I am not a pandemic expert or a physician or anything more than a sixty-five year old grandma. Okay. I’m an unusual sixty-five year old grandma. I travel extensively, play on-line games, write stories, take tons of photographs of my travels and even my everyday life, draw and paint like crazy, and keep several journals all at the same time. There’s more about me, but what would be the fun of thinking you’ve got me all figured out after reading just a few sentences, eh?
MMORPGs – Online Gaming Options
I’ve always wanted to fly and I’ve found a way to get as close as possible to it. I play online games…MMORPGs. MMO stands for Massively Multiplayer Online and RPG stands for Role Playing Game. They are games you play online with other real people and you play a role. \\
Guildwars 2 (made by Arenanet)
In the above photograph I am a Guardian in Guildwars 2. My name is Renemy (my nickname is Ren, so it is a play on that). This is me.
This is me from the back. In Guildwars 2 I love “dressing” my characters in interesting clothing. To finish the look, I like to add some wings. There are many outfits characters can wear and you can change the colors on each piece. You can change your hair with hair make-over kits. You can change your entire look, as a matter of fact. You chose your weapons and can change the way those look as well.
People from all over the world play Guildwars 2. The above screenshot is of Blaze, from Australia.
This image is of LiLi, from Brazil. Another friend, Lydia, is from Holland. While we play, we wear headphones and are in an app called Discord so that we can talk together. That makes it more fun and we can talk about what we’re doing in the game…a dungeon, a fractal, PvP (Player vs Player), a part of the story quest, or just running around the map chopping trees, harvesting vegetables, or mining minerals…all to use in recipes or to build things.
Guildwars 2 has been around for about seven years. I’ve been playing for over six. I love the game. I belong to guilds (you can be in up to five guilds). They’re easy to find and join. Guild leaders advertise in the chat/text area of the game, which you can see all the time in the lower left corner of your computer screen while in the game. People love to chat. They chat about all sorts of things. It can be entertaining to just sit and read what they are chatting about. Sometimes, however, you’ll see someone post a message in chat about how their guild is a friendly group of people who enjoy playing the game together and if you’d like to be a part of that, to send a message…and they list the person you should contact. A few years ago I started my own guild. We go on adventures together. We help one another. There are quests and achievements to do in the game, if you like. Some you can do alone, but some are best (and more fun) done with friends…or strangers, if no friends are around at the time. Some parts of the game auto-join you to a team or you can bring your own friends for part or all of the team.
There’s something about being part of a team, going on adventures, that is like nothing else. While you’re there, you’re caught up in it, feeling like you’re really there. You and your team. You protect one another, advise one another. You fail or succeed as a team…and then you do it again. We overcome formidable foes and slay monsters. We hunt down dragons. We have a common goal; a mission. We’re a team. To make it even better, there are apps you can download so that you can actually talk with your team mates. I like Discord (mentioned earlier). We can all be in Discord, wearing our headphones or earbuds, talking and guiding the team through a dungeon or getting an achievement. There are story quests to go on. People in the game are glad to help. They all have experiences that can make the mission fun and successful.
Games Made by Blizzard
I also play some games made by a company called Blizzard. I currently play World of Warcraft, Hearthstone, and Heroes of the Storm. They make several other games, but these are my favorites. All are games where I play with and/or against opponents that are real people.
World of Warcraft (WoW)
World of Warcraft has been around for nearly two decades and is hugely successful. It’s similar to Guildwars 2 in that you are playing a fantasy character that you pick and customize, using swords, shields, maces, axes, armor to wear, adventures to go on.
Hearthstone – an animated 3D card game
Hearthstone is a card game of sorts. You design your deck of cards and when you play a card, it has animations that occur. I haven’t played it in a while, but this is the opening screen.
You can play Hearthstone against the computer or against other people. You can make friends in the game and play against them. Its a 1 vs 1 game. The characters in the game are from other Blizzard games. You will get to know the names…Malfurion, Muradin, LiLi, LiMing and many more if you play any of the Blizzard games. Heroes of the Storm is the same, using characters from the other games.
Heroes of the Storm
This is Lucio, who is a character from the Blizzard game called Overwatch. I don’t play Overwatch, but I love this character. He is a healer and that is the type of character I play the most. Lucio roller skates through the matches and uses music to do his healing. He keeps his team alive and healthy.
Chromie is one of my favorites, but there are many characters you can choose from, as you can see. They are all types of characters. Some are the tanks (players that lead the match and lead the team, able to take a lot of damage, because they are always right up front), ranged (like Chromie, fighting from a distance), Healers, Support (help protect other team mates), and Bruisers (do the most damage during the fights).
My character name is Ren. In Heroes of the Storm, you can play alone, to practice, in Try Mode. You can play in AI mode where either you are on a team of five and the other four are computer generated characters or where you are on a team of five where the other four are real people who are mostly learning the game or trying new characters or new builds.
You can play in Quick Match, where you are randomly assigned a team and play against another team of five people on a randomly assigned map. There are ranked matches and unranked matches. In ranked matches you work together as a team to decide who should play what role. The game comes with a built-in voice chat so, while wearing headphones, you can talk to your team. Its optional. There is also typed chat down in the lower left corner. You can turn it on or off, as you like.
Minecraft (made by Mojang)
There are other games I’ve played a bit, but there is really one more I want to mention. I have been playing it a lot lately. Its very popular – Minecraft. I play on a server, owned by a friend and downloaded it via Twitch (click on the mods tab at the top, and then Minecraft from the icons), but to get the game, you can also go directly to the link I mentioned a moment ago.
I didn’t like Minecraft at first. Seemed like a game for kids, I thought. But I was wrong. My gaming friends from other games also play it and we are able to play together. We wear the headphones and talk while we play. I love playing in CREATIVE mode versus SURVIVAL mode. Survival mode is where, before you can build a house, make armor or weaspons, you have to chop down trees and mine ores or stone. You have to find your own food. I play that mode sometimes, but mostly I play in creative mode. In there you can build the house and the materials are just in a big inventory, by category, for you to use as you want and need. I love building and designing things. I’ve made a rocket…
A tropical island with a village. I added lights to nearly every tree on the island to make it look welcoming and to keep “mobs” of hostile game-supplied creatures away from me and my villagers.
I made a desert oasis, which I later put under a dome, to protect it from hostile creatures and mobs, since I had villagers to protect.
Everything you see in all of the images are things that I made.
My two latest creations are a huge sphere that my gaming friends have turned into a world of its own.
The circle (kind of in the middle of the sphere) is where I made a sort of painting, using stained glass. My area inside the sphere is a hobbit type dwelling for myself and a village full of vendors, such as armorsmiths, toolsmiths, farmers, shepherds, etc.
I have fallen in love with Minecraft. My latest creation is a treehouse. My fellow gamers do challenges together to create things. That’s where the rocket also came from. The treehouse is the newest challenge.
I used my nature’s compass to find a redwood forest. I then located a group of trees that had branches or ledges where I put attach beams to support the different levels of the treehouse.
I really enjoy online gaming with friends, all of whom I’ve met over the years and who have become very good friends…from all over the world. I’ve even had the pleasure of meeting some of them during my travels. One of the most memorable times was my trip to Alberta, Canada, where I got to spend time with some guildies. We went go-cart racing, spent time at a virtual reality place, saw movies, went out to dinner, went to the county fair, and many more activities. Even though I’m sixty-five, I felt so alive. We laughed so much. It was really great fun watching “Aqua” and “George” race one another in the go-cart races. We were all in the race, but they were the most competetive. They would both go zooming by me (I was in last place, but enjoyed seeing the action in front of me) and they’d be looking over their shoulder at one another, looks of determination on their faces. Yeah, its a time of memories…and all because I started playing some online games.
Final Fantasy XIV
Granny is in her 80’s and has become so well known that the game has incorporated her character as a part of the game itself. Gamers can go and meet her character and hear stories from her. Granny streams as she, herself, plays the game. Its fun to watch her. You can see her playing and down in the corner is her as she talks you through the event she’s participating in. I love it. I don’t stream, but I’ve purchased the things I’d need to do so. Just haven’t gotten around to it. More comfortable on the other side of the camera.
Online gaming like the type I play can be played by any age. While you’re in a game, you feel like you’re really there. I have felt like such games were perfect for me, because I’m SO visually oriented. As an artist and writer I’m in love with the amazing graphics in these games. So much attention to detail by their designers. In Heroes of the Storm (HoTS), even though you’re running all around trying to get objectives with your team mates or defending others, you don’t have time to notice all the amazing little details. In one spot there is a little town off to the side, with a stage near the playing field. On that stage are thrones for the king and queen, who sit there and watch us play. Somewhere else a villager is shopping down a tree. The detail below shows villagers sitting on the wall or selling their wares outside a tent.
The games I’ve mentioned here are games that you do NOT have to master from the first moment. They are games that let you grow from a beginner player. The best part is that there are thousands of other people playing them, at all levels of experience, who are really glad to lend you a hand or answer questions. I have had to ask for help with very basic, simple things and people came forward to guide me through it or even showed up to do the task along side me.
Take your time learning the game. Enjoy it. Make friends. Discover a brand new kind of fun. Then one day you’ll find that YOU are the one stepping forward to help someone else who is in trouble or new to the game. YES!
You might even come across a little skeleton with a bow, riding a spider…Minecraft.
I don’t play the games non-stop, day after day. I have lots of other activities I’m interested in. I just wanted to share this part, as it has been very helpful to me over the past few months of the Covid-19 pandemic. It helps me feel less isolated. I look forward to spending time with friends. When I log into a game, there is almost always someone there who I can chat with and play the game with.
I hope you find a game that is just right for you. Happy gaming!