GWJ Conference Call Episode 210

Conference Call

Medal of Honor, Amnesia: The Dark Descent, WoW With The Wife, Otherworld, The Tao of Role Playing, A Wizard101 Interview, Your Emails and more!

This week Shawn, Julian and Lara talk about Otherworld, what roleplaying tells us about ourselves and more. We also have an interview with Fred Howard about Wizard101 after the credits!

To contact us, email [email protected]! Send us your thoughts on the show, pressing issues you want to talk about or whatever else is on your mind. You can even send a 30 second audio question or comment (MP3 format please) if you're so inclined. You can also submit a question or comment call in to our voicemail line at (612) 284-4563!

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Show credits

Music credits: 

Intro/Outtro Music - Ian Dorsch, Willowtree Audioworks

Soulsight - http://sgxmusic.com/ - 20:19
A Meal for a Whale - http://sgxmusic.com/ - 35:57

Comments

First post by a spammer. That's gotta sting.

nossid wrote:

First post by a spammer. That's gotta sting. :P

Hit it with a... Lightning Bolt!

So do the insanity effects in amnesia get repetitive? I seem to remember Eterenal Darkness avoided using the same effect too many times per play through - even though I know you all said this game is quite different, it's the closest thing I can compare it to.

A spammer and a furry.

I'll have to get my kids to listen to the interview. They love Wizard101.

"Tao of roleplaying" and hearing myself ask dumb questions? Awesome!

mrtomaytohead wrote:
nossid wrote:

First post by a spammer. That's gotta sting. :P

Hit it with a... Lightning Bolt!

And just like that...he was gone.

I enjoyed the discussion on roleplaying, especially Lara's mirror analogy. Ways to deepen self-awareness always interest me.

Sounds like Julian (and maybe Lara) have difficulty switching paradigms, and it took a weekend LARP to break them out of their mindsets. Sounds to me like a continuation of the long tradition of shocking individuals and cultures in an attempt to get them to step outside their usual preconceptions and reevaluate their lives.

LARP: the new avant garde.

LiquidMantis wrote:

A spammer and a furry.

I think this is the new "An Officer and a Gentleman".. maybe starring Richard Gere :p

Shawn - Amnesia - actually the crunchy sound when the character in the game is scared... that's supposed to sound like your teeth grinding.

Awesome game.

I really, really enjoyed the conversation on Role Playing. I've always thought it fascinating how I get into different games with different mentalities. When I'm playing a shooter, I don't give a second thought to killing everything that moves, shooting first, and asking questions never. But, whenever I play a RPG, I make some decisions about who this character I'm creating is and how I will play them. In fact, I rarely fall into the "What would I do in this situation?" line of thinking, and instead really ponder "What would this character do in this situation?" It's a very, very different game experience that way. I guess I'm just used to being me, so when I have an opportunity to play as someone else, it's more fun for me to do that. I mean, when else am I going to be a smart-ass who shoots first and asks questions never?

ThatGuy42 wrote:

I really, really enjoyed the conversation on Role Playing. I've always thought it fascinating how I get into different games with different mentalities. When I'm playing a shooter, I don't give a second thought to killing everything that moves, shooting first, and asking questions never. But, whenever I play a RPG, I make some decisions about who this character I'm creating is and how I will play them. In fact, I rarely fall into the "What would I do in this situation?" line of thinking, and instead really ponder "What would this character do in this situation?" It's a very, very different game experience that way. I guess I'm just used to being me, so when I have an opportunity to play as someone else, it's more fun for me to do that. I mean, when else am I going to be a smart-ass who shoots first and asks questions never? ;-)

I made this shift in how I RP about a decade ago, and it's really changed things for me. Some games got a lot better, others got a lot worse.

I really enjoyed the RPG discussion too. I was actually thinking about this the other day, though maybe not framed using the same language. I was noting that I can never, NEVER play a character that's against my nature. I can never take the dark path in a bioware games. I'm that conditioned to 'always do the right thing' that playing the a-hole isn't an option for me, it makes me too uncomfortable.

That realization, outside of the game, is very revealing. It's nice to know that stuff so I can start to play around it. I had decided that in my next RPG, I'm gonna be the jerk. I'm going to move past it and see where that goes.

RE: Shooters on PS3, there are a handfull of us who do still play MAG. If you have it, you should join us! I know a few of us should be on tonight, and I'm always up for it if I'm on PSN so drop me a message. It's a great game, and it just had a huge update that changed the way skills and equipment work, so it's a great time to come back if you've been away for a while.

I think my most affecting roleplaying experience in a video game was in the Tali loyalty quest in Mass Effect 2.

Spoiler:

I didn't have high enough Paragon or Renegade to just bull my way through the situation, and she kept telling me to lie about her father's culpability in the Geth experiments, but I was damned if I was going to let her take the fall for her stupid father's mistakes. "She'll thank me for this later," I found myself thinking. I just couldn't let myself believe that I was actually in a no-win situation. So I told the truth and Tali was cleared of charges but I failed to win her loyalty. Far from thanking me, she refused to speak to me about anything but business any more.

I realized that when I made that decision, I wasn't a step removed from the situation, thinking, "What would Shepherd do?" or even "What would I do in this situation?" I just DID what I would do in that situation and what in retrospect I often do in similar situations in real life, did what *I* thought was the best thing instead of respecting my friend's wishes. I was really bummed with the outcome, not because I didn't get a gameplay bonus-- I was playing on Easy and knew I'd have no trouble beating the game regardless. I was bummed solely because of the way it affected the story.

I considered loading a previous save so I could try it the other way but ultimately decided, no, it would kind of take some of the power away from this roleplaying experience if I didn't live with the consequences. After that, I stopped playing the game as "my character" and started playing it more as myself, and I think both I and my Shepherd learned something.

Interesting to hear comments on both sides of the "Me/Character" divide!

I'm generally one who finds it very hard to distinguish myself from my characters. I can't help choosing the path that kills the most people in the least amount of time.

When I sit down for pencil and paper RPGs as a player, I come at it from that character's perspective. I try to respond to situations in character, and I've found myself trying to create very different characters every time I come to the table for a new system or game.

Electronic RPGs like BG, Fallout, Mass Effect, etc. are where I tend to revert to what the "heroic me" would do in that situation. Only occasionally do I force myself into adopting a differing persona. I think this is because most RPGs provide binary alignment paths, and as was mentioned on the Conf Call, sometimes being such a heavy handed prick makes me uncomfortable.

This topic made me think back to my decision to be a Navy Corpsman with the Marines, but I won't bore you with the details here. Suffice to say, the "heroic me" is much more Paragon Shepherd than Ultra Dick Renegade Shepherd. But sometimes, Ultra Dick Shepherd can be fun to play too.

The discussion on roleplaying was fascinating. It made me think about how the roleplaying mechanic changes depending on the medium.

Take for instance, MMOs.

The role one creates in these is rarely roleplaying in the tabletop, larp, or even crpg sense. It's a kind of gestalt of actions you take in game, your ability to type, the kind of friendships forged and the amount of time you have on your hands. Still it is an assumed role, because so often what you project in game is a tangent of who you are in the real world.

I'm immediately brought to mind of a tank we had in my WOW guild back in the Burning Crusade days. This guy always felt so heroic to me. No, he didn't play a hero in a strict roleplaying sense, but he did act heroically... constantly. He was the front line warrior. He was helpful. He knew what he was doing. He was always on, so you could always count on him.

In actuality, he was an out-of-work construction worker in New Zealand living on disability, in constant fear of not having enough money to continue his WOW subscription. That didn't take away from the role he had in game, and I'm certain he took real pleasure in that. Still, it's interesting that there was such a split between real and fiction-- and that that split was because of his real life situation.

Chairman_Mao wrote:

I'm generally one who finds it very hard to distinguish myself from my characters. I can't help choosing the path that kills the most people in the least amount of time.

You're one of my favorite GWJers.

ClockworkHouse wrote:
Chairman_Mao wrote:

I'm generally one who finds it very hard to distinguish myself from my characters. I can't help choosing the path that kills the most people in the least amount of time.

You're one of my favorite GWJers.

Clockwork collects all of his favourite Chairman_Mao quotes in a little red book.

I don't remember singing a song from Buffy but I also can't remember all the songs I sang. I do remember the game "winning" song, though.

Gravey wrote:
ClockworkHouse wrote:
Chairman_Mao wrote:

I'm generally one who finds it very hard to distinguish myself from my characters. I can't help choosing the path that kills the most people in the least amount of time.

You're one of my favorite GWJers.

Clockwork collects all of his favourite Chairman_Mao quotes in a little red book.

I'm going to run for POTUS someday. Somehow I think my existence here will come back to haunt me.

Chairman_Mao wrote:

I'm going to run for POTUS someday. Somehow I think my existence here will come back to haunt me.

I hate that acronym. I blame Shia of Beef for that though.

MrDeVil909 wrote:
Chairman_Mao wrote:

I'm going to run for POTUS someday. Somehow I think my existence here will come back to haunt me.

I hate that acronym. I blame Shia of Beef for that though.

It's older than he is. But tell me, how do you feel about "SCotUS"?

Hollowheel wrote:

The discussion on roleplaying was fascinating. It made me think about how the roleplaying mechanic changes depending on the medium.

Take for instance, MMOs.

The role one creates in these is rarely roleplaying in the tabletop, larp, or even crpg sense. It's a kind of gestalt of actions you take in game, your ability to type, the kind of friendships forged and the amount of time you have on your hands. Still it is an assumed role, because so often what you project in game is a tangent of who you are in the real world.

A problem I face in role-playing video games is that I can have thought up a deep and interesting character, but the choices won't always allow for my motivations, instead hewing to the simplistic "good v. evil" spectrum. RP with a living game master tends to avoid that problem.

I'm so glad you mentioned Heavy Rain, though the scene that got me was

Spoiler:

the one where you're in the apartment, and being asked to cut off your finger

.. the controls brought things around so that I was completely in character, in a way that I don't think any other video game has been able to pull off for me.

carljetter wrote:

I really enjoyed the RPG discussion too. I was actually thinking about this the other day, though maybe not framed using the same language. I was noting that I can never, NEVER play a character that's against my nature. I can never take the dark path in a bioware games. I'm that conditioned to 'always do the right thing' that playing the a-hole isn't an option for me, it makes me too uncomfortable.

That realization, outside of the game, is very revealing. It's nice to know that stuff so I can start to play around it. I had decided that in my next RPG, I'm gonna be the jerk. I'm going to move past it and see where that goes.

Careful what you do though - I'm the same way, and am never comfortable with the "dark path" choices, but decided to try it once with KOTOR. I made it through the initial tutorial, since the dark side options were merely mouthing off and didn't mean anything. But the first time I actually shook down the homeless and money actually went in my inventory - the first time I actually benefitted from doing "wrong"; I simply couldn't play anymore. I quit that game, deleted the character and still have never started the game up anymore. It's just "corrupted" now in my mind.

Mousetrap wrote:

Careful what you do though - I'm the same way, and am never comfortable with the "dark path" choices, but decided to try it once with KOTOR. I made it through the initial tutorial, since the dark side options were merely mouthing off and didn't mean anything. But the first time I actually shook down the homeless and money actually went in my inventory - the first time I actually benefitted from doing "wrong"; I simply couldn't play anymore. I quit that game, deleted the character and still have never started the game up anymore. It's just "corrupted" now in my mind.

IMAGE(http://imgur.com/8zDlS.jpg)

Tanglebones wrote:
Mousetrap wrote:

Careful what you do though - I'm the same way, and am never comfortable with the "dark path" choices, but decided to try it once with KOTOR. I made it through the initial tutorial, since the dark side options were merely mouthing off and didn't mean anything. But the first time I actually shook down the homeless and money actually went in my inventory - the first time I actually benefitted from doing "wrong"; I simply couldn't play anymore. I quit that game, deleted the character and still have never started the game up anymore. It's just "corrupted" now in my mind.

IMAGE(http://imgur.com/8zDlS.jpg)

I guess one of the advantages of religion is I would be able to exorcise (sp?) the game. Since I am an atheist; my only option is to admit I'm just crazy.

Mousetrap wrote:

I guess one of the advantages of religion is I would be able to exorcise (sp?) the game.

Wow. I ... no. That's not how it works.

Tanglebones wrote:

I'm so glad you mentioned Heavy Rain, though the scene that got me was ... .

Yeah, Heavy Rain is full of emotionally difficult moments like that. Not quite Super Columbine difficult, but up there.

If you want to try playing evil, it's hard to beat Super Columbine Massacre RPG.

wordsmythe wrote:

A problem I face in role-playing video games is that I can have thought up a deep and interesting character, but the choices won't always allow for my motivations, instead hewing to the simplistic "good v. evil" spectrum. RP with a living game master tends to avoid that problem.

Agreed, the kind of decisions offered up in crpgs are limited far too much to don the hat of a character in the same way as you would at a tabletop. They end up feeling more like Choose Your Own Adventure novel choices, rather than extensions of your character.

Programming the kind of choice to bridge the gap seems impossible-- at least until someone clever devises an emergent story algorithm that doesn't play out like a William S. Burroughs novel.

carljetter wrote:

I really enjoyed the RPG discussion too. I was actually thinking about this the other day, though maybe not framed using the same language. I was noting that I can never, NEVER play a character that's against my nature. I can never take the dark path in a bioware games. I'm that conditioned to 'always do the right thing' that playing the a-hole isn't an option for me, it makes me too uncomfortable.

I don't feel bad when I take the dark path in a video game (which I've only tried a few times), but I tend not to have as much fun. The dilemmas along the "good" route just tend to be more interesting because you often have to balance reward, versus morality. Typically, the dark route is more entertaining in only an adolescent sense (watch me blow up this town!).