My dirty little secret is about to go public

Have I got your attention now? Okay, here goes.

My son got me into online gaming nine or ten years ago with, specifically, EverQuest, aka EverCrack by addicted fans. Even if you’re not into gaming, you’ve probably heard of it. Anyway, it was something we could do “together” when he was away at school (or whatever he was doing back then). A couple of his friends, who used to come over to the house a lot, also played.

Son is a major geek* (to me that’s a term of endearment and utmost respect for superior intelligence and techie accomplishment) and used to play Dungeons and Dragons back when it was a sort of board game (no, it’s not an evil, corrupting, criminality-inducing activity, any more than, say, Monopoly, but that’s another post). When personal computers took over the world, online games quickly followed, especially those derived from D&D.

Hmm, I have digressed. Sorry. So he got me into EverQuest. What fun! Making up a character, choosing her looks, abilities, skills. Exploring new fantasy worlds full of knights, dragons, monsters, and enemy races; adventuring with other people; completing quests and being rewarded for your accomplishments; becoming friends with other people in-game, etc. Why should the kids have all the fun?

I’ve been playing similar games ever since. The ones I like are referred to as MMORPGs — Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games. (“Massively multiplayer” translates to hundreds of thousands of people playing simultaneously around the world.) And tomorrow the newest one, Warhammer, starts public downloads of its open beta version. Sometime in the next few weeks, open beta will begin (over 800,000 have already signed up), and on September 18 the game goes live.

My dirty little secret, of course, is that I’m a female retiree and the majority of players in these games are young men. Luckily for me, a lot of middle-agers play too, and we eventually find each other (the teenagers can be particularly obnoxious sometimes). Lots of married couples play, and I’ve even found one or two other seniors playing. I’ve made several friends that I’ve played with for five or six years, through several different games, without ever meeting any of them in real life (I have a rule about that, but that, too, is another post).

There is such a predominance of male players in these games that most players, when they meet a female character, assume the person playing that character is male. And usually they’d be right. It always amazes me that so many guys choose to play female characters (I’ve tried playing male characters and I just can’t get into it. I can’t identify at all with a male character). My son explained that the female characters are more likely to be given weapons, supplies, etc. by other players. Another reason I’ve heard is that because the in-game camera angles have you looking at your character’s back most of the time, a lot of guys would rather spend their time looking at a female backside!

It’s always amusing to begin a new game and have most of the other players assume I’m a young man. I usually try very hard not to reveal my age. If I can play well enough to be accepted by others, then eventually I might fess up. That’s the beauty of these games, of course — you go to another place and become whoever or whatever you want to be. I’ll never forget the first friend I made in Dark Age of Camelot (DAoC). We’d played together for weeks before we confessed our ages; he was 17. I was stunned, and so was he. The age preconceptions cut both ways.

There you have it. I’m a gamer. Warhammer open beta begins soon. If I suddenly become scarce around here, you’ll probably find me huddled over my big computer in a darkened study, exploring some weird fantasy world as a high elf, or a black orc, or maybe a squig herder.


*I once asked him what was the difference between a geek and a nerd. He said a geek was a nerd who could get a date.


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8 thoughts on “My dirty little secret is about to go public

  1. PT, this is great! Sounds like a just a good hobby to me. Do you and your son still play together?

    I’ll be off for a bit, you have fun!
    Drat, I meant to mention that. My son got me hooked and then he got absorbed in his work, got married, etc., and hasn’t had time to play since. Well, actually, he’s got the giant screen TV, the Playstation, the Xbox, the TiVO, etc.

    Enjoy your time off! 🙂

  2. Wow, you are a secret gamer. I can relate – but I stay away from stuff like that, I already have enough of an addictive personality – I’d never get anything done if I started playing the games. Still, I’ve been curious about them. They have a certain appeal.
    Yep, yep. Very addictive. My rule is I can’t even log on unless I have at least two hours to play. Isn’t that pathetic? And I do things like promise myself I can play AFTER I do the dishes, or AFTER I clean the bathroom, etc. Maybe I’ll get lucky (?) and NOT like Warhammer.

  3. A secret gamer? I promise not to tell. 🙂 Every play WoW? It’s about the only MMORPG I’ve found that I liked for any length of time.
    Started WoW during its beta stress test and played intensely till about 6 months ago. I was sort of burning out on the end game, as were most of the people I played with. Plus I got my first laptop about then and got really spoiled being able to blog while sprawled on the couch watching TV. I still have my WoW account, with the maximum number of characters on it, naturally.

  4. I was a gamer for a while, too. Only I played Asheron’s Call. If I recall correctly, that was EQ’s big rival at the time.
    I never played AC, although it seems like most of the rest of the world did. 🙂

  5. I never really got into games or gaming – hell, I can’t even get past level 1 on the original Sonic!

    I put that down to not being able to throw a ball in a straight line, but it could be that I am just rubbish at them.

    I’m a geek, by the way. 🙂
    MMORPGs are not as skill-oriented as a lot of other games. You can do your own thing at your own pace, for the most part. Where I fail miserably is a one-on-one fight with some teenage player; my reaction time is much slower.

    Geeks are at the top of my list of BPOEs, in case you couldn’t tell. I never met a geek I didn’t like. 🙂

  6. Hey 30,
    Have you been taken prisoner and being held in a dungeon somewhere? I haven’t seen you in days. LOL. Is there a ransom or something? I have some recyclables I can turn in. Will that help? 😉
    Yep, there’s a ransom. I’m worth billions, you know. 😉 (Don’t I wish!) It’s scary how fast a few days can slip by with no post, even when it seems like you’ve been glued to the computer.

    Pssst … It was nice to be missed!

... and that's my two cents