Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Venus vs Mars?

Artje with Aidan, who, just for the record, would
NEVER say something casually offensive
Artje Orestes is my new Guild Wars 2 character, and I love her very much. Artje is a human, an orphaned noblewoman who believes in fighting for her community and has joined the Vigil to live out her moral commitment to that cause.

I have another post in mind (pity they're always "in mind" and not "on the interwebs", huh?) where I tell you how I built Artje and what I love about her, and maybe just discuss what it's like to be a fully-formed human who just discovered gaming. But today Artje has a problem, and that's what brought us here, to writing a post.

Artje has been spending most of her time in World vs World, the part of Guild Wars 2 where server is pitted against server to fight over territory in a running battle of castles and keeps, sieges and skirmishes. I love it, for me, it's a perfect combination of cracking skulls and deploying strategy. I don't really get half of it, and that's a fact, but I love it, and spend part of every day there. Sometimes very large parts of every day.

After some weeks of having Mumble ready to go, I finally signed up and started listening in. Mumble is an independent voice server, widely used in the MMORPG community because it allows players to communicate using speech. Obviously it's much more fun to play running and fighting games when you don't have to stop and type, and it's immensely useful for teams who spend their time in running battle.

Not much socialising goes on in the mumble channel. There are various "rooms", and I have no idea what goes on in them, but in the war rooms, the talk is all about the battle. I don't speak, I don't even really know these guys, but I do like having access to their plans. And I want to emphasise that the use of the service is a privilege, someone pays for these rooms and allows us to access them - though it's fair to note that in WvW, at least, you are often harangued to "get on mumble" to increase the team's effectiveness.

So tonight Arenanet released new content, and of course *eye roll* it had to be patched, and we were all thrown out of the game while the patch was installed. Mumble is still going though, and all my favourite commanders, the rockstars of Guild Wars 2, suddenly find themselves with downtime. I have no doubt they talked about the stuff they talk about any time they're not commanding. They just did it with an audience.

They talked about some guy who got arrested making bath salt drugs. He'd heard that it sent women into a sexual frenzy. "Good on him," said the other Commanders. Two or three of them said it, all at once, so it was their natural reaction. The conversation moved on.

What? Ugh. Okay. It happens. Guys talk like this, apparently. I am no delicate and unique rosebud, I have worked and lived in the kind of environments where this kind of talk would be tame. It makes me want to shout, and insist that they think about what they just said, and tell me if they really think that's okay. Instead, I quietly closed the channel and took a break to get some chores done in rl. 

I'm going to go back, of course, I really love this game. And I am going to have to listen in on the mumble channel again, despite the fact that every time these guys talk now, I know they're "that kind of guy".

I'm also struck by the notion that I don't normally find myself in this situation any more. I took "be the change you want to see in the world" fairly literally, and I created environments, online and off, where that kind of talk would not go unchallenged. It's a bit frustrating to find myself here, and I haven't yet decided what I can do about it.

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