[Women Who Play] Interview with Moxie; The Social Gamer

A series of Q&A sessions with women who work or play in online gaming. The interviews take a look at what they play, what they most enjoy or dislike, and their views on the ups and downs of online gaming.

I am very pleased to bring you the second installment in the Women Who Play series. This time I’m quizzing social gaming fan, Moxie.

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These interviews aim to shine a spot light on some fellow female gamers, their experiences, how they play, what they like and dislike about gaming and their own views on the “women in gaming” topic.

Interview 2: Moxie

Moxie is a long-term MMORPG gamer and blogger. She enjoys crafting, exploration and the social aspects of gaming.

How did you first get into gaming and what attracted you to MMOs?

Moxie: “I first started gaming in 1983 when my aunt taught a wee 4-year-old-me how to play Pole Position on the Atari. I loved console gaming but stopped gaming completely during high school and college. My foray into MMORPGs was by accident really; my husband picked up a copy of City of Heroes on launch day in 2004. I got my copy the next day and I’ve been playing MMORPGs ever since.”

You are currently playing Wurm Online, can you tell us about this game and what you enjoy about it?

Moxie:Wurm Online is a more hardcore (and prettier!) version of Minecraft. It was actually created by Notch and Rolf Janssen before Minecraft – Notch later left to work on Minecraft and you can definitely see the similarities. Everything in Wurm Online is player-made. That’s all the houses, roads, villages, farms, ports, etc. You have to gather resources for everything. For instance, if you want to build a stone house you need to dig a mine and gather rock shards which then need to be turned into stone bricks. You also need mortar, which is made by combining clay and sand. You can make tools, but you need to mine iron to do so. You can cook food, but first you need to either grow it on a farm or kill animals for meat. You can also breed animals and use selective breeding to  breed horses that are faster or stronger than their wild counterparts. What I love about Wurm is that it gives players the freedom to set their own goals and that it fosters interdependency among the community. Most skills take a long time to develop so specialization is encouraged.”

 

I understand that you have been involved with guild management – can you tell us a little bit about this?

Moxie: “I’ve never been a Guild Master – that title comes with too much pressure in my mind. I do however almost always end up as a guild officer, particularly for recruitment. I really enjoy meeting other players and trying to find players that are a good fit for whatever guild I’m in at the time. Usually I’m in more laid-back, social, casual-but-ambitious guilds so first & foremost I look for fun, mature players. Skills can be taught and gear can be acquired, but you can’t really change personality, so I look for personality first and foremost.”

What do you enjoy most about gaming online and which title has been your favourite so far?

I’ve met some of my best friends through gaming and I’ve even gotten real-life jobs because of networking I’ve done in-game. I just laugh at anybody that tells me that gaming is a waste of time – gaming is networking!

Moxie: “What I enjoy most is definitely the social aspect. I’ve tried playing single-player games or console games but without that social interaction they just fall flat. I love that I meet people from all walks of life through MMOs such as players from other countries, senior citizen gamers, couples who game together, professionals that enjoy gaming as a way to connect with their kids and even a family with three generations of gamers who used games as a way to do stuff together as they were separated by distance in real life. I’ve met some of my best friends through gaming and I’ve even gotten real-life jobs because of networking I’ve done in-game. I just laugh at anybody that tells me that gaming is a waste of time – gaming is networking!

It is hard to pick just one but my favorite “traditional” MMO is World of Warcraft, during the Classic and Burning Crusade eras. That was my first fantasy title and there was something really magical and beautiful about that time. My current favorite title is Wurm Online – I enjoy the creativity and freedom that I experience there.”

Can you tell us a little about your blog and what prompted you to start blogging?

Moxie: “My blog, The Wild Boar Inn, is a place for me to record things that are going on with my gaming, kind of an online gaming diary of sorts. I wish I could be a blogger that posts every day or that gets into deep nuts-and-bolts discussions of game mechanics, but that doesn’t work for me. A guild-mate of mine started blogging about Warhammer Online and I thought it was a neat idea so I decided to start a blog myself. I originally had a blog called Battle Priestess (as I was playing a WoW Priest at the time) but later changed it to the more generic Wild Boar Inn so that I could talk about other games. It’s been quiet for a while now but with the recent reveal of EverQuest Next I’m starting to get inspired again. You never know what the future may bring.”

 

Do you play online with your husband or do you prefer to game separately?

Moxie: “Yes and no. Typically we play the same games, but we don’t usually play together within those games. I’ve known gamer couples who pair up in-game and do everything together, but that’s not really our style. If one of us needs help then we will help each other out, but other than that we mostly do our own thing. I’m the more social of the two so I’m usually chatting it up, being silly, and helping other players out. He typically focuses on whatever his goal is at the time and tries to get it done. They say that couples that game together stay together, and for us it’s true.”

What would you say has been the highlight of your time gaming online so far?

…when you experience it for the first time you aren’t thinking of game mechanics or design or how it compares to other games. You just experience the game world for what it is and enjoy the ride.

Moxie: “I would have to go back to classic WoW as a highlight. I think most MMO players will say that their first MMO was the best, because when you experience it for the first time you aren’t thinking of game mechanics or design or how it compares to other games. You just experience the game world for what it is and enjoy the ride.

During that time I was with a small, close-knit guild and we would spend nights just rolling through Scholomance trying to get a specific rare bow for our hunter. Finally one night the bow dropped not once but three times, so all three hunters got the awesome bow. On top of that, an ultra-rare & powerful robe dropped for my priest on that same run, and she still wears it to this day. We weren’t thinking about how stupid it was that we were doing the same thing night after night in search of an item – we were just having fun. Now, years later, we’d probably fuss about the time sink!”

And have there been any notable low points?

Moxie: “There have been games that I’ve enjoyed less than others, and a couple of occasions where guild drama has put a damper on things. Ultimately though, the good times far outweigh the bad.”

I’ve always loved the community aspect of MMO gaming and I’ve certainly felt this come across in your blog. I understand that a prominent member from one of your games was honoured in-game, after passing away – something I found very touching.

Sadly he passed away before the game went live. ArenaNet was amazing. They named one of the game servers “Sanctum of Rall” after him, as well as put in an NPC that explained his story.

Moxie: “Roger “Oldroar” Rall was a member of the Gascioch guild, which has had presences in Dark Age of Camelot, Warhammer Online, RIFT and now Guild Wars 2. Roger really helped shape the positive culture of Gaiscioch. He was an older gentleman who would go out of his way to assist guild mates with life issues – he was a dad/granddad that anybody could go to for advice, and a natural leader. He was a big fan of Guild Wars 2 and was the main reason that Gascioch founded a chapter in the game. Sadly he passed away from natural causes before the game went live.

ArenaNet was amazing. They named one of the game servers “Sanctum of Rall” after him, as well as put in an NPC that explained his story and how he had inspired the people around him.

As an epilogue to that story we had a memorial in-game and it was a beautiful thing. People were gathered on all the servers listening in to the memorial (which was held on a separate voice communication channel) and ArenaNet was in on it as well – they kept those who would ruin the moment away. It was a great example of why I enjoy MMOs – the community involvement and the way that developers can embrace and support their communities is unique to MMOs.

We also heard from hundreds of players from around the globe, that we had never met before, expressing their sympathies for Roger’s passing. Many of them had their own stories to share about special people they had met while gaming online. Gaiscioch made a book with all of the memorial notes and news clippings about Roger and Guild Wars 2, as well as audio/video of the memorial, and sent it to his widow & family so that they could see how he had affected so many people.”

 

As a female gamer, have you ever had abuse online because of your gender and if so how have you dealt with that?

Moxie: “Overall my experience has been surprisingly positive. There have been times that I’ve run into the occasional sexist jerk, usually if I’m running a dungeon with random players that I don’t know. But if I’m in that situation I simply remove myself from that group. No item, quest, or goal is worth dealing with abuse and I refuse to be made a victim when there are ways to remove myself from the offender.”

What advice would you give to other women who are thinking of gaming online?

Moxie: “Don’t be afraid of it. There are plenty of really good people playing MMORPGs, and lots of guilds of mature people that won’t care if you’re male, female, or somewhere in-between! Do your research – look on game forums and/or server forums at descriptions of guilds and find those that have no-abuse policies. If you join a guild and it turns out to have jerks in it, don’t be afraid to leave immediately – there are lots of other guilds out there.

Also, /ignore and /report are your friend. You won’t usually make a difference by getting into verbal spars with abusers and that just encourages them to continue. Make it a point to not group with them in the future, and spread the word about their abuse to your guildies – reputation is more important than you would think in most MMOs.

Finally, don’t be worried about gaming being a “guy thing.” These days easily 40-50% of the people I meet while gaming are women. Women raid, women PvP, women write class guides and armor guides and do just about anything else you can imagine in a game. We’re starting to see more women developers as well, so if your daughter is into gaming and wants to make that a career, she should totally go for it!

…spread the word to your guildies – reputation is more important than you would think in most MMOs.

Take math & computer programming classes, learn about design and play different types of games so you can see what works and what doesn’t. Read lots of books – fantasy, science fiction, biographies, history, mythologies. Start working with code to make your own games and programs for experience.”

 

I’d like to thank Moxie for taking part and for sharing her experiences.

Moxie can be found here: and wildboarinn.net.

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Are you, or do you know, a long-term women gamer, blogger or game developer who would make an interesting participant for a future interview? If so please leave me a message in the comments section.

For more information on The Women Who Play interview series, as well as links to the other interviews, visit the Interview Introduction page.


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