Grinding to Valhalla

Interviewing the gamer with a thousand faces

Crookshankz

Posted by Randolph Carter on May 22, 2009

MMO community connection:

The Gaming Goob

Chapter 1: Introduction

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

Crookshankz

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

I started blogging about MMO’s by accident really. One of the SOE dev’s (Grimwell) posted on his blog a “hard core challenge” asking people to only allow your toon to die 7 times and then delete him. And, you had to blog about your adventures. I took up the challenge and lost interest in it, in roughly a month or so but, I kept the blogging. I found it a good way to kill time at work. I started at crookshankz.blogspot.com and ended up changing over to http://thegaminggoob.wordpress.com where you can find me now.

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

My only real theme is MMO’s. Mostly it is a diary of what I did the night before or what I plan to do in the future in an MMO world. Sometimes I will gripe about aspects of games that annoy me but, I’m not opinionated enough to do that regularly.

Where were you born? Where did you grow up?

Up until the 4th grade, I lived in Glenn, Michigan (close to Saugatuk). Then my family moved to Davenport, Florida and I lived there until my 20′s.

Where do you live now?

Deltona, 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

31-40

What do you do for a living?

My fancy title is a Network Operations Center Technician. Mostly I just answer the phone here and there, and kill time in a small, dark room with no windows.

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

I’m currently trying to reroll, to become a teacher.

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

  • I once tipped over my high chair as a baby and cracked my skull.
  • When I was 8 I wrote a full length Batman Comic Book
  • Spending most of my day on a phone makes me not enjoy built in voice chat in games.
  • I am horrible about cycling through hobbies.
  • I enjoy drawing, painting, play the guitar and ukulele and write. All very poorly.

Feel free to discuss any family you have here.

Once upon a time I was married to the Wicked Witch of the West. I got tired of waiting for a house to fall on her, so we divorced. Afterwards, I met my current, wonderful wife and have an awesome stepson (age 11). I feel I am truly blessed with the best family I could ask for.

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?

Pre 4th grade I was all about some baseball. I either played with my cousin who was quite a bit older or my dad. We had to use “ghost men” to stay on the bases for us. 4th-7th was 4 square at school and High School I could be found every day at the local basketball courts.

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

As a child? hmmm. I played video games back then quite a bit. I was an avid comic book reader, collected baseball, basketball cards. I’d also wrote and drew quite a bit.

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

I tried quite a few times to play D&D. Back in my High School though I had a hard time finding people to play with. So trying to play usually consisted of me and 1 other person and we spent the time just rolling random characters.

Did you read much as a child? If so, what did you like to read (books, comic books, etc?)

As a child I read quite a bit. Hardy Boys, Encyclopedia Brown and A Wrinkle In Time. I was also an avid comic book reader. (I was taught to read by Spiderman).

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 guess in an off way. Reading when I was younger taught me an appreciation of the Fantasy Genre. I read a lot now and they are pretty much all either Fantasy or Sci Fi. On the same note, all the games I play are either Fantasy or Sci Fi.

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

When I was very young, my uncle had the original Pong. He would let me play it when I would go over and visit. I must have been maybe 4 or 5ish and still vaguely remember it. I also remember being a bit upset when I was 6 because my Dad was willing to pay $275 for an Atari 2600 but wouldn’t buy me a $7 toy (my priorities were confused back then).

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

I use to play coin-op games like crazy. My dad use to work late night at a resort at Disney World. When I hit 15 or 16 he would get me into Disney and I would run around there until it closed. Then I would go over to his hotel and he would give me a roll of quarters. I’d play until he got off work. I did that once a week for a few months. Even when I was 20, and working at the local mall. I knew a guy who worked in the mall’s arcade and he would give me free games. So I’d go in there and play Street Fighter II during my lunch breaks.

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

If I can still remember playing Pong at pre-5, I would think that counts.

What gaming consoles have you owned in the past?

Atari 2600, Commodore 64 (if that counts), NES64, Game Cube and the Wii.

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

I when we first got our Commodore 64. We would go and buy Compute! Magazine (I think that was the name of it). And in these magazines you’d get pages of code for games to type in. You’d type it by hand, then go through and recheck it, save it too cassette tape and then execute the program. That was how we first started gaming on it. The process took days.

Chapter 3: Online

Were you ever exposed to MUDs?

My MUD experience is really limited to null. Early days I did play almost all the InfoCom text adventures. Zork, Planet Fall, ect, if those come close to counting.

What was your first MMO experience?

My wife worked on me quite a bit to give EQ a try. At the time, I played FPS’s and was afraid I’d get sucked into MMO’s. Wouldn’t you know it, I finally gave in to my wife (was there any doubt) and got sucked into MMO’s. If my /played is accurate that was early 05.

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

  • Everquest ~ 53 Monk, 53 Druid
  • Guild Wars ~ many 20 builds
  • Everquest 2 ~ 80 Shadow Knight, 80 Conj, 80 Troub
  • Wizard 101
  • Runes of Magic

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

Right now, I am MMO of choiceless. I’m just randomly playing various MMO’s waiting for something I’m actually intrested in.

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

I’ve spent a good chunk of my MMO time playing EQ2.

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

Guild Wars, and Everquest 2

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?

Uhhh….Star Wars: The Old Republic? Right now, I’m not that into any one particular MMO so that mean ole Loki can take all his MMO’s and just leave me a pile of money :)

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

The Old Republic has my geek DNA pulsing like crazy! Also, I really think it’s about time that 38 Studios starts giving up some info on the game they are making. 38 Studios has such an all star cast, and if they can’t make a kick butt MMO I will have to consider not gaming ever again (no pressure guys).

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

I think this posting was the closest thing to an anecdote I ever wrote. It’s fairly lengthy for this format but, if you get a chance, it will explain the goober in me.

Chapter 4: Preferences

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

I shudder to think at my peak time. Maybe 5-6 hours per day on my weekdays and 10-15 per day on my weekends at my peak. I try to justify that much time as both my wife and son game as well so, we were all playing together. No one was being neglected. Now, maybe 10-15 per week.

When during the week are your regular play times?

Friday – Monday’s usually 9:30ish pm – 11:00ish pm and Tues – Thursday on my days off when I can find the time or the interest.

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

Me being a shy person, I play alot with just my wife and I. Every now and then, I will join a guild that I click with most of the people in it.

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

Yes. That’s why you find me going back into EQ2 for instance. I love the people in my guild there and we resub for a month just so I can say hi to them. I have quite a few of them on my facebook and I’ll keep in touch that way or via emails here and there.

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?

Just depends on how into the game I am. When I was hardcore EQ2, I usually had my time spent out. Now I’ll log in with a generic goal but not really a game plan.

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

Right now I’m doing a Smorgasbord approach. I’m in between mmo’s just killing time until a game shows up that I’m actually interested in.

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

Here and there I will. The family gets into some Guitar Hero and Sims 3.

Are you something of an altoholic?

Huge, Huge, Huge. I never understand how people always play just one class without ever trying anything else. When I start playing an MMO, I’ll fill up my character slots with everything I may be interested in playing. And then just through playing them all I will start gravitating to what I actually like playing the most. I’m also big into matching Race, Class and name. If one of these things are off, I’ll have to remake the toon. (I’m just weird like that).

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)?

Not really. Sometimes I may listen to a podcast if I’m crafting. Usually though, I just game.

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

All the time. I’m surprised none of them have just told me to “Shut up, you’re rambling about non-sense”

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

I’m fairly no-nonsense. When I feel I’m gaming too much, I just game less.

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

I have tried but, usually I just go back to MMO’s in a matter of days.

Chapter 5: Blogging

When did you first start blogging?

As I stated I started crookshankz.blogspot.com when Grimwell posted his hard core challenge. Later I switched from blogger to wordpress and changed the name to thegaminggoob.wordpress.com. On hind site, the name kind of makes me feel like a goob but I’m think I’m pretty much gonna stick with it.

Why do you blog?

Because I simply don’t have enought time sinks.

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

Not really. When I game, I just write about it. When I don’t game, I don’t.

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

Nah. My blog is fairly laid back. When it feels like a grind I simply don’t blog.

By contrast, what do you find pleasurable about blogging?

I blog so I’ll talk about gaming less.

How many people offline know you blog or podcast?

The handful I actually talk to.

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

Figure out why you want to blog and what type of blog you want to write. Use that as your guide lines.

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

Your wife will pick on your misspelled words and poor grammer.

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

That time is definately coming soon.

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?

Rainbow Connection?

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