Monthly Archives: December 2012

Overlord Bunny Is Now a YouTube Star (No More Pretending)

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A few weeks ago I announced to the cold, uncaring internet that I was going to be guest-starring in an episode of Have You Met Marcus Morgan?, a web series that is written and filmed by a few of my good friends.  Though we suffered a few production delays (read as: Netflix added the seventh season of How I Met Your Mother), we finally managed to make it happen.  Without further adieu, I present to you the episode “We Are Shameless,” which I also helped to outline some of the gags for.  There’s singing and dancing!

Hey, I never said it was good singing and dancing, although admit it, I totally killed that Dougie.

Though the Marcus Morgan series has been going on for a while now and I’ve been present for a couple of the tapings, this is the first time I’ve stepped in front of the camera, at least on purpose.  The acting I did in high school and with a few of my exes (zing!) can’t compare to how totally awesome this experience was.  I hope I’ll get to do it again, either with the cast of HYMMM or through some other channel that does not involve night vision and the stench of eternal shame.

Here are some awesome behind-the-scenes facts:

  • A few jokes didn’t make it into the final cut due to time constraints, but they were pretty awesome (though the ones left in kick complete ass, too) and might show up in an outtakes reel at some point.
  • The majority of the Marcus Morgan videos are completely off-the-cuff.  There’s a basic prompt and some outlining ahead of time as far as important scenes, but other than that, it’s all improvisation.
  • The DVDs that Kelly, who played the Friend With Shitty Taste In Movies (in real life her cinematic appetites are just fine), is holding are actually not what she said they are, because we didn’t think ahead/none of us suck enough to actually own the Star Wars prequels or the fourth Indiana Jones movies, so we just pulled the booklets out of some random ones we had lying around.
  • After throwing my shoe out the door I spent like 20 minutes trying to find it again because by that time the sun had gone down and I’m too stupid to turn on the porch light.
  • The smashed-up car belongs to Matt’s sister, who got into a wreck a couple of weeks prior to the shoot.  Miraculously she was unhurt, and she’s already gotten a new set of wheels, so before this one got carted off to wherever it is that sedans go to die we decided to turn the negative into a positive and use it in the video.
  • There’s no alcohol in the bottles I was “drinking” out of, since I don’t drink.
  • I spent hours watching instructional videos on how to Dougie on YouTube before the shoot, and that’s still the best I could come up with.  I don’t understand you kids and your YOLO and Cali Swag District.
  • I was singing the Celine Dion version of “All By Myself,” not the Michael Bolton version, unless Michael Bolton is cooler than Celine Dion, in which case I recant.  Either way, I am the next American Idol.

At any rate, I hope you all enjoy watching us make assholes out of ourselves on the internet, because it’s what we love to do.  In the meantime, you can hit up the official Have You Met Marcus Morgan? fan page, and add Overlord Bunny on Facebook to get the first look at our shenanigans (no, that is not a code word for testicles).

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Peace On Earth, Goodwill To Bunnies

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Mama Bunny started her own blog shortly after I did.  This entire month she’s been writing a daily feature known simply as PGW, standing for “Peace and Goodwill,” focusing on all of the good, heartwarming things that are happening in the world right now, hiding in the shadows of the really shitty stuff that seems to be clouding everyone’s minds.

No, really, I swear that despite our completely opposite outlooks on life, she is my biological mother.  We look too much alike for it to be any other way.  (I have better boobs.)

I read every article she posts, hiding in my bedroom, away from everyone else so that nobody can see me tearing up and getting all emotional over it.  Witnessing a genuine Overlord Bunny Display of Emotion is a face-punching offense.  I am a badass.  I have a cold, black heart.  I am a high-functioning sociopath like Sherlock Holmes, my ultimate idol since childhood.

And don't forget the sharp, pointy teeth.

And don’t forget the sharp, pointy teeth.

So yesterday I was extremely disheartened to read installment 28 of her PGW series, where my mother revealed that after a particularly rough Christmas season and her firsthand experiences with some displays of extreme douchebaggery, she could not find a single spark of light to write about, which she then went on to blame herself for.

Understand that my mother is basically a Disney Princess with even less spice and ten times the sugar.  She makes Snow White look like Michael Vick.  She cries sometimes while playing World of Warcraft if one character is being too mean to another.  Randomly killing critters in-game leads her to make this godawful squealing noise over her headset and beg the offender to stop.

My mother is a real-world version of Mylune, come to think of it.

Seeing Mother Mary Sunshine so completely defeated was one of the scariest moments of my life, and that includes the time I accidentally wandered into the midst of a white-power rally.  But it got me to thinking — no, get back to your chair, you don’t have to start running for higher ground yet — in twenty-eight separate articles, she has never even once acknowledged her own contributions to the peace and goodwill of others.  I think that this is a travesty that should be remedied immediately.  Without further adieu, I bring you my own PGW chapter, which I have numbered 28.5 (I wanted it to be 9 3/4 but numerically that makes no sense) and dedicated entirely to my mother.

There’s a scene in the film Le fabuleux destin d’Amélie Poulain where the titular character, having made it her sole purpose in life to do good deeds every chance she gets, suddenly realizes that she’s neglected to take care of herself, as well, and imagines her life as that of a martyr who dies tragically young from the sheer exhaustion of doing all of these good works.  I can’t watch it without thinking of my mother.  She is a completely idealistic person who still believes in faeries and happy endings, making her a shining beacon of light in a world that grows increasingly cynical by the day.  She has sacrificed so much for others from day one.  Throughout my entire childhood she stayed in an abusive, unhappy marriage simply because she was afraid of the effect that a divorce would have on me.  She sheltered me from so many of the worst bits from my biological father at her own expense, and yet she never complained, never cried in front of me, always smiled and carried on.

I was constantly the victim of bullying.  She didn’t tell me to just ignore it and move on.  No, she marched her ass down to the school and demanded that something be done about it, whether the jerk was another student or a teacher who should have retired twenty years ago.  She fought for me tooth and nail, even when I wasn’t entirely in the clear, in which case she’d make damn sure once we got home that I’d never put myself in that situation again.

She taught me charity and love from a very young age.  My old toys were never simply thrown out; I insisted that they be donated to either the children’s hospital or the less fortunate kids in our hometown, all because she took the time to show me how the smallest things can make the biggest differences in someone’s life.  Rather than parking me in front of the television set, she taught me everything I could ever hope to know about animals, gardens, and crafting.  She took me to museums and orchestras, Broadway musicals and ballets.  If there was an event at my school, no matter how small it was, she was always there to cheer me on.  She volunteered for every school fieldtrip, kissed every skinned knee, took every ounce of abuse Asshole Teenager Bunny hurled at her and never stopped loving me despite the fact that if I had a time machine I would go back to my sixteen-year-old self and probably beat the everliving shit out of her until she started acting like a human being again.

I was a troubled kid.  There’s no way to sugarcoat that.  Yet she still defended me, still tried to help in any way she could.  She found ways to afford therapists and medication for me.  I used to get mad at her for constantly saying “there’s nothing wrong with you” whenever I’d say I was too broken or couldn’t do something.  Years later I finally understood that she wasn’t doubting me, she was pushing me to keep going because she believed that I was capable of anything, regardless of how much of a jerk my brain was.  And to top it all off, she trusted me.  I didn’t have a curfew. She didn’t phone me incessantly when I was out with my friends.  On my way out the door she’d simply look at me and say “Don’t screw up,” and you know something?  I never did.  It was purely out of respect for her and the way that she always gave me the benefit of the doubt.

All of this from a woman who, before getting pregnant, never wanted kids.  She told me many years later that the minute she found out she was going to have a baby, she decided that this whole “mom” thing wasn’t such a bad deal after all, and stuck by that even when bringing me into this world very nearly killed her.

She is a cancer survivor.  She has fought off her own demons and gone from losing everything to building it all back up.  She has fought off my demons, too, and built me back up when I had nothing.  She supported me through every stupid and wrong decision that I made in my life, never saying “I told you so,” only helping me brush myself off and telling me to try again.

For her entire life, she’s rescued strays and injured wildlife.  Other than fish and small rodent-type pets (with the exception of our ferret who was also a rescue), I never had an animal that came from a pet store.  She instilled that love of animals into me, as well.  These days she extolls the virtues of The Animal Rescue Site to anyone who will listen and orders most of her gifts from their website because the money goes right back to the animals and to various free trade organizations.  She’s a vegetarian because she can’t stand the idea of hurting a living thing for food.  I, however, make up for this by eating all of the hamburgers she turns down because while animals are very cute and fluffy, they’re also delicious.

But the real crowning achievement is the Christmas gift she sent me this year.

She worked on it for weeks, probably months.  It’s a homemade scrapbook, hard-bound with a purple (my favorite color) cover and ribbon ties.  I never wanted to keep any of my childhood photos because my biological father was in so many of them and tainted the memories of those otherwise happy times.  She cut him out of them so that I would be able to remember only the good.  In her own words:

I did that book because it occurred to me that you don’t have pics of your growing up because I have them all. You seem to forget that you are awesome and you had more good in your childhood than bad. Despite everything, you smiled a lot. We laughed a lot. Even with the jackass. That book is so you can remember the good things that memories of the bad seem to overshadow.

With the book was a short story she had written.

This is the story of [Overlord Bunny].

Even when she was small, her imagination was enormous.  She was a ballerina, a musician, and a gardener, among other things, by the time she was only 2 years old.

Her faithful companion, Oliver Doggie, has always been by her side to encourage her to pursue her dreams.  She was a dreamer right from the start.

She loved to bake and cook, and served lovely tea parties.

There were birthdays with friends and family.  She was born on her grandfather’s birthday.  He said she was the best gift he ever got.

There were Christmases and Hanukkahs decked with brightly lighted trees and sparkly things, and lots of presents, and fancy pyjamas and sweaters.

There were friends and special teachers in school.

There were always pets; lots of pets.

There were family, and friends like family.

She’s had some pretty interesting friends from all over the world.

She met some pretty cool famous people, too.

And went to some interesting places.  She went to Disney World a lot.

[Overlord Bunny] did some really neat stuff, and got many awards.

She didn’t like to swim much until she became a mermaid.

[Overlord Bunny] has had many styles and tried many things.

Overall, she’s had an unusual and sometimes downright wondrous life.

But there’s still lots more to come!

I’ve been crying for three hours now, just flipping through the pages of the book and re-reading the story that goes with it.  There are photos I didn’t even know existed, including one of a friend of mine who passed away a few years ago.  There are photos of her and I together.  Photos she secretly took of me during my proudest moments.  Photos of me wearing stripey tights and faerie wings because rather than yelling at me to dress like a normal kid, she always admired how unique my style was and, in fact, stole bits and pieces of it here and there (but that’s okay, because like half of my current wardrobe I ganked from her).

It’s the best gift I ever received, and marks one of those few moments I’ve had in my life that has changed my outlook on absolutely everything.

Your mom sucks.  My mom kicks ass.

Your mom sucks. My mom kicks ass.

There are very few people on this earth, short of Princess Diana and Mother Theresa, who have done so much to make other people’s lives better, regardless of the personal price to do so.  Mom, if you’re looking for that peace and goodwill, all you have to do is look in a mirror, and then write yourself in for numbers 29 through 2467896724924.

5.1: Dominatin’ That Offensive

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As may or may not have already become apparent, I play World of Warcraft.  A lot.  I’ve been playing it since shortly after the release of “vanilla,” a wild, lawless time during which hunters still had to worry about their pets getting pissed off and randomly deciding to say “peace out, bitch” and Molten Core was like the hardest raid ever, you guys.

Woooo.  34 attack power for a warrior.  Game breaking.  So excited.

Woooo. 34 attack power for a warrior. Game breaking. So excited.

The world of Azeroth has changed a whole Hell of a lot, and the benefit of basically  having  been in on the ground floor is that I’ve been able to watch its metamorphosis for long enough that every tiny tweak to the storyline, every added continent or race is a huge deal for me.  We already know that due to my aspirations as a game designer for the Warcraft team, I take special interest in lore, continuity, characterization, all of that stuff.  I often end up getting way too excited and emotionally invested in the story.  Because I like to pretend I’m important enough to have an opinion, and The Fiance is sick of hearing me go “Holy shit.  HOLY.  SHIT.  YOU HAVE TO COME LOOK AT THIS” every fifteen minutes, I have decided to start reviewing the things in the game that resonate with me, which will eventually come out to “all of it.”

The most recent addition that has made me completely lose my shit is the Dominance Offensive storyline.  As of patch 5.1, characters reaching the current level cap of 90 will automatically receive a quest to talk to a scout in the Krasarang Wilds at this new faction’s outpost.  Admittedly, before I actually played through the complete story, I was pretty unenthusiastic about it.  I’d just finished grinding through all of the other Pandaria reputations — the hard, pre-commendation way, might I add — so the idea of even more dailies made me throw up in my mouth a little.

What ended up pulling me in, however, was that once again the focus was so strongly on the ongoing battle between the Horde and the Alliance.  I got a little taste of it in the Fall of Theramore scenario when my Horde-y self straight up ruined Jaina Proudmoore’s day and absolutely loved it.  The Mists of Pandaria expansion itself opens with both factions vying for control of the mysterious new lands that have risen out of the mist.  Players choosing to create a Pandaren character find themselves in the middle of this power struggle and, at around level 12, are directed to select which side to ally themselves with.  The Dominance Offensive brings us back to this fight for, well, dominance, which has intensified since the discovery of an ancient mystical artifact known as the Divine Bell.  Its great power is sure to shift the balance towards whichever side controls it.  So far I’ve only played through the Horde storyline, meaning that I can only review that side of the story as of now, in which Garrosh Hellscream is determined to use the Divine Bell to strengthen his forces and push the Alliance out once and for all.

Garrosh is a mixed bag, both of dicks and the crazy.  But he looks totally badass.

Garrosh is a mixed bag, both of dicks and the crazy. But he looks totally badass.

The story starts to get interesting shortly after completing the second “act,” of sorts, Voice of the Gods.  Players are sent to retrieve an ancient tablet that is believed to reveal the location of a mythical artifact of reputed great power.  After running the typical errands — go here, find this, bring it back to the questgiver — a message from the leader of this excavation arrives in the mail with an attached facsimile of the translated tablet.

In the one-hundred-and-seventieth year of the Thunder King’s reign, the Korune spellweavers came to Lei Shen with their greatest creation. 

A bell cast from the makers’ flesh, shaped by stars’ fire, and bound by the breath of darkest shadow. This bell, when rung, could shake the world and call to the heavens.

Taken to war, the bell’s cacophonous tones stirred the hearts of Lei Shen’s warriors. It fueled their hatred and anger, lending them strength on the field of battle. The bell’s screaming voice struck fear and doubt into the hearts of the Emperor’s enemies, sending them fleeing in his path.

Awed by its power, the Thunder King described the instrument as “the voice of the gods,” and named it Shenqing, the Divine Bell.

Pretty cool, right?  Given Warchief Garrosh’s obsession with strengthening the might of the Horde, it’s no surprise that he’s on this like a naked dancing Night Elf on a mailbox in Ironforge.  (Don’t judge.  We’ve all done it.)

In the next chapter, “The Horde is Family,” we are directed to seek out everyone’s favorite alcoholic panda, Chen Stormstout.  We find him desperately trying to save the life of Vol’jin, leader of the Trolls.  Vol’jin has been poisoned, as it turns out, by Garrosh, who believes him to be standing in the way of achieving total Horde dominance.  He’s absolutely right, by the way.  Vol’jin is adhering to the old Troll standby and staying the Hell away from the voodoo; it is also made clear from the opening quests in the Troll storyline that his allegiance lies with Thrall and that he does not accept Garrosh as the Horde’s Warchief.  Gee, I wonder why.

The good news is that Vol’jin lives.  The bad news is that Garrosh tried to pull a Suge Knight on one of the most reasonable, awesome leaders in the entire game.  I’ll admit, I’m a Troll fangirl.  Like most of the rest of the Horde, they’re only doing what they’re doing to try and survive.  Their lands were destroyed in the Cataclysm, and all they want to do is find a safe place to call home.  Garrosh is definitely not making any friends with this latest campaign of his.

“Blood for Blood” guides us to the Kun-Lai Summit, where Garrosh’s forces need a little bit of backup on their quest to recover the Divine Bell.  Armies of vicious terracotta Mogu warriors have sprung to life at the ruins of the Korune in order to protect a codex describing a type of magic never seen before.  Could this be a key in the acquisition and use of the Divine Bell?  Yes.  Yes it can.  This is also where the only awkward bit of design in the entire storyline comes into play, and though it is a minor detail, I feel the need to point it out due to the confusion that it has caused: though the final quest in this entry is called “The Korune,” it does not, in fact, highlight the meta achievement objective of the same name.  Many players initially assumed this to be a bug,  but it is, in fact, working as intended since it triggers the completion of “Blood for Blood.”

We finally find out more about the mysterious Korune Mogu in “The Korune.”  Under the leadership of the terrifying Shan Kien, these Mogu are manipulating the power of the Sha themselves for their own nefarious purposes.  Our goal is to kidnap Shan Kien for later interrogation, that he may assist us in tracking down the Divine Bell once and for all.  The Blood Elves leading Garrosh’s excavations are beginning to grow restless.  They have lost many from their own ranks in the attempts to subjugate and harness the magical power of a race that none of them can even pretend to understand, even with their own arcane roots.  It’s easy to imagine rumors circulating about what use Garrosh could possibly have for these strange spells, each one more horrible than the last.  They couldn’t be true… could they?

Yep.  According to “Pride,” they are.  Garrosh turns his own soldiers into unwitting test subjects by infecting them with the power of the Sha that he seized from the Korune.  Baine Bloodhoof stands by Garrosh’s side and watches in horror as these crazed grunts run rampant throughout the Shrine of Two Moons, erupting into random acts of violence.  Garrosh’s experimentation with the magic of the Korune seems to have failed, and everyone except for him realizes this.  After “saving” these Orcs by beating the everliving shit out of them, the Blood Elves’ Lord Regent Lor’themar Theron appears to chastize Garrosh for his irresponsible actions.  He points out that the power of the Sha cannot be controlled and that it has decimated their troops more than it has helped them.  Garrosh arrogantly dismisses his concerns, insisting that the Horde must consume any and all power it comes across if it ever hopes to rise.  Lor’themar takes his leave, but not after making his displeasure apparent in a manner so subtle and coldly polite that it reminds me of Petyr “Littlefinger” Baelish from the Game of Thrones series.

We are able to further explore the effects of Garrosh’s iron hand on the Blood Elves upon being dispatched to Silvermoon City for “Rise of the Blood Elves.”  Garrosh has forced them to retrieve yet another mysterious artifact with unknown powers and bring it to their home city for further study. All investigations of the object have been fraught with disaster, as the negativity of the Sha overwhelms anyone attempting to reveal its secrets.  It is up to us to assist the Blood Elves in overcoming this devastating magic.  As a special bonus, the final quest in this chapter is called “What’s in the Box?” prompting me to spend the entire fight yelling “AAAAAAWWWWW, COME ON, WHAT’S IN THE BAAAAAAAAWWWWX” in my best (worst) Brad Pitt impression.

After the dirty work of the day has been completed, Lor’themar asks to speak to us in private.  What he has to say confirms his harsh view of Garrosh’s methods.

I am a ranger, not a politician.  But like it or not, the mantle of leadership has fallen on my shoulders.  My people, who have suffered through so many challenges and betrayals, look to me to secure their future.  We Sin’dorei were driven to the Horde by the bigotry and distrust of the Alliance.  Now, I look at our Warchief and I begin to see the very same racism.   He is willing to throw away our lives for his agenda.  Know this: I won’t stand idle if the Horde interests conflict with those of my people.  I may reconsider old alliances.

Keep your eyes open, champion.  We are all in this together… for now.

That doesn’t sound good.  In fact, I’d venture to say it’s double-plus ungood.

Baine Bloodhoof summons us in “Secrets of the Past” to assist him in the creation of an ancient memory brew that could potentially be used in extracting the necessary information from the captive Shan Kien.  The primary ingredient is the essence of another Mogu who lived during the time of the Divine Bell’s creation, which we obtain by somehow murdering a ghost (happens more often than you’d expect in this game) in a nearby tomb.  The cutscene we are treated to upon completion shows that Shan Kien shares the same bloodthirsty, borderline sociopathic tendencies as Garrosh as he seals his own people within the cave they’ve been working in and leaves them to die.  Though Baine never really took a stand against Garrosh’s deplorable tactics, I still came away from the story with the feeling that the peaceful nature of the Tauren is what stopped him from doing so.  He never actually got his hands dirty or involved himself in the Sha experiments, other than to summon us for assistance when it became apparent that Garrosh was dealing with things beyond his control.  Rather than allowing Garrosh to torture Shan Kien for the valuable information he possessed, Baine chose to brew the special elixir to much more gently and passively retrieve whatever it was he needed to know, to open a window into the Mogu leader’s memories without violence.

In “The Divine Bell,” we have finally discovered the location of the eponymous artifact, unfortunately at the same time that the Alliance has done the same.  With the aid of Garrosh’s right-hand man, Ishi, we must defeat Sarannha Skyglaive and take possession of what is rightfully no one’s except for the Mogu who created it, but for purposes of Horde pride we will refer to as “ours.”

*cough*whitepeople*cough*

*cough, cough*

This is where the quests actually turn to somewhat hard-mode for a moment.  Sarannha’s Night Elf Lady Squad stationed throughout the ruins hit hard and fast, and even with Ishi fighting alongside you, it’s pretty much at least one guaranteed death, especially in the last room where you get jumped by four at one time.  These mobs are probably some of the toughest non-rare elites in Pandaria outside of those found in instances.  After corpse-running your way back and finishing off (giggity) the last couple of guards, we reach Sarannha, who informs us that we’re too late and that the Divine Bell has already been taken to Darnassus.  Son of a bitch.

Not to be deterred, however, we are sent to Teldrassil for “The Darnassus Operation” and given a special stealth buff and “oh shit” charm to return you to the safe zone should you get caught.  Our mission is to avoid guards and sneak into the underbelly of the Cenarion Enclave to tag the bell, then return to Dominance Point to report our success.  I’m usually terrible at stealth sequences, as evidenced by the six and a half hours it took me to successfully complete Be Raptor, but I’m happy to report that this one is made of baby shampoo, i.e. no more tears.  It’s completely irritation free.  Just avoid any NPCs, something easy to do if you go behind buildings and have at least one functioning eyeball, and you win.  I was extremely grateful to the designers here for taking into consideration that not all of us are Solid Snake and tuning the difficulty of the quest accordingly.

Remember when I said earlier that Jaina had completely lost her shit after the destruction of Theramore?  Well, in “The Purge of Dalaran,” she’s decided to retaliate against the Horde, undoubtedly not just for stealing the Divine Bell but also for the aforementioned crimes against her fortress, by forcibly removing all of the Horde from the floating magical city, taking citizens and Sunreaver leaders as prisoners of war and sending her forces to exterminate any traces of resistance.  This is the part of the storyline where I really started biting the back of my hand and blurting out “OH GOD” and “NO WAY” as the quests progressed.  It’s actually the longest installment of the Dominance Offensive story, weighing it at 10 individual quests for completion.  We begin by liberating the captured citizens from the sewers of Dalaran, then fighting back against Jaina’s enforcers from the Silver Hand, and taking out their leaders.  After laying the smackdown upon the Alliance ranks, we are then tasked with freeing the important players of the Sunreavers.  Jaina patrols the city with her water elementals, teleporting any unwitting players who get too close (or accidentally tab-target and attack her) back to the Violet Hold where they’re forced to fight a “punishment” boss of sorts in order to escape again.  Luckily, she RP walks the whole way and is easy to dodge if you’re paying attention.

This part of the story carried with it an exhilarating feeling of immersion and triumph.  With each mission to save as many of the Horde in Dalaran as possible, I felt more and more like I was a freedom fighter.  My adrenaline was actually racing throughout the whole thing.  As sick and twisted as it sounds, I was happy with the choice of the designers to make it clear that not everyone was able to be saved.  A bubblegum ending where everyone lived happily ever after would have cheapened the horror of Jaina’s virtual genocide and detracted from the overall grittiness of the Dominance Offensive story.  This is a war, or at least the beginning stages of one, and it definitely feels like it.

The final installment is “Breath of Darkest Shadow.”  Garrosh Hellscream stands before his prize, ready to use the already proven uncontrollable force of the Sha as amplified by the Divine Bell to empower his Horde warriors.  It is up to us to prevent the ceremony from being interrupted.  Apparently we really suck at this, because Anduin Wrynn rushes to the scene and pleads with him to stop, that the terrible power of the bell should not be used in this manner, but Garrosh ignores him and proceeds.  As the Sha essence possesses Garrosh’s warriors and compels them to lash out and attack all bystanders, we are forced to put them down, destroying the mighty soldiers that the Warchief is so determined to create.  Only Garrosh and Anduin seem to be immune to the effects of the bell.  Ishi succumbs to its dark power and is summarily defeated by the player.  Rather than mourning his faithful friend, Garrosh steps over his body and dishonors him by calling him weak and useless.  Fans of Firefly will get this reference (and if you’re not, you’re a terrible person): Anduin is a leaf on the wind.

Too soon?

Too soon?

Well, maybe he doesn’t get fully Washed.  Alliance players will receive a follow-up quest called The Silence, in which it is revealed that Anduin is still clinging to life, though every bone in his body has been broken.  The Prophet Velen has been sent for to try and heal his grievous injuries.  Savvy Horde players will be given a hint as to Anduin’s miraculous survival if they highlight his body; the “corpse” still has 6 HP left.  Not quite dead, but close to it.

There is a design choice here that I’m rather disappointed with: the quest objectives inadvertently give some spoilers, listing 0/1 Defeat Ishi and 0/1 Defeat Anduin Wrynn.  Granted that Garrosh slamming Anduin through the Divine Bell is a twist on what would be expected, but we know from the get-go that we’re going to have to fight Ishi and that something is going to happen to Anduin.  A better objective would have been “Prevent the ceremony from any interruptions.”

But overall, the Dominance Offensive storyline was an example of game design and story development at its finest.  Mists of Pandaria, overall, is a shining jewel in World of Warcraft’s crown based on writing alone, but this takes it even further past “awesome” straight into “I cried, screamed, and ranted about this for three hours straight to everyone who would listen and I’m not afraid to admit it” territory.  It is so exceptionally good that it has actually shaken my confidence in my ability to be a game designer, because I cannot even imagine being able to top it.  Not that I’m going to stop trying, of course.  By the same token, it’s made me more determined than ever to not only refine my own storytelling skills, but also to find a spot for myself on a team that regularly creates such awe-inspiring things.

The progression method introduced with the Molten Front in Cataclysm and polished in MoP that intersperses storyline quests with dailies, revealing a steady stream of new chapters as the player’s reputation with the particular faction increases, is a great way to breathe new life into the otherwise mind-numbing grind to Exalted.  The epic-quality rewards for the “finale” quests are also a really fantastic goal to strive for; in the case of the Dominance Offensive, players will receive a Grand Wyvern flying mount that is the basic version of the Grand Armored Wyvern available for purchase at Exalted.  Also available from the Dominance Offensive quartermaster are epic item level 496 PvE gear pieces that are purchasable with Valor points, the best in the game obtainable thus far without raiding.

The Grand Commendation system introduced in 5.1makes life a lot easier by giving a 100% bonus to reputation gains with each faction that the commendation is purchased for, starting at Revered for the character who actually purchases it and extending account-wide for all other characters from the beginning.  Thankfully there is one available for the Dominance Offensive, meaning that players can more rapidly advance the story and experience the fantastic content that the design team has offered us here.

Regardless of what side you play, it’s pretty apparent that Garrosh has lost his damn mind.  His obsession with vengeance and domination has led him to (try to) murder the child of his enemy, King Varian Wrynn of Stormwind, and it is unclear as of yet what repercussions this will bring for the Horde.  Will the King snap, himself, after seeing his father assassinated by a Horde agent and now very nearly losing his son?  Will Velen be able to mend Anduin’s battered body?  How much longer will Garrosh be allowed to run roughshod on Azeroth as Warchief before his disenfranchised and rightfully malcontent subjects rise up against him, or will he maintain his deadly grip on the throne?  I could speculate even further on potential storylines for the future, but we shall see with the release of Patch 5.2 how exactly the tides are going to turn.

As an interesting side note, a few weeks ago the official World of Warcraft Twitter posed a hypothetical question to fans of who they’d like to see as a new Warchief.  Just making conversation, or a sign of things to come?

A Steamy Romance Novel: 50 Shades of Ley (With Sincere Apologies to Blizzard)

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If there’s any vendor trash item that I’ve ever been actually happy to receive, it’s any of the Steamy Romance Novels found throughout the World of Warcraft.  Our guild actually keeps them in a lending library of sorts on the main tab of the guild bank.  The hilariously skillful and oftentimes disturbing way in which they toe the line with double entendres and innuendos (inYOURendo!) has pretty much guaranteed them a place in my heart as my favorite writing example in the entire game.

While bored a few nights ago, I decided to add my own installment to the trilogy of General Marcus Jonathan’s exploits across Azeroth and beyond.  I scribbled down a couple of ideas but only now actually sat down to try and turn it into a “coherent” piece.

I apologize to all two of my readers, Blizzard Entertainment, my mother, my stepfather, and if I believed in him, probably Jesus Christ himself.  The following is a fan work and is not an official World of Warcraft composition.  No copyright infringement is intended as I am not profiting from it in any way, unless you guys actually want to give me a job which I will happily accept and promise to scrap the idea for the Tyrande and Illidan pairing I had planned next.  Also, let it be known that tagging this post was the most awkward thing I’ve ever done.

General Marcus Jonathan strained against his bindings. “Don’t your people know the phrase ‘don’t shoot the messenger?’” he asked, warily eyeing the shapely black mageweave-clad draenei woman before him. “I told you, some dwarf by the side of the road handed me the note and told me to bring it here. That’s all I know!”

“You will speak only when spoken to!” his beautiful captor hissed and reached out to grab his swollen, heavy sack.

Marcus rolled his eyes and groaned as the coins within clinked together in her tight grasp. “Oh come on! You already took my pants! I’ll tell you what, keep them, forget the reward, just give me one of those rings and we’ll call it even. I bet they’d do just fine at the auctioneer.”

“Yes. They are real,” she mused for a moment, then shot him a somewhat threatening look. “And they can cut glass.”

Marcus’s shoulders sagged in defeat. “Lady, I’m telling you. You’re pretty and all, but I don’t play rough. Unless, of course” – here his eyes took on a hopeful spark – “you’d be willing to try some… role-reversal?”

The draenei blushed and stared down at her freshly-polished hooves for a moment. Even she was not immune to the General’s charms. Her heart skipped a beat as she imagined him touching her the way A’dal had…

“Fine. Bring ample supply of butter, and goblin jumper cables,” she whispered into his ear in a sultry, heavily-accented voice as she undid the tight cuffs around his wrists.

The freed paladin eagerly watched the enticing vision of her backside sashaying into the next room for a few moments before following her in. He had only taken a few steps over the threshold when he noticed the succubus standing next to a hooded gnome. “Ah… I thought it was just going to be… you know… I’ve never been with a gnome before.”

“Nothing can compare to gnomish engineering,” the draenei protested and gestured towards a table lined with an array of particularly strange-looking mechanical objects.

Marcus hesitated for a moment, then sighed and undid his belt. Dungeon crawling was not without its dangers, or its rewards.

<The rest of the pages are stuck together with what you hope is candle wax.>

O Little Town of Orgrimmar: Overlord Bunny’s Game Design Christmas List

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“Aren’t you a Jew, Overlord Bunny?” you’re asking right now, and I can’t hear you because you’re talking to a computer screen and that’s just weird as Hell.  The answer is yes, yes I am.  I have the nose and the ass to prove it.  But truth be told, Hanukkah sucks.  It’s not even a high holiday, which means it’s basically the Jewish equivalent of like, Memorial Day or something.  Eight days of presents sounds cool, but as a kid you quickly learn that because your parents have to buy eight times the shit for you that they would at Christmas, you’re condemned to over a week’s worth of fabulous prizes like socks, school supplies, or a candy bar they picked up in the checkout line at the grocery store because oh shit, they forgot to get anything else.  The food’s amazing, though.

So if you want presents, celebrate Christmas.  If you want food, celebrate Hanukkah.  If you want to get to completely obliterated levels of drunk, celebrate Purim, which is a Second Halloween where you are ordered by your religious leaders to put on costumes and get absolutely shitfaced until you throw up and black out in the streets.  For two straight days.

I guess being a Jew is pretty sweet after all.

But no, this year, I’m making a Christmas list especially for something very near and dear to my heart: game design.  This is my eighth year playing World of Warcraft and in that time, I’ve been able to experience a whole host of changes and additions to the world of Azeroth.  If you held the WoW of today up to classic WoW, you’d probably barely recognize the game if not for the jiggly Night Elf boobs that have remained so consistent over the years.

Elune be praised.

Elune be praised.

In that time I’ve managed to come up with a long list of tweaks and additional content that I’d like to see.  Since it is Christmas, after all, what better time to present that list?  Except I’m not sitting on the design team’s laps.   HR frowns upon that sort of thing.

 

  • Nerf dailies.  I’m not talking about the painfully slow rep gains with factions like The Golden Lotus, since they were kind enough to already address that in patch 5.1 with the Grand Commendations that give 100% bonus rep once a character reaches Revered.  I’m talking about the fact that in order to do these dailies, you’d better at least be in full Heroic gear or else you’re going to have a really bad day.  The worst offender here would be the Shado-Pan.  I can’t even tell you how many times my shadow priest in nearly full epics has died trying to do these damn things.  Fewer elite mobs would be nice, especially around the Deadtalkers area where I am forever having to fight off wave after wave of Deadtalker Crushers whose numbers seem to be radically unbalanced in comparison to the Corpse-Defilers.  I only need 1 Crusher.  I need 8 Corpse-Defilers.  The spawns on that one seem like they need to be switched as far as quantity and frequency.  Even the Shado-Pan companions seem awfully fragile; in the rare event that you actually manage to single-pull something, their health still goes down a startling amount.  Get a pack of multiple mobs, and you’re pretty much doomed.  Especially with Hawkmaster Nurong.  Screw that guy.

 

 

  • REALLY fix the Darkmoon Hatchling.  When the Darkmoon Hatchling was originally released, it was only of Uncommon quality, rather than the Rare quality of the rest of the Darkmoon pets.  A hotfix was quickly pushed through to change the quality of the Hatchlings to Rare, but the change was not retroactive.  Those who had excitedly bought the new pet before the fix were stuck with a lower-quality version.  This has caused some contention among the player base, and Blizzard has admittedly been very apologetic about the whole debaucle.  “Tech to make things retroactive is the ultimate goal on fixes like this. Just don’t have that quite yet,” Lead Content Designer Cory Stockton stated on his Twitter account in response to complaints.  It’s definitely understandable, but there could potentially be a workaround for it: put in an NPC at the Darkmoon Faire who will, when spoken to, offer one of the new pet upgrade battle-stones that can only be used on the Darkmoon Hatchling.  Since the highest level for battle pets right now is Rare, it won’t run the risk of allowing those who purchased the “fixed” Hatchling to obtain Super Badass Face Destroying quality versions, but it will give those with the Uncommon version a way to get themselves up to snuff without requiring the development of a completely new string of code.

 

 

  • Introduce a way to track weather events.  Way back in patch 1.10, weather effects such as snow and rain were introduced into the game on a random timer.  It was a fantastic way to further immerse players in the world of Azeroth.  What’s more realistic than a sandstorm in the desert?  When Mists of Pandaria introduced the battle pet system, it brought with it a small number of pets that were only able to be captured if the weather conditions were right.  Let me reiterate that these weather events are on a random timer.  There is no way to predict when they’re going to happen.  Anyone trying to pick up one of these weather-dependent pets is in for a long day, or even days, as there’s no guarantee that they will occur on a daily basis.  So what about introducing a weather alert system of sorts?  I could totally see this being either a Goblin or Gnomish venture.  It could be a new schematic for Engineering, and my God, the G.I. Joe references would abound.  Make it one of the more challenging schematics, sure, but not too inaccessible.  Having it in your bag while flying around and doing whatever it is you do would guarantee that when a weather event occurred somewhere in the world, a notice would either print itself in the chat window or flash up on the screen.

 

 

  • Add a penalty for “surrendering” in pet battles.  You get a deserter debuff for leaving a battleground early, and a timer for dropping out of an instance or raid in the Dungeon Finder tool, so why not expand this to the jackasses who don’t want to wait for a battle-stone and go around farming rare battle pets until they find a rare one?  Especially with cross-realm zones, this puts players who just want to get credit for capturing the pet regardless of quality, or who aren’t otherwise selfish douchebags, into a crappy spot.  The pet farmers will start a battle, check the rarity of the pets in the lineup, and if there isn’t a Rare that they want, they’ll simply end the battle, then move on to the next one, lather-rinse-repeat until they get what they’re looking for.  A debuff or a timer, even only a 5-minute one, would help greatly with the accessibility of these pets.

 

 

  • Change battlegroups, not overall time zones.  With 5.1, Blizzard arbitrarily turned all North American servers to PST in an attempt to address the difficulties brought on with the introduction of cross-realm zones with regards to events like the Stranglethorn Fishing Extravaganza.  This is great as long as you live on the West coast, but for those of us who are stuck in the East, it means that lots of events are no longer easily accessible to us on work nights, such as the Wanderer’s Festival or Restless Shadeling spawns.  Anything happening at midnight server time now means that it’s actually happening at 3 a.m. for EST players.  The battlegroup system determines which realms are linked for CRZ implementation, but were organized seemingly at random, meaning that servers from both Pacific and Eastern time zones were shoved together under the same heading.  What I’d like to know is why each battlegroup wasn’t created based on time zone?  Group only realms sharing the same time zone together rather than the random scattering, and not only would server times be able to return to normal, but I have a layman’s theory that this would also make the fishing tournaments and other timing issues arising from CRZ much easier to correct.

 

 

  • Make cross-realm zones toggle-able.  Seriously, I’ve gone into a long dissertation about why, despite being an impressive piece of technology, cross-realm zones detract from, rather than add to, the player experience.  Since then I’ve also read very well-written complaints about CRZ destroying server lore for roleplayers, something I didn’t even think about due to my lack of experience on the RP servers.  I’ve suggested it once before, and I think it bears repeating: make it so that cross-realm zoning can be turned on or off at will.  Hell, I know that when I’m questing, I like the feeling of being the only one in an “empty” zone.  It makes me feel like I really am an awesome heroine, powerful enough to perform these tasks being asked of me and change the face of Azeroth all by myself.  It kind of kills that feeling of triumph when you see eight other players taking the same quest from the NPC.  Additionally, I feel really bad for the guy who came up with the idea of cross-realm zones in the first place, since I have it on good authority that he’s actually a really nice person and very smart.  If not for the sake of the player base, think of how crappy he’s got to feel with all the backlash against something he made.  Let’s work on getting CRZ to a happy medium, or at least buy the poor guy a beer.

 

 

  • Digital dollhouses.  The only thing I miss about EQ2 is the ability to have player and guild housing.  Oh my God, it was the coolest thing ever.  Players could purchase their own homes and guild halls in various capital cities, choosing from either the standard two-room model or going all the way up to a multi-story mansion, complete with a courtyard or some sort of external area.  Everything could be decorated using items purchased from vendors (including some special super-pretty faerie pieces only available once a month during the Moonlight Enchantments events using tokens earned by completing event quests) or crafted by artisans.  I think damn near every profession, if not all of them, had the ability to make something for houses.  Tailors could make rugs and paintings, woodworkers could create furniture.  There were tons of special books available during the holidays that would teach players how to make these items using special holiday reagents.  I spent hours rearranging my house, publishing it so that guests could come in and see how awesome I was at online interior decorating and fussing over every little detail.  You could even obtain books to place on your bookshelves in your house, to be read whenever you felt like brushing up on your lore.  With so many books in WoW just floating around the world, only able to be read where they stand, or Hell, even the amazing Steamy Romance Novels, the opportunities here are endless.

 

You could take General Marcus Jonathan home with you... LADIES.

You could take General Marcus Jonathan home with you… LADIES.

Guild halls could be staffed with profession trainers and daily crafting questgivers, auctioneers, bankers, vendors… any NPC you could find in a capital city could be hired for a small amount of gold.  Bosses whose heads were on their loot table could be basically stuffed and mounted on crafted display stands and hung on the walls of both home and guild hall.  Between World of Warcraft’s achievement system and the addition of this sort of player housing, the level of e-peen would be through the roof (mine is huge, by the way).  A whole new crafting profession could be introduced, fallen trees and logs could be added to Herbalism for harvesting, or the recipes for furniture and home accessories could be distributed throughout the professions already in place using pre-existing materials.  Using the same tech for the advancement of player farms for The Tillers, certain quests could reward special items for the home.  And if none of this completely sells the design team on the idea, I’d just like to point out that SWTOR sort of has it with player spaceships.  SWTOR, guys.  Come on, are you really going to let Bioware beat you on this one?

 

  • More time travel and lore, plz.  There’s all of these great raids of yore just sitting there in Azeroth, pretty much completely untouched except for the level 90s trying to get their Mr. Bigglesworth.  My personal love?  Karazhan.  Greatest goddamned raid ever.  This isn’t even to mention the awesome Caverns of Time dungeons that were pretty much left behind, a shame considering that The Culling of Stratholme still elicits a fangirl reaction out of me every time I even speak its name.  See?  I’m flapping my hands and making that weird crying squeal like a 13-year-old girl at a Justin Bieber concert as I write this.  There’s plenty of pop culture references for the concept of going back in time to visit the “creation” of these raids.  I think a back-in-the-day version of Blackwing Lair would be amazing.  Either add 5-man versions into the Caverns of Time, or even give them the 10 and 25-man options like what was done with Onyxia.  Keep the oldschool versions too, though.  Being able to go back at level 90 and shove my foot up Illidan’s ass is one of the most cathartic experiences I’ve had in my life.  Nerfing them for easier nostalgia runs and adding battle pets to the boss loot tables was a great start on how to get people back into this content, but it could be taken so much further.  Time travel could even be the focus of the next expansion; that’s how many opportunities are out there for this sort of thing.

 

The Nerdy Girl’s Lament: Oh Noes, Boobs, Get Over It

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UPDATE ON THE VIDEO SHOOT:  Postponed until the 22nd due to some tight schedules.  Which is fine, because it gives me more time to make an ugly Hanukkah sweater and work out just how many Jew jokes I can make before the souls of my ancestors rise up from the grave to curse me.

I’ve got to give props to Blizzard for the stance on harassment that they are taking with regards to their games.  They’re not the first ones to start dropping the banhammer for bad behavior, either; League of Legends developer Riot Games is similarly getting real sick of your shit, Mr. Troll.  It really sucks to have your gaming experience ruined by some asshole who thinks that your thorough curbstomping of his toon in Arathi Basin is a clear sign of homosexual tendencies.  It sucks even worse when they find out that you’re a chick.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to belittle the harassment that dude nerds go through.  It’s awful, no matter who the victim is.  Mean comments can and have driven plenty of people to suicide already.  Names like Amanda Todd, Phoebe Prince, Erin Gallagher, and Ryan Halligan remind us all that no one is immune from being bullied to death, regardless of gender.  But there is an undeniably overwhelming amount of a very special sort of animosity towards women in nerd culture.

I’m not just talking about overtly sexual armor and body designs in video games and comic books, either.  Yes, I know, objectification of women, blah blah blah.  I fail to see how it’s any different than the muscle-bound long-haired Fabio types on the cover of Harlequin romance novels being the objectification of men.  Not all voluptuous fantasy women in chain mail bikinis are created by men, either.  The character of Bayonetta was designed by a woman.  Whether male or female, these characters belong in a fantasy realm.  They are created as the epitome of all that is man, in the case of pretty much any superhero with biceps bigger than their head, or with exaggerated femininity because… yes… that’s right… IT’S MAKE-BELIEVE.  Sometimes I like to go to the beach in a bikini and MAKE-BELIEVE that I actually look good in it.  I’m not objectifying myself, I’m being fabulous.

No, what I’m talking about is this:

Every female reading this just slammed their head on the desk and yelled "THIS."

Every female reader has just slammed their head on the desk and yelled “THIS.”

There exists the most ridiculous double-standard ever in the world of nerds.  Call yourself a gamer chick, and most guys will assume that all you play is Barbie Dream House Creator or that your Facebook is full of photos of you in your underwear licking an Xbox controller.  “You sound cute,” they’ll say if you should be brave enough to venture onto some kind of voice chat feature.  The idea that we might have plugged in our headsets so we can call out when the offtank needs to pick up the boss after the aggro drop is just beyond comprehension.  Some others will instantly boot you from whatever raid or game you  happen to be in, no matter how good of a player you are.  Back in the days of classic World of Warcraft, a few of the most hardcore raiding guilds refused to accept female applicants and required confirmation of sex via Ventrilo, claiming that women would only “cause drama” and be a “distraction.”  These guilds have since disbanded, probably because 47% of all gamers out there happen to have vaginas, and of that 47%, a decent chunk of them actually, like, know what they’re doing, meaning that by being gynophobic assholes they robbed themselves of the chance to run with extremely talented players who could have helped them achieve their goals of clearing end-game content.

Then there is a more frightening demographic.

Lady cosplayers, you know what I’m talking about.  The guys who follow you around the convention all day, trying to get a peek up your skirt, or purposely brushing up against you in an elevator to cop a feel.  The ones who, in no uncertain terms, tell you what they’d like to do to you.  The ones who make you feel unsafe.  And the minute you politely tell them you’re not interested, you’re hit with a barrage of slurs like “slut” and “bitch” and, in some cases, even rape or death threats.  Sound extreme?  It’s happened, not only in real life, but also online.

The story I’m about to share with you is not mine.  It belongs to a gamer girl who I have played World of Warcraft with for many years, and is a horrifying tale of how what started out as in-game harassment ended up having real-life consequences for her.  When I told her I was writing this blog post, she was happy to share her experiences in the hope that it might somehow help put a stop to sexism and harassment of women in the gaming community, though she has asked not to be identified.

When I first started playing World of Warcraft, I was a proud girl gamer.  If somebody called me “dude” or “bro” I’d correct them — “I’m not a dude, I’m a girl!”  I didn’t try to use it to get special favors with loot distribution or to convince people to give me gold.  I was just happy to be different than the stereotype that existed surrounding WoW players at the time, stating that they were all guys.  I was the only girl in my guild!  How cool was that?

I befriended a couple of people in my guild — or at least I thought I did — and started talking to them on messenger services.  I really thought I could trust them.  At the time I was moonlighting as a pinup model, stuff like what you’d see on Suicide Girls or Cosplay Deviants, which eventually came up in conversation, not in a sexual context, just as a “yeah, this is what I do, blah blah blah” thing.  Suddenly the conversation turned really ugly.  Where they had previously been friendly to me, now they made it obvious that they were looking down on me.  They told me that what I was doing was slutty and that I was just another dumb whore trying to be cool, taking up space in the guild that should belong to people who “deserved” it.  Apparently they announced it to other players who weren’t in the guild, because suddenly I was getting shitty treatment from a good chunk of the server.  I started getting left behind on raids, despite the fact that I was always near the top of the DPS meters and always showed up on time and prepared.  When I was (grudgingly) allowed to go, I was passed over for loot every single time.  Once they even “accidentally” disenchanted an item that nobody else needed, but would have been a huge upgrade for me.  “Sucks for you,” they said.

Then a few days later, one of them sent me an IM, telling me that if I didn’t have cybersex with them they’d find my photos and send them to everyone on the server.  I was absolutely disgusted.  I told him that there was no way in Hell I’d do that.  “Suit yourself,” he said.

Within ten minutes my FTP had been hacked and a post had been made on the World of Warcraft forums saying that anyone who wanted naked pictures of <my character name> should go to a certain IRC chat room.  I was in tears.  I petitioned GMs to remove the post, but at the time, Blizzard didn’t have any rules in place to prevent it.  They were sympathetic to my plight but told me that there was nothing they could do.  Simply put, nothing like this had happened before, so they didn’t even think that they would have had to include it in the harassment policy.  They couldn’t ban him from the game, since what was going on was in “real life” and thus out of their reach.  All they could do was lock and delete the thread, but by then, the damage had been done.  (Side note: I’m not sure if the policy was changed in direct response to what happened to me, but I do know that now Blizzard’s harassment policy has been updated to include real-life harassment and any form of harassment that gives out personal information/photos or stuff like that.  I’m not mad at them, nor do I feel like it’s “too little, too late.”  They’re total badass watchdogs with this stuff now, and at least there’s the chance that some girl out there won’t have to worry about this happening to them anymore.)

I put on a stiff upper lip and logged into the game anyway.  How bad could it be, after all?

Bad.  It was so fucking bad.  Within minutes of logging on I was spammed with death and rape threats; apparently my being naked on the internet offended the male population of my server so thoroughly that I did not deserve to live.  I was booted from my guild after having streams of verbal abuse hurled at me.  No other guilds would take me, no one would group with me.  In that moment I existed only to be ridiculed.  “Delete your character, nobody wants you here” was the prevailing sentiment.  I tried rerolling to the other faction and found that the situation there was almost identical.  Even the few other female gamers I encountered at that point either tormented me or shunned me altogether.  I was told the whole scenario was my fault for being a “slut” and that gamer girls shouldn’t be sexy if they were “real” gamer girls.  For the short time I tried to level on the new faction, I was griefed by opposing raid parties of at least 30 max-level players so that it was impossible for me to do anything.  They camped me for hours until I finally logged off.

So I deleted my characters on that server.  All of them.  The ones I had worked so hard to level up.  For a short time I came back under an assumed identity, with a completely different character and name, hiding the fact that I was a girl for as long as I could.  When the guild I joined (which included a few members of my old guild) finally heard me on Ventrilo, I made sure to speak a few notches higher than I normally did.  One of them asked “Wait, aren’t you <character name>?” to which I played completely dumb, and they believed me.  But eventually I grew tired of keeping up the charade, always having to watch what I said to make sure it didn’t slip out who I was and just quit playing there altogether.  And you know something?  When they thought I was this other girl, they all loved me.

I am still playing World of Warcraft, on a completely different server that was untouched by the drama.  I brought with me a handful of people who stood by me during the whole ordeal and who were more than happy to keep the whole thing under wraps, to pretend that it never happened at all.  They, in turn, invited a few other former guildies to join us, who apparently knew all along during my pretense that I really was the girl in the photos, but realized how serious and ridiculous the situation was and silently vowed to keep my secret, too.  I can finally be myself and be respected and loved for it, so I guess there is a happy ending there.  But even to this day I pretend to be a guy if I’m with a group of people I don’t know.  If they refer to me as “he,” I keep my mouth shut and play along.  I don’t play with voice chat in LFRs anymore, I pretend my mic is broken and just keep myself on mute.  It’s just safer that way.

The kicker here is that she is truly one of the best players I’ve ever grouped with.  She’s smart, and funny, and if we didn’t live on opposite sides of the country I’d probably hang out with her every damn day in real life.  I don’t care that she, gasp, does PINUP.  But the fact that she was so unashamedly female is what led to her terrible harassment.  Gamer girls are expected to be demure, innocent caricatures of the “ideal” woman.  Does she wear makeup?  WHORE.  She makes a dick joke?  WHORE.  Even if she acts no differently from the guy gamers around her, she’s still graded and stamped like a piece of meat.  In fact, should she dare to act like she’s just “one of the boys,” she gets treated like shit.  Yet if she plays up her femininity, she won’t be taken seriously.  So what the Hell, man?

And don’t even  get me started on the constant quizzing and questioning, the need for us to validate our knowledge of video games and comics.  We’re constantly forced to prove how big our gaming dick is.  We’ve even started to turn against ourselves, with the female gamer demographic fracturing itself even further into the girl gamers and the “real” girl gamers.  I once told one of these purist girl gamers that I didn’t really like the Mario games.  She immediately started laughing at me and telling me that I obviously didn’t know what I was talking about and was just “faking” my nerdiness to get guys.

Uh, excuse me?  Would you like my three-hour dissertation on Doctor Who and how psyched I am that I found some reconstructions of the “lost” episodes now, or after I’ve slapped the condescension right out of you?  Or maybe you’d like to see my gamer score on Xbox Live or the fact that some dude actually sent me hate mail for so thoroughly kicking his ass in Soul Calibur IV?  I’m tired of the bullshit “qualifications” that I’ve got to practically carry around in my wallet with me at all times.  I play video games.  They may not be the same games that you play, and I may suck at Halo, but they are still games.  I am a gamer.  You are a gamer.  We are all gamers.  And we all deserve to be treated with the same respect.

Overlord Bunny Is Going To Be a YouTube Star (Or At Least Pretend To Be)

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Someone once said “fake it till you make it.”  I operate by this philosophy on a daily basis, where I fake being an important celebrity-type person both here and on Twitter.  I mean, I guess I could take the Kardashian route and make a sex tape, but it’d be sort of like The Ring in which everyone who saw me naked would die in seven days if they didn’t vomit themselves to death first like Kate Middleton tried to do, so for now I’ll just stick to being hilarious.

Well, it turns out that one of my good friends, Marcus Morgan, is not only hilarious, he’s also a celebrity, so he’s got me beat there.  Luckily he’s been magnanimous enough to include me in his upcoming installment of the Have You Met Marcus? videos in the hopes that not only will we find him a special lady friend who doesn’t mind the taste of cream of asparagus soup (trust me, it’s important, especially if you’re German), but I will finally be a legitimate internet celebrity, if there is such a thing.

Filming starts this Saturday, and its official YouTube release will happen soon after, so stay tuned, folks!  In the meantime, why not check out a few of Marcus’s videos to learn more about his lore and legend?