WoW Wednesday: Getting Started

I had a couple of requests for a post about how to get started playing WoW. First, let me say that I’m not a complete expert on the fastest way to level or the best class to pick, etc. What I can offer is my experience getting started and some tips about what I’ve learned as I’ve been playing. Let me point you, then, to two other sources of information that might be useful: WoW Rookie, a column at wow.com (generally a good resource for all kinds of things) and How not to be a Noob at Wowwiki (another good resource).

So, to get started, you first need the game. I’d recommend starting with the free trial. It gives you 10 days of free play time. You can decide whether you like it or not before investing in purchasing the full game and signing up for a subscription. A typical subscription will cost you $14.95/month, which is really a bargain compared to cable, for example. But it is an investment.

If you can, start playing with someone you know, who can walk you through the game as you go. Your friend can answer questions via chat without having to be in the same area as you are, which is a really nice feature. I’ve done this with the kids; it works pretty well. If you can’t start with a friend and/or when you’re on by yourself, much of the game will be self-explanatory at first.

First, you’ll need to select a character and you’ll have to choose which side to play: Alliance or Horde. I started out as Alliance simply because the character looks appealed to me (who doesn’t like elves!), but am now playing Horde since that’s where all my friends are. I’ve even moved my old Alliance character over. So, if you’re going to play with friends, you’ll need to a) be the same faction (Alliance or Horde) and b) be on the same server (which you’ll pick before making a character). A note about servers–there are PvP servers (where players can always fight each other), PvE servers (where players are usually questing and killing non-players) and RP servers (role-playing, where players are into the story of the game).

Next, you’ll decide what race/class to play. That is, will you be a night elf hunter or a tauren warrior or an orc shaman. The race isn’t a huge decision as there aren’t a lot of benefits to playing one race over another, usually. There are a few race-specific abilities that are nice to have for certain classes, but I wouldn’t worry about it too much. The class is more important. Generally, think about what kind of player you’re interested in. Do you want to heal? do a lot of damage? tank? be primarily melee or attack from afar? I’ve chosen, in most of my characters, to be a melee damage kind of person. That is, I get right in a monsters face and beat on him until he dies. I will say that it’s fun to play and easy to level as a melee damage character, but you might be interested in healing or want to be able to heal and do damage effectively (shamans or druids are good at this) or heal and tank (paladins and druids). Classes are much more flexible than they used to be, in that you can be two different things thanks to dual specs, so if you choose a class for healing but decide you like doing damage more, it’s easy to switch. Here’s the WoW Rookie class guide, which is a little dated, but still has good info on choosing a class.

So, now you’ve got your character set up and you’ve logged in. The starting areas in WoW are basically tutorials, but you’re playing the game and playing counts toward your overall leveling. It’s not separate from the rest of the game, which I think is nice. The first thing to do is to look for a NPC (non-player character) with an exclamation point over his/her head. This indicates that he has a quest that you can go on. Right click on him/her and you’ll get the text of the quest, which you should read to figure out what you need to do. Click on accept and then you’re off. Your first adventure! Woo hoo!

Generally the first quest involves killing 10 or 15 creatures of a particular kind. To kill the creatures, you need to use your abilities. To start off with, you’ll see some in your action bar at the bottom of the screen. You’ll see probably 4 or so items, usually place 1 to 4 along the bottom. 1 is usually your basic attack, hitting the creature with whatever weapon you’re wielding. 2-4 are usually special abilities that deal more damage. If you mouse over each item, it should tell you what each thing does. So, you go off to kill your creatures by clicking on them and the firing off an attack by pressing one of the buttons. Generally, you will auto-attack if you have the creature targeted (by clicking or pressing the tab button). This will become second nature pretty quickly. You’ll be surprised.

Once you’ve killed a creature, you can loot them, which you do by right-clicking on their dead body. Loot will come in the form of money and items. There might be weapons or armor or items that can be used in different professions, or at this level, junk, things like claws and eyeballs. You can sell off this stuff to a vendor and make more money.

But you might die. If you do, you’ll be a ghost and will be hanging out at a graveyard. You’ll need to walk back to your body in order to resurrect yourself. Your body will appear as a gravestone on the map and there will be arrows in the minimap showing you the way to your body. More on dying next week.

You gain experience for killing these creatures as well as for turning in the quest, which you do by returning to the quest-giver who now has a question mark over their head. There will be many quests in the area to do and as you do them and gain experience, you will eventually level up, moving from level 1 to 2 to 3, etc.

Some tips that will help you in the first levels:

  • Explore the area, including the NPCs, checking out what they sell and finding the trainer for your class.
  • Put on items that are better than what you are wearing. You start out with gear that makes you look bedraggled–some raggy pants and shirt and shoddy shoes. As you loot, you will probably see items that you can wear that are better than what you have on. Wear them! Press c to bring up your character, then drag the item to the right slot or right-click it and then you’ll be wearing it. Don’t worry too much about specifics at this point in terms of what’s best for your class. Just increase your armor and any other stats that might be useful. Keep in mind that some classes can’t wear certain items. Priests, for example, can’t wear anything but cloth items. Generally, if you can’t wear an item, it will be red. It may be something you can wear in the future if the restriction is because of level or because you have to learn a weapon skill, so you can decide whether to keep it for future use.
  • Sell off stuff you don’t want to increase your funds. You can sell stuff to any vendor. Things that are green or blue (the text is this color as well as the outline in your bag) can usually be sold for a larger profit in the auction house. Hold onto these until you get to the auction house in a major city. I’ll discuss this more later.
  • Buy another bag. Or two. Usually there’s a vendor who sells them in the starting cities. You’re going to end up with lots of stuff, most of it not useful, but you don’t want to have to keep coming back and reselling your stuff every 5 minutes.
  • Train as soon as you can. As you level, you can usually go to your class trainer and learn new skills. Keep up with these as they will help you kill off mobs faster, which means you can level faster.

That will get you through the first few levels, which might take you a few days to get through. Next week, I’ll talk about professions and getting to a major city with an auction house and all kinds of other goodies.

WoW Wednesday: Rewards and Motivation

Other than perhaps some increased endorphins, most people receive no real reward for playing a game like WoW; however, there are lots of rewards in the game that provide motivation for many people to participate in certain activities. And Blizzard is constantly tweaking this reward system so that players are motivated to do different things. I am easily amused and, at the same time, easily discouraged. What can I say, I live at the extremes.

For example, the reward for most achievements–things like finding a bunch of different kinds of creatures or cooking a bunch of different types of meals–is just a little flashing thing on the screen and some points (which, as far as I can tell, you can’t do anything with in terms of buying other things). But I get a kick out of that flashing thing on the screen that announces the achievement. So, I’m easily attracted by that and will often pursue these achievements just to see that appear on the screen. I know, I’m like an infant. Bright and shiny things.

On the other hand, there’s gear (a primary reward in the game) that’s quite difficult to get. It drops off of certain monsters or can be obtained from so many tokens which are themselves obtained through doing many different dungeons. I’m at the point where what I need in terms of gear is of a high enough level that it’s going to take some work to get it. And it’s going to take help. You can’t run a dungeon by yourself. And whether it’s doing something on my own or gathering enough people to do it, it takes effort. And I get discouraged by that. Because also, just because the item drops off a mob deep inside a difficult dungeon, there are 20 other things that could drop and the percentage chance of the one thing that you really need dropping might be 1%. And, then, if it drops, there might be 3 other people in the group who want it. And then you have to roll on it and then you might not win. So, sometimes, I just don’t even want to try.

Another common reward is rep rewards. These rewards come from gaining a certain reputation with factions in the game. Each area has a number of factions with names like Sons of Hodir and Knights of the Ebon Blade. Reputation goes from hated up to exalted and usually once you reach exalted, there are rewards that you can buy from a certain vendor (called the Quartermaster, usually). Reputation is gained by doing quests, daily quests (which are repeatable once a day), running level 80 dungeons while wearing the faction’s tabard (not all factions have tabards), by turning in tokens that drop off of mobs, or by killing certain kinds of mobs. So, there are lots of ways, usually, to gain reputation and you can choose your path depending on your personality. If you run a lot of dungeons, wearing a tabard while doing so works really well. If you like questing, then this path is a good one (also the rep points gained per quest are usually pretty high). Some tokens can actually be purchased in the AH, so if you have a lot of gold, this can be a fast way to the top. The rewards vary. Some factions have good gear and some offer mounts (like the flying dragon I got once) and still others give you enchants or other enhancements that can’t be found anywhere else. And some get cute pets. Although gaining reputation can be a lot of work and take a lot of effort, it’s a slow and steady sort of progress and you’re guaranteed something at the end, even if it’s just a little flashy thing on the screen.

The game also rewards gold for almost everything you do–but that is a topic for another post–maybe next week.

So, perhaps this isn’t very enlightening, but it’s been interesting to me to consider what I’m willing to do in game based on the likely reward. And then to think about mapping that onto real life. Being easily amused means I am likely to reward myself with simple things when I complete a task–like a snack or a break. But I’m also likely to slog through something over the long term for a guaranteed reward. I wrote a dissertation, after all. But if there’s a slim chance of a reward and a lot of work involved, I’m gonna need some serious support and convincing that it’s worth the effort. Exercise is kind of like that for me. It’s a lot of work and, for me, at least, there’s not much of reward. It’s not like I’m seeing the pounds fall away. I have to invoke the first reward system of the simple flashing thing in order to motivate myself to walk every day. Being able to see the progress toward a goal is also very motivating, so, for example, seeing the page count increase in writing feels good while not seeing pounds lost is counterproductive. You can see this progress in many of the reward systems in game. There’s a place to see how much progress you’ve made towards a reputation and how much further you have to go. And that’s true for many of the achievements as well. So, I guess the big lesson–not new really–is that motivation is higher when the rewards are concrete and it’s clear how to attain them and when progress toward your goals is easily measurable. The trick is to try to make all your goals like that.

WoW Wednesday: Managing Stuff

As you play WoW, you collect gear, but you also collect a lot of stuff, cramming it into your virtual bags as you go along. Everything from weeds to boots to flowers to drinks and so much more. Some of that stuff is useful to you. You can wear it or eat it or drink it or use it to make things with. But a lot of it just isn’t. And it doesn’t take before you have bags full of things that you just don’t need. It’s a lot like real life, really. We had a garage sale this past weekend, putting out a lot of the stuff we’d accumulated in our lives, trying to make a buck or two off it. And we did, but we had a good deal left over, some of which we hauled away to charity and some of which we posted on Freecycle. I’ll say one thing, though, it’s a lot easier to get rid of virtual stuff than real stuff. No right-clicking on an old sofa to sell it to a vendor in real life.

So, back to WoW and organizing stuff. Like managing your time in WoW, managing your stuff can help you enjoy the game more and spend less time figuring out where that thing is that you need and more time doing what you really want to do (kind of like real life). The default in WoW is to throw everything into your bags willy nilly, not organized at all. And there’s not an easy way to sort through things. I can’t tell you how many times when I first started playing that I got to a quest area and needed to use a specific item and couldn’t find it. So annoying! Not only that, but you need to know what to get rid of and what to keep, and what might be worth selling on the Auction House and what can just be sold to a vendor. I have accidentally thrown out things that I needed and vended things that I could have gotten 10 times the gold for on the AH. Also annoying.

Luckily, there are a couple of addons that help. And sorry, there are no addons for real life. If there were, though, I’d totally get them. I use an addon called ArkInventory for managing my stuff. Instead of displaying your bags separately, it displays everything all in one big bag, organized into sections determined by how you configure it. So, I can put all my food in one area, jewelcrafting items in another, ore in another, and equipment somewhere else. I have never lost anything. ArkInventory also organizes your bank this way. Your bank is like the attic or the junk room in your house, where you store stuff you don’t need to use that often.

There are other addons out there that I haven’t tried, some of which tell you when you have all the materials to make things or what you’re lacking, etc. If anyone has opinions on those, please feel free to comment.

Another way I manage my stuff is by periodically going through it and ditching things I don’t need. But how to know what to sell where and for what price? For that, I use Auctioneer. I use this addon much more simplistically than I know some people do. You can track all kinds of things via this tool and price things very specifically. Mostly I use it as an easier and faster interface for selling things off. There’s an Appraiser tab that shows up when you’re at the Auction House and through that one can click on an item and Auctioneer will price it. If you have more than one of the item, with the click of a single button, you can post all those items for sale, even if they have to be posted one at a time and not in stacks of 5 or 10 or 20. That makes it really easy to clean out your bank and your bags. Auctioneer will also make recommendations about whether to post an item to the AH or sell it to a vendor. I’ve found that you have to take these with a grain of salt. It takes time, for example, to keep reposting an item to the AH, and if it’s a common item or something without much of a markup, sometimes it just makes sense to sell it off quickly to a vendor. I’ve gotten to the point now where I can usually take 10 or 15 minutes and get everything sold off.

Now if only I could be this organized in real life.

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WoW Wednesday: Learning Time Management

This is actually not about managing time in terms of managing play time, but about managing time within the game. When your WoW time is limited, you have to make decisions about what to spend time doing. There are literally thousands of things one could do in game: quests, dungeons, raids, achievements, gathering materials and crafting things from those materials. All those things take time but have certain rewards.

I now have 3 characters to play with. The one at the left is my main character, the one who’s at the top of her game (though she can always use more gear). Her skills are maxed out. Many of her faction reps are maxed out. With the exception of one top-level raid, she can pretty much do whatever she wants. What I’ve been doing with her lately is simply running her through a few dailies. When a good dungeon run opportunity crops up and I have the time, I will run that as well, since the rewards are tokens for good gear. On any given day, I can spend less than an hour on her and she won’t really suffer much if I don’t play her at all.

My other max level character is Zamar, who I just moved from another server and who has such bad gear that what she can do is limited. She needs to run dungeons, but she’s not geared enough for some of them. She needs faction rep to obtain gear and that requires quests (some daily, some long series of quests), which can be quite time consuming. And then I have another low-level character that obviously needs a lot of work. So, if I only have an hour or two to play, I have to prioritize what I do, especially with these lower level characters. This occurred to me the other day as I was standing in the middle of a city, trying to decide which direction to go. And then, I thought, hmm, this is a dilemma most people have in real life. How can this transfer?

When I log into WoW, sometimes of course, I’m just planning to goof around. I play as a respite from work. But sometimes, I have goals, just like I do in my work. I go through a series of questions as I try to determine what to do. And I think this series of decisions might be a good thought process for any decision. So, here it is:

1. What is most important for this character right now? What is he/she most lacking?
2. If the character is not lacking anything, what is a good reward for him/her right now?
3. What task will get the character closer to the need/reward?
4. How much time will that task take?
5. If the task time > allowed game time, what is the next priority or can a part of the task be completed in the allotted time? (Then jump to 4).
6. If the task time < allowed game time, go do task. This is pretty much the same decision tree I use in real life. I often have a list of priorities and I simply decide which one gives me the most bang for my buck in the time I have at hand. The hardest decision is the first one, deciding what’s most important. In the game, it doesn’t much matter. In life, there can be some unpleasant consequences. For example, if I were to prioritize gameplay . . . .

WoW Wednesday: Gear

A friend wanted me to title this “Still Not Def Capped.” For you non-WoW’ers, let me explain. Each type of player needs a certain level of stats to do well in higher level dungeons and raids. Stats include things like defense, spell power, attack power, hit rating, etc. Players who mostly deal damage strive for a hit rating cap. Tanks strive for def (defense) cap. The way to achieve these stats is through a) leveling/talents and b) gear. I’m going to ignore a) for now, but suffice it to say that as you level, you can select talents that increase certain stats. Once you reach 80 (currently the highest level), gear becomes more important. I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I was slightly undergeared for tanking. Where I’m undergeared is in my defense stats. I’m not def capped. And here I am, two weeks later, sitting in the exact same spot. As my guildies told me last night, I have no excuse. All I need to do is slap the right trinket on, put a couple of jewels on it and I’d be golden. Which is true, really.

I have a strange relationship to gear in the game. I’m probably not alone in this. A lot of people research what gear they need, find out where to get it and then set out to acquire it. Gear can be obtained in two main ways: dropping from a boss in a dungeon and purchasing with currency that drops from bosses in dungeons.* So, getting good gear requires going through dungeons. So a lot of people figure out what they want, which boss drops it, and then start running that dungeon until they get what they want. All good. I like going through dungeons, but I don’t like being that prescriptive about my adventures. I’ve been in dungeons with people where they say at the very beginning, “I want the boots that drop in here.” And I’ll be like, boots? what boots? Which I don’t say out loud because then I’d be declaring myself a noob. Basically, I like to be surprised. Whatever drops after we kill a boss I consider a gift. And I don’t like to open my gifts before it’s time. I get a little thrill from the unexpected. If I knew what I was likely to get ahead of time, I’d lose that thrill. My kids laugh at me all the time because I get giddy over getting new stuff. But usually only when it’s a surprise (or, in some cases, I’ve worked hard for it). “Look at this cool new sword I got!” Not too many moms who say that I’m guessing.

All that said, I do take advice. So, if someone says to me, you should get those boots that are in such and such dungeon, I am willing to go get the boots, especially if my adviser is going to go with me. Gearing up is more than just slapping on whatever falls on the ground after a kill. Once I figured that out, I think I became a better player. But I still can’t bring myself to obsess over it, running dungeons over and over just to get one pair of pants (well, okay, I have done that once or twice, but it’s not my usual mode). I also don’t do this in real life. Shopping for clothes wears me out. But I promise to be def capped by next week. Really.

*I should note that gear can also be made by blacksmiths and some relatively good gear can be purchased with gold from special vendors.

WoW Wednesday: Taking a Break

Day 137: About to save the worldImage by lorda via Flickr

I’m on vacation this week, without my computer and without much access to any kind of network, so I’m away from WoW. Which is a good thing. WoW can get pretty intense at times. A few weeks ago, they released a new patch which added some new features to the game. Many people jumped in and played pretty intensely, collecting the new stuff and trying out the new areas. I was among them and thanks to some rainy days, I spent a few hours in a row doing everything from collecting ore to running heroic dungeons. While that’s paid off in new gear, it’s also made me feel like I’m spending way too much time at this thing. So the vacation timing was good.

My guild in theory treats WoW playing like bowling. We have regularly scheduled times twice a week to play together and there are people who do simply pop in to play during those times. I’m still trying to find my equilibrium. I mostly play at night and weekend mornings. I probably play up to 20 hours/week (average 3 hours/day, 7 days/week). That’s a lot and just typing that number out is a bit depressing. What am I not doing during that time? I’m nto watching tv, which isn’t such a bad thing, but I’m also not reading, not hanging with the family, not doing housework (which, eh, who cares). I do tend to play in waves. One week, I’m playing 20 hours, the next, I’m playing only 5.

I think ideally, I’d figure out a way to get that number down, either by playing only 2 or 3 days/week. Or playing less in any given day. Once the school year begins, I have a feeling this will happen naturally. The dog days of summer have made us all a little lazy and we’ve gravitated toward the computer for solace (when we’re not at the pool). In other words, we’ve had time to fill and I’ve filled it with WoW. In the fall, I’m going to work on filling it with other stuff, relegating WoW to the recreation it should be.

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WoW Wednesday: Tanking

Tauren Tank CrossingImage by antifuse via Flickr

So, many of you know I’m a gamer, my most-often played game being WoW. I don’t write about it much, but I’ve decided if it’s a regular part of my life, it needs to be a regular part of my blog. Although I will write about the game as it’s played, what I find most interesting about playing are the personal lessons I learn and the social dynamics of the game. So, even if you’re not a gamer, you’ll get something out of these posts.

I’m currently playing a level 80 Death Knight. I’ve been playing her as a damage-oriented player, but she has the capability of playing what’s called a tank. A tank is a player that puts herself between the bad things trying to kill the players and the rest of the group. They generally have heavy-duty armor and the ability to keep the mobs focused on them rather than the rest of the group. Tanks also tend to set the pace of the dungeon and often set the strategy if they know a dungeon well. It took me a while to get decent enough gear (and I still need better gear), but recently I announced to the guild that I was ready to try tanking and would love some lessons and/or the opportunity to try it out on willing groups of people.

It wasn’t until our regular tanks were all gone that I finally got the opportunity to tank, and let me just say, it’s harder than it looks. Although I’d read up on strategies for tanking and what moves to use, theory is often far away from practice. First, because I’m slightly undergeared, I take more damage than I should, meaning I need someone to be able to heal the crap out of me. Second, we have a lot of really good players in the guild who have good attacks that anger mobs and then they get attacked and so I have to scramble a bit to recapture the errant mob. And third, let’s face facts, I’m not a 15 year old boy. I’ve had a few good runs that went smoothly and successfully, but I’ve had just as many where the entire group has died over and over again. This is a frustrating situation to be in as a tank since it’s often a tank’s weaknesses that can cause this to happen. While this hasn’t always been the case in my situations, as a new tank, I’m guessing it is the problem 95% of the time.

I find being a tank rather nerve-wracking as I’m learning. It’s a lot of responsibility. And the learning curve seems to be fairly large. My guild is patient with me, however, so there is that. I’ve learned that support goes a long way in making me feel comfortable trying this new thing out and trying it out under not so ideal conditions. I decided to try it, in fact, because I wanted to help out the guild since we seem to be short on tanks. Hopefully, I’ll get better at it so that I’m a bit more reliable and don’t get everyone killed so often.

Bonus: Read Sins of a Gaming Father.

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Random Weekend Thoughts: Soccer, Gardening, and WoW

It was a pretty lazy weekend at the Geeky household, but we did manage a few activities.

First, soccer season started on Saturday. Because we signed up late, we had no idea who the coach was or what he looked like. When we arrived at the designated field (and there are 3 at this location), there was a lot of hubbub because there were ambulance and police. We quickly realized a kid on the adjacent field had been hurt. It was a bit disconcerting because she was lying face down on the ground. Turns out, she’d dislocated her shoulder, not terribly serious, but painful I’m sure. We finally found the team and the coach and then realized that Geeky Girl had forgotten her shin guards. Mr. Geeky zoomed back home to find them. Meanwhile, she had to sit out. Once she got to play, though, she was her usual speedy and well-rounded team player. She made a few excellent passes. The coach and the team were immediately impressed. Although she’s probably the smallest on the team, she’s also the oldest and has the longest amount of time playing.

After soccer, we made a trip to Home Depot for light bulbs and for plants to replace ones I’d allowed to die over the last cold snap. I replanted them and planted a couple of other plants, but held off on major gardening until Sunday morning. I weeded and generally cleaned things out, which took quite a while. Then I planted a rose bush. I have no idea how this will do, but it’s something I’ve wanted to try. I also got some summer bulbs, but was too exhausted to plant them after all the weeding. I’m going slowly on the garden.

And then there was the WoW playing. I was in a groove this weekend, so I spent a fair amount of time playing. An incident yesterday, however, is still sticking with me. If you’re not a gamer, you can skip this, but this is kind of about human behavior. So, over the weekend, I managed to run a couple of dungeons by grouping up with complete strangers. The first run, done fairly early in the morning, went really well, largely, I think because I’m pretty sure the whole group was made up of grown-ups. The second one went well until the end. The hard-to-kill dungeon bosses, of which there are 3-5 usually per dungeon, drop really good loot (weapons, armor, etc.) and the group generally rolls for them (this happens automatically). This loot is usually bound to you when you pick it up, so that you can’t give it away or sell it for a price at the auction house. There are two types of rolls, greed and need. Need trumps greed rolls and generally people ask before rolling need. So, for example, if 4 people roll greed, and 1 rolls need, even if the need roll is a 1, that person will win the item. People tend to pass on items they don’t need. I can’t use wands, for example, so I usually don’t roll on those. In this particular run, I’d passed on a few things and I’d rolled and won one thing. On on boss, a guy (who I decided was younger than 18 based on this and the incident I’m about to describe) asked if he could need roll on something, and we all hesitatingly said yes. On the final boss, a good piece of armor that I could use dropped and the same guy asked to need roll again, and I said no, you’ve already need rolled once and besides, there are two other people who could use that. I felt kind of bad about being jerky about the whole thing, but I still maintain a sense of fairness even in the game, and I felt the guy wasn’t being fair. He ended up calling me a loser and complaining that he really needed that item. I didn’t win it, and in fact, couldn’t have won it even before he’d asked for it because my roll was lower than the other guy’s. In retrospect, I wish I’d checked on that and just let him need roll for it. After all, it’s just a game. And part of my anger after he called me a loser was toward a guy I saw as taking the game too seriously. After all, when you’re not at the highest level, you tend to out level your items pretty quickly. And does anyone really *need* virtual items at all? But here I was, taking the game pretty seriously, at least the part about a game needing to be fair. So, I was kind of a hyppocrite and that didn’t make me feel too good.

What I also thought about this incident was the way the guy called me loser–in public for all to “hear”, and I wondered if he knew how old I was and that I’m a mom if he would have done that. I suspect he would have chalked it up to my being an old fogey and a girl to boot who didn’t know what she was doing and might have just shrugged and moved on. On the other hand, he might still have called me a loser to his friends privately. On still another hand, I must have been a good enough player for him to think that calling me a loser was okay. On the Internet, no one has to know you’re a mom.