Games on a Plane?
A few days ago, John
"Boomjack" Hoskin mentioned the meet and greet that occurred in Las
Vegas last year
with 20 or so EverQuest 2 players and the Ten Ton
Hammer staff. Boomjack's been receiving some emails asking if Ten Ton
Hammer would host another meet and greet. The answer to that question
depends on you, dear reader. Ten Ton Hammer might just be willing to
meet you--provided "you" are a large enough number of people that makes
the expense of the adventure worthwhile. Sorry, we can't fly out to
meet you individually!
The idea of a meet and greet raises the question: have you ever gone to
meet an in-game friend before? Has your your love for a game ever put
you on a plane to meet a guild mate? Some people may scoff at such
notions, but I believe some of my in-game friendships are strong enough
to warrant a trip. I'll share a few stories with you for consideration.
Kazmara joined our guild in EverQuest Online Adventures (EQOA) a few
years back and profoundly impacted my life. A happily married woman in
her early 50s, Kazmara possesses a lot of life-wisdom. She has played
the role of child, rebellious teenager, mother, grandmother,
girlfriend, and wife. She has been the victim, the bad guy, the
apathetic do-nothing, and the motivated business woman. She has been
godless and spiritually devoted. She may have even "inhaled" once or
The point of telling you all of that about Kazmara is to highlight how
intuitive and empathetic she is. Having experienced so many of life's
hard lessons from a couple of different viewpoints, she has a wonderful
knack for understanding your feelings and helping you sort out
difficulties. What the hell does that have to do with gaming? Well, you
couldn't asked for a better ranked member in your guild! When people
have any misgivings about the guild, Kazmara is able to help them sort
through the emotions and immature, knee-jerk reactions to see to the
core of the issue.
Kazmara is also a mighty fine gamer--don't let the grandmother tag fool
you. Her cleric has healed tanks pitted against the toughest monsters
EQOA has to offer. A walking shrine, Kazmara's avatar can pour out
maximum healing in minimum time. She also commands a rogue and
necromancer at the level cap. She organizes and leads the occasional
raid. And you don't want to PvP (player-vs-player combat) with her, OK?
I used to spend a lot of my work day in a chat room with Kazmara and a
few other guild members. For weeks I got to know her as more than a
fantastic healer. I learned about her fears and insecurities. She
shared her spirituality and her sense of how love and respect her
fellow man. We even swapped those kinds of stories that you wouldn't
want other people to hear. I found myself able to tell her things no
other human being on earth knows. All of this came from a game! Since
both of us are married and extremely happy, this relationship was
purely platonic and relaxed. And since my wife and her husband also
played EQOA at that time, it was a chance for one married couple to
In April 2004, my wife had a chance to fly from Washington to Michigan
to meet Kazmara. She was able to tie a trip to visit family to an
opportunity to meet this great in-game friend. The two ladies had a
blast over lunch, and my daughter got to meet Kazmara's grandson. The
whole experience was positive, and we would surely visit Kazmara again
or invite her and her husband into our home.
Myrelle and Mendoza are another couple who plays EQOA. This pair lived
a little under an hour from us, near Seattle. We met in game through
our guild and spent time together in groups whenever our play schedules
would allow. Once we established how close we were to each other, each
couple made a few trips to visit the other. We'd go shopping at malls
or go out to dinner together with our little girls. It was a great
experience to meet like-minded individuals with a similar lifestyle.
When I later took a job at a university on the opposite side of the
state, Myrelle and Mendoza were able to share some anecdotes from their
college days at that very same university!
Myrelle and Mendoza are two examples of the kind of people you meet
gaming who make up for the jerks. They are generous in every sense of
the word. In-game, they give of their time, gear, and resources to make
the guild better. In real life, they will gladly pay for a dinner or
host a party to get friends together in the name of fun. In fact, they
are the proud sponsors of the annual Adult Tricycle (yeah, that's
right) race, which my family attended in 2005.
When I left EQOA for good, I left my trusty rogue, Flit, in the hands
of Myrelle. I knew she could be trusted to take good care of him and
not tarnish what little positive image he had created out in the EQOA
community. She got him the last level he needed to be at the level cap,
and put him to good use in raids for the guild.
Myrelle and Mendoza even tried DDO with me briefly after launch. DDO
turned out not to be the game for them
despite the fact that they
met through a Dungeons & Dragons tabletop campaign. Still, I know
we will play a game with these two again, and the fact that we still
live in the same state means we'll have a chance to have one of those
dinner parties again someday.
Those are just two examples of some great friends my wife and I have
made through gaming. You can make great friends, too, and Ten Ton
Hammer is dedicated to fostering that through our gamer-centered
communities that refuse to let gold-farmers ruin our games. If you
would like to see another Ten Ton Hammer meet an greet, be sure to post
in Boomjack's blog or send
him an email
One Last Note...
I wrote this entire article while listening to DnDRadio
. I have visited their website
off and on in the week since they reached out to me and asked to
participate in a DDO news exchange. In the last 90 minutes I have heard
a nice mix of rocking hits from the past 5 years and today's new stuff.
I cannot find any gold-farming ads on the site. I'm pretty sure they
share my stance on that. So you'll start to see news from these guys
here at DDO @ Ten Ton Hammer.
A final thought on the topic of DnDRadio; they were nice enough to post
a link to our "DM
." In our contest description, I proudly proclaim,
"DDO @ Ten Ton Hammer is the ONLY
site on the 'Net that brings you fresh new Dungeons & Dragons
Online content each week." DnDRadio's OneWay protested, "Hey now,
Ten Ton Hammer! You seem to forget that DnDRadio.com is here doing just
the same! We post new info, we get the interviews, we give out prizes
and have events!" For sure, DnDRadio
just launched a contest
with cool prizes a little while back. They
also managed to score an
interview with David Elkelberry
. I have to admit being a little
jealous of that one. I bust my chops putting out new DDO guides and
content 4 or 5 days per week and Turbine won't even throw me some
interview table scraps. So, for you, OneWay, let me just say: We at DDO
@ Ten Ton Hammer deliver more
new content than anybody else on the Internet.