lure the thing to the corner of the deed and move back and forth, aggroing the thing over and over in an attempt to trick it into cutting that corner and accidentally entering the deed.

I assumed that was still A Thing the other day, and when a huge spider surprised me during a foraging expedition, I bolted for the village. Imagine my surprise when the thing entered the deed without hesitation and started beating crap out of me. Of course the templar rushed to my aid and the two of us took it down easily, but I was laughing so hard the entire time. This was a surprise that I liked. For many reasons, but primarily because it never made sense to have the things stop at the border like that. For one thing, I'm almost positive that spiders cannot see, read, or understand the concept of village borders. For another, invisible electric fencing has not yet been invented in the lands of Wurm. So it made no sense that they couldn't enter a deed. It also rendered the templars useless. Mine spent all her time sitting around picking her teeth and reading Playgirl. She was getting fat, so this gives 'em something to do.

Okay, so back to my previous issues. In the interest of fairness I kept a close eye on the game's help channel during my playtime. Maybe the CA who made that comment to me was just having a bad day or something. Everyone has those. I was disappointed to find that it wasn't an anomaly. This particular CA, judging from conversation in both help and freedom chat, has a reputation for being harsh with players who are new and/or outside her social circle, or who just happen to annoy her (by asking for help in the help channel, apparently), and the other players enjoy her treatment of them and joke about it. A discussion this morning centered around a player who'd evidently irritated her, and someone joked that she probably broke the players legs. She replied "Don't you think I'd brag about something like that?" She's almost admired for it.

Even more interesting, the actual players seem to give more help in the help channel than this person does -- and she seems to be on a LOT. Beau showed up with his character, wanting to join our village. He was back at The Howl and we were trying to invite him, with no luck. He asked nicely in chat if it was possible to get a village invitation from a distant location. She responded "no" and went silent. Another, non-CA player jumped in and gave Beau a workaround -- something the CA should have been doing.

Maybe I'm taking this too seriously. It *is* an unpaid volunteer position, but it got me thinking anyway about the title of "Community Assistant." I don't know what the job description is, but those two words give me a hint. To help the community. To help them find solutions to the problems they are having, to give them answers when they don't understand something. I'd bet money that the CA position does not entail "enforce a closed and unwelcoming community and keep the newbs in their place." Paid or unpaid, her position means that she represents this company and this product, because the people who are paid have indicated that they trust her judgement enough to allow her to speak for them. In this case? Bad idea.

Amusingly, as I write this, I glanced at help chat and saw her give a real answer to a question and explain a process to someone who did not understand it. This is something every CA should do every single time someone asks a legitimate question or has a problem: help them to solve it. This should not be the exception, it should be a rule. Maybe someone said something to her, I don't know.

I'll finish up by quoting something I said to someone else. This is my impression: This is a pretty closed community. There's a pretty small player base and newbs aren't exactly welcomed with open arms. You'll have a better play experience if you keep to yourself. Which is a damn shame.

Okay. I'm getting super long-winded but I don't want to wrap up without addressing the GM's comments on my previous post, because they were Composed of Awesome. He made some great points and explained some things I didn't know (and some I did, but that's cool because he should be doing t his stuff).

The system's treatment of beginner tools is going to remain a sore spot for me, I think. He commented that this is a fairly tough survival game, and he's right, and that's all good. Like I said before, I was playing in very dangerous territory, knowing that I could die and be transported halfway across the world. That's part of the *fun*. Heck, I didn't even mind that much when I got killed in a place where I thought I was safe. "Okay, I'm at The Howl. Let's do this."

But "tough survival game" should not equal "completely cripple a character." The weight of the items you carry is such a huge factor in Wurm: the more you carry the more slowly you move. The more slowly you move, the harder it is to run from things that want to maul you to death. Now add in the fact that these tools are expressly designed to be replaced as soon as possible with something better. Their stats are deliberately very low. No reasonable player is going to drag them around forever once they've created something better. It just doesn't make any sense.

I really loved Epiphron's suggestion of giving them a super-high decay rate. They're meant to be temporary, so it would make sense. "Here is something so you can scratch a living and survive for a short bit. They're not very good and they're not going to last long, so use them to make something better. Now get moving" Beautiful. But my previous feelings stand: If you spawn at The Howl, you need to have those tools.

Epiphron suggested that I take my CA concerns to Oracle, so I'm off to do that with an eye to a solution!

It's ultimately a matter of opinion

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Wurm Online could be so great.

It's time to revive this old blog. I've been thinking about it off and on, so here we go.

Some months back some of the Massively staff, myself included, fell head over heels in love with Wurm Online. Some of our readers jumped in too, and we created a thriving, ever-expanding village. So many of us worked together that we sort of tripped ourselves up: there were a ton of us in a tiny space, everyone so talented that there wasn't really anything for most people to do. Nobody needed anything done or created, and people gradually drifted away. The challenge was gone. I've been missing the game for a while now and thought I'd log back into our old village.

It was sad and exciting all at once. Everyone was gone. The deed had lapsed so the buildings had all decayed away, the guards had disappeared, and the place was overrun with hostile wildlife. The thought of trying to survive and rebuild in the midst of this was great and I dove in. First priority was food and shelter. I literally could not go 15 minutes without being attacked by a wolf, a mountain lion, or a giant spider. My character had good fighting skills and a decent sword, though, so each time I'd kill the creature, butcher it (hey, food!), forage around the land for items to make some healing covers, and continue about my business.

It was going well -- I'd started building a small house on the site of my old one -- when the game decided I was having too much fun. I was hiding on a boat just off of the coast, healing up from a fight with a spider. Said spider was not dead yet, so he was hanging out on the shoreline, sulking because he couldn't reach me. For about 15 minutes I stayed here, with my wounds healing up and the spider pouting on the shore while I killed time repairing my items.

Then the game froze. No "the servers are shutting down" or anything, just... bam. Everything stopped. My only recourse was to log out and back in. After logging back in the season had changed (there was green grass everywhere instead of snow), so I assume the changing of the season pack caused the servers to hiccup.

Here's the fun part: I logged back in and was dead. When I logged out, I was around 60% health and steadily healing. Well, that's... confusing and annoying and should not have happened, but oh well, stuff happens. Here's the even-more-fun part: Since Massively's deed had lapsed and I had no home deed, I respawned at The Howl, which is literally halfway across the world. Well, that stinks, but I was still enjoying the challenge, so off I went to make the long walk back home. At this point I was considering purchasing a small deed when I got back home so I'd have a "real" spawn point. I love the game and when I was playing before I was happy to spend real-world cash to support a large deed on my alt character and kick in money for Massively's deed on my main. Always happy to support those people creating games I love.

So I traveled for a while, then realized something extremely unpleasant: I was missing a handful of extremely important tools. You see, when you die in Wurm, you lose everything except a few designated "non-drop" items, including beginners tools. Beginners tools are the basics that you need to survive: things like a sword, pickaxe, hatchet, etc. If you're unfamiliar with Wurm, you have to make *everything*. To make a hatchet, for example, you have to cut down a tree, chop it into logs, and carve a hatchet handle from one of those logs. Then you have to mine for iron ore, smelt the ore into an iron lump using a forge or fire, and use an anvil to create a hatchet head. Then you assemble the pieces you've made, and voila: Hatchet.

Obviously you can't create a hatchet in the first place if you don't have ... well, a hatchet to cut down the tree and chop it into logs, a pickaxe to mine the iron, and so on. The game acknowledges this by giving you a handful of low-quality starter tools. Those low quality tools stay with you even if you die. EXCEPT. If you replace them with something better (which players are inevitably going to do with most of them as soon as possible) and stop carrying them around. Weight is a factor in Wurm -- the more you carry the more it drags you down, so of course I ditched my starter tools once I had some better ones. Now I find myself traveling the wilds of Wurm Online with no sword, no hatchet, and no pickaxe. I am literally unable to create anything to survive, unless I happen to stumble across a log that another player has left lying in an open area where I can take it.

Now I am not a developer and as a rule I do not tell devs how to make their games, because I usually do not know what I'm talking about. I'm going to make an exception in this case, because I *know* that the mechanic exists to check a player's inventory at a specified point or event and put an item there if it is not. Why on *earth* would you not put that mechanic in place for when a player respawns at The Howl? Or heck, for when they respawn at *all* if it's too complicated to tell the game "Only check inventory at The Howl". I'm all for a challenge. Heck, I was happily playing on un-deeded land, fending off wild animals in between trying to build a house and scavenging in the grass for food and healing components. But there is a difference between a challenge and completely crippling a character. I have no tools, no weapons, and no way to make any. I *could* beg for some items from the next deed I come across, but I'd frankly rather not. I hate people who do that.

Here's the icing on this foul-tasting cake: Wurm has a help channel. Certain players are given the "CA" title and they are the moderators/enforcers/helpers in that channel. From the chat rules: "The CA chat channel is for players that have game questions for the CA team to answer. CA control that channel and players will abide by any directive issued by a CA as to the use and conduct on that channel. Failure to abide by any such directive may result in a penalty being issued." Okay, fair enough. When I realized that I was missing those tools I asked in help "What would cause me to respawn with only some of my beginner tools? I died and came back without most of mine." There were some CA people in the chat, but another player answered first, and said that it was probably because I didn't have them in inventory. I thanked him, and said "I was afraid that might be it. Very annoying to travel cross country without any of those." Then a CA player chimed in and said "When you die without them in your inventory." I replied that another player had answered me already, and the CA said "I thought you were asking again when you kept talking."

Whoa there, Nellie. See the "annoying" line above? That is all I said, cut and pasted from the chat log. Let's just tone the snark down there. If a game's development team is going to give players a title, power, and a directive to help, then they need to be careful about who they give those things to *and* make sure they have a code of conduct to abide by. Now strictly speaking my comment about it being annoying was not a question. What it *was* was an extremely brief expression of frustration at the situation and... well, I don't really see anything wrong with it. I didn't curse, scream, throw a fit, or spam the channel.

Unfortunately, this is typical of the help and GM team at Wurm Online. They take great enjoyment in their power but want none of the responsibility. We at Massively noticed it months ago when we were all playing and I'm disappointed to see that it's as bad if not worse than ever. (We had an issue some months back where a game bug caused our boat to disappear, and we had to summon a GM to help. She arrived to show off her character's goth costume that "regular" players do not have access to, then spent 15 minutes telling us that yes, she could see exactly where our boat was and no, she was not going to tell us. We wound up having to find it on our own.)

This game could be so wonderful. I love it. I want to play it. But it's actively discouraging me at this point, which is a huge shame. I feel like I'm saying "Take my money!!" and it's slamming the door in my face.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

In which I invite flames upon flames.

We recently revisited an old argument in my Guild Wars alliance: the subject of language. It was angering and tiring to me, because it was the second pages-long thread we've had in the officer forums that centers around the use of the word rape.

I really, truly do not get those who just casually toss that around. "lolololol we raped them lololol" Then someone complains and they're completely offended. Lighten up! We're all adults here! You know what I meant! It doesn't mean anything, and you know it.

Yes, we are all adults here, which means I expect you to be able to express yourself a little better than that. And yes, it DOES mean something. I am lucky -- I'm not a rape victim, and I've never even been in a situation where I felt threatened. But even the thought of it is enough to make me flinch, and it is really beyond me why *anyone* would find that appropriate to joke about.

Think about it. No, seriously. Take a second to think about the actual act -- someone being violated in that way and not being able to do a thing about it, no matter how hard they try. I don't care if it's never happened to you and you don't know anyone who has been a victim. The concept alone should bother you.

If you've ever used the word in that concept, I really, sincerely want to hear from you, because it seems like basic human compassion to avoid using that in a joking tone, for two reasons. One, it's simply not funny -- it's a completely unacceptable form of slang. Two, it's entirely likely that you will say that in guild chat, alliance chat, local chat, a forum, whatever, and it will be read by a rape victim. That person went through one of the most horrifying things you can go through, and now they're sitting there watching you mock the experience and turn it into a joke. Sure, you can make the standard excuses: that's his/her problem, not mine. Don't read it if you don't like it, blah blah blah.

Or you could, you know, show (again) basic human compassion and just find a better way to express yourself. Because it's not funny, and it should never ever ever ever be used in that context.

While I'm at it, the same goes for calling something "gay." I'm sorry, did you seriously just take someone's sexual orientation and turn it into a slur? NICE. I don't care whether you agree with it or not, using the word gay as a derogatory term for something you don't like just makes you look like a tool in dire need of a thesaurus. (If you still don't get where I'm coming from, substitute the phrase "sexual orientation" with "skin color," "nationality," or "religious affiliation." Still wanna tell me to lighten up and that it doesn't mean anything?)

Stop being cretins, people.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Free to play. It's not out to ruin your life.

There's been a lot of talk at Massively, both behind the scenes and out front, about the free-to-play business model. I've avoided weighing in until now because I just couldn't decide. Which makes me late to the discussion, but I'm okay with that. ;-)

I'm so torn on this, because on one hand the bickering over semantics annoys me to no end, as does the fact that so many people are just outraged that for-profit companies are out to make a buck. Hi, of course they want your money. That's sort of why they exist. It doesn't make them evil, it makes them like every other business in the world.

The constant back and forth is what interests me. Too many players take "free-to-play" at face value, which is fair to a point. They expect to be able to play for free. But you've got to use common sense. No business is going to fork over the whole store at no charge just because the devs think you look like a nice guy. They still aim to make a profit, so it's sort of a "You can play for free. And you can play even MORE for a few bucks."

The other part of this is that these companies are constantly testing to see what the market will bear. Again, this is good old common sense. I know little to nothing about the inner workings of F2P games, but I imagine that no company can afford to stagnante and continue offering the same tired uber sword of buttkickery for $3 in the cash shop. Eventually every player will have one and you cash flow stops. You can't keep up that way.

Better to keep trying new things and seeing how the market reacts. Different price points, different items, different incentives, different forms of earning income. You can send out surveys and study your customer base all you want, but sometimes putting it into practice is the only way to know for sure. Sometimes it works, sometimes it does not. Look at Allods. Look at the DDO Offer Wall. Those things... didn't work out so well. On the other hand, look at the infamous Sparklepony. A year ago, would you have considered $25 a reasonable price for a cash shop item? WoW gambled on what the market would bear, and it not only worked out well for them, it caught on elsewhere.

It's just the nature of the game -- these companies want to keep you spending. It's how they continue to exist. But the games are not unavailable if you don't want to spend, so I really fail to see why people are so insulted when they bump up against an in-game store, or when devs add new or different items and price points to the store to see what sticks.

For what it's worth, I continue to think that Turbine has the most outstanding business model out there. I know there are people that don't like some of the F2P restrictions, but I view their a la carte options as pure genius. Want to pay a flat monthly sub and move on with your life? You can do that. Want to play free and maybe pick up a few items from the DDO/LotRO store now and then? You can do that too. Want to play without ever spending a penny? No problem. (And yes, you can do that. There are a hundred guides out there on playing completely free. I wrote one.)

Anyway, I generally think the F2P business model is a good one. Bicker over semantics and call it whatever you want, but if I'm playing and I've not paid any money and I can do so as long as I like, then I am playing for free. Free. to. Play. The end.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Whee! Bring on the hectic!

Wow, last night was kinda crazy and I loved every second of it.

See, Thursday night is Massively night in Guild Wars. I get together with our readers and we play through Guild Wars together. We started with Prophecies in pre-searing and are working our way through. In the past few weeks we've thrown Eye of the North into the mix, proceeding through those storylines to add some interest.

Last night was Bloodstone Fen and part of the Knowledgeable Asura storyline. After getting my kiddos to bed for the night, I headed to Bloodstone Fen early as usual to help everyone get settled in. Fielded a few guild invitation requests, chatted with guildies and alliance mates, and wrapped up a few work things. Besides the usual contingent of guildies, some alliance people joined, and an old friend from the original Guildcast alliance showed up.

At the appointed time, we divided up into groups -- we've always got too many for a single group -- and off we went. And then all heck broke loose. One guy's mic wasn't working on Vent, and someone else was having volume issues that caused every person's voice to come booming out of her speakers. Then someone else had a minor medical issue that required her to afk and re-apply a bandage/brace.

We stood around at the beginning of the mission for quite a while trying to get everything sorted. This is exactly the sort of thing that causes more impatient players to throw their hands up in annoyance and rely on heroes. But here's the thing: I revel in it. Sure, we weren't accomplishing the mission at top speed, but I was with five people that I *really* like. We were laughing, joking around, helping one another sort out technical glitches, and generally having time.

Now. I haven't even gotten to the fun part yet. We finally got settled and started the mission in earnest. We got about a third of the way through when I got an IM from my husband, who'd been web browsing during some downtime at work. There was a new ArenaNet blog post about Guild Wars 2.

Now here's the thing about Guild Wars 2 news: It's...well, it's Guild Wars 2 news. I jump on it and write it up immediately, and it usually gets published asap. Other stuff, particularly gaming, has to take a back seat. Now I want to be very clear that this is not a complaint. Not a day goes by that I don't smile at *some* point because of what I do for a living. I'm the lead Guild Wars/Guild Wars 2 writer for our site. I *get paid* to write about this game that introduced me to MMOs. I *get paid* to do something that I am incredibly passionate about and that I'd do for free.

So when this sort of thing happens, I have this crazy combination of "/shriek New info, new info!!!" and "OMG MUST WRITE NOW." My fangirl self and my work self are both hopped up on adrenaline and excitement and my biggest problem is trying to stay under a certain word count.

What's funny is that the very same thing happened last Thursday night. New GW2 info surfaced just as our Massively GW mission was well underway. I told my group what was happening, and they sent me off to a safe place to leech while I wrote. They were so kind about it.

I felt too guilty to do that again this week, so I explained on Vent what had happened and that I needed just a moment to talk with Shawn and figure out how long the story was going to be. Once I got that settled, we finished the mission in record time and everyone shooed me off to get to work.

I am so, so, so fortunate to have gameplay friends who "get it." Things like this interrupt their gameplay, and in their shoes I might be a bit impatient. They are saints about it. Partly because they are great people, but partly because this sort of thing is incredibly exciting for them too and they completely get why I'm so preoccupied and anxious to get to work.

My gamer friends are the best. <3 And keep the hectic coming, everyone involved. I love it so much!