a) I am not "a gamer" in any sense of the word. I play games. None of them with enough in-depth knowledge or skill, either innate or cultivated. I have no p-p-p-poker face. I can't handle strategic games that require me to think more than a turn and a half in advance, and don't have the capacity to anticipate, predict, or use math to assume possibilities of another players moves. Seriously, if I don't know what I'm doing next turn, what makes you think I have any clue what you're doing?
2) My hobbies and passions all revolve around playing dress up.
So how did I wind up with a top-level character on an MMORPG, and why do I even know what that means...
Well... a million years ago (or five-ish, I can't be sure), my husband (who wasn't my husband at the time) got really excited about this video game for the computer. It was some fancy version of another game he'd played as a kid, only now it was über-l33t or whatever. I wasn't all that interested, but I did agree to watch the trailer.
(I didn't even know video games had trailers.)
That went something like this:
Me: Oh, that's pretty. Hm. Interesting. And these are the characters you can play? How nice for you. A bear? Nice snow effect on the fur... Hey, a purple lady! I like her. SHE TURNS INTO A CAT?!?! Can I do that? I can?! I wanna play! I wanna be a purple cat lady!!
So... hubby-darling set me up with a character on his account to see if I liked it. There was definitely a learning curve as I tried to figure out how to use both hands to make my character move about, and then I hit a bunch of buttons to try to kill stuff, and did quests so I could turn into a bear, and a cat, and then a faster cheetah type cat, and then this crazy half-owl, half-moose, half-Sasquatch thing.
So I decided I liked it and got my own account.
But I had to start all over again!! From the beginning! It was horrible--and thus my distaste for "alts" was cemented. My husband keeps trying to talk me into it, but once you've tasted the power of being able to kill the big guys, the thought of becoming a puny lvl 1 again just holds no appeal for me. I've already got the best character in the game--she's purple, and turns into a cat! And even though I like being able to turn into a cat, I dodn't like killing things as a cat. Or as a bear either. To do that, you have to get really close and actually touch the things you were trying to kill. Like, with your hands (or claws). That isn't fun. I want to stay far away and hit things with spells. Besides, if I stay in my purple-lady form, I could see my pretty clothes better. And really, the only reason to gain levels was so I could wear better and prettier clothes. (Now, I'm 95% a big ugly owl-moose-Sasquatch, but that's beside the point.) And on the holidays, you can do special quests & things and get special outfits, so I have a Beerfest outfit, and a Winter Veil outfit, and a Lovely Black Dress, and a purple pant-suit...
So, in something like 2 and a half years, I managed to get from beginning level to almost-the top. And then it happened. The jerks at the company decided that I couldn't get to the end level. They were adding 10 more levels. So here I am, mere moments away from ultimate glory, and it's snatched from my finger tips. I was unimpressed. Until I watched the trailer.
Me: Hrumph. Stupid fire & burning stuff. I don't even like lava. That monster looks dumb. Wait a minute... giant purple mushrooms? Glowy manta ray thingies? I can have one as a itty-bitty pet? I WANT ONE!!
So... I played the expansion, and reached the top level in a few months... and somewhere in there, the group of folk who gathered together because we knew each other in real life had turned into a "guild" and now there were "guild events" and scheduled playing time...
And then something strange happened. See, there are these things called "instances" for reasons I don't really care about, and in the beginning, I hated them. Probably because they require you to have friends to play with, and most of the time I was playing, there wasn't anyone close to the same level as me, so I did a lot of stuff by myself. And the first instance I ran was horrible. 4 hours, and for once, that's not an exaggeration. 4 hours of my life, wasted in this one section of the game killing the same things over & over again--dying & having to do it again, all to complete some crazy quest. I vowed that I wouldn't do instances anymore. I didn't have to, and even though it meant that I didn't progress as fast, since no one was waiting on me anyway, I didn't think it was that big a deal. Then, somewhere along the way, I knew the difference between Intellect & Spirit and how much of each I wanted. I was constantly trying to balance out my SP with my Crit to maximize my DPS. I was talking in acronyms. I had different gear sets for different situations. I was downloading add-ons to make my game play more accesible. I was not only running instances but mega-crazy-have-to-have-twice-as-many-friends instances called raids. I found myself out on the internet looking up things like "optimal spell rotation" and "hit cap rating" and "raid gear check."
I hardly recognized myself... but I was having fun. Most of the time. Much to the frustration of my husband, I quit when it stops being fun. I just can't see paying money to play a game that isn't fun. Why would I play a game if it wasn't fun?!? That's not playing--that's work, and work is not what I do for fun... wow... redundant explination is over now.
So, here I am, posing as a gamer chick, talkin' the talk, runnin' the raids, watching the YouTube videos, and having a blast. Then, they came out with ANOTHER expansion, and there were even more levels to get, and achievements and new stuff to wear and new places to explore and this time I wasn't even peeved about having to gain more levels, even though I was already at the top... Wanna know why?
They gave me the ability to change my hair whenever I wanted!
That's right--hair style upgrades! Right on!
See, upon character creation, you have to decide on a hairstyle & some accessories. And you have to keep that same hairstyle & accessories the whole time. No matter what you're wearing. No matter where you're going. No changing. For the holidays, I had to have the same boring hair I wear on my every-day questing! When I won a sweet new piece of gear after a kickin' raid... I couldn't wear a celebratory up-do. It was... cruel!!
And then, they caved. They put in barber shops. And in addition to changing my hair style & color, I can also change the markings on my little elven face. I had the cutest little white tomboy hair style for a while, and this year for the holidays, I'm going green (it's the blonde of Azeroth). My hair is still almost always purple, but now I can have a pony tail, or braids, or pig tails, or a headband. Best gold I ever spent! See... my hobbies are really just different ways to play dress up.