Grinding to Valhalla

Interviewing the gamer with a thousand faces

Bonedead

Posted by Randolph Carter on May 11, 2009

MMO community connection:

Bonedead’s Adventures

Chapter 1: Introduction

What is your name (your online persona/alter-ego, what have you)?

Bonedead, which I made up when I first started gaming online in 7th grade. Before Bonedead I was ImA FaTBoI and |2ump |2ider but didn’t use either name very long.

What is your connection to the gaming/blogging/podcasting community (your chance to plug yourself here)?

I write a blog named Bonedead’s Adventures (clever huh?). I’ve almost been doing it for 2 years now which makes me feel pretty good, especially since I’ve finally got at least 1 regular reader! Hah

Please take a minute and describe what your blog/podcast is about.

ME! Haha. It’s pretty much just a diary of what I do in games, what I think about games, what I think about the blogosphere, and all that good stuff. I tried to make it have a reason a few times, but that just doesn’t work for me.

Where were you born? Where did you grow up?

I was born in Bradenton, Florida. I lived there until I was about 7 and then moved to Franklin, North Carolina. I lived there until I was 12 or so and moved back to Bradenton. Around 16 or so I moved one city over to Sarasota, Florida and I’ve been here ever since.

Where do you live now?

Sarasota, Florida

Your level (age) is somewhere in the range of (pick one): 10-20, 21-30, 31-40, 41-50, 51-60, 61-70, 71-80, 81-90

21-30, I am 22 years young/old.

What do you do for a living?

I am a bookkeeper at a CPA office. I also do monthly/quarterly payroll and unemployment for companies. I’ve recently learned a little bit about depreciation and soon will be learning to do simple 1040 returns. Exciting!

If you could reroll your career, what would you be?

I’m pretty satisfied right now. I’m a fan of math to an extent, after a certain point in progression it began to seem pointless to me. Bookkeeping to me is like putting together a big puzzle, there’s always a new bent piece every month.

List five random things most people don’t know about you.

  • I work for my dad.
  • It’s embarassing to say that.
  • I haven’t done much college wise. (See no. 2)
  • I pretty much like every MMO.
  • I am always being sarcastic, because I think I’m hilarious.

Feel free to discuss any family you have here.

I am engaged to a wonderful lady. We’ve been together for a little over 3 years and we’ve lived together for most of that time.

Chapter 2: Origins

What kind of games (if any) did you play as a child before you got into video gaming? Did you play with family, friends or was it more of a solo activity?

Well back then my games were called sports. I played Baseball, Soccer, Basketball, and neighborhood street hockey. The first video game I played that I remember was on the Atari. We had some tank game, some cowboy game, and Pitfall. After that was a regular Nintendo with the good ol golden case Zelda. Then my parents bought some learning console called Socrates. It was the first game I had with wireless controllers. Then we got a Super Nintendo and my whole world changed. I played with my older brother and my dad. There was a time when I had a Sega Genesis in my room and my brother had the Super Nintendo in his room. That’s when I became a fan of Beastmaster, Golden Axe, Fifa Soccer, Megaman Soccer, etc. Mario Kart was the first game I picked out on my own and fell in love with (still do love me some Mario Kart).

What other hobbies and/or activities did you have as a child (sports, music, etc)?

I always answer a question in the question before. I started with Baseball. I remember this one time while playing 3rd base some kid came up to bat and the adults started acting weird like he was going to ruin our day and all the parents of the other team were like, yelling the kids name. Well he slammed it straight to me and I jumped and stretched more than I know and caught his ball. Pretty much everyone started roaring and it made me feel pretty good. When I played soccer I was pretty durn good. I scored on a kick off once by toeing it down to the goal and one of the defenders tried to knee it and bounced it over his goalies head heh. I was on some local team in North Carolina in the 12-14 age range. We were beating everyone with scores ranging from 5-0 to 12-0. We got moved up into the 14-16 league and still won the majority of our games.

Were you ever exposed to pen and paper role playing games? What was that experience like?

Only a few times with one of my old middle school/high school friends. He introduced me to Magic The Gathering and also to Ultima Online. Once he was showing me how to make my character in D&D I was pretty much hooked. It was just me and him most of the time, but it was a fun game. Sometimes it felt more like me just trying to be right by explaining why what I’m saying is right and him getting mad that I’m beating his game but that made it more fun to be honest.

Did you read much as a child? If so, what did you like to read (books, comic books, etc?) Please list some favorite authors, titles, etc.

I read a lot when I was in school (that wasn’t high school). I started thanks to Pizza Hut (or the Velveteen Rabbit) and their Book-It program which awarded you a free personal pan pizza every 5 books or something like that. Then there was Accelerated Reader where they assigned points for books read. Being the competitive type that I am I began sorting the list of books by the points they were worth. That’s when I discovered The Hobbit. I also read pretty much every Goosebump book, pretty much every Boxcar Children book, and a few random books like one on Michael Jordan. Even some on the Judicial System and Law in general (I’m pretty sure they were made with kids in mind).

Would you say that any of these games or books had an effect on your later appreciation of computer gaming and ultimately MMOs? Please explain.

I will always have a soft spot for fun racing games (that aren’t going for realism) like Trackmania and even Free Realms’ racing jobs. I don’t think the books really had an affect on my appreciation towards computer gaming and/or MMOs, maybe The Hobbit, but I still do not own LotRO. The sports, however, definitely affected me. I’m very competitive when it comes to computer games/MMOs.

How were you fist introduced to video games? How old were you? What was the platform?

We had an Atari when I was 3-5 I believe. I remember playing it a lot with my brother. Of course there was Pong. My favorites were the tank game, the cowboy game (used to play that on IRL on the couch with my brother), and of course Pitfall.

Did you ever play coin-op games at the arcade? What was that experience like?

Around the same time we had the Atari we also had a Pink Panther pinball machine. On some weekends my parents would drop me and my brother of at this arcade place. We’d be there for 3-4 hours before they picked us back up and it was always a fight to make us leave. The only game I really remember from there (besides like the Simpsons games and fighting games) was the Aerosmith game where you shoot CDs out of guns.

What was the first video game you can remember playing that really made an impression on you? Please explain.

The first computer game/multiplayer experience I had was with my brother over my dad’s work lan. We were playing Doom on Co-Op. I’d played this game a few times before solo and I was young and I really would get scared. I remember in the beginning there is a pitch black room you have to navigate through while hearing crazy pigs breathing all around you. As soon as I could bring my big brother along, it didn’t seem so bad.

What gaming consoles have you owned in the past?

Atari, Socrates, Nintendo, SNES, Genesis, Gameboy, 64, Playstation. That was it for being a family and having consoles. Since then I’ve bought myself a Wii and hardly use it ever. Still need a nunchuck and Mario Kart to even consider playing it. It is a good party game though (sports/wii play).

Feel free to share a story related to your gaming experience as a child.

I pretty much traded in sports for computer games. So when I found the Quake 2 Paintball community that had clans, IRC, and competition it opened my eyes. I played a lot, tried to get good, and honestly became half decent. I don’t think I was a member of any of the bigger longer standing clans, but I do remember having a few matches and not always losing. It was Counter-Strike that really opened the competitive gaming world to me though. I pretty much raised myself on the internet in the game Counter-Strike. I was in CAL-M before there was a CAL-P and CAL-IM. I was also in I think IGL with team XZ (lizard, inferno, names no one knows). Basically I’ve played since beta 7 and thus have a 6 digit steam id (which is low, even lower than some are aware it could possibly be, because not everyone understands what the steam id numbers mean). Anyways, at the Pinnacle of my CS times I was playing fun maps with CAL-I players, mainly Hide n Seek with TSG, DiE, and I think some U5 players. All of those clans have placed very high at CPL (which is pretty much world wide). Some people I knew locally and was in a clan with at one time became lucky enough to get a spot in the CPL (due to the real winning team being too young) and they finished I think in 19th place, which is pretty amazing imo. It feels like I’ve been striving for similar peaks since then, though competition in MMOs has much less to do with skill than it does time invested (which makes me not win in my head).

Chapter 3: Online

Were you ever exposed to MUDs?

Not in the “good ol days” but recently (last two or so years) I played some game called Grendel which I assumed was pretty much like what they used to be. I killed a few things, got chased by something I couldn’t beat, and the next day I forgot about it.

What was your first MMO experience?

My first MMO experience was on a free server for UO. My friend introduced me to it. It was an RP server and you had to apply with an RP story about your character. I had my friend write mine because I thought it was dumb. To be honest I don’t remember anything from that server, but my next one, Athlore, I will always remember. This was when I was in around 8th grade, so I’d say about, 1999/2000.

If possible, list all the MMOs you’ve played extensively.

UO. I was never a Xx GM mfker but I did use bugs to my advantage a lot. Mainly to get phat lewt. I GMed tinkering because there was a bug where you could create copper keys without any materials, so I left that running all night. Whoopee.

DAoC was probably next. I’ve played it on and off since release. I have I think 3 level 50s. A Kobold Warrior, a Dwarf Skald, a Minotaur Mauler, and I think a 49 Lurikeen Ranger, might be elf though. It took me forever to finally reach max level, and this is pretty much the only game I’ve done it in.

AO was around this time (in my head at least). I played around release. it was buggy as crap, laggy as balls, but they had live events for a lile while and that was just plain cool. I don’t think I made it passed level 15. Since I have gone back and now have a 50-60 Martial Artist and probably 4 guys in their 30s-40s.

Then there was SWG. I loved SWG the way it was, but I like it now too. I remember using some more bugs to my advantage kekeke. If you had Bleed shot (or something like that) as a Pistoleer, you could shoot the big slow bunnies and let them get down to 1% HP, and whatever weapon you used to finish them off with would get the full amount of Combat XP. This didn’t help very much, especially since I liked Pistoleer more than anything else, but it made me feel special heh. I have two level 90 Structures Traders now. I think I have 3-4 level 50 combat professions as well.

WoW blew my mind. I’ve never pregamed so hard in my life. I leveled 3-4 Gnome/Dwarf Rogues to level 15/20 in the Open Beta just to get a good groove down for launch day so I could get ahead of the pack. At this point in my life I was really bad at sticking with it and making it to max level. I still have not reached max level in WoW (highest level is 56). I am currently playing a free server though, with UO rules, and 10x exp. I have an 80 Rogue, 71 Warlock, 60+ Shaman, and a 60+ Priest. Apparently all I needed was 10x exp.

From there I went to EQ2. I didn’t get one character over level 25, I think I’ve only left the Commonlands once. But I did enjoy playing it when the playing was good, it just seemed there was always a point when you had to start grouping. MEH I SAY! I think during my last stint I bought the fairy expansion.

After that I believe I went on a free to play spree. I played Knight Online pretty heavily at one time. At the time they were hosted/published/owned (whatever) by a Malaysian company. This company also had 3 or 4 other MMOs that I played a little.

Then came Vanguard. I loved the open beta and the first week or so. That is until I kept crashing and “chunking”. I remember losing a whole level once while “chunking”. But I loved the PvP server, especially as a Bard.

Warhammer. Got to my late 20s on a Witch Elf. Was specced to proc a lot and I felt pretty powerful. But I don’t stick with games apparently, so I stopped.

Darkfall Online. I was really into this game. I joined a guild, I spent 5+ hours a day playing, and I neglected my fiance a whole lot while getting drunk with my guildies on vent and taking orders from a woman who was my guild leader. Fiance wasn’t a big fan of the whole, guild leader, 5+ hours a day thing, and I fully understand that. So I gave it up, cold turkey (unless Counter-Strike makes it, err, warm turkey?)!

What is your current MMO of choice, or perhaps, what are your current MMOs of choice?

Right now I am having a blast with this UOWoW.com free server. I can make a character and get him to level 50 by the end of the day. I don’t see how that could ever be a bad thing.

Which MMO have you spent the most time playing? How long would you say that has been?

It is probably a tie between WoW and DAoC. My Xfire has me at 747 WoW hours, but I’ve had Xfire turned off the past week or so and I’ve probably added at least 50 hours to it since I had a nice 4 day weekend. DAoC has 598 Catacombs and 326 Labyrinth of the Minotaur. So I guess DAoC.

Have you reached level cap in any MMO? If so, which ones?

DAoC (but only after Catacombs, which increased leveling speed dramatically), SWG (but only as a Trader, twice, which can be grinded easily with use of macros), and technically WoW (but only with 10x exp on a free server).

Loki taps you on the shoulder one day to inform you that you have fallen victim to one of his elaborate pranks. The world you’ve been inhabiting of countless MMOs to choose from and play has merely been a dream. In reality only one MMO exists. After laughing at you for a bit he decides to take pity on you and allows you to choose which MMO will remain. Which one would you choose and why?

Need more parameters! If I choose UO will the graphics be considered butt ugly? Because if not, I would say UO. Give the genre a Tabula Rasa, if you will. If it is perceived to look like bawls then I guess I’d have to say WoW, just because the market would still be huge.

Are there any MMOs currently in development that you are particularly interested in? Please explain.

Nope. Maybe Star Trek because the new movie kicked sooo much arse. But I learned not to get my hopes up on MMOs a little while ago. So screw em, if it releases and it looks okay and sounds okay (via reading the features) and there’s an open beta then I’ll give it a shot. If there’s no open beta and no free trial and nobody I know is going crazy over it, then I’m not touching it, and I don’t know many MMO players who could even possibly go crazy over it.

Feel free to share an interesting or amusing anecdote related to your MMO gaming experience.

I used to log into free UO shards with the default admin account/password. Which at the time was %Administrator/%Administrator. My friend who introduced me to UO told me this (as he ran a local private 5-10 person server which I created a couple items for). So we would both do it and use our downloaded GM tools to buff ourselves up and then walk around town ruining peoples’ days. Ahh, the good ol days.

Chapter 4: Preferences

At your peak, how much time per week would you say you spent gaming? How about now?

My peak was probably only a week long, but I remember getting above 80 hours a week on my Xfire once.

When during the week are your regular play times?

It depends on if my fiance wants to do anything (like leave the cave). If she does and I can see myself sacrificing a year of my life due to the sun’s damaging rays, I don’t get to play that day. If she is fine with not doing things (Huzzah!) then I play from when I get home until I go to bed. Sometimes I’ll get burned out an hour before 10 (when we try to go to be) and see what she is doing. Ideally weekends are uninterrupted game playin time, but every now and then it’s go outside and lose more years of my life.

Generally speaking, are you more of a social creature in MMOs (grouping to quest, joining guilds, etc.) or something of a lone wolf?

Lone wolf all day long. My problem is that I do what I want to do, I get 10 quests, figure out what order I want to do them in, and go. If I absolutely have to group for a quest I’ll either abandon it or if another player is near the quest location when I arrive I may group with him until we complete the quest, say thanks, and gtfo of the group. I hate when I end up grouping with people who play like me, but are stupid kids who think now I’m their personal slave. I hate when I group with someone and they act like my slave, I don’t want to drag some stranger around while I do my thing. I take small breaks somewhat frequently, people don’t like that. Oh, I almost forgot to mention that I hate people who are bad at doing their job, and after many failed attempts at grouping I now label everyone as bad at their class. This way if I lose, I know it is my fault, and I can live with that.

Have you made any lasting friendships through your MMO experience? Please explain.

I guess you could say that. I’ve hung out at PKer.org since 2003 and we went from having a lot of usual members to maybe 6-10 people who sometimes come by and post something. But the ones who are still there I would consider friends. I met one in real life when I went on vacation and had a blast.

Before logging into a game, do you already have a course of action planned out in your head, or do you just sort of do whatever you feel like once in game?

Sometimes I have a plan of action but it is usually extremely vague. When I was leveling Structures Traders in SWG (have 2 level 90s) I would log in knowing exactly what I was going to be doing. It is a good feeling knowing what you’re going to do. I’m playing LotRO right now and I pretty much never know what I’m going to do. However, today I instructed my fiance (who has the day off) to download abc files and get them to play ingame properly. So when I log in (tomorrow as tonight is wine night) I’ll be rushing to the Prancing Pony to play a bunch of crap for people. I plan on “griefing” many people with the Benny Hill song as they quest about.

When playing MMOs do you tend to just play one at a time or do you take more of the smorgasbord approach?

Multiple MMOs never works out with me. I’ll forget about one completely and forget to cancel the recurring subscription and then damn. I try and keep it to 1 MMO and as always, CounterStrike.

Do you tend to supplement your MMO gaming with other PC, console or tabletop games?

CounterStrike. I could play Hello Kitty online all damn day as long as I could still get my CS fix.

Are you something of an altoholic?

I currently have a level 20 Champion, a 19 Rune-keeper, two pre-10 alts, and a monster character. But yes, oh hell yes, am I ever an altoholic. My WAR server select screen is ridiculous. Probably 5-6 servers each with anywhere from 2-8 or so characters. I’d guess I have at least 20 WAR characters. DAoC, I’ve created at least 40.

Do you find yourself multitasking while gaming (perhaps watching TV, talking on the phone, out of game instant messaging, playing another game, or even listening to a podcast)?

I used to listen to one of the early WAR podcasts while playing, but then they stopped making the podcast. I did it with Yivvits and Mr Bubbles (right?) in SWG. I’ll talk on the phone if I’m playing the MMO with that person. That is about it though, no TV, no other games, no IMing.

Do you find yourself having much MMO discussion off-line, perhaps with friends or family?

I find it is the only thing I ever want to talk about when I’m sober and around friends. I don’t have any other hobbies really so it is either MMOs or discussing the radio shows I listen to on my drive to/from work.

Have you ever felt that you game too much? If so, how did you cope with that?

Yes. Well I’ve had my breaks. When I moved a while ago I went like a whole two months without internet. That’s right, who wants to touch me?

Since you started playing MMOs, have you ever taken a break from the genre? If so, please explain.

I’ve tried. It was probably recently (within the last few years). All of my options were just the same thing. I’d played them all until I reached my dead end (leveling taking too long) and all that was left for me was to go back and replay them. I’ve just begun to understand (read: accept) that the levels take a long time for a reason. I read a good quote on a blog today about how you hit your head against the wall slowly breaking it down and what keeps you going is knowing that there is something good beyond that wall. End game being the something good. I’d be glad if I started playing more end games in the future.

Chapter 5: Blogging

When did you first start blogging?

August 28, 2007 I wrote my first gaming related blog post about crafting in SWG. Since then I have revisited the subject probably 20 times and would not be surprised if I’ve said the same things multiple times. I’ve been a member of PKer.org since 2003, we tried to turn it into something a few times but nothing ever came of it, nowadays the last few members are almost all admins because we have to donate to keep it alive. I’ve tried to branch out a few times but never really try hard enough. I’d like to just be a rambling asshat in a video but I’ve yet to just throw that out there.

Why do you blog?

I’d love to answer this by saying I want to help people or store my thoughts or some shit, but honestly, I wanted people to know me. I wanted to dive into the MMO community and give my 2 cents and I was pretty sure 2 cents had never been given the same as as I gave mine. If you can’t tell I’m about halfway over that, I realize that my ideas aren’t as unique as I once believed, but I still hope for some sort of recognition for, I don’t know, talking about butthole looseness as it pertains to total levels achieved across all MMOs. Someday…

One of the things I’ve come to enjoy most from my blog is seeing visitors arriving from search engines. Recently I’ve had quite a few people looking for information on Dyna Camp bosses in Anarchy Online. When I was looking for this information, it wasn’t right there when I looked for it, so I wrote a big ass post about it and I guess for the people following in my AO footsteps the info is now right there, right when they look for it. I like that, I could be that guy. Only problem is I’d have to start caring about it enough to not just play games but to write down guides and check facts and shit like that, which is sounding kind of iffy. I’d be more motivated if I searched for something and couldn’t find it.

Do you have a schedule or some sort of routine you try and follow when blogging?

I’m pretty friggin random to be honest. I’m on and off while also being hit and miss. I’m on topic but I’ll be out of order. One day I’ll be talking about how we should be nicer to people and the next week I’m yelling at kids for being fuckin stupid. I guess my main guidelines for myself that I sometimes stray from but always try to return to are to say fuck and shit a lot and also make myself laugh. Ya shit fucker.

Is there some grind involved in blogging? If so, what is it and how do you cope with it?

For me there is only when I’m trying too hard. I read Syncaine and Ixo’s questions today and one of them mentioned grind as a good thing, like in MMOs. I never thought grinds could be considered good. I thought the whole reason it was called a grind was because it sucked and you didn’t want to do it. So using my definition, yeah, when I care too much about the numbers instead of the content then it becomes a grind. It also happens when I care too much about the content, because I’ll shoot every idea I have down because it’s just not good enough!

By contrast, what do you find pleasurable about blogging/podcasting?

Comments, visits, more than 1 page view per visit, being linked, and being searched for and knowing that the person found what they were looking for.

How many people offline know you blog or podcast?

Most of the people I know.

What advice would you give someone who wanted to try their hand at blogging or podcasting?

Do better than me.

What is something you know now that you wish you had known when you first started?

You’re not going to be one of the few ranters who gets invited to work for a game company.

Can you picture a future where you will hang up your keyboard and no longer blog?

Of course I can. It will probably happen right after I quit smoking weed and seriously start taking 10 minute walks towards getting my shit together. lol

At your funeral, what song(s) would you have played as your corpse is set alight and cast out to sea on a funeral barge?

COME FROM THE LAND OF THE ICE AND SNOW

/kittyvikings

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