I have seven alts in Guild Wars 2.

The Seven Deadly Sins

Joseph Skyrim created Talkback Challenge #4 for the 2015 Newbie Blogger Initiative based on the seven deadly sins. I’ve decided to use my seven alt characters in Guild Wars 2 as props for my responses. They represent the “sins” of being unfaithful to a main character. I mean that playfully, of course. Sometimes alts do feel like a guilty pleasure, though, don’t they?

The deadly sin of lust.

Lust – Do you enjoy games more if they have scantily clad and “interestingly proportioned” avatars? Do you like playing as one of these avatars? Why or why not?

I actively dislike such avatars and won’t play a game that prominently features buxom vixen NPCs in noticeable quantities. If it’s available to players I simply live and let live; for my part, the Ancestral Outfit I use on my characters in GW2 features cleavage that I could do without. I look to FF14’s character creator as a model for sensible limits on humanoid female proportions: balloon breasts do not exist and the skinniest available legs are still somewhat thick. I prefer to play more moderately proportioned heroines whom I would resemble had my mother’s uterus not malfunctioned. Oiled-up bunnies in lingerie armor are side-story material. An abundance of sexpots gives me the impression that we’re either in a Barbie factory or a house of debauchery; I wouldn’t want to spend prolonged periods in either of those milieux in the role of an adventurer.

The deadly sin of gluttony.

Gluttony – Do you have a game backlog of unfinished games but still buy new games regardless? Why or why not?

I don’t identify as a gamer in part because I’m not interested in playing numerous, varied titles. I obsess over a few games and patronize them faithfully. They, in addition to one or two new games per year, receive all of my rather moderately appropriated entertainment funds. I had made a resolution at the beginning of the year to play more games – this clearly isn’t my forté so there’s no point in trying to pretend.

The deadly sin of greed.

Greed – Do you enjoy handouts in a game? Have you ever opted to NOT do an action / in game activity because the rewards were lacking? Why or why not?

Items given to me for no reason that aren’t purely cosmetic are usually discarded. I’ve been known to cancel drive-by buffs handed out by well-meaning players. Handouts must make subjective sense given the context of the challenge – a buff in a group encounter is quite reasonable, whereas a particular game’s solo content may not necessitate external aid. It’s a personal determination I make on a case by case basis. I despise the worship of philosophical absolutism, so questions like “Would you take this handout in this situation?” are acerbic to my palate.

The completionist in me might decide to tick off the items of a laundry list if I really like the game. In that case, bonus prizes are irrelevant. If said line items are attached to a reward that makes me more powerful or does something for me that I like, I’ve already completed it.

The deadly sin of sloth.

Sloth – Do you ever leech or AFK in a party? Do you discourage others from attempting things that you feel are difficult? Have you ever seen someone that needed help, but decided not to help them? Why or why not?

I never leech consciously. I don’t recall the last time I did it. In the heyday of my youth among the orcs and elves we would occasionally see someone appear in the starting cave of Alterac Valley completely naked. They were convicted AFK honor farmers who had either been using a program to help them accrue points or had simply tried to auto-follow the nearest person. You’d recognize these bots in battlegrounds because they’d continually rotate to face your character while running at you. Many made a sport out of trying to kill them – clever bots would refuse to follow you into the deep sea or they’d jump repeatedly to prevent death due to oxygen loss.

It’s a shame, really, because I believe that players who leech, cheat, or hack should be not only publicly launched off a bridge but also stripped of their worldly possessions. I’d be willing to go a step further and subject them to humiliations galore by replacing their beloved character model with a limbless, misshapen blob that lacks the power of sight – but their ears they keep and I’ll tell you why: so that every shriek of every child at seeing their hideousness will be theirs to cherish. Every babe that weeps at their approach, every woman who cries out, “Dear God! What is that thing?!” will echo in their perfect ears.

I don’t discourage others from attempting difficult things as long as I’m not dependent on their performance. I’ve been informed by others, for example, that having the healer kite the successive waves of adds around on the first boss of Cutter’s Cry in FF14 is “the way it’s done,” implying that prioritizing and burning down kill targets when each wave appears is a suboptimal and therefore undesirable way of completing that fight. The kiting method is more difficult if the healer isn’t familiar with it; I’m willing to have a go or two at it and would offer restrained encouragement. If that method were to fail twice, I’d want to try the “incorrect” method rather than having the tank initiate a vote-kick against the healer, prompting me to also depart. *cough*

When I see someone who needs help and I don’t help them it’s for one of several reasons: I’m not in a generous mood, I’ve played so much that I’ve become numb, the game’s culture or mechanics encourage more cutthroat behavior, etc. I’ll help someone in danger of dying for whom the Coffin Express would be a marked inconvenience, otherwise I don’t typically feel like playing the role of Superhero at Large. Members of my guild always receive help if I’m able.

The deadly sin of wrath.

Wrath – Ever get angry at other players and yell (or TYPE IN CAPS) at them? Have you ever been so angry as to stalk a person around in game and / or in the forums? Why or why not?

I capitalize words but not sentences. For example, last week in FF14 I was tanking a dungeon. The Monk body-pulled a boss. This is dangerous because players have 15 seconds to cross the encounter area’s purple threshold line once the boss has been pulled or they will be locked out of the encounter. If your healer gets locked out, you are probably looking at a wipe. I typed “Do NOT do that” in party chat. They apologized multiple times to which I replied, “:)” because I was too pissed off to use complete sentences.

I get angry very quickly and too often. I do my best to control it, especially around people I like. Stalking is something I’ve almost never done. The last instance I recall was probably ten or twelve years ago when I started flaming someone in the Puzzle Pirates forums: they had folded in a poker match and it was down to me and one other player. They were out of the hand but still publicly opined via the chat window that they thought I was bluffing. My opponent called my bluff and I lost a substantial pot. I raged against the peanut gallery perpetrator in the forums until I ran out of steam. And by that I mean I got banned for using too much profanity.

These days I’d be more inclined to just go somewhere else or log out altogether.

The deadly sin of envy.

Envy – Ever felt jealous of players who seem to be able to complete content you can’t? Do you ever suspect they are hacking or otherwise cheating? Why or why not?

Players who have invested time in a grind or in “wipefests” make me covetous in a wistful sense: I wish I had the stamina and motivation to replicate their feats. If it’s primarily about skill, however, I feel bad that I’m not able to perform or compete at their level. Players who can complete fiendishly difficult jumping puzzles in Guild Wars 2 have my respect as do the individuals who are able to reproduce some of their tool-assisted NES speedrun tricks in real time. I’ve resigned myself to the opinion that I will probably never be as good as they are even if I were to invest a heck of a lot of time and effort; my envy eventually fades. It’s when it’s in my face that jealousy flares up again. When I’m crushed by an experienced WvW roamer on my Mesmer, for example, I’m so embarrassed and jealous that I wonder whether I should even bother trying.

Are they hacking or cheating? The people I encounter usually aren’t or at least don’t appear to be. If they are, refer to my comments under “sloth.”

The deadly sin of pride.

Pride – Are you one of those people that demands grouping with other “elite” players? Do you kick players out of your team who you feel are underperforming? Why or why not?

I have no problem partying with “elite” players if they’re not assholes. If I’m not grouped up with people who are at least trying I tend to make a hasty departure. Ultimately, I want people to be happy playing their preferred role the way they want to play it. I understand and respect that people have different motivations for playing games. They may be playing because they like the story but are perhaps not so good at dodging obvious attacks, they may be engaging in group content because it’s necessary to get the best equipment, or they may be playing for fun on the weekend and aren’t interested in the theorizing and analysis required in order to realize their best personal performance. These are only a few possibilities.

I personally play games looking for things that make me feel feelings: primarily combat and usually in a role with high visibility. I am interested in becoming very good at whatever it is that I’m doing and I make no apologies for not wanting to be the absolute best. In my case, improvement happens intuitively and organically. It is not my primary motivator. Yes, I devote time to learning and mastery. What I don’t do is beat myself up about not wanting to be among the top 5% of Mesmers, Paladins, or Stalkers.

Correspondingly, I don’t get on other players’ cases about not being perfect or even good at what they’re doing. As long as I get the impression that they’re trying, then that’s good enough for me, even if we do wipe a couple of times because someone is learning or didn’t dance well enough. If I sense, however, that they do not care about their performance, I am quick to leave if the objective can be done at another time without serious penalty. If they are performing well enough but their conduct is egregious or their disconnections or diaper duties are a noticeable hindrance to the group’s progress, I’ll start the player replacement process if I’m in a leadership position, otherwise I’ll defer to someone else.

I’ve been on the receiving end of a dungeon vote-kick – as a healer, no less – after spending five minutes changing my twin daughters’ diapers. I didn’t have time to type anything because it required immediate attention (i.e. would have found its way to the carpet). When I came back, I attempted to apologize to the unmoving trio of frustrated players staring at me. The tank said “smh” in group chat and I was booted out of the dungeon. I was distraught, but I understand. Unless among friends, an unannounced absence of more than a few minutes or an announced absence of more than five to seven or so minutes is my personal threshold for starting the replacement process. I do not seek to exempt myself from my own guidelines and I certainly cannot claim to be without sin.


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