A cuppa tea with @AlternativeChat

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I had the honor to pose my own 10 years 10 questions to the Godmother of Faffing, for my first of possibly more guest interview blog posts.  I hope you all enjoy the insights she was willing to share.  And if you have no idea who the she is then you my friend are doing the interwebs wrong and should really give her writing a good read, from blog postings on World of Warcraft, to her own personal writing at http://www.alternative-blog.net/

Thank you for taking time to be my first guest blogger, I know that you have a considerable amount of things you do every day, it was much appreciated.

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So I have been following your blog for about a year now, excellent writing by the way. You have said you write for yourself, did you ever think the blog would ever become as big as it has with people linking posts to other more main stream sites?

Thank you, always lovely when someone throws you a compliment. All content creators need to encourage more people to do this: anyone you read or watch likes to know how well they’re doing. Everyone seems to have become an expert at criticism and forgets to be positive too.

I genuinely never though things would become as popular as they now are. I celebrate six years of Blogging on February 2nd and the journey continues to surprise and delight me. I’ve spent the last year learning how Twitter actually works, grasping the importance of referral sites and metrics, and at the same time Warcraft’s become more and more interesting to explore and discuss in a social and intellectual format. I’ve gotten a lot more confident too I think in what I’m prepared to say and do, and the launch of my ‘Personal’ Site as a fully fledged ‘alternative’ to the gaming seems to have gone down really well. I’m extremely pleased with the way things have worked out so far.

I hope I can achieve some personal milestones this year too. I think you always need to be trying to reach a little further than you’re comfortable with, so that you don’t get stuck in a rut.

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You and I are very close in age and have seen so much advancement in technology and gaming. Do you think technology has outpaced societal norms? For example the phrase anonymity behind a computer screen for the bad behavior of some.

It is a hard one to call. What I think is more the case is that people don’t grasp that technology really does allow things to happen instantaneously, and that learning not to instantly react but to consider the consequences of your actions is more important. When you compare this to the glacial pace many ‘real world’ concepts still adopt, it is easy to see how people can get confused. I also think the biggest single issue technology has thrown up is assimilation: there is just so much data now on so many different things, whereas in the past there would have been maybe one person (your doctor) who had the answer to your health problems or a family member you’d confide in for personal queries. When I realise how naive I was as a kid about my sexuality, for instance, and now how vast and confusing the choices are for my daughter to grasp and consider, it can get a bit concerning.

I think parents need to realise that teaching their children isn’t just tying shoes or explaining the Facts of Life any more. There are a vast range of subjects that kids have access to that we’d never have seen at their age, for instance, and issues discussed that perhaps would never have been considered as appropriate. Those that hide behind screens aren’t just teenage boys, after all, a high profile Twitter troll who was convicted in the UK was a woman in her early 20’s. Anyone’s capable of using anonymity to rage, and it isn’t technology’s fault this has happened. Technology simply provides these people with a platform on which to act.

Everything in life, in the end, is balance and moderation, which sounds horribly ‘New Aged’, but is actually basically true.

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We have both been video game players for around 40 years, what do you envision gaming will look like 40 years from now, and will you still be playing World of Warcraft. Because there simply must be an achievement for playing for 50 years, right?

I think this next five years is going to be absolutely crucial in how progress is made, and what trends we see becoming prominent, especially in the wake of the Gamer Gate ‘controversy’ last year. There are MASSIVE numbers of disenfranchised minority groups, all of whom will tell you that representation should be a right and not an option for them, and they are absolutely right. It has taken forty years for women to get the point they are in gaming and it still isn’t enough, and will continue to not be sufficient until it is apparent REAL diversity exists in this Industry and many others.

As to the future, I’m writing a long-form piece which involves a view of things panning out at the end of the century, and I’ve not included gaming at all in it, mostly because I’ve not taken the time to consider the possibilities at length. Needless to say, things like Virtual Reality I think will become far more prominent in other sectors of the leisure and recreation industries. Let’s face it, once the Adult Entertainment people get their hands on it, well… there are lots of ways that could and will go that I suspect people will find far more addictive and repetitive than any computer game 😀

Locking people away alone in rooms isn’t the future, I think. Mobile gaming, competitive gaming and shudder even e-sports seem to be the more likely avenues for the next ten years. Getting people outside is actually far more important than tying them to a console, that much is abundantly apparent.

Oh, and if I can survive that long, you absolutely bet I’ll still be gaming in some form in fourty years 😀

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You were a guild leader for many years, if you could go back to day one and give yourself advice what would it be, and do you have any insight or advice to offer someone thinking of just tossing a guild together, because its simple to run one, right?

Yeah, not a problem at all. ^^

I’d tell myself not to take the job, simple as that. I think the best thing I’ve ever done for myself in a decade is walk away from being a GM. As to what I’d offer as advice? Be yourself, be prepared to compromise on everything and nothing, and most importantly understand you will end up not being able to keep everyone happy. If that is something that you can live with, carry on.

I could, if I chose, write a book about what’s happened to me in the time I was running a Guild, but it occurs to me that actually I’m probably as much to blame for a lot of the Drama that transpired because of how I dealt with it to begin with. The key I think to understanding people is to do just that, actually get to know them. Once you do that, the issues that you have aren’t just about management, and this is where it becomes less of a job and more a part of your life. I realised last year that actually, I just wanted to play the game more and have drama less.

I think the best bit of advice I’d give to anyone starting a Guild is to get somebody else to do it 😛

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You have said your family all plays. Do you find it to be more of a family activity rather than sitting in front of the TV watching a show or a movie.

We do all those things too, and it can (as is the case with any other entertainment) be a group activity. Gaming is our life here: youngest loves Minecraft atm, eldest is mucking around a lot with indy games on Steam. There’s an X Box, PS4 and a WiiU too in the house, plus numerous handhelds. As we like to say, the family that games together stays together 😀

I try not to talk too much about the family as a rule, I do get the sense sometimes I’m a bit of an embarrassment to them 😛 I also think that this is my ‘job’ and dragging them into it is a tad unfair. My husband jokes about how I mention him but he has become an important yardstick for a type of player I think Blizzard don’t hear much from but whom they should really listen to more.

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You have played WoW for 10 years and have seen all of the changes, do you have a few changes you approve of as quality of gaming changes, and what ones do you think they may have fallen short of the mark on.

This question had me stuck for responses, to the point where I actually couldn’t finish this interview because I got hung up on answering it! I don’t want to sit here and put down a list of what I think Blizzard have done wrong, because I’m the kind of person who thinks that rehashing the mistakes of the past is NEVER a good idea. I’m actually a bit concerned currently at how Blizzard is choosing to communicate with the player base: the 10 year Statue and the removal of ‘free’ Dev communication from Twitter in the last few months make little sense to me in terms of ‘considered’ responses to issues.

I think Blizzard has suffered slightly from the shift in prominence from design ‘personalities’ to the more ‘uniform’ front it appears to be presenting. As to what I’d consider good and bad game changes, I’d be here all week just discussing what I think has been done right and wrong over the last decade. The fact I’m still playing a game that I’ve been forced to relearn every time an Expansion is made should be testament enough to the fact Blizzard are doing summat right.

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Let’s talk Garrisons for a moment. You were involved with them right from the start when beta was open to only a few. Obviously there are a lot of changes that have happened, will happen soon, is there any one thing that you wish they had left in, besides building customizations, and what kind of feature would you really like to see, not so much a quality of life change but a top thing on your wish list.

The way you say that makes it sound like I was designing them 😛 I think, if you want a great indicator of what I think is right and wrong with the entire system currently I’d have to direct you to the latest episode of Extended Maintenance I recorded on the 17th and which is available via Rho’s Realm Maintenance site. That pretty much covers everything I’m currently thinking on the topic.

Also, I speak far better than I write on the subjects I am particularly passionate about 😛

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The blog recently went through some major changes, obviously it is not a simple couple of clicks and there you go, do you have any advice for anyone considering making their own web site?

Planning is everything, it really is. If you know what you want, it really helps too, and there are lots of fabulous places where you can learn and pick up stuff from the Internets. The new site is, as it transpires, very similar to the old one, just with some key tweaks here and there. I did learn some new coding tweaks however, and I’m quite pleased with the overall look and feel of it when linked into my Personal site, as the two are designed now to run side by side.

If all else fails, you can pay someone else to do it, but the sense of satisfaction I’ve gained by doing all of this myself is considerable.

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I recently got a Bow from a salvage bag with Spirit on it which got a few chuckles from guild chat, Hunter Healer FTW, Obviously a Hunter Weapon, etc. In your years of playing what crazy drop have you seen that really made you laugh.

And this is where I’d have to go back to my Website and Twitter because that’s the kind of detail about the Game that I never remember! I too have gotten that bow, but in all the years I’ve played my memory of specifics has become not nearly as precise as perhaps it should.

It’s a kopout, but there’s almost six years of my Blog to read. You’re bound to find summat there 😛

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And lastly, this @Marathal_2_0 person on Twitter, what are your thoughts. Is he a made up person hiding behind a fake persona or is he real.

I think, like most people on Twitter, he’s there for a very good reason. The question then becomes what exactly that reason is… ^^

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