Friday, August 23, 2013

MMO Anthropology Livestream After Action Report, 2013 August 17-18

This week saw the MMORPG 2D brawler Elsword Online some attention—even though co-host Arienne Keith was waylaid with illness—although the players didn’t find the game very satisfactory. Then Minecraft brought the usual team back including Fyrewal from Star Trek Online.

Elsword, Friday 2013 August 17th After Action Report

Amerist, Nelson, and Rockandroll went in to experience the game Elsword Online—a 2D brawler (dubbed 2.5D due to a slight depth to some of the environments). Arienne Keith sat out of this session due to illness.

Everyone played new-ish characters with Amerist playing an Eve (an android who uses drones to fight), Nelson used Chung (as Nelson described, a “gender confused” cannon weilder; really a very bishōnen [美少年] boy with a big gun) and Rockandroll played Rena (an elvish archer/ranger character wielding a bow.)

The game is fairly straightforward in giving members quests from NPCs who hang out in towns—which act as social centers where players gather. In fact, the towns were quite crowded but the troop didn’t stay there for long. Amerist immediately drew the team into a dungeon to fight through a side-scrolling brawl.

The entire night went this way with dungeons being the mainstay of the game. These instances were selected from a “map” of the area and when moved into those the team of three often got a fourth member. While the new members were often competent—and fairly good at the game—none of them actually interacted or communicated beyond brawling. Although very little was done to attempt to engage them.

As is common to many games, it’s common for players to solo the world without communicating. Often this researcher would attempt to interact with them by speaking in chat—but with games such as Elsword the game itself works against this sort of interaction. The reason is that when in a dungeon instance people can be thrust into attention-grabbing combat immediately and have their hands full with brawling, which uses the keyboard, and as a result may not notice the message or may not be able to reply until there’s a pause.

The stream went on for 3 hours, consisted of almost 8 dungeons and three different areas of the game, two cities (gathering places.) The crew also examined a daily dungeon that involved an ever-increasing difficulty of fighting boss monsters room-to-room that seemed to be a way for players to receive higher tier gear and rank themselves up outside of the main storyline.

Minecraft, Friday 2013 August 18th After Action Report

The crew once again joined together at the chasm location now known as “The Devil’s Crack.”

Amid the joiners were William McCormick (ComputerPimp), Amerist, Nelson Williams, Arienne Keith, HV4C, TJ. (Others to be determined, a smaller number of other joiners came with but their names are currently not in the notes.)

Long-time viewer Fyrewall finally broke down and bought Minecraft to come and experience the world. As a result, the team took him along to see some of the sights including Arienne Keith’s “Funkytown” playing room that uses redstone to play music. Fyrewal ran into an issue with the game where when struck cats return to their owner when attempting to feed Arienne’s cats watermelon (which they do not eat.)

Fyrewal was given a bit of a grand tour of the world as the team knows it, including the Nether, and further tracks were laid to connect Devil’s Crack to the rest of the world. This included some showing off of structures in and around the spawn point.

The crew ended the night by showing off “The Golden Dong” (a giant phallus-like structure built by Kazz, Arienne Keith, and TJ) that also includes a fireworks launcher in the tip and a giant cat that hovers overhead. It’s often the site of many fireworks displays in the world due to its unique – and humorously vulgar – quality.

The players also introduced Fyrewal to the concept of the”Stripplers,” an inside joke in a cultural context for the small community that involves the evolution of the concept of a “stripping Hitler” that TJ and Kazz slowly built up into its own mythology. This includes “The Golden Strippler,” which is a Minecraft franchise building often built by Kazz and TJ to house a stipper pole. The “Hitler stripper” part is accompanied often by a Minecraft skin that has a Hitler moustache/hair as well as undergarments so that the Strippler can “stripple” or remove bits of armor to reveal the skin underneath.

The community joke is maintained primarily by Kazz and TJ as well as others introduced to the concept as a sort of ongoing meme.

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