Haters Got To Hate



The Naked Gamer is a regular opinion column that strips back the superficialities and looks at the flesh underneath. If you’ve got a topic you’d like discussed, drop columnist Kris Green a line! If you like Kristy’s work, don’t forget she’s co-host of our Flash Point podcast.


The funny things about opinions, is that there are no right or wrong ones. This is why I label all my opinion posts very clearly. I am in no way thinking my opinion is the right one and I do constantly change them when new experiences and/or evidence becomes known to me. So I start off every opinion article with a big label which means everything below is purely based on my own thoughts and feelings at the time of publishing.

So with that in mind, one of my little pet hates at the moment is how quickly the internet twists words and meanings. Once upon a time, a noob was a derogatory term used to mean someone that thought they were awesome at a game but really sucked. A newb (short for newbie) was a new player. Now somehow a newb is no longer used and everyone just calls everyone noob no matter what they are (normally in a way of saying ‘go away’).

I feel the next term to go down the sink is ‘haters got to hate’. It isn’t exactly the best catchphrase in the history of the internet, but it used to mean when someone makes a negative comment for absolutely no reason. An example would be what I saw recently on the Rift twitter feed, when someone replied to one of their tweets with ‘I’m surprised this game is still around. Good job I guess.’ It’s like, really? really? You are tweeting on something you don’t care about just to show your utter disbelief that something you don’t care about it still around? What’s the point? How was that constructive?

The term used to be a way of blowing off someone’s opinion when that opinion was baseless. I can go around talking about everything I hate in the world but I don’t because it’s not constructive or useful. When I talk about things I don’t like, it’s because I want to talk about the reasons why I don’t like them.

Sadly now though, ‘haters got to hate’ really just means I don’t like your opinion and want to ignore it. Which in itself is fine. I don’t care or expect people to agree with me all the time. In fact I love it when someone comes to me and says they disagree and we can have a conversation about why. I find echo chambers to be frustrating and annoying, so please challenge me! I love changing my opinions, especially the negative ones.

I do offer this promise though. I am not going to change my opinion just because you believe I’m wrong. I promise that if you want to talk, I will listen and try my best to understand your position. I will not call you a hater just because you think I suck.

I always find it weird when I am labelled a hater just for having a different opinion. I’m not a hater – I hate hating things. I try and see the positive in everything but I also understand that I can write something which is 90% positive but the moment I get to the but section, it will be seen that I hate everything. We focus on the negatives and it’s really not a nice state to be in.

I spent years with terrible low self esteem. Not that I am loving myself completely now, and my ego still goes between nonexistent to low – but I am better. I know what it’s like to focus on the negative. I would cry after a performance review if my manager gave me even one piece of constructive criticism because that meant I sucked. It didn’t matter that they had spent 40 minutes praising me and only bought up one tiny thing.

This of course is an impossible state to live in. If we focus on our negative points all the time, then we will always be negative. If we focus on only improving the bad things about ourselves we will forget to celebrate the good. I remember when I first got into being active in gaming communities and got a regular section on a podcast. One guy came into the forums and just laid out a lot of crap things about my segment. Not that my bit was terrible, he was just a sound guy and well, my sound quality was crap. I knew then that I was ready to move forward when I listened to his advice, I removed all the bad things and just focused on the parts where I could improve. I couldn’t change my voice but I could change my equipment and I learnt a heap about sound recording.

I could have taken his words as ‘haters got to hate’, because let’s face it, he wasn’t actually being nice about my shortcomings. Instead, I focused on the positive things (even though they were unspoken) and worked with him to correct the negative. To this day I still use the advice he gave me to record podcasts, streams and videos.

Haters aren’t always hating for the sake of showing hatred. Sometimes we just need to look past our own defensive walls and see what is actually being said. If someone is just being a dick for the sake of it, then feel free to ignore it but just be careful about labelling people haters, because sometimes they are just people that passionately care.

I have experienced people hating on me for no reason that I can see or for other things like my perceived gender. I have also seen people hating on me because they are passionate about something or someone and I really love seeing that.

This world needs passionate people that are prepared to be seen negatively in order to improve our society. It is a fine line to walk and I am thankful for these people every day.

[This piece originally appeared on Kris’ own gaming blog]

EVE Online – So You Want To Be A Healer?

Good news! You can be!

In EVE Online there are various ships that essentially allow you to heal your fleet mates. Pilots of these ships are most wanted and rarely get turned down from any fleet activity.

What ship class can fill this role :-

Mostly used in :-
Fleet operations
Large scale PvP
Large scale PvE (Level 4, Wormhole Sites, Incursions)

What basic skills to focus on (Depending what race you fly) :-
Mechanics Science
Power Grid


Caldari carrier: Chimera

Healers are known as Logistic pilots, and they fly ships that are set-up purely for remotely fixing up their fleet mates and so aren’t useful for solo flying. For this reason it would be unwise to focus on training/fitting a Logistic ship unless you have a Corporation that is willing to help you out. Most players focus on combat and train up their Logistics on the side.

Healing in EVE Online works by remotely fixing up other ships’ shield or armour. As a Logistic pilot, you will need to lock onto your fleet mates and then activate your remote armour repair or remote shield transporters to keep them alive, sometimes transferring capacitor to keep them firing. This allows your fleet mates to focus on locking up the enemy targets being called to them by the fleet commander.

Every race has Logistic ships but they focus on different roles. For example Amarr and Gallente have remote armour repair, while the Caldari and Minmatar focus on shields. I would recommend flying either Amarr (if you fly in armour fleets) or Caldari (if you fly in shield fleets) as they also have energy transfer that keep people from running out of capacitor. If you prefer to boost the damage output then you might want to consider Gallente or Minmatar instead.

There are also Logistic drones that will fly out to your fleet mates and circle them while they do repairs to their armour or shields.  These drones are very handy and drone skills should be trained up along with other Logistic skills. Drones can either be micro-managed to fly to different fleet mates or kept on a single target if they are getting a bit too much love.

The main focus for training up to flying Logistics is to get to tech 2 cruiser level. There are frigate class ships that can remotely help but it will be more common for your fleet to use something bigger. If you want to go higher, you can also train up to fly a carrier.

Carriers are larger support ships and come with lots more goodies than a simple cruiser. This will be a long term goal and not something you want to try to jump to immediately. Since carriers are such massive ships, there are restrictions on where they can be used.

Being a Logistic pilot isn’t without its dangers. If you remote repair someone, there is a chance you might get aggression towards you, so be careful if you decide to be all loving and supportive of random pilots. Also make sure that the fleet has engaged the enemy before starting to fix people up, otherwise there’s a chance the enemy might focus on you instead.

Being a Logistic pilot in EVE is as rewarding as being a healer in any other MMO. It might not play exactly the same way, but is as important in a fleet as any other pilot.


Amarr tech 2 cruiser: Guardian

[Make sure you check out Kris’ gaming blog]

MMO Launches And The Tears of Pain – Or Is That Joy?


The Naked Gamer is a regular opinion column that strips back the superficialities and looks at the flesh underneath. If you’ve got a topic you’d like discussed, drop columnist Kristy Green a line! If you like Kristy’s work, don’t forget she’s co-host of our Flash Point podcast.

Anyone that has ever experienced an MMO launch (or more than one), will know that they are a twisted time filled with so much fun and joy but also so much frustration and pain.

When I think about the best experiences I’ve had in each MMO, there are always experiences that happened either just before or during the launch. Whether it’s an open beta without a wipe, meeting new people in a new guild or the early morning head starts that were so early there was no sleep that night. All these times have been amazing. I remember all the silly games we would play and jokes we would tell because no one could sleep. I remember yelling out “I’m in!” over TeamSpeak only to have my Guild mates not believe me. I remember that exciting anticipation as the game first loads. The quick rush to create your character and that jump your heart makes as you press create, not knowing if someone else had been just that little bit quicker and got your name first.

None of these experiences can happen outside of launch and a game only ever launches once. Sure there might be new content, patches or even relaunches but they are never the same. Of course, as the saying goes, there is no such thing as a free lunch or in this case, a smooth launch. I doubt there has ever been a launch in which everything has gone smoothly for everyone. Even when a launch is amazing from our own experiences, there are usually someone with a very different opinion.

Launches will always be hard. As anyone that has ever worked on a large IT project (or any project really) knows, you can do all the preparation you can, you can test everything for as long as you like, you can even strip your code down to the most basic of parameters but nothing is the same as production and so launches will never be a purely wonderful experience. There will be people that will be so badly affected it will change their perspective of the game. There will be people that will get so burnt by bugs, error codes or poor support that they will give up.

There is nothing wrong with that. We may have multiple reasons why we play computer games and why we play the specific games we do, but the main reason should always be to have fun. Sometimes launches are so terrible that it is impossible to have this. Whether it’s the frustration of error codes or bugs, the annoyance of not being able to login or the resentment caused by unanswered calls to support. Sometimes we need to be able to say it isn’t working and move on. Hopefully to come back later when things have changed for the better, if things change for the better of course.

It’s sometimes easy to get lost in the moment and we start throwing around terms like fail but the truth of the matter is, if a game is launched and it’s live, then it’s been successful. Anyone in IT has known the dreaded feeling of pressing the On button only to have all the lights switch off into that dramatic darkness and eery silence that can only be done in movies, but this does happen in real life. I remember one MMO that while the servers came up on time, every single player couldn’t log in. There had been a small patch released not long before launch and of course, everyone was eagerly waiting at their launchers and tried downloading it all at the same time – so it crashed the server. Here they were with a server room filled with brand new shiny toys all ready and waiting for players to connect , but not one person could.

That was indeed a failure. One I am sure saw many stressed out and embarrassed game developers and staff.

Nowadays we tend to allow little room for excuses. We see the same mistakes being made over and over again and really, MMOs aren’t new. There are many released every year and it becomes harder and harder to break into the market considering that MMOs are designed around being played for years, not just finishing a 10 hour game play/story line and then leaving it to gather dust on our virtual Steam libraries. MMOs aren’t easy and MMO players are probably one of the hardest audiences to please. We all want so much for our time and money investment and we won’t settle for anything lower than awesome.

I know in the past I’ve gotten so frustrated with launches that I keep saying I will give up. I will wait till the end of that first months once things calm down and people have a better idea as to what they are getting into. Yet, I am there every time. I pre-order, normally with some sort of collectors edition upgrade (physical or virtual) and I will be up at that ungodly hour (unless of course I have fun plans). I know why I do it. I do it for all the fun reasons and experiences I have. That first month of play when everything is still new and exiting and everyone else is just as excited as you and that make it worth all the little (and big) bumps.

So see you at the next MMO launch! I’ll be the haggard one in the corner that has had a little too much tea and not enough sleep.

Armikrog: Interview With Pencil Test Studios

Armikrog interviewWe all have that game.

That game that you can almost play whenever you close your eyes even though it’s been years since it ever ran on your computer. That game you can hear and almost sing along to even though no music playing (that is, if you can grunt musically).

That game which defined the gamer you are today.

That game for me is The Neverhood. A clay-animated stop-motion game of awesome. Mention The Neverhood to me and I could go on for hours. I have so many fond memories of little Klaymen that it’s the only game left I have on physical disc because I just couldn’t bear to part with it.

So when I heard of Armikrog, from Pencil Test Studios, Inc. I got really excited. A new clay-animated game game from my favourite game developers! I think the majority of us from the glory days of gaming in the ’90s have played or at least heard of The Neverhood or Earthworm Jim so it’s exciting to see so many names coming back to bring us another chance to relive those past memories.

I tried to set up an interview with Pencil Test Studios, Inc. however as you are probably aware I’ve been having some internet issues and so we had to settle for an email one. Mike Dietz and Ed Schofield were very kind to answer my questions over the weekend.

How would you describe Armikrog.?

Mike Dietz — Armikrog is a brand new clay-animated point and click adventure game brought to you by the creators of the Neverhood and Earthworm Jim. While not a sequel, it’s been called by many a spiritual successor to the Neverhood as it’s being developed by the same core creative group and it comes from a similar place in our hearts. Featuring the unique characters and signature art style of creator Doug TenNapel, the magical appeal of stop motion animation, and the musical genius of Neverhood composer Terry S. Taylor, Armikrog promises to be a game that will deliver on the enjoyable challenge, whimsy and humor that made the Neverhood so accessible and fun.

Armikrog tells the story of a space explorer named Tommynaut and his blind, alien, talking dog Beak-Beak, who crash land on a strange planet and find themselves trapped within the walls of a fantastic, mystical fortress called Armikrog. Players will need to solve an array of entertaining and mind-bending puzzles to help Tommynaut out of his predicament, and will quickly discover that the epic Armikrog is much more than simply a fortress from which they must escape.

Clay isn’t the biggest use medium for making games, what made you decide to use it? (besides it looking like awesome fun)

Ed Schofield — Stop motion animation is very different from computer and hand drawn animation. The process of creating it requires you to have a very clear view of the motion you’re trying to achieve, and unlike other forms of animation you can’t go back and make changes once it’s been created. It’s a bit like a tightrope walker working without a net, but that’s what makes the process so much fun!

Mike Dietz — Plus there’s a certain magic and wonder you get from stop motion that isn’t present in other forms of animation. There’s something magical and mesmerizing about knowing those are real tactile objects coming to life seemingly on their own. You can see the thumbprints and analog imperfections that hint at the artists and process behind it, which makes it seem that much more magic – yet accessible.

I still remember the imagine from the Neverhood behind the scenes video of clay everywhere. How much clay will Armikrog, take? Are you able to walk around the studio or has Occupational Health and Safety laws preventing you from stacking them up the stairs and every floor space again?

Ed Schofield — There will be a lot of clay used in Armikrog, but we’ll also be using other materials as well. We don’t want to limit ourselves creatively, so if it makes sense to use plaster, metal or cardboard for to build certain things, we’ll do it. However, this time around we’re trying to keep the hallways clear!

Mike Dietz — But don’t worry, there will still be lots and lots of clay – it’s still the most fun to work with.

As a huge fan of the Neverhood soundtrack (I can still hear some of the tunes in my head), will Armikrog. again have a memorable soundtrack and will it be in the same sort of blue/folk style again?

Ed Schofield — The music for Armikrog will be done by Terry Taylor, the same musician who composed and performed the music for The Neverhood. Terry’s musical sensibilities are perfect for our games and he’s always delivered amazing and inspiring tunes!

Mike Dietz – Terry has already delivered the first tune for Armikrog, which we featured in our Kickstarter video. You can see Terry sing the song in its entirety on the Kickstarter page in Update # 4!

(Kristy: Kickstarter update 4 if you like to here Terry’s song)

Earthworm Jim and The Neverhood didn’t exactly have much talking besides in places – will Armikrog have more conversations or will you continue to use more passive forms of communication?

Ed Schofield — More expansive dialogue seems like a natural evolution to our games. In the Neverhood, Klaymen’s journey didn’t require him to speak much. In Armikrog there will be more dialogue, but it will be used to advance the story.

Mike Dietz – Actually there was a whole lot of dialog in the Neverhood – I know because I had to animate most of it and it was a lot of work! While it’s true Klaymen rarely had anything to say, Willie Trombone almost never shut up!

(Kristy: Is it weird that I just played the full back story by Willie in my head? It’s me Willie, Willie Trombone. Ack, now I’m getting a flowerpot dropped on my head).

Will there be a long and detailed history carved into a long clay wall that will take hours to read and involve many clicks to walk to the end?

Ed Schofield — There will be a place where the player can go to learn about the history and universe where Armikrog takes place, but the stories will be told with much more drawings as opposed to straight text.

Mike Dietz – If you think of the Neverhood’s Hall of Records as a novel, Armikrog will feature something more along the lines of a graphic novel. We promise we won’t make you walk through 30+ screens to read it all this time!

Game play wise, will Armikrog be more like The Neverhood where you find a puzzle and can take your time to solve it, or more like Earthworm Jim with jumping around and shooting things?

Ed Schofield — Definitely more like The Neverhood. Armikrog will be created in the same genre (point and click adventure game). There will be puzzles to solve mysteries to uncover, but it will also expand on the basic genre with some new mechanics as well.

Will you be able to die? And if so, will it be clearly signed?

Ed Schofield — Ha! We always love the responses from the Neverhood death…we tried to warn the player as clearly as we could. For Armikrog, we want to continue to encourage the player to explore and try new things, and not punish them by dying.

Mike Dietz – BTW, that long drawn out scream you hear during Klaymen’s death sequence – that’s Ed!

Your Kickstarter project is nearing the end and funding is getting close. If the unthinkable happens and Armikrog doesn’t get enough funding, what will the future hold for Pencil Test Studios, Inc?

Ed Schofield — The studio has other projects on the table that we would move onto, but Armikrog is what we’re most passionate about. So, of course we are doing everything we can to get the game funded!

Mike Dietz – Failure is not an option!

Such a girly question I know, but will your Kickstarter t-shirts be available in both men and women’s style? (I know I look terrible in a mens shirt!)

Ed Schofield — Hmmmm…good question. No one has asked us that one yet! I’ll have to look into that and get back to you…

Will we be seeing anyone from Pencil Test Studios, Inc at PAX in Australia next month? (please say yes, please say yes).

Ed Schofield — The Kickstarter campaign has really been an all-consuming event. Honestly, we haven’t been able to look at our calendars much past June 27 (the last day of the campaign). But you never know!

Mike Dietz – I’ve never been to Australia but have always wanted to visit. I’ve never met anyone from there who wasn’t super friendly and fun. We had a TV crew from Australia in the office the other day and we all had a great time.


If you missed out on playing The Neverhood, then don’t miss out on Armikrog. too! The Armikrog Kickstarter is only a couple days away from ending. If you would like to become a backer, please go to their Kickstarter page and pledge to Armikrog. Today.

Armikrog will be available DRM-free for PC, MAC and Linux through GOG.com, The Humble Store and on Steam (visit their Steam Greenlight page and vote Yes!)


The Naked Gamer: The Hostile Place That Still Exists


The Naked Gamer is a regular opinion column that strips back the superficialities and looks at the flesh underneath. If you’ve got a topic you’d like discussed, drop columnist Kristy Green a line! If you like Kristy’s work, don’t forget she’s co-host of our Flash Point podcast.

Recently I attended a huge LAN event. It’s been a very long time since I attended any sort of mass paid LAN and I admit that I was a little nervous about it all. The last paid LAN event I attended was a very long time ago, it was nowhere near this large and it wasn’t a good experience for me. I was the only woman there and well, I had numerous bad experience with the other attendees that I won’t go into right now.

My friends said not to worry, that they have attended these before and never seen/had a problem and they were right. The moment I walked through those doors I was impressed by the sheer size of the event. I walked in awe to my assigned desk carrying my bag of cables and peripherals (the monitor and computer had to wait their turn). By the time I put my bag down I was completely sucked in to the atmosphere of the event. I was surrounded by gamers and this was going to be over 24 hours of uninterrupted gaming goodness. What wasn’t there to like?

As I went to bring the rest of my gear in, I ran into my friends that were also just arriving. After quick jumpy hugs and comments that I was obviously excited, I was out the door to bring in my computer. I honestly don’t think I’ve ever plugged in and booted her up so quickly. I admit I felt weird but it only lasted ten minutes at most. It was obvious that no one cared that I was a woman. No one looked at me as I walked past, they looked at their screens. No one made comments, they yelled at their games. I was in heaven and I never wanted to leave. Things weren’t perfect – I had network issues where my internet wouldn’t so much stop working as just become unusable. I remember at one point in the night I couldn’t even browse Facebook. It meant too that I couldn’t always play the games I wanted. The constant flow of food and drink vans was very neat however. I think the coffee truck was the best timing I’ve ever seen and an awesome Chai Latte to keep me going was what I needed.

There was one part of the event I really wanted to enter – it was titled the Beast Rig contest and was advertised as being about how well a computer is built, it’s practicality, theme, general “Bling” factor and some personal opinion from the judges. I was excited at being able to show off my new computer. She took me two weeks to design and every piece has been picked for a reason. My computer is a reflection of who I am and I was looking forward to showing the world what I have made – plus the added bonus of being able to see everyone else’s creation and geek it up with hardware talk. Like all these things, the contest ended up running a little late – it was actually closer to midnight than the 9pm that was first mentioned. I thought it was going to be all showing off and benchmarks. I was excited to see how my little computer (who I designed around being simple, neat, organised but more than meets the eye) would compete against the huge boxes that surrounded her. I still believe that she will beat any other machine of her size in a benchmark test. Unfortunately it ended up being more just us talking about our computers. Disappointingly, they weren’t even plugged in nor did it take the full package into account.

I admit that if I knew this, I wouldn’t have entered. It was easy to tell from the beginning that the contest wasn’t going to be about practicability or bling or theme but more which one the judges would want the most. This article is about how I ended up walking away from that contest feeling embarrassed and humiliated by the judges. So what happened? I was number four of six, so I picked up my computer and went to move forward. Before I even put my case down, the words “Handles! And look you’re a woman!’ was said. I put my computer down and stood up thinking, ‘Ok, it’s just one comment. Hopefully they will move on’.

They didn’t.

Before I got to even start talking about my computer, they went into a discussion about the print on my t-shirt which was across my chest. There was no discussion about what the other people were wearing but apparently it was ok to discuss my outfit when we should be discussing my machine’s outfit. They talked about my shirt for a good couple of minutes while I was getting more and more uncomfortable. I didn’t ignore this, I knew that now they were no longer judging my computer but focusing on me. So I called them out, I thanked them for admiring my chest. Apparently they did seem embarrassed by this (I know I was bright red myself). I was hoping this would kick them into focusing on why I was there and not that I was a woman.

It didn’t.

I opened up my case and started explaining her personality. I knew I would have to sell her well because she looks very simple. Something that I was aiming for but not something that looks impressive. Let’s face it, when it comes to computers it doesn’t matter how powerful she is when it comes to staring into the case. Although a friend spent about ten minutes drooling over her when he first arrived at the LAN so I had a little confidence that she might be able to pull it off.

That confidence lasted less than ten seconds.

It became clear that they weren’t listening to what I was saying. As I talked them through her various parts and why I picked them, they were making a lot of eye contact. Normally a good thing when it comes to discussion, not so good when it comes to showing something off. When the other people talked, they all leaned forward and stared intensively at the machine, listening to everything they said. When I talked, they leaned back, staring at me and nodding their heads in encouragement.

When I got to her graphics card and mentioned the Titan, they talked among themselves about it. Mine was the first computer with a Titan and I was looking forward to talking about how it performed in real life over benchmarks but I wasn’t included in this discussion. When they had finished judging the Titan by sight and what they had read alone, they looked back to me to go on. I admit that by this stage, I really wanted to just tell them thanks for their time but they obviously don’t care and I could just take my case back to my desk and start gaming again. But I admit, I was a chicken who was already feeling so extremely humiliated and I didn’t want to be confrontational. I powered on, trying to describe her still and tell them things they can’t see like how she performs, how cool she runs and her personality.

In the end, I really just stopped talking. The only feedback I got was someone asking about the cooling in which someone else jumped in and answered for me. Never once did I feel like I was part of a discussion. The gentlemen standing behind me all had very animated and in-depth discussion, I had a speech which was filtered through nods as if they were pleased that I could talk and say all the right words. When my computer didn’t make it to the next round, I was so very glad. I quickly took her and slinked away. As I walked off thinking well at least this was over, it wasn’t. One of the admins managed to sum up how patronised I felt with a ‘Good job though’ as I walked past. I don’t think I could even manage a fake smile. I was worried that I was being a bad sport by leaving immediately after I lost but after that line, well, I felt completely justified.

I tried to calm myself down afterwards but I just couldn’t. I was so surprised that all the admins and audience just stood back and let this happen. Surely it should have been obvious how the judging panel treated me so differently? That I felt so embarrassed,  humiliated and patronised by their inability to get over that I was a woman. I think even if you asked them now about each of the computers they would first mention ‘woman’ when they remembered mine. The worse of it all though was that their behaviour wasn’t done with malicious intent nor was it done consciously. The truth of the matter is that none of them could get past that I was a woman. This is how they unconsciously think I should be treated, that I am not as serious as a man. I have no problems with me being a woman and I make jokes about it as much as the next person but their dismissal behaviour wasn’t appropriate and should be called out.

If I had gotten one of my male friends to take my computer up, I think I would have enjoyed it more. I could have got him to explain my simple but powerful design. How I was able to achieve this without over loading my case with a lot of useless things. Why I prefer to be minimal than boastful. I like control, I like efficiency, I like power in as small a package as possible.

My faith was restored when a fellow attendee came to ask me a few questions about my case. He had the same case but was having troubles with it. I was finally able to geek it up with him and one of my friends while he tried to explain his problem and I explained how mine was set up. This was what I was hoping for during the contest with the admins. I ended up walking over to see his machine and was able to fix his problem which was really simple. He was embarrassed but not because I was a woman telling him where he went wrong, but because the problem was so simple and he had missed it. I had actually done the same mistake, the only difference was that I realised a lot sooner than he did.

I went home straight after I helped this nice gentleman with no intentions of going back the next day nor helping to pack up like I volunteered to. I went on Twitter to express my disappointment at what had happened. The initial response was sadly the standard please send us an email with your details which never works but I did end up talking with a very nice gentleman from the LAN and we were able to have a wonderful discussion about what happened and how we can prevent it in the future. Twitter of course didn’t know about this discussion and spent the next couple of hours pretty much attacking everything I said and did, twisting my words and filling in any gaps with misinformation. They had no details but that wasn’t going to stop them calling me things and doing their best to prove why gaming is still a hostile place for women while arguing that it wasn’t.

You see, this continues to happen to women. This stuff happens to us and we stand up and speak out about it only to be abused and attacked. I was accused of wanting to do nothing but cause trouble simply for sending one tweet, of being a troll and of seeking out random people online. I have no idea who these people were but they seemed to think they knew me pretty well. This is why I took it to Twitter and why I am writing this article. This stuff shouldn’t be happening and when it does, we need to stand up and speak out about it. It’s the only way we can stop this unconscious negative treatment of women. Their anger shouldn’t have been directed at me but at the admins that treated me like a song bird singing all the right notes. No one disagreed with what had happened to me, only that I had no right to speak up about it publicly.

The gentleman from the LAN committee has no problems with my feelings, opinion or behaviour. They are happy for me to write this article because they agree it shouldn’t have happened and are doing everything they can to stop it from happening again. They want more women to attend their event. This event was the first time I’ve seen the attendee showing the admins how they should have behaved which I think is a step in the right direction – not a leap but a nice step. I think while women are becoming the norm at these sort of events, they aren’t getting so involved. There are still only a few women admins and I only saw one other woman enter a contest. I would have loved to seen other women standing up there with their beast rig at their feet and pride in what they have achieved and I would love to see the admins give them the attention and respect that they and their machines deserve.

The gaming industry has a huge problem with forgetting. We tend to focus on the current big news and then a week later it is forgotten. The more we speak out about any bad behaviour publicly, the more likely we are to remember that not everyone is treated the way they deserve all the time. This is why I am speaking out, this is why I am not naming the LAN but personally would love to give them some positive advertising. They messed up once when none of the admins spoke out when it was mentioned that I was a woman and allowed the negative mood to be set. It’s certainly not worth the hatred on Twitter or fear of bad mouthing.

It is not white knighting to speak out when you see poor behaviour. It’s not inappropriate to express distaste at unfair treatment. It’s not trolling or stirring the pot to speak publicly. Nor is it a reflection on everyone and it shouldn’t be seen as a personal attack to anyone.

This sort of sexist behaviour is such an unconscious part of our community that the only way we can move forward is to call each other out when we see it. I know that I’ve said and done things in the past unconsciously and I am always glad to be told so I can correct it.

Things are certainly improving for all gamers but we still have a lot to fix and it’s something we all need to work together to achieve.

[This piece originally appeared on Kris’ own gaming blog]

The Naked Gamer: #1ReasonToBe


The Naked Gamer is a regular opinion column that strips back the superficialities and looks at the flesh underneath. If you’ve got a topic you’d like discussed, drop columnist Kristy Green a line! If you like Kristy’s work, don’t forget she’s co-host of our Flash Point podcast.

One of the first things you do before you start writing anything is decide your target audience. For the most part, this is easy. Normally I write to gamers or to people that might be interested in a certain game. The first part of this article was even easier – I didn’t have an audience in mind and merely wrote it more as a speech on my previous experiences.

This article was always going to be difficult to write. When talking about how women are treated in a male dominated place, it’s never going to go down well – especially when the majority of your audience is probably male. I do however believe that this is something that should be talked about and while I am not the most qualified to do it, every voice counts and I want to add my own.

So I’ve decided to target the silent majority of gamers out there. The ones that either see a problem but don’t want to or feel the need to say something or maybe they just don’t see a problem at all. It’s very obvious that when it comes to this topic, those of us that are talking are the minority. Most people just get on with enjoying games, or avoid the larger gaming community for their own reasons, so don’t see how big an issue this is.

The gaming industry is male dominated although not as much as people might think. When studies show there are more of us than perception might  have people believe, people deny our rights to call ourselves gamers. When women make known we are females, we are accused of being attention seeking or wanting free stuff. So either we stay quiet so we aren’t accused of being attention seekers or we let the world know how many of us are actually out there.

Women can’t win.

The gaming industry isn’t perfect – no industry is. It may be male dominated but that is no excuse for how women are treated by some. I know, I’ve worked in the Information Technology field and currently work in Construction. Both are considered male dominated but how women are treated is completely different. There are so few women that do my day job that I can name (and have met) the only two others in my state. Yet I have never been treated badly as I am in the gaming communities or when I was in IT.

Women can’t win.

Two years ago, I left the IT industry. I never felt welcomed because I would have my work colleagues come into work in the morning and talk about the smoking hottie they passed in the lobby.  They would talk about every woman they encountered as if she was an object. While I was ‘one of the boys’ and so privileged to hear these inner thoughts, it didn’t mean I was one. It still surprises me that my work colleagues think they could break a woman down into parts and that I would somehow respect them or feel like I was a valuable part of the team afterwards.

Women can’t win.

Computer games have embraced the internet – it’s getting to the point where you can’t be a gamer without an internet connection. Sadly it seems that it has also inherited some of the less savoury aspects of the online community. It’s been debated many times whether the anonymity of the internet is to blame for people’s poor behaviour online. I don’t think it is – I think it’s the lack of consequences and many gaming communities are a no-man’s land where there are no laws and no accountability.

This in itself isn’t a terrible thing. People should be allowed to run their communities however they want. However these communities can’t hide from the effect this is having on the gaming industry. You can’t have the gaming world as a place filled with people doing whatever they want and then expect the larger community to embrace gaming as more than an immature pastime.

If the gaming industry can embrace all gamers, no matter what package they come in, then things will only get better. There will be more variety, more people will become gamers and we will have more people to enjoy our favourite pastime with. The first thing we need to do though is stop acting like only young, white straight men play computer games, because this has never been true.

The second step is to speak up. Put yourself in someone else’s shoes and if you see something that isn’t right, then take a stand. The gaming industry will not grow until we can all feel like a valuable a part of it.

The biggest change starts with the smallest action. If you think the gaming industry can be better, then start making it better.

The Naked Gamer: #1ReasonWhy


The Naked Gamer is a regular opinion column that strips back the superficialities and looks at the flesh underneath. If you’ve got a topic you’d like discussed, drop columnist Kristy Green a line!

When I applied to write for The Oceanic Gamer, I told myself that I would never write this article. It is something that has been talked about for so long and it’s really getting to the point where I feel that if people just don’t get it now, then they never will. It’s not like there aren’t already plenty of articles out there by people a lot more knowledgeable and smarter. People better at getting their thoughts, opinions and more importantly, their feelings across.

However I feel I should at least give it a try after seeing the recent twitter campaign #1ReasonWhy. This twitter campaign saw women and men raising awareness of some of the battles still fought by women within the gaming industry. These were women that are making our games, expanding our knowledge and bringing gaming to everyone.

Before I started writing, I thought for a very long time how I am going to write this. I thought about what angle I should approach this from, how I should handle it. How I could maybe bring something new to this subject. In the end, I decided to bare all and go for the all natural stance, just like my column is named. I figure if I can’t talk truthfully and honestly about our current situation than there really isn’t a point in writing about it at all.

I wanted to start over ten years ago. This is because while I’ve been gaming since before I went to Kindergarten, it wasn’t until the ‘90s that I got into online gaming and I guess I became a part of the larger gaming community. So much has changed so quickly and I feel that the gaming industry is actually getting worse and moving backwards instead of forwards.

Roughly twelve years ago, I was really getting into MUDs (Multi-User Dungeon). They were awesome and as someone with a crappy computer and an even crappier internet connection they were the poor man’s MMO. This didn’t make them terrible games at all though. MUDs were text based and so they ran off player’s imaginations. You could create anything in a MUD just by typing. There were fewer constraints and it meant that people were creating systems that are amazing even by today’s standards.

I got to experience this first hand and it was my first experience being on the other side of the code. I got to be a world builder for a pretty amazing MUD. There were only two of us that got to play around in the game and create whatever we wanted, and I felt very lucky.

You may have already noticed where this is heading. My world builder colleague was indeed a male. There were three of us working on this game and the owner/coder of the game was also male. You may be already cringing thinking of the horrible tale I am going to tell but the truth is, there is no horrible tale. Everyone knew I was female, I was even titled the Goddess of Chaos, but no one cared. I was never once told to go make a sandwich, get back to the kitchen or even to show people pictures of my naked body parts.

No one cared.

I created amazing areas in that game. My world building skills were centred more about creating zones that were filled with their own sort of story, with hidden passages and brain teasing puzzles. My counterpart tended to make more killing zones, packing in as many baddies as possible and letting the player kill or be killed. This partnership meant we created a world with something for everyone and was targeted to all gamers.

When I think back to this time, I can’t help but wonder where everything went wrong. My first experience as a part of the gaming industry was great. My last experience though was completely different.

I worked extremely hard running a Community Team for an Indy MMO developer. I did an amazing job but I still felt constantly that the only reason I was there was because I was female and not because of all I had done.

It started as jokes like when discussing possible competition prizes – it was actually suggested that they could give away game shirts that have been worn by me (including a photo as proof). It continued when I was working to make the community a better place and was told how the directors made the right choice getting in a ‘girl’. It ended when we were going through the job description and one of the perks was going to game conventions. I said that I can’t sell the game, I’m not hot enough. The reply was, ‘don’t worry you are plenty hot enough’.

It was horrible seeing the hours of work I put in be pretty much squared down to the fact that I am a woman. It was hard to feel any pride in the amazing direction the community was taking when it was simply because I am a woman. It doesn’t help that I would take my developers hat off, put my gamer one on and get the exact same treatment.

And people keep asking me why I left such an awesome job.

So these are my experiences from the beginning and the end – I won’t bore you with the middle. Next week I will be coming back to this subject and exploring why this is happening instead of just my experiences. I will also be explaining the full reason I am writing these articles when I said I never would.

So stay tuned for what I am hoping will be at least a slightly interesting take on the gaming industry from my personal experiences.

The Naked Gamer: The Day the Heroes Left

The Naked Gamer is a regular opinion column that strips back the superficialities and looks at the flesh underneath. If you’ve got a topic you’d like discussed, drop columnist Kristy Green a line!

On the 30th of November, Paragon Studios will be closing their doors and City of Heroes servers will be shut down. This beloved Superhero and Supervillain MMO has been operating for over eight years and will leave a giant hole in the industry.

This is something that no gamer should let pass in silence or brush off like it doesn’t matter. It does matter, it matters so very much.

It might seem like it won’t affect many people but this should be a huge wake up call for all of us that love our MMOs. You might think because the game was free to play and only had a small but loyal following that it was a prime target. City of Heroes though was still making a profit after all this time – it was still a fun game that many enjoyed.

It is a reminder that no MMO is safe since we will always rely on ongoing support and services to play. All it takes is a publisher or developer to decide they don’t want to keep going and they can sell it off to new people or shut it down completely. We should all stand together whenever we hear the talk of closure of any MMO.

Save City of Heroes tried everything to stop their beloved game from shutting down. They wrote letters, signed petitions and showed Paragon Studios and NCsoft that the game was still wanted but in the end, there was nothing they could do. It was really wonderful to see the community rise up and stand together (heroes and villains alike) to try and save their favourite MMO.

City of Heroes had some awesome features that I hope don’t disappear when the servers go black. It was a really fun game that was easily accessible and let you play as your very own made up hero or villain. Imagine the weirdest, intriguing hero you can think of and I can assure you, it could have been real within Paragon City.

My favourite feature was being able to design how my hero looked and that was how my hero always looked. I spent hours in the character creation making my amazing hero and imagining all the awesome feats she will perform. My favourite was the charming metallic Valkyrie hero with red lighting sparking around her body. When you look that cool from the start, would you ever want to have appearance changed by gear or a new outfit?

I also asked my friend what his favourite feature is because there are too many to remember. He has played the game a lot longer than I and so he knew it better. He said enjoyed how accessible the game was and how easy it was to find a group. With the Side Kick system, it didn’t matter what level you were. You could group with anyone, whether they were higher or lower than you. You could also affect the difficulty of the game easily so it was always a challenge.

After eight long, glorious years, it is sad that this is the end. It’s a little teary and a continued reminder than our favourite games are never safe. All it takes is flicking a switch to see all that we love fade away.

In only a few short days there will be fewer Heroes in this world and City of Heroes will become just another victim.

Let this game not become some forgotten piece of code, let us always remember the fun times we had and continue to keep up the good fight.

Over to you: are you sorry to see City of Heroes go?

The Naked Gamer: What Does Free-To-Play Mean?

what does free-to-play mean

The Naked Gamer is a regular opinion column that strips back the superficialities and looks at the flesh underneath. If you’ve got a topic you’d like discussed, drop columnist Kristy Green a line!

It’s such a tiny term but seems to be so filled with meaning and causing so much confusion. Ask ten gamers what they think Free-to-Play (F2P) means and you will get ten very different definitions.

It feels like the term F2P is becoming nothing more than a buzz word used by people for their own personal agenda while ignoring everyone else. It has been very frustrating to watch people bring forth valid opinions of the changes to the subscription model made for Star Wars: The Old Republic but only to have them completely brushed over or ignored because people seem to be unable to get past their own preconceptions whenever they see the phrase F2P.

One common idea is that F2P means that you can create an account and play the game without paying anything. It doesn’t matter what you can or can’t do, just simply being able to login seems the biggest point in this description, oh and no time expiration. This means that games like World of Warcraft, Tera, SWTOR, Aion and Battle of the Immortals are all considered F2P.

Another common way of defining F2P is to say that you can play the whole game without any restriction to your gameplay. If the game has restrictions that are unlocked or accessed only by spending money then it’s no longer free. Instead it is some sort of unlimited time trial. So in this definition the only games that are F2P from the above examples are Aion and Battle of the Immortals.

So I thought about this and I wondered what harm is there if we see F2P differently? I would like to say none but all you have to do is read up on any of the feedback from SWTOR’s recent changes to see that this isn’t working. Those that consider the game as F2P see those that don’t as entitled and in return they get labelled as pretentious. It’s very hard to talk about the good and the bad when such loaded words are being thrown around. Also, many of us have predefined notion of what F2P means and so when we see the term, we are expecting to see one thing and may be seeing something else. None of this comes together to equal good communication.

Then I thought, ‘but isn’t it up to the developers and publishers to define what their game is or isn’t?’ That might seem like a perfect solution but not one that would be practical. WoW and Tera never once used the term F2P and yet the media and gamers constantly do. SWTOR says that it is but it doesn’t necessarily fit into all definitions of F2P. I’ve even heard of Guild Wars 2 being referred to as F2P simply because it doesn’t need a subscription to play. If we as gamers can’t even agree, then how are we expecting game developers, publishers, and media and of course marketing to?

The only way to see all the brilliant opinions on SWTOR is to stop focusing on what is F2P. Maybe we should instead just move past any buzz words and actually hear out what someone has to say. If we stop predefining people’s opinions then we will see that a lot of time, we are actually all in agreement.

The Naked Gamer: SWTOR F2P Thoughts

SWTOR F2P Thoughts

The Naked Gamer is a regular opinion column that strips back the superficialities and looks at the flesh underneath. If you’ve got a topic you’d like discussed, drop columnist Kristy Green a line!

My relationship with Star Wars: The Old Republic has been more like a rollercoaster than well, a relationship. When I first heard about this new MMO my immediate thought was how awesome it was going to be to play out my childhood fantasy of being a Jedi. Obviously this isn’t the first Star Wars game but it was the first one that I was interested in playing. When I heard BioWare were behind it, well I had a bit of a geek squealing session.

I was frustrated when I heard it wasn’t being released in Australia at launch but through some clever workarounds I was able to get the game. So when launch did come around, I was able to play and to live my dreams as a Jedi Consular and even got to play as a Twi’lek. How much more cooler can you get?

Sadly, then my friends stopped playing and the awesomeness of being a lightsaber wielding blue woman wasn’t enough to keep me playing. The game had some great things and like many, I loved the story (even if I got lost a few times because I kept pressing the spacebar during cut scenes) but there just wasn’t enough to keep me paying a subscription for. I let my account lapse with the promise that if it went free to play, I would return if only to find out how the story ended.

When I heard the announcement that SWTOR was going to go free to play and how the story part of the game will be available to everyone, I was more excited than when the game was first released. Well, I was at first. Then they released more information about how the free to play will work and I went from yes to maybe to no, although floating around ‘maybe casually’ right now.

I admit that I am not a fan of free-to-play models with a subscription. I feel that it should be one or the other. There is always a chance of tension building between those that pay and those that don’t. Also, you have the added difficulty of finding the balance between rewarding the subscribers without punishing the free-to-players.

When I look at SWTOR’s new free-to-play plans, one thing sticks out to me – it seems to be all about getting you back to paying a full subscription. They seem to offer no reward for subscribing but instead lay all the punishment (or restriction) on the rest of the player base.

I admit I can’t see this working; the whole point of going free-to-play is getting people back playing your game and getting them to spend money because they want to, not because they have to.  People shouldn’t feel like their game play is affected because they aren’t paying a subscription.

I feel that F2P will only succeed if the unlocks are really cheap, so you can essentially unlock the whole game for the same amount as a typical box price and if they allow people to go from subscription to non-subscription back to subscription without feeling like they are being penalised.

For now though, my gaming plate is already pretty filled with four other MMOs and numerous other games I play with my friends. I would have made time for SWTOR but right now, I am not sure I will. This weekend will really tell if I start playing again.

So good luck to BioWare and May The Force Be With You.

The Naked Gamer: Age and Gaming

Age and gaming

The Naked Gamer is a regular opinion column that strips back the superficialities and looks at the flesh underneath. If you’ve got a topic you’d like discussed, drop columnist Kristy Green a line!

Well, it’s that time again. The time when my age gains a +1 and my experience bar resets for another year. Normally around this time I take a moment to reflect over the past 365 days and my life in general, although this time it’s a little different as it’s one of the big ones. You know the ones, where you are meant to make a big deal and you have to start ticking that older age bracket box.

Usually I will spend two weeks moping around and considering why I still claim the title of Gamer.  Even though I have always been on the younger side of the average gamer age, and probably always will be as the average age grows older with me, I find that society seems to continue thinking of gaming as child play. They seem to prefer to make up their own mind and ignore anything that might seem contrary.

Every year I am asked when I am going to grow up and stop playing with children’s toys. I am told that as a female my gaming hobby is either an attention seeking pastime or something I should finally give up to do things more worthwhile. I’ve even been told I would never be able to find someone if I continue to do anything that may be considered such a manly vocation.

I admit that these comments used to bother me. While a part of me knew they were false and I knew they shouldn’t get to me, they did. Every year I wondered why I enjoyed gaming and I even started to think maybe I am just being attention seeking? Who cares that I’ve been playing computer games since I was a girl. It was obviously something I did for some silly reason and simply not because of pure enjoyment. I even quit gaming for three years – it was torture.

So like usual, when this birthday came around I found myself once again having my deep soul searching assignment as to whether or not I should give up gaming.

I like to think that this year I am a little older and wiser and maybe that’s why I realised I don’t care anymore. I game because I want to, I game because I enjoy it and I love writing about gaming, talking about gaming and being a gamer.

While sure, it may not seem the most awesome life and while it may seem like I am wasting it staying home on a Friday night with a beer and my favourite MMO, I say waste away!

I can’t change how other people feel, what they choose to believe and even stop them from spreading it around, but I can decide if I am going to listen and if I am going to let them get to me. So, I am going to decide to not do that.

If there is one thing I would tell my younger self right now, it would be to never stop gaming no matter what other people might think. If they have a problem with your gaming then it’s their problem, not yours.

So boot up your computer, start a new game and let’s go save a princess together.

To gaming for life!

The Naked Gamer: Why I Play The Secret World

Why I Play The Secret World

The Naked Gamer is a regular opinion column that strips back the superficialities and looks at the flesh underneath. If you’ve got a topic you’d like discussed, drop columnist Kristy Green a line!

It’s no secret that I enjoy playing The Secret World and I would like to spend this week talking about why. This isn’t a review, I am not trying to be objective or discuss the finer points like what’s good and what isn’t. This is just simply why I love playing this game.

There is nothing I enjoy more in an evening than playing The Secret World with my lights turned down and my speakers turned up. I log in, sit back and let myself be absorbed into the world.

It doesn’t have the best graphics currently around but it does have something far better, and that is atmosphere. I adore the contrast of light and dark –  it’s spooky and the sound effects are superb. It’s actually the only MMO that I play with the sound on. I like having the music set just loud enough to be classed as background noise and running around Kingsmouth hearing all the groans and growls. It is heart in the throat type stuff, I just love it.

I wouldn’t say I am big on role-playing, but I do enjoy creating characters and playing them with a style that suits my little back story of them. Now that I am absorbed into the game, The Secret World allows me to be absorbed into my character. Outfits aren’t designated by gear or costumes – you can wear whatever you want.  My only disappointment is that the female clothes aren’t at all interesting and I don’t really like them. I only hope they design more outfits that suit all fashion tastes instead of the more obvious choices.

Another thing that helps me stay captivated is that we aren’t given a voice. I know it’s been some people’s biggest complaint but there is nothing more cringeworthy than creating your amazing character and then having the game assign them a voice that just doesn’t match. It’s painful having to play through a whole game and cut scenes with a voice that makes just makes you want to shudder.

Speaking of cut scenes, I really enjoy watching them in The Secret World. They use this time to really let the other character’s personalities come through. There is no talking heads or limited movement during these video breaks. Instead, characters use full body language, they move around, they stop and pause; they think and feel and they allow their individuality to shine.

Then there are the investigation missions that can only be completed by figuring out all the clues. The world is slowly opened up and you will discover that not everything is as it seems. The Secret World is filled with secrets that only make me want to play the game more so that I can learn. Oh and the twists! But I won’t tell you about any of those.

All of these things come together to really give you a living, breathing world. When playing The Secret World, I can’t help but be pulled in. If you let yourself go and just fall into the game then you are in for one awesome ride. It’s really intense, fun, challenging and scary. It will have you thinking, wondering, and pondering about everything you see and everyone you meet.

The Secret World isn’t perfect but it’s an experience and one I am glad to have never missed.

(Editor’s note: As you know I’ve raved on about TSW endlessly too – are you seeing a trend here? This is a very immersive game – why not give it a try? And no – I’m not being paid by Funcom)