How Does One Define A Gamer?

Pyxis recently wrote a post on the Gamers Decrypted blog about what it means to be a “gamer”.  There have been several subcategories of the term “gamer” floating around, but I feel that “gamer” is not so much a term to be placed upon someone else as it is a title one would place upon them self.

Pyxis certainly makes the point that being a gamer has evolved from a term of condescension for people of my generation (the Nintendo generation I guess you could say-I’m 31) that spent hours trying to make a little orange and red Italian plumber save a Princess from a fire-breathing mutated turtle instead of playing outside and making lasting social interactions into a badge of honor that a whole subculture seems to have united around (albeit due to the popularity of MMORPG’s).  Since our global (well at least Westernized or Western-inspired) culture has seen such a tremendous influx of people entertaining themselves through controlling a recreation of themselves through a fantasy universe (not fantasy in the way WoW, GW2, or LotRO are fantasy because I include WildStar and SW:TOR in this fantasy universe as well) has taken in people from all walks of life.

Now, like Pyxis, I would not argue that everyone that plays games (be they MMORPG’s, video games, or otherwise) should be viewed as a gamer.  I would also tend to argue that the casual player of a freeware mobile app-style game would not identify themselves as a gamer.  And here is where I make the distinction. To me, being a gamer is a self-proclaimed title. It means that you are willing to take the smugness of other “non-gamers” upon yourself.

I do consider myself a gamer even though I probably only play SW:TOR a few times per week (though I would love to play more often). I guess one of the reasons that I consider myself to be so is because I personally consider myself to be a casual-core player.  I love to play the group content and am just now beginning to get into Operations (my guild and I have recently completed 8-man Story Mode of Scum and Villainy and Explosive Conflict).  The biggest reason I would add “core” to the style of gamer I am is because I do allow SW:TOR to nearly encompass every part of my day.  I listen to SW:TOR podcasts (The Usual Podcast, Corellian Run Radio, Far Far Away Radio, Healing SWTOR, The Idiot’s Array, It’s A Trap Podcast, Old Republic Radio, Podcast 66, Star Wars: Beyond the Stars, The Star Wars Escape Podcast, the Bad Feeling Podcast, Coffee with Kenobi, and the Galactic Gamer’s Coalition), read several SW:TOR Fan Blogs (Ravalation, Going Commando, Pixelkaffe, Pretty Little Sith, Xam Xam Says, The Legacies in SWTOR, Gamers Decrypted, Powerdress Gaming, and many others though I have only listed the SW:TOR specific ones), if you’re reading this then you know I blog about SW:TOR, my Twitter handle (@zerneblog) is nearly full of tweets that I have made either about SW:TOR or tweets to other SW:TOR players.  I feel so involved with the community sometimes that all I talk about is SW:TOR!!!!

So, in summary, to me the title of “Gamer” is something that is to be considered by oneself.  Just like I embody the title “Geek”, “Dork”, or “Nerd”, I embody the title “Gamer”.  I am pleased that we have finally gotten to a point in our society that we are able to look at other gamers and not think of them as the obese teenagers with bad complexions that we all once thought gamers to be.  I am excited that we finally live in a time when gamers are considered to actually be viable members of society as well.  I love playing SW:TOR, like I am sure many others love playing other games.

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What’s In A Name?

Hello, loyal readers!  As you may well already know, Rowan Blaze and I got into a wonderful discussion surrounding character creation-especially choosing a name for each character. Some people go for the humorous side of names like Hugh’Jass (a body type 4 male Bounty Hunter I met on Nal Hutta when first rolling my PT), DaddyFatSaber, or Smell’mi’phartz (both of these belong to a great guildie of mine). Personally I have always tried to focus on making sure my character names actually have some basis in something else (I tend to steer toward mythology), and from his blog post, it would seem Rowan agrees with me (though his inspiration is not limited to mythology). I have also attempted to keep the inspiration separate between my Republic characters and my Sith characters.

I have broken down the phonetic pronunciation of each character (at least how I say them) beneath the spelling-just in case someone ever wants to talk about my characters to others.

I do want to mention that though I fully support the creation of back stories and role playing, I actually don’t do any of that.  Therefore, unlike Rowan, I do not have a backstory to go along with each character. I find that the back story thrust upon you for each class becomes too rigid to attempt to create a back story for. I will probably think about this, and if I ever come up with something I will post a blog post about them-probably sometime during the month of August.

Tanks

I have always wanted the names of my Tanks to be synonymous with demonic destruction-a name that literally meant death, destruction, or something to that affect. This can be easier said than done.

DikarZloney

(DEE-car za-LONE-ee)

Let’s start with the first character I had ever created on an MMO, DikarZloney. I don’t have a screenshot for this Assassin because I have deleted him long ago. He was a male Zabrak with crimson skin and several horns surrounding his head and on his temples. I had Dikar decked out in Aim, Cunning, and Strength (notice a lack of Willpower?). I actually stopped playing Dikar on Tatooine because I had absolutely no clue what I was doing. The name, however, does have a lot of meaning. In keeping with the theme of Sith Zabraks from Maul and the Clone Wars, I was looking for something that would be similar. Dikar means “savage” in Russian, and Zloney means “beast” in Russian. Therefore Dikar’s name was translated as Savage Beast.

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Zernebog

(ZUR-nah-bog)

Since I had such a difficult time with the Assassin, I began reading A LOT about tanking and the classes. Dikar was way too far gone to try again, so I rolled another male Zabrak, but this time as a warrior (Juggernaut). I started looking into more options for Judeo-Christian demonic names to use for Zernebog to no avail. I finally found a reference to the Black God of Slavic mythology, Chernobog.  Though Chernobog was already taken, the reference I found listed several variations on the transliteration of Chernobog. Zernebog ended up being the variant that was available on Ebon Hawk.

Ja'rilo 27

Ja’rilo

(JAH-rill-oh)

Like many players, I had to change the construction of this name since it was unavailable in its normal form (Jarilo). This is my lowest leveled tank for the time being and is a male Cathar that I modeled off my own Maine Coon cat. Jarilo is the God of War in Slavic mythology so it seemed appropriate to make my Powertech tank of this name.

Awwim 1

Awwim

(AH-whim)

Awwim breaks the mold completely. First, she is my only female tank (blue Twi’lek-male Twi’leks look weird to me). Secondly, she is a Republic tank (Shadow). Finally, Awwim does not come from Slavic mythology but rather from Judeo-Christian book of Enoch. Awwim is actually the collective name for all the Watcheds and has been translated as “the Devastators”.

Healers

Dodola (2)

Dodola

(doe-DOE-la)

I only have one healer presently-a female Ratataki Corruption Sorcerer named Dodola. Dodola also comes from Slavic mythology (notice a theme here?) and is the bringer of rain-so kind of like a Rain Goddess. This reminded me of the Thunderstorms we get in the American Midwest that are key for the production of crops. I know it’s a little bit of a stretch, but I am happy with the name. Besides, the goddess of rebirth and healing in Slavic mythology was already taken on Ebon Hawk. Though I could use an alt code for a special character or add an apostrophe, I just chose a different name.

One thing that I thought incredible is that I have actually been asked twice about my character names. Once while I was healing on Dodola a Serbian Marauder asked if the name came from Slavic mythology, and I had another person approach me on Twitter about the name Zernebog coming from Chernobog and siting Slavic mythology. I was later informed this person was also Serbian. I love it when people recognize the origins!

So what is your strategy when choosing character names?  Do you have a particular character name you are especially proud of?  Would you rather see humorous names or names that come about like mine or Rowan’s?  Or do you come up with a single name and place alt codes for special characters or add a character to the end of a base name to differentiate your characters?

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SW:TOR, SW:TOR, SW:TOR!!!

Well, I’ve been very busy this past week with SWTOR, but surprisingly enough I haven’t really been within the game very much.  What I have done in-game has been a blast though!  I dusted off my Shadow Tank (Shout out to Ravanel for convincing me to try picking up the Shadow again after the horrible experience I had with an Assassin-but that was my own fault), and have been doing some class quests (12x XP woot!) and some Warzones.  Playing this Shadow has actually really gotten me to enjoy playing on the Republic side as well considering all of my toons up to this point have been Sith (Zernebog is a Juggernaut Tank, Dodola is a Sorcerer Healer, and Ja’rilo is a Powertech Tank-even on Jung Ma all I have is Zerneblog as a Juggernaut Tank).

Awwim 1

PvE

I have now completed Nar Shaddaa on Awwim and am heading on to Tatooine (halfway through level 28 and in level 21 gear).  I’m waiting until I hit 29 on Tatooine until I upgrade my gear though since I think I can probably handle the first class quest with Qyzen as my companion in DPS stance.  If I have trouble I can always pull out that creepy man slut, Theran Cedrex (though I would rather just force push him into a Sarlacc pit), to heal me while I go through the rest of the class mission waiting to ding 29.  I must say that I have really enjoyed the ability to FINALLY be able to generate enough aggro on the mobs that I can keep aggro off of Qyzen (I have turned his Taunt ability off and placed him DPS stance instead of tank stance) without having to have guard on him at all times.

I must acknowledge the fact that I have enjoyed the planetary shake-up between Empire and Republic though.  I have been so used to doing starter planet to Drommund Kaas, to Balmorra, to Nar Shaddaa.  It was refreshing to see new planets like Tython (I saw the Jedi Temple before it was destroyed!!) and Coruscant, and even more interesting to see Taris this early in the game instead of after Chapter 2 (though that little interlude between Nar Shaddaa and Tatooine where you have to go to that cruiser and save someone was a little odd so early-I’m used to those kind of quests being between Chapter 1 and Chapter 2).

I have also really grown to love the play style of the Shadow (at least up to level 28).  I have really enjoyed being able to vanish (stealth) and open combat with Project while rushing to further enemy to establish aggro.  I have found that tanking at low levels is actually much easier with the Shadow than it was when I leveled my Juggernaut (though by the time 3.0 dropped Zerne was already a level 53, so I didn’t get many of my really tanky abilities until much higher levels).  One thing I do wish you got earlier on the Shadow was the Force Pull ability like you have on the Powertech (I was using the Harpoon ability while running Athiss).  That would be really beneficial.  The rotation I have been working on at level 28 also feels a bit clunky, and trying to keep up Kinetic Ward takes some getting used to.  With Ja’rilo I just have to keep building stacks of Heat something so I can use Heat Screen to increase my Shield/Absorb chance.  On Zerne it’s all about using Saber Reflect on cooldown (both for the threat and for the defensive cooldown).  I feel like I’m getting it, but if you have any advice on post 3.0 Shadow Tank rotations at low levels, please feel free to give me some feedback!

PvP

PvP Warzones have been sooooooo much fun with the Shadow Tank.  Having the Force Cloak ability is AWESOME!!!!!  I can stealth out of combat, force speed away from the fray, heal, force speed back (while stealthed), CC someone and then begin wailing on others in the fray without dying.  Granted I do sometimes get jumped by about six people off of the opposing team, but at times like that I know there are only two members either defending their node or going to attack another.  I know I am helping my team when that is happening.  Of the several warzones I have played on Awwim, I have been on the winning side in the majority of them.  Even when I haven’t won, I have been one of the top players on my team (though usually not the top player-I’m usually #2 or #3).  The Shadow has really reawakened my love of PvP, but I wish there was some kind of a self-healing ability that I could pop to gain back a little HP.

I have had several great matches recently (I was queueing along with two other guildies, and we were just destroying the matches!  I was never the top performer, but I was also never at the bottom.  Special shoutout to Aces (Jedi Sentinel on Ebon Hawk) and Adriel (Jedi Shadow on Ebon Hawk) for all their help and amazing work in these PvP matches!

Outside of the Game

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I have also been getting into a lot of podcasts.  I tend to like these because I can listen to them on the bus while I head to campus for class or painting or something exterior.  I have had the opportunity to really get into a couple of them.  Of course I still love Ootinicast, but there are so many more of them out there that are amazing!  Marshall and Will do a great job with The Usual Podcast (they focus on SWTOR, Star Wars in general, and finally geek and pop culture all in the same show!  Check them out!  These guys are badass, and I love the taste in Beer!).  Redna has also recently come up with a new podcast that examines the role of cannon since the Disney takeover of Star Wars in his new podcast It’s A Trap with his great cohost Ordoo (@OrdooSkirata).  If you’re new to the Star Wars Universe, I really encourage you to take a look at It’s A Trap.  Lastly, as far as podcasts go, Marshall, Will, and Master Liu have gotten me interested in checking out Coffee With Kenobi.  I’m a huge fan of these guys too.  Give them a listen!

Finally, I have also been trying to figure out Enjin.  We’ve been doing a little bit of work on our guild website, and I have been trying to learn as much as possible about the web design engine.  I wish it was a little more newbie friendly!  I look forward to continuing work with the guild site while also trying to get more going in game.  I’m looking forward to the June 15 special announcement from Bioware concerning #FallenEmpire.  I can’t wait!  And I can’t wait to get back in game!

(Sorry, I don’t have any current screenshots of Awwim or Zerneblog, but stay tuned and I’ll have some up on my next post!)

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