Robin had his first gymnastics class tod…

Robin had his first gymnastics class today. It seemed to go pretty well for somebody’s very first day ever in a structured group learning environment. I watched some and read some, because it was hard to resist the desire to hover and try to explain things to him/make him behave. But he was surprisingly attentive and willing to do what he was told. Teachers FTW.

A few Facebook posts inspired by RealID

Blizzard’s RealID controversy has made me do a lot of thinking. The thoughts are too long for Twitter! While I don’t have a coherent statement I’m up for posting here yet, I’d like to at least make sure the thoughts aren’t firewalled, given the issue.

I’ve been thinking a lot about privacy and freedom, and about change vs the expected maintenance of the status quo, and how my friends are violating my freedom by not playing the games I want when I want them to. Once upon a time, I would have posted a long meandering think on my linked-to-my-name publicly-accessible blog. But with my thoughts going down for posterity like that, maybe I should think more first.

This is a social grace I’ve absorbed through cultural osmosis: while I COULD tell all my friends the full names of all my other friends, it’s not appropriate behavior. Referring to a non-mutual personal acquaintance by their full name as a part of a casual non-business conversation reeks somehow of showing off. It just isn’t done, at least if you’re not a rude gossip.

An interesting thing about the choices Facebook and its followers have made about privacy is they’re promoting the idea that friends are to individuals what profitability is to a corporation. The more you have, the better, and sacrificing every other grace is worth it if, in the end, you win.

(As a comment on somebody else’s post:) As someone who HAS invested time and effort [in World of Warcraft], I have to say I am not personally het up about their recent announcement. I’m guessing most people around 25 and under simply won’t care either.

Sometimes, Robin does terrible things, like dumping a bowl of popcorn all over the floor. In these situations, I might say, “You are such a…” and trail off. Robin finishes my statement with, “Boy!” Or I might say, “You are so…” and Robin finishes with “Cute!”

OK. Anybody who reads this via RSS, spea…

OK. Anybody who reads this via RSS, speak up: Would you rather see 140 character posts a few times a day, or some kind of daily digest. I know I dislike daily digests, but I also dislike the 140 character limit, since I tend toward about 260ish. But I’m willing to adapt for you, dear readers!

If you read this via Facebook already, uh… Hi! I just realized this may still double spam you. Oh well! Bathtime for baby!


I have spent too long today trying to figure out a way to link up my Facebook status updates and my blog, I guess so my Facebook updates appear on my blog. And failing and failing. I can do it no longer! Maybe it will be easier in a week or a month or something.

Now Robin is ripping something open. I wonder what?

New games

So, last night I tried out my first new MMORPG in years (other than PotBS)– since before I quit Microsoft, I think. It’s practically my first new game in the same time frame– I’ve played a few DS games and Animal Crossing but I’m not sure Final Fantasy IV counts as a ‘new game’, you know? The last big wave of MMO releases kind of passed me by, although Kevin and Raymond dabbled at them. My computer wouldn’t run them, and I just wasn’t interested in Tabula Rasa/Warhammer/Conan, y’know?

But Aion has wings, and at least a token effort to explain the meta-game mechanics (for example, why you don’t die permanently in these things). And it has the typical NCsoft art team, especially for character artists. And while I’m not (by default) a fan of ‘grimdark-PvP-there is only WAR’ I am (by default) a fan of wings.

Yes, it’s shallow and petty. I don’t even care. It’s not like I’m picking a charity to donate my life savings to.

Anyhow, I tried out the open beta last night, and I discovered things have changed in the MMO world, or maybe just in me.

Back a lifetime ago, it seemed like common knowledge that you couldn’t really play two MMOs. Even before I tried out Aion, I knew that was untrue, because WoW makes it easy to play multiple games, especially if you’ve made it to the casual raiding scene. Raids pay for themselves these days, and dailies are quick and easy if you need to make up the shortfall. Thank you, Blizzard, for letting me enjoy group story content with my small collection of friends for only a few hours a week!

But what I discovered running around Aion was that most of the game mechanics weren’t new either.  They sometimes looked a bit different, but it felt like they’d picked up a whole bunch of ideas that worked from other games and stitched them together with their own vision. Quest markers. A hotlinked character/monster glossary. Character stores bound to the avatar. Socketed gear. There were a few things that seemed new to me (like power shards increasing combat ability) but they may have come from a game I haven’t played.

And this felt like the right thing to have done. It feels like MMOs have iterated through enough generations that they’re no longer trying to be new and clever just to be new and clever. They’re content using what’s been shown to work well, and there have been enough iterations of ‘new and clever’ to produce a solid set of ‘works well’. Which is good, because MMORPG audiences aren’t just elitist jerks and goons and hobbyist game designers anymore. They’re people like me, who say, “Ooh! Wings!”, and enjoy the comfort of being able to navigate any Safeway, anywhere.

There. That’s my ‘too long for a Facebook status’ thought after a late night poking at Aion. I’m sure I’ll have more on the game itself other than the NCsoft-obvious-facts (gorgeous, can’t swim, click-to-attack) in a day or a week or a month (the open beta ends in a couple of days; it launches in a couple of weeks).

ETA: One thing new to me that I think I like is that ‘race’ is totally a cosmetic choice. The character creation options include sliders that allow you to make elves or goblins or halflings or Cloud Strife. Whatever suits your taste.