Facebook is my surrogate game

I had planned to reactivate my World of Warcraft account last week, after meeting up with some long-time gamer friends. I even bought The Burning Crusade (WoW expansion pack).

But installing the game killed my computer. For a few frightful hours, I wasn’t able to boot up Windows. I thought the end had come.

Fortunately, the Goonfather managed to save my PC, which is now still usable, but barely. I have to buy myself a new machine soon because this 4-year-old junkheap seems bound to meet its maker in scrapyard heaven just about any time without notice.

So, I’m buying my new computer next weekend. In the meantime, I can’t play WoW. =(

But I can play Facebook!

A little background:

Last week, I attended a Singtel Moblog focus group where we generally discussed what we liked and didn’t like about blogging platforms and other Web 2.0 gizmos.

There was a point during which everyone shared which communities they belonged to. Like Friendster, MySpace, Facebook, and so on.

I told everyone I have long been resisting Facebook, even though it seems to be one of the most popular sites now, even though I keep getting invites from friends to join them in there.

Today, I finally decided to get an account because not being able to play WoW is making me hyperventilate and I have to do something to take my mind off my restlessness. Also, the Cowboybar crazies have been waxing lyrical over Facebook, so much so that it became like a mystery I had to solve: Why the hell is everyone and his grandmother in Facebook? So good meh?

I’d been assuming that Facebook is just a more classy Friendster. I already have Friendster, which I find boring, so I don’t need more rubbish like that in my life.

Was I ever wrong.

Facebook blew my mind when I signed up today.

People should be more communicative, you know. I mean, I’ve been getting rubbish template e-mails like, “Hey, Sassy Wong added you as a friend in Facebook! Join her!”

Who the hell wants to join anything with a lousy message like that?

The e-mails should be more like, “Throw a cow (or a fish, or a chicken) at your friend, Sassy Wong, in Facebook! After you’re done doing that, have a refreshing cocktail while you deface her profile with graffiti! What are you waiting for? Come in now and get free gummi bears to spit at your friends!”

Really, if I had gotten an e-mail like that early on, I would have been a Facebook member on the outset.

As it happened, I didn’t find out that such a cool thing existed until today. And I spent the entire afternoon and a good part of the evening exploring the third-party applications in Facebook and throwing cows at friends.

It’s surprisingly fun!

Anyway, if you’re in Facebook, add me ok? Search for my name: Shen Qiaoyun. Shouldn’t be hard to find because there aren’t many Qiaoyuns around. If you add me, and you have some funny name I won’t recognise, please identify yourself or I won’t add you back if I don’t know who you are!

See you in there!

Another WoW-less night

Tonight is no-WoW night but I’m not in the mood to blog like I was planning to, so I’m just going to do a quick show-and-tell for non-WoW players.

The other day in WoW, someone was selling this ring.

It’s called The 1 Ring.

I thought that was really cute.

So I examined it to see what powerful stats it would have, and this was it:

I so love the sense of humour in WoW.

There’s also this item called Moist Towelette.

And the description:

There’re a lot more funny things in WoW, but I haven’t really thought about starting a funny collection, so that’s all for tonight.

WoW players, feel free to share all the humorous, witty things you’ve come across.

Thank you for reading!

Who let the goon out?

Today, the Goonfather said to me, “You’re evil.

“I read your blog and you made me tempted to play WoW.”

So my jaw hung open a little as I stared at him for a good measure of time. And then I gave him the narrow eye.

I said, “That’s crazy, because all I talked about in my blog was the graphics. And you, YOU were the one complaining about WoW graphics. You hate the graphics, remember?”

The Goonfather is silly like that. Which is why he’s called the Goonfather, incidentally.

About a month ago, he reactivated his EverQuest 2 (EQ2) account because all our friends were going back to EQ2. A new expansion pack, Kingdom of Sky (KoS), had just come out, which allows your character to gain alternate advancement levels. If you don’t buy the expansion, you are, to put it simply, gimped, and wasting your time playing EQ2.

Mr Goon didn’t buy KoS because he’s saving up to buy his RX8 (which will probably happen when the cows come home). Also, at the same time, he was contemplating buying a PlayStation Portable (PSP), something he’d been contemplating a very, very long time (about as long as Rip Van Winkle slept).

So, for the Goonfather, the choice situation was something like this:

1. Get KoS (because I can’t play EQ2 without it).

2. Get PSP (because my reservist is coming up and I need it to bring to camp).

3. Don’t get either and just save the money (for when the cows come home).

My advice was: Get KoS because it’s cheaper than PSP and certainly much cheaper than an RX8. Also so that you’ll quit bugging me about being bored.

Most logical, I would think.

Every day, I said to him, “Get KoS for goodness’ sake and stop brooding.”

Every day, he said, “Noooooooo! I must resist the dark side!”

After two weeks of that, what do you know, he bought KoS, a few days before his reservist.

It was a ding gratz moment. I was happy for him. I was happy for me. Peace at last.

Two days after that, the Goonfather came to me smiling like a sunflower.

“I bought my PSP!” he proclaimed.

I was, like, “HELLO?! You just got KoS!!”

“Yeah, but I need something to bring to reservist. I can’t bring KoS.”

“Yeah, but your ass is so going to be in debt.”

“Yeah, but KoS is for playing at home. PSP is for the MRT and reservist.”

How do you argue with logic like that?

And here comes the best part.

The Goonfather has had the PSP for, I don’t know, three weeks now, and he has been playing it like it’s going to grow wings and fly away.

He plays PSP even at home.

I say to him, “Stop playing PSP! Go and play EQ2! You’re at home now! PSP is for playing outside!”

His reply: “Ya, but PSP is so fun!”

Another goon logic I cannot refute.

After a few days of my nagging, he’s come up with a brilliant plan.

He’s taken to playing both the PSP and EQ2 at the same time. How he does that, I don’t know. He sits in front of his computer screen where his EQ2 character is running away from mobs, while playing the PSP propped above his keyboard.

I have witnesses.

He is such a goon.

To make matters worse, of course, he has to tell me today that he wants to play WoW, now.

And then, he said, “I’m going to sing you the WoW song!”

And he sang, “Who let the orcs out! WoW WoW WoW WoW!”

Drown me.

Taking time off WoW to blog about WoW

I’m going to talk about WoW because, well, what else is there to talk about? (Actually plenty, I would imagine, but nothing as fun as talking about WoW, is there now?)

I’m mildly surprised that the game has gotten me as addicted as it has. I mean, many players claim that WoW is a very suitable game for casual gamers because you can log in for an hour or two a day, do a few quests, and then call it a day.

How can that be possible?

When I visit a new village, I get ten new quests and I have to finish them all and also level up my tradeskills, then make myself some new armor, then go to the next village to get some more quests so I can level up some more to learn that next cool spell I’m going to get.

At least, when you first start out, you can’t just stop at an hour. It’s game sacrilege.

But I’m not going to talk about all that today. Today is “WOW Graphics! Day” because the WoW graphics just wow me to bits. Paired with beautiful music, each locale has a very distinctive mood and feel, making the game very immersive.

The Goonfather tried WoW for a few days last year but didn’t like it. He said the graphics is too cartoony and the gameplay gets boring fast.

I agree the graphics is cartoony, but it’s beautiful, nevertheless. The WoW scenaries inspire me like no other games have.

I have been impressed by game graphics before, notably that of Star Wars Galaxies, but I can’t say I’ve ever felt inspired. Now I can. Sometimes, I just stop in my tracks and gawk at the beauty. 

The peaceful places fill me with a peaceful serentiy. The majestic places fill me with awe. The sweet, beautiful places fill me with joy. And the scary places fill me with dread.

There was this eerie place I visited that had sort of a ghostly theme. Eerie horror movie music was playing, I was running alone in the wilds and everything was dark and shadowy.

I was alone in my room playing. It was around midnight and it was very scary. So scary I didn’t have the presence of mind to take screenshots. All I wanted was to reach my destination asap, get what I needed and bugger out of there.

It’s like the feeling you get when you play Fatal Frame on the PS2 or Xbox. Like something is gonna jump at you any moment. But, of course, Fatal Frame is scarier because things do jump at you.

Anyhow, I was reminded of how the Goonfather, while watching me play a few days back, remarked that the little human children in WoW look like Ju-on. (It was his way of telling me that WoW graphics is kiddy.)

And then, the next day, I found a little human child who has the same name as he does. Hah!

The Goonfather has a point, though. He does look Ju-onish.

But the big humans don’t. This is my character. Yeah, they all come with big boobs, the females. It’s not like in Star Wars Galaxies where you have a boob slider to adjust the boob size.

This is my second character, actually. I started with a Night Elf Druid (see above pictures) but when I reached level 14, Alex said, “Let’s go to Chongbaby’s server, yeah baby!”

So I said ok and since I had to create a brand new character in a different server, I decided to make something different. A Human Priest this time.

I like player healer characters. I find it much more fun to fill up hit point bars than to deplete them. It’s harder to fill them up because they keep depleting, whereas when you’re killing mobs, the hit points can only go down, unless you’re trying to kill a healer, but that’s not the point.

The point is that there’s more to life than killing.

There’s fishing.

But I’ll admit that fishing in WoW is silly because you just stand there all day and click a button when the fishing bobble bobs.

A WoW player who calls himself Mongoose, and whose quote I found in a now defunct forum, puts it very succinctly:

“Fishing is exactly the same as being dead. You sit there, watching your character watching his fishing bobble, and you are wasting second after second of sweet, precious life. It is time share suicide.”

Yes, so, for half an hour of my life today, I engaged in time share suicide.

But I caught a 19 pound catfish, so there. I know, it doesn’t look anywhere near 19 pounds, but the game says it is, so it is.

If you ask me, I would rather catch virtual fish than real life fish because, in the virtual world, you don’t have to deal with worms, blood and gut.

But, nah, fishing is never going to be an activity of choice.

I would ride a gryphon instead.

I was first impressed by the EQ2 griffon (spelled “griffon” in EQ2, “gryphon” in WoW) when the bird took me soaring through the vast lands.

But when the WoW gryphon takes me through the beautiful WoW lands, I am inspired.

So inspired that I take time off being inspired to come write this blog.

How about that?

Gamergirl Returns

I have, as gamers like to say, succumbed to the dark side. My PC is now downloading a years’ worth of patches from World of Warcraft.

Justyn Olby will tell me, “I TOLD YOU SO.”

And that’s why I have to blog about it, so I can pre-empt his I-told-you-so-ness by telling it so first, thereby depriving him of first dibs pleasure. Hah!

I suppose I should start from the beginning.

Almost exactly one year ago, Chong bought me a WoW box for my birthday in an attempt to “lure me to the dark side”. I was playing EverQuest 2 at that time, he was playing WoW, and gamers have this incurable tendency to tempt all their friends into playing the games they’re playing.

I installed my birthday present but didn’t activate the account because I didn’t have time for two MMORPGs. And paying for two gaming subscriptions is madness.

So I put it off, waiting for myself to get bored with EQ2 before I started on WoW.

In February this year, I quit EQ2. Not exactly out of boredom, but due to lack of time. Because of that, I didn’t start on WoW, either. I suddenly decided that I had many more important things to do with my life. I decided to quit gaming totally.

Many gamers will find this declaration very familiar.

Many gamers before me have made the very same declaration.

Many, I think, invariably return to the “dark side” after a while.

That’s why every time I tell Justyn that I have quit gaming, he goes, “Yeah, yeah, tell me about it.”

Well, Justyn doesn’t give me enough credit. I did quit for five months. (Collecting daily bank interest in Neopets and making buildings and troops in Travian do not count.)

Well, you know, it’s not a game if it’s not MMORPG.

Honestly (and this is addressed to my gamer friends), if someone who only logs in to Neopets once a day to collect bank interest were to say, “I’m a gamer!”, you would die laughing.


But, of course, Justyn will be pleased to proclaim himself a prophet now that I am back MMORPG-ing.

It was an impulse decision.

There have been one too many traumatising incidents this month. Losing roles, getting crappy roles (worse than not getting any), being embarrassingly bad at auditions (worst of all).

In an attempt to forget the trauma, I have been losing myself in my novels.

This night, as I finished devouring my last book, panic seized me.

I had no more books to escape into. The bad memories always know this and they always find me.

So, my solution: A game. I had to play a game.

I played some Neopets, but that made me feel giddy and restless. I wanted to play an RPG, but one that required no subscription. Just for this week, you know, I needed to kill some monsters and such.

I tried playing a free Flash-based online RPG, some silly game which entertained me for a while but then annoyed me because it started hanging every 10 minutes.

I even considered playing Maple Story.

And that was when I remembered.

I have a dusty box of World of Warcraft sitting in my shelf, still attached with a free one-month subscription (very important since I’m broke).


So I am back to being a gamer.

Maybe only for a month because I don’t think I can afford to continue paying for the subscription after the free month is up.

But I know what Justyn will say to that.

“Yeah, yeah, tell me about it.”