Sunday 27 October 2013


Shae has retired gracefully into the Guristas.

This leaves me with the convenient opportunity to follow up on a promise I made to a friend ages ago and join True Slave Foundations, a corporation operating in support of Sansha's Nation.

See you in space ;3

Sunday 10 February 2013


So I got a tattoo today. Well, yesterday; it's technically tomorrow right now.

It's not my first tattoo, or even my second. It does, however, show where my loyalties lie.

Gurista for life, baby.

Saturday 26 January 2013

Down the Rabbit Hole

The industry is absorptive.

By that I mean, the more involved you get, the less you can talk about to people who don't work for the same company.

Also, there's the fun part of telling people what you do for a living. Most people look sceptical until I tell them I do customer support. The few in the know will be envious; then I get to pimp the awesomeness.

There isn't a day that goes by where I don't look forward to going to work. The people I work with are awesome, the people I do my best to help every day are great, and the job satisfaction is pretty darn high right now. We're all in a much better situation than we were a bit over a year ago.

I've helped playtest the World of Darkness game our team here in Atlanta has been busting their arses on. I can't say anything about it other than OMG is it fun, and I cannot wait to see their baby go live.

Speaking of live, we got roped into demoing DUST 514 for the media last week. That was a long ass day, considering the people we were showing off for were four time zones behind us. Anyone who knows me knows I'm an idiot with a console system, and I had a blister threatening on my left thumb after 4 hours of running around and dying spectacularly. If you watch this walkthrough video, you can see Brandon nearly kill me with a laser while I'm booking it across the field. To avoid the laser. Because lasers hurt, duh.

And now I'm in the middle of preparing to move to our office in Iceland! So I can say with absolute certainty that I will see you at FanFest 2013 ^_^

Wednesday 25 April 2012


Somebody recently told me that, since I'm a woman working in the male-dominated games industry, I ought to be super competitive. Mind, this was another woman telling me this over a game of pool that she was getting absolutely rabid about, and pool is a game where I'm far more interested in making that tricky shot than in actually winning.

But no, I don't consider myself particularly competitive. I prefer to succeed over my own best than over another person's worst.

People talk a lot about personality types. Alpha types, and Beta types; those who lead and those who follow. But there's one personality type that isn't considered very much, yet shines brightest in games such as EVE Online.

As long as we're talking pack mentality, let's break it down. Alpha-male/female is the ambitious leader type. You'll find them starting corporations, displaying initiative in new mercantile or wormhole ventures, and FCing immense operations. Beta-male/female gravitates towards strong, charismatic leadership, and while they're not the pushovers that makes them sound, they prefer to sit back and enjoy the ride.

But then you get your Lone Wolf-type personalities. These are the sorts of players who will happily sit in the passenger seat with the Betas, but when they see a need for something that they can provide, they'll rarely let someone else take the credit for it. If they end up in a disagreeable situation, their first response is to say, "Bugger this for a game of soldiers, then, you boys have fun with that," and go looking for something that benefits them more.

Do you know what happens when Lone Wolves choose to lead? You get corporations started by someone who's fed up with everything else and who just wants to dance to their own drum for a while. good examples of this quality are Hellcats and Veto. (I would love to give more examples, but I've little experience with other corporations that aren't headed up by an A-type.)

As leaders, Lone Wolf personality types appeal to all personality types: An Alpha will see opportunity for easy advancement, a Beta will see a charismatic leader, and other Lone Wolves will see a kindred spirit who will likely understand them better than most. A Lone Wolf who takes a leadership position will often be bemused by the number of followers they acquire.

There are some very positive points about Lone Wolves as leaders:
- They're fantastic at figuring out who's best for what jobs and delegating accordingly; they prefer to be able to trust people to do things well, rather than taking the full task upon themselves and becoming overloaded and stressed out.

- Speaking of stress, they prefer to avoid it as much as possible and make certain that everyone is enjoying things the way they are; if people aren't happy, they'll be diplomatic and try to find a solution.

- They won't kick up a fuss if a few corp members decide to go do their own thing for a while; they understand that everyone needs a break, and you won't get kicked out if you choose to take time off to build up your wallet or go on a killing spree in Providence for a weekend.

- They'll encourage their followers to develop their skills and experience independently in areas of personal interest, rather than shoe-horning people into roles that need to be filled. This may leave fleet complements lopsided, but it ensures that, whatever each member is flying, they've got damn good with it.

- Lone Wolf leaders bear no ill will to followers who decide the group isn't a good fit and who choose to leave without rancor. They understand that your personal comfort in the group is important to you, and won't attempt to guilt-trip you into staying.

Balancing those good points, however, are a few very strong negatives:
- Alphas expecting an easy ride to the top are guaranteed to be disappointed; Lone Wolves do not do rank progression. Positions of responsibility are granted as part of the delegation process to corporate members who have earned the privilege; seniority has little to do with it.

- Betas hoping for a guiding hand may swiftly become disenchanted: Lone Wolves expect those following them to be able to make their own fun when bored, rather than relying wholly on the leadership.

- While diplomatic and largely democratic, it is still the Lone Wolf's party, and if they want to listen to The Prodigy, that's what's going on the sound system. A benevolent dictator, they will listen to all concerns and input, and every bit of it will matter, but the final decision is all theirs; if you don't like it, you can either deal with it, or take your toys and go elsewhere.

- Lone Wolves favour their own. This isn't out of any sort of personality type nepotism; it's a subliminal preference for others who share similar qualities and the feeling that they can trust them more with responsibilities

- If the Lone Wolf gets tired of leading, the group will fall apart shortly thereafter. They ARE the glue holding things together, sitting behind the steering-wheel while the rest of the group provides the power. Power without guidance can end you up in a lake or halfway up a tree, neither of which is an ideal position to rebuild from.

Your CEO may be a Lone Wolf if:
- They allow the corporate membership autonomy and prefer to let the directors do the leading.

- When challenged by another player on a point of skill or knowledge, they either shrug it off or readily admit that they aren't an expert. Lone Wolves don't see the point in proving themselves in front of others, as long as they know where their own strengths and weaknesses lie.

- If a member leaves in a fit of pique, the standard response is, "Well, fuck 'em." lone Wolves aren't going to go to great lengths to retain people who are easily upset.

Care and feeding of your Lone Wolf leader:
- Do take initiative. Even if it's not your thing, pushing your personal comfort zone will earn you respect; doing so and achieving success may earn you a bit more responsibility further down the line.

- Don't badger them. Pestering your Lone Wolf CEO is the easiest way to find yourself back in NPC corp without a second chance.

- Remember that they call the shots. You could argue their decision til you're blue in the face, or you can save yourself the effort and choose whether to try it or go elsewhere.

- If you have an issue with something, bloody well say so. Nursing a grudge will lose you those valuable Lone Wolf Respect Points. Bonus respect points if you can work out personal differences between yourself and another corpmate without coming to blows.

- Do remember that they aren't mind-readers. They won't know there's a problem if you say nothing; conversely, they won't know you're enjoying things if you stay silent. Communication is a key feature of the Lone Wolf's social contracts; use it wisely and well.

Saturday 17 March 2012

FanFest 2012

In a couple days I fly out of Atlanta, bound for Reykjavik via NYC. I've been looking forward to this trip for months!

Stop and say hi, if you see me around ^_^

Friday 10 February 2012

[DA2] Soap Operas and Stereotypes

(I originally posted this on Google+, before I realised it was more of a blog post than a G+ entry.)

I ran across yet another article about how people objected to the romantic interactions that occur in Dragon Age 2. The Straight Male Gamer complains there's not enough content for his demographic; the Gay Male Gamer complains about the portrayal of a bisexual (yes, he's bi, not gay; go play Dragon Age: Awakening, it's mentioned in there) character.

To those who have complained, I say this, as a Bi Female Gamer: try playing the game with a female Hawke. Anders comes on to you no matter who your character is, and his response upon rejection is the same; Isabela comes on to your character regardless of their gender, as well. "Oh, but that's the stereotype of a gay man! Perpetually horny and unable to accept rejection by a straight male!" Not every LGB person is an uncontrolled hornball. Most straight folk will look at you like you've come from another planet if you suggest that they don't like sex as much as the next guy or girl.

And how do you feel when your crush rebuffs your honest advances? Embarrassed, ashamed, maybe a little upset? In a game where a party character makes the first move, a bit of a drop in their estimation of you upon rejection is wholly understandable.

It's tough to write believable, human characters, particularly for a game, where the writer has minimal control over how the player chooses to interact with the NPCs. Despite my feelings that DA2 skimped on a lot and failed to meet its potential, one thing it does have is very good writing, and the characters are portrayed well. They have depth, fragility, strength, and their own motivations that don't always coincide with Hawke's. What a relief to not have deadweight shop-mannequins to drag around!

It genuinely amuses me to see the (Bigoted) Straight Male Gamer contingent complaining about a topic that the Female Gamer contingent recognises is SO tired that it's not even worth mentioning anymore. How many women gamers have complained about Isabela's design and portrayal? But now the tables are turned: instead of a woman gamer with a female character being approached by busty, lusty female characters designed to appeal to the Straight Male audience -- I'm looking at you, Mass Effect -- it's the guy's turn for their male characters to be hit on by a lusty male companion. Heaven forbid!

The gender ratio of gamers these days is an estimated 40/60 female to male split. I'll assume trans gamers go on the record as the gender they identify with for surveys like that. Let's assume that 10-20% of the male player-base falls somewhere on the pansexual spectrum. By marketing and designing solely to the majority (the Straight Male Gamer), companies can easily be neglecting 50-60% of their potential player-base; the women and LGB gamers will be passed over in favour of that 40-50% of Straight Male Gamers who have already been marketed to for decades.

Here's a suggestion: let's stop with the social divisions. In this day and age, if you want to market a game to as many people as possible, you can't think in terms of Male and Female, Straight and Bi and Gay. This is one place where I feel DA2 really hit it spot-on: all your available romances are bisexual -- that is, it doesn't matter to them what gender Hawke is, they will respond to you the same. Nearly every character in the game responds to you the same way regardless of Hawke's gender (with the exception of a few particularly drunken and/or horny individuals). And the portrayal of your player character is perfect: not overly feminine or masculine, you're simply a person. It's the ultimate freedom of choice which enables the player to make what they want of who their character is.

David Gaider was, I feel, in the right in his assertion they they couldn't just write the game for only Straight Male Gamers.

Suppose we change things up a bit. Let's say there's ONLY ONE demographic to please: the sort of game-player of a given age who is interested in a certain topic. Dragon Age caters to adults who enjoy a solid hack'n'slash fantasy epic where they get to play the hero. When you're trying to build that vital core of dedicated fans, are you going to care what their gender or sexual orientation are?

Stop the bias: create games for PEOPLE.

Saturday 10 December 2011

A Change of Pace

Thanks to the forced change in my EVE play-style -- it is very difficult to get back into the game when I can't interact with the people I've known for years -- this blog will probably not have nearly as much ingame EVE stuff going into it. After all, I can't tell you what I'm doing anymore!

SLBG will be shifting focus into a general gaming blog; at least it won't need a facelift! If you have no interest in reading about games other than EVE, I won't be (too) put out ;)