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Morrowind with Tons of Mods - Who's up for another go?
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Yapette
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February 18, 2011 - 12:04 am
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"Don't you experience a terrible immersion-break every time you see a modded feature in the game and think "hahar, I did that."?"

Yes, yes! Except you are implying negative while I feel impowered! I did that! I fixed it to my liking! [Image Can Not Be Found]

Haven't mapped since adventure game mazes but I did have about 6 inches of MW notes & printouts stuffed in notebooks. Culled 'em a couple of weeks ago figuring I'd generate new inches when I replay. Also 5 cds of mods gathered over years & likewise obsolete.

Soon I'll be ready to jump back in. Playing DA:O was the break I needed to come back refreshed. Refreshed meaning my mind has been wiped clean so I'll have to read my own posts above to understand where I was & what I'd planned to do next.

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Jakkar
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February 19, 2011 - 8:57 am
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Ah, but it still breaks my connection with the gameworld. I feel all put-out and have trouble caring about what I do in the game for a while after I see something that reminds me of reality. Same reason you play horror games in the dark ^^

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geggis
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That's what I alluded to in my article. I feel like the more I mod this thing the more distanced I become from the game and the world itself. If I'd have jumped straight into vanilla I'd have felt the full majesty of it all (as well as the horrible faces spoiling the show), thankfully, as it stands I'm still getting wonderful moments despite all this messing around. Only last night I went into that cave right next to Seyda Neen with a lantern and a dagger and got scared shitless by a fucking rat. It reminded me of Thief and to a certain extent Penumbra, inching forward and listening out, peering into the gloom and swearing to god you just heard or saw something. I still adore the weather changing and the sun going down though; nightime is a thing of beauty.

As I said in an earlier post (in this thread or on the front page, can't remember) I think the time you spend modding should be proportional to the time you expect to spend playing the game. I expect that after 10 hours playing many of the changes I've made will simply blend in and I'll forget that I put them there (like in Shadow of Chernobyl). Hell, I've got a second installation of Morrowind that remains untouched which I load up now and then to see what I've moved away from and there's plenty I keep forgetting about, namely the clearer fonts (same font just a slightly different weight), the better icons (vanilla's are pathetic), the lovely hi-res sky textures and of course the much, much better heads/bodies/beasts/clothes etc. I decided to keep the game's world textures vanilla and ramp up the anisotropic filtering and lower the mipmap LOD bias. I felt that some of the texture packs took too many liberties regardless of how much more detailed they were. The only other visual mods I've got involve taking all the vanilla creatures, weapons and armour textures and making them more detailed (I've linked to them in one of my comments on the front page so you'll be able to see how loyal they are to vanilla's). I think if there was a texture pack that simply made the vanilla textures higher resolution I'd be all over it but the world loses some of its pallid desolation with the (still excellent) Visual Pack and Connary's textures.

Yap I re-installed the Atmospheric Sound Effects mod and edited the ambient loops to be 70% quieter so now the whole mod is thankfully a lot more subtle — no more force 10 gales whipping through Seyda Neen on a still night. Let me know if you'd like these loops sending over. I seem to remember Seyda Neen sounding louder and busier the first time I installed this mod but it doesn't sound as bad now, perhaps it was simply the ambient loop overpowering everything.

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Jarrod
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February 19, 2011 - 5:51 pm
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For the love of god man, play already, and posts screen shots!

A man goes to knowledge as he goes to war, wide awake, with fear, with respect, and with absolute assurance. – The Teachings of Don Juan

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I'm not sure what to play as now. I'm tempted to be some sort of Nordic berzerker or a mage of some description. I was going to be a Khajiit nightblade but I'm half tempted to try something else out.

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I remember that first cave outside of Seyda Neen vividly. I was scared shitless the first time I ventured in there with just a little dagger. I knew better. I did.  And the madness of trying to get to the first real city. I didn't have the money to ride the Strider and I wasn't beefy enough to take the path. I crawled around that little village for forever before I made a break for it and started running down that path as fast as I could. Which, this being Morrowind, was excruciatingly slow. When I finally made it I would have bent over and kissed the cobblestones if I could have. There is something bewitching about this game. So many elements came together.

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Jakkar
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Sign of loving Morrowind; I know the name of the slaver cave outside Seyda Neen through inescapable memory; Addamasartus. Probably because I carried a key bearing its name for weeks.

Another problem with modding versus immersion is an undefinable sense of exhaustion that comes in as the maker. Almost as though, once someone has dedicated enough time and attention to the workings of the world, they can no-longer believe in it, and to walk in it is akin to walking as a God among men, or a Redpill chewing a steak in The Matrix.

Thankfully, between well-made games and a good imagination this can usually be overcome - it hasn't done the slightest bit of damage to my love of STALKER or Red Faction - a few months ago I was mesmerised by the unpredictable AI behaviours of a whole horde of zombies created by a Blowout mod in Jupiter - and just yesterday, the actions of one insane Marauder who hunted me across around two miles of Martian desert, on foot versus my car, reminded me just how in love I am with Guerilla.

Gregg, what do you identify with personally, most intensely, in a fantasy universe - and specifically Elder Scrolls'?

I almost invariably play 'myself' in any freeform game - the exceptions being games like Guerilla or The Witcher in which I am forced to adopt some amount of a prewritten protagonist's persona. In an RPG in which I can create my own character I build my own self as best fits the opportunities of the fantasy setting. In the Elder Scrolls I'm a Dunmer of no specialisation, dabbling in illusion magics to influence others through charm/fear, competent with short blades, highly athletic, an amateur alchemist and many more little bits and pieces.

There's a unique pleasure to studying a fictional universe and extrapolating from the setting just how you, yourself may have turned out had you grown up here, then playing that character.

From this perspective, I do not think I will ever understand what drives so many young men to change their gender and their entire personality when granted freedom and anonymity in a fictional universe. I can only make the obvious guess; deep dissatisfaction with the self.. But it has to be more complicated than that, my optimism cries.

Have you decided yet what you are?

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geggis
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February 20, 2011 - 1:05 pm
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Not yet no. I'm similar in that I also try to model characters after myself where possible, I find it easier to roleplay and empathise with a situation then. As a kid I used to love playing outdoor games that involved being sneaky and creeping up on positions to win or retrieve captured team-mates. Thief came out and before you knew it I was wanting solid stealth elements in all my games; silent take-downs and sneaking in through the back door was always more exciting (and infinitely more tense) than confronting enemies head-on.

Only yesterday I bought the Hitman games off of Steam (75% off woo!). In light of this, and despite lacking any sort of furry fetish, I'm likely to play as some sort of Khajiit assassin/thief/nightblade, but I sure wouldn't mind trying another class for a change or at least mixing it up with something else. I'll probably go with the latter. A Nordic berserker sounds like a heavy metal wielding riot though. Always did have a soft spot for viking nutters, although watching the excellent How to Train Your Dragon the other night may very well have influenced me as well…

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Armand
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Jakkar said:

From this perspective, I do not think I will ever understand what drives so many young men to change their gender and their entire personality when granted freedom and anonymity in a fictional universe. I can only make the obvious guess; deep dissatisfaction with the self.. But it has to be more complicated than that, my optimism cries.


Dude, seriously? It's role playing. You're not playing a roll if you just play yourself. The very concept of the game system suggests you try something new.Walk in someone else's shoes, expand your horizons. Suggesting a "deep dissatisfaction with the self" is just plain insulting.
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Armand said:

Jakkar said:

From this perspective, I do not think I will ever understand what drives so many young men to change their gender and their entire personality when granted freedom and anonymity in a fictional universe. I can only make the obvious guess; deep dissatisfaction with the self.. But it has to be more complicated than that, my optimism cries.


Dude, seriously? It's role playing. You're not playing a roll if you just play yourself. The very concept of the game system suggests you try something new.Walk in someone else's shoes, expand your horizons. Suggesting a "deep dissatisfaction with the self" is just plain insulting.

I don't role play computer RPGs at all. Couldn't give a flying *bleep*. When I did pencil & paper I took it very seriously (annoying Brando seriously) and expected others to do the same.

I'll cop to deep diissatifaction with myself but role playing a person not in any way like my real self gave a sharp break. New diction, new behavior. Creating the person and climbing in was a delightful playground. The closer the character was to the real me the more difficult it was doing it justice. I've got a full slate of crazy but wanting to cleave like shale ever closer to me I'll leave to the novelists and their string of ex-wives.

grooowrrrr! [menace menace] rrrrowwwr!

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Armand
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When I start a new rpg game, I try to imagine a character, their motivations, their perspectives and so on, and build them based on that. I don't "role-play" in the traditional tabletop manner, trying to immerse myself in the character and all, but I do like to have a compass of sorts to help me play the character. It tends to lead to much more exciting and dynamic gameplay I think. It also helps make some games wildly re-playable, where you can follow out a storyline with one character and then try it again with a whole new direction and see how it plays out.

Playing more villainous characters is always hard for me, but I've found it can really spice up some games. Both New Vegas and Dragon Age: Origins felt like wholly different games when played as "bad guys."

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Yapette
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Hmm, maybe I don't belong in this thread. I don't role play or even try to, except.  Isn't there always a "yes but...."?

Moral choices, such as those scattered throughout & unavoidable in Bioware titles....those responses are mine. Main characters may look & act nothing like me (shoot fireballs? if only), but the decisions are what I would have made if I looked like that. Cool

Armand? Know what? Know what I really want to do? Further mod MW by applying the Arktwend total conversion mod. I know two installs can run side-by-side but finessing identical* installs on two dissimilar computers is hard enough. Managing four installs...not even going to consider. Or am I. [Image Can Not Be Found]

 

* yes, I know I can .rar up a modded install & plop it on the second computer. Problems occur when the hardware is not the same....as it isn't.

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Armand
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Whoa, total conversion mods are nuts. It's not even the same game anymore! If you do install and play it, let us know how it goes. I'm always worried it won't be good enough for me.

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geggis
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Yapette said:

..but the decisions are what I would have made if I looked like that. Cool


I think that's pretty much where I fall Yap. I want to see how the game reacts to me, to my decisions and actions. I think roleplaying as somebody else in a sense sidesteps that. Granted you still have authority over your actions but they're framed by your prescribed character's personality and then further framed by your own. I might be over egging it a bit but it just seems like an additional layer to the game that I can't be arsed with. Having said this, if I'm playing as myself then why the hell am I raiding the customs and excise office as soon as I get off the boat? [Image Can Not Be Found] All those plates, cups and bowls…
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Jakkar
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Gregg B: Are you new to Hitman? They're among my very favourite games, the full series occupying a place of honour on my shelf - I believe the second game to ever make good use of a real physics system - and Trespasser is always an awkward example to give as number 1 - so I generally consider Hitman the first -successful- implementation of a physics engine.

It's not about the physics, of course - as an innocent 13-year-old sadist it was mostly about the ragdoll, yes, but I've developed a real respect for the sheer freedom those games offer - along with their excellent graphics, wonderful music, unashamedly dark themes and unfailingly artistic presentation. Mm. Love. *makes another entry into the 'things to write about' file*

I'm getting well ahead of myself. I managed to spent the morning working on this bloody forum avatar for no reason other than "I'm easily distracted" D:

I empathise well with your love of stealth, but I personally prefer a middle path between the two - I never wanted Silent Assassin, I never wanted to make it look like an accident - my playstyle in Hitman on 'real' mission runs is 'viciously effective'. Blame a childhood of Bond films for the shiver I feel in my imagination when a character calmly takes down a room of men with a silenced pistol, then sits among the bodies to hack their computer files without batting an eyelid in concern or regret.

Something wonderfully horrible about that, something chilling, inhuman and extremely compelling as a way to introduce a character. For me, that 'silenced pistol bastard' cliche is personified most perfectly by Agent 47.

And so I play it; a silenced pistol, my reflexes cranked up to 11, a study of the maps and data available for the mission and I launch myself in, ideally never ceasing in calm, professional movement, slithering through crowds and stealing anything I require from the environment, entering the secured/guarded zones and taking down every guard in the room with a bullet between the eyes before they can react - then moving on, dodging what guards I can but killing anyone who sees me. No witnesses, no risks taken. Absolute dedication to the objective.

.. I guess I love it because it allows me to get lost in my imagination this way. Private roleplay, once again 😉

 

On Morrowind though, do you use the class terminology as a loose means of describing your character's type, or do you actually use premade classes? I've never even considered using a pre-defined class in an Elder Scrolls game, or indeed in any RPG that allows me to create a custom character. I can also spend up to two or three hours sculpting my character's body and face O.o

How to Train your Dragon was, against all expectation, a wonderful film =)

 

Armand: No insult intended - I'm making a generalised statement about the (to me) worrying numbers of young, antisocial men (including many among my personal acquaintance) who when presented with an RPG universe, particularly a multiplayer one, will adopt a small, spunky, female persona and often pretend to all players ingame that they are in fact a woman of entire different personality and characteristics to their true selves. As individuals, this strikes me as a little strange, but nothing bad - however in the numbers we see it occurring (a lot has been written about it in recent years), concerning for sure. I can't help but wonder what inspires it.

Merely wanting to experiment with a character quite different to yourself is just fine - I don't find it very entertaining but I can see why many would. I'm not passing judgement on any individual here who likes to play someone new when they're in a fictional world.

As for expanding my horizons; that's exactly why I'm playing the game. If the person isn't me, being in a different world is fairly meaningless - while being me, in this world, is rather boring (until I can afford a bit of travellage). To be me, in a wholly new world, challenged by things I have never experienced before.. That could be at the very core of what makes gaming special. It lets us explore new worlds. I've hardly had time to get to know myself yet - I've no desire to be a new person =)

"When I start a new rpg game, I try to imagine a character, their
motivations, their perspectives and so on, and build them based on
that. I don't "role-play" in the traditional tabletop manner, trying to
immerse myself in the character and all, but I do like to have a
compass of sorts to help me play the character. It tends to lead to
much more exciting and dynamic gameplay I think."

 

I practise exactly that whenever I play a game without custom characters - perhaps I get my fix of it there. At the moment I'm engaged in this process daily as I write a gameplay diary from the perspective of Alec Mason, Red Faction: Guerilla's protagonist. There is a great sense of fun and exploration to it.

Yapette: Would you agree that at this point, the modding has overtaken the gaming? xp You remind me of me when I get so lost in modding a game I'm burnt out before I even play it, but I just keep modding. I've become wary of it, it's a dangerous obsession for a gamer! I'm just glad I lack the patience for programming, or I'd never stop changing games for long enough to play them.

We, the modders. The insatiable consumer. Customisability is vital.


 

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Yapette
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As I said earlier, in some cases modding is the game for me. Especially when I've already played a game (such as MW). I remember nothing when starting a replay but recall too much as I encounter things a second time. Repetition & rote are 1 & 2 on my [Image Can Not Be Found] list.

Doesn't bother me if I don't "play" a game. For me, games are entertainment (or edutainment [Image Can Not Be Found]). For me, modding often provides the same thing.

I shall have carved on my tombstone:

She Could Not Leave Well Enough Alone

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Armand
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Jakkar said:

Armand: No insult intended - I'm making a generalised statement about the (to me) worrying numbers of young, antisocial men (including many among my personal acquaintance) who when presented with an RPG universe, particularly a multiplayer one, will adopt a small, spunky, female persona and often pretend to all players ingame that they are in fact a woman of entire different personality and characteristics to their true selves. As individuals, this strikes me as a little strange, but nothing bad - however in the numbers we see it occurring (a lot has been written about it in recent years), concerning for sure. I can't help but wonder what inspires it.

Merely wanting to experiment with a character quite different to yourself is just fine - I don't find it very entertaining but I can see why many would. I'm not passing judgement on any individual here who likes to play someone new when they're in a fictional world.

While I'm generally against people being dishonest in games or otherwise about who they are, I can easily imagine a lot of young men can in this manner explore their own sexuality in a way they may not feel comfortable doing in real life. We put a huge stigma on men exploring their femininity, and I can see how MMOs could provide a discreet place for this sort of experimentation. The problem in this case of course having more to do with societal expectations and definitions of maleness, machismo, and so on as opposed to something wrong with the individual trying out some gender ambiguity or cross over..

Now I've heard plenty of anecdotal stories of guys doing this to try to get more help (gold, quest aid, so on) from other male gamers who think they're gonna win an in-game girlfriend or something. I think this too plays into our expectations and beliefs about gender roles, namely that men believe to a certain extent that women can get their way and have an easier time of things by exploiting their sexuality, while at the same time believing that a way to "win" a girl is by showering her with gifts and knight-like protectionism and chivalry. Though I'd like to believe that, in the western world at least, we've surpassed these sorts of assumptions and misconceptions about the male/female relationship, I know it is simply not true.

All that said, I tend to actively encourage men to play games as female characters. I think it can at times be an eye opening experience and hopefully one where a guy could have learned something. I would recommend checking out Harbor Master's recent post about this at the site Electron Dance. It doesn't cover everything about the subject, but is an interesting (and for me encouraging) read on the potential for games to help gamers understand the world from a different perspective. In this case, what life is like as a woman, at least in the gaming world.

http://www.electrondance.com/?p=1312

Oh and, I like looking at the girls from behind as they run around the game world. [Image Can Not Be Found]

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Ah, Yapette - I think I understand ._. Nonetheless, it seems a pity. Do you make games, as well as mod them? There would be a worthy use of the pleasure you take in the work.

Sure you do, Armand [Image Can Not Be Found]

I'm afraid I have to shoot you down on one point there – my dear Pixie, my closest friend/partner for the past three or four years, an ex-WoW player, admits with a sort of bashful pride that her WoW experience involved no grinding, no difficulty, no want nor need of anything because she had a veritable legion of shy, desperate young men fawning over her at all times, quite desperate to provide her with everything, to impress her in any way they could.

I've -met- some of these chaps, later on, and my expectations were confirmed.

As much as we'd like to move on, idealistic into a brave new modern world without gender bias or sexism, the sad fact I've come to realise since my more naive teens is that most of the women I know fall into one of two categories; militant feminist or "I actually kinda like being the center of attention and treated like a lay-dee". Most of the men I know fall into just one category; desperately nervous, socially awkward, sexually insecure, confused about their gender and what it should mean to them and unable to get along with girls – so they tend to try to gain their approval through buying them lots of gifts.

I grew up thinking "No, the world is not really like that." – I found myself in an adult world where, Oh fuck, it actually is like that, whether I like it or not.

Hells, even I had a few very awkward friendships via MMOs with young women who turned out to be young men, and vice versa – at times, these did involve unwarranted romantic attachments on behalf of the other ._. There are a surprising number of emotionally vulnerable and desperate people in these games.

Now, my point about boys playing girls in games is that there's absolutely nothing wrong with being a girly man, a manly girl, or simply having no acknowledgement of gender. I personally prefer to downplay my masculinity and occupy a fairly gender-neutral personality. What bothers me is men who think it actually matters and get all twisted up over it, wholly roleplay a woman both as a game-character AND as their OOC persona, and cause great and amusing social awkwardness all around as they attempt to 'become' this fictional, female gamer.

As they become greatly embarassed about being caught in the lie, they often seem to feel forced to maintain the facade going to greater and greater lengths as their social ties with their clans and partners become all the tighter to avoid being 'unmasked'. I've seen things get ugly when the truth comes out.

All around, it strikes me (as a generalisation, not an absolute – there are many others I've met for whom it's merely an experimental roleplay without any deeper agenda) as a symptom of a serious insecurity and confusion in the individual – one that shouldn't be fed and encouraged, but worked out and resolved.

I'm not sure how the FFC Memorial Lounge proprietors feel about such tangential thread hijacking, so I'll draw this to a close and apologise for the derailment. Please, resume your talk of this wonderful game. Morrowind is one of my finest gaming memories.

 

Edit: Oh, the article – actually, Harbor Master's recalled negative reaction to being mistaken for a girl strikes me as another manifestation of this very insecurity. I've had a gay man in a blue jumpsuit, a talented writer and roleplayer in SHADE clan from the glory days of Star Wars Galaxies actually propose a formal relationship with me because I playfully flirted with him as part of our stage-show of sorts as we acted like fools to amuse the locals around Mos Eisley. Even in these circumstances there's not something to fear, it's just an honest mistake. Admittedly, he then murdered me and refused to ever talk to me again, but it could have been worse? Hell, I'm certainly not going to quit a server for it. Harbor Master, admittedly some years ago, reacted to being mistakenly taken for a female with what looks remarkably to me like panic… If anything, it's mildly amusing. If not that, then it's just something to calmly deal with.

The point is that gender is utterly irrelevant. Whether it's the sexist discriminant or the subject of an innocent mistake who reacts badly to the assumption, both are -extremes-, unhealthy extremes. People who feel compelled to choose their gender in a game as a means to work out their own sex and sexuality just strike me as very mentally unhealthy people who need a good talk with someone O.o

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Jakkar said:

I'm not sure how the FFC Memorial Lounge proprietors feel about such tangential thread hijacking, so I'll draw this to a close and apologise for the derailment.

No one cares about derailing threads in these parts. If anything, it's encouraged. Some of the best stuff comes from a good old fashioned hijacking. So carry on Jakkar.

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Jakkar. Probably right. I only wanted to dress up as a different avatar, not actually be a woman. I tried to ignore the slow realisation that my companion thought I *was* a woman, but when he came out with the "girlfriend" remark I just didn't want to deal with that.

When I looking back at the incident while writing the article, I could see that I might have jumped the gun. Maybe it was a harmless comment? There was something else that could have been explored here – my own reaction – but it wasn't what I'd set out to write and would have diluted it.

We don't want to upset other parties that have thoroughly bought into a character. The idea of sexual betrayal is powerful and strong: it's not surprising people get upset and these things are amplified online. And that's why I quit the game before getting to that place. We do not exist in a society where we can freely swap genders and sexualities – some straight-up men who feel they have been duped into a "homosexual liaison" do not find these things funny and charming.

Here is probably one of the most interesting articles I've read on men playing women online and where it can lead them: http://www.salon.com/technolog.....iss_norway

Now why be someone else? Where you find yourself in life defines who you're expected to be. For example, I work on a trading desk; I can't afford to go off in a huff if the traders throw a hissy at me, I have bounce that back best I can and move on. That doesn't mean I'm not insanely pissed off if I feel something was said at my expense: but I have a particular role to play. (I've also written about how I didn't feel like I could broach the subject of being a proper game fanatic with anyone with work because of the persona I have to project, although I'm not nearly as worried about that now.)

Going online means you don't have to obey those conformist rules any more – and more people obey them than not. Those rules always exist in real life while through the online prism those rules disappear. I think using the online space to explore who you are is not unhealthy and may be a sign of where we are headed in the future, allowing our multiple personalities out to flower and blossom, rather than bottling them up and forcing them to integrate into an Schrödinger's cat paradox persona. This goes beyond the gay and the not gay, the man and the woman into more nuanced aspects such as passive and aggressive. But I'm not a psychoanalyst (I should go ask Nicolau Chaud!) so I'm probably just making all this shit up. I guess I don't see why it's concerning or dysfunctional.

(I actually think the online world is more limiting than it used to be; each online community has its rules and to ignore them makes you sociopathic: I cite the story of "Twixt" and City of Heroes to prove this point.)

Having said all that, I still wag my finger at you about the comments you made about Half-Life 2 =) WAG, WAG. And I'm waving my finger in a very feminine way, if anyone is interested.

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