Dang Brooke, you can write. I was hooked to your posting.
I was addicted to Everquest, Dark Ages of Camelot, and the such for about 5
years. I enjoyed both the killer and the achiever role. Mainly I played
multiple characters using 2-3 computers (SO2R / SO3R ???) at any time
because one computer (SO1R) was too boring as I leveled up, although it did
quench my thirst for a while as I learned the ropes.
There were not many other competitors who were better than I was. I
generally played a prominent role on my server and led my real life friends,
who played on my server, to many areas in the game that they would have
probably not gotten to without my help. There were areas of the game that
someone would not have gotten certain things unless they came to me in game
or on Ebay as I dominated that particular facet of the game. All of this of
course came at a cost to my personal and professional achievement... hence I
mentioned that I was addicted.
I have since learned to appreciate ham radio contesting again because there
is indeed a beginning and end to each contest. I can practice during the off
times, but it's not always flowing 24/7 like my old online computer games.
Your mention of flow is what makes me so interested in ham radio contesting
(I really enjoy the flow of great rate for my current skill level), general
aviation (especially IFR work where the flow can be intense), and firearms
training / competition. Each of these costs a lot more to do than paying for
a subscription and a computer. I personally find the three mentioned above
to improve my skill set in my chosen profession. The online gaming was so
immersing that it distracted me to the point of often being without enough
sleep on a daily basis.
Thanks for your posting as it indeed shows an excellent number of parallel
examples between ham radio contesting and online gaming.
Tim / N6WIN.
On Tue, Feb 15, 2011 at 5:29 AM, Brooke Allen <firstname.lastname@example.org>wrote:
> This is a response to K7GO's private comments on my on-line contesting
> (you might begin by reading his words at the bottom).
> I agree with almost everything you are saying, which means I need to be
> clearer in stating my mission:
> I am *not *trying to convince young people that ham radio should compete
> their attentions with MMORPGs. Others might wish that, but I agree with you
> - it is not a credible objective.
> What's more, it is ridiculous to draw parallels where they do not exist -
> radio contests are not ROLE PLAYING games, nor are there 3-D in the virtual
> sense - only the real one. But they are massively multi-player, and they
> on-line in every sense except the strictest modern interpretation of the
> term. (BTW, contesting is a MMOG, not MMORPG)
> My goal is to talk to my fellow contesters.
> Games that pitch players in battle are but a small corner of the on-line
> gaming world. One of the most successful games ever is FarmVille with more
> than 81 million active users, and 31 million daily users (year-old stats)
> battles, no fights, just cooperation in what amounts to laborious tasks -
> plowing, managing crops, etc. As one friend called it, "poke with cows."
> The term "epic" means "*very *imposing or impressive," and "surpassing the
> ordinary." A Joan Baez concert may be entertaining, but Woodstock was epic.
> A soldier running 26 miles to deliver a message is an interesting
> footnote. 43,660 people finishing the New York Marathon is epic. Doing
> urban planning exercises in a 1980s version of SimCity might be
> entertaining, but 1.2% of the world's population tending to FarmVille crops
> that don't exist is epic. Working a new one is cool, CQWW is epic.
> The newbie experience is quite different from the elder player - this
> applies to newbie contesters and gamers alike. When my sons first showed me
> World of Warcraft, I thought it was about killing wolves and taking their
> loot - and eventually you might graduate to killing other players.
> Nothing was farther from the truth.
> The purpose of the battles was to improve your skills, and the loot was for
> buying armor and the like. Killing other players is cruel, and of interest
> to the 1% of players who roughly correspond to the sociopaths in the
> population. As I watched my sons progress, they leveled up their characters
> to the point where they could participated in raiding parties that required
> the incredibly coordinated efforts of dozens of players, each with their
> specialized skills, honed over hundreds and thousands of hours. Millions of
> people were doing this simultaneously - my sons knew they were immersed in
> something of epic proportions, and eventually I saw it too. (BTW, "elder"
> does not mean old.)
> Of Bartle's four gamer types (look it up), "killers" are the rarest.
> "Achievers: win with the cooperation of others (not at their expense),
> "socializers" relish that cooperation, and "explorers" love to discover new
> things - but don't need to win. Who among contesters is a "killer?" I
> daresay few; some of us (like me) are "achievers," most casual ops and
> members of contesting clubs and multi-op efforts are socializers, and those
> of us who advance the technology are explorers. And the battles between
> YCCC, and PVRC are as epic as they are friendly. Contesting is like WoW,
> DOOM or its modern variants.
> Who among serious contesters hasn't had an adrenalin rush when bagging a
> multiplier (or working just about anything a continent away on 160)? But
> adrenalin plays a small role in serious game play - it is mostly for
> hooking the newbie.
> Flow is the main thing - and yet most people don't even know what it is.
> When my wife watched my sons play WoW for 8 hours at a clip, she thought
> they were crazy, but I knew exactly what was going on, for I have sat down
> to play CQWW for 48 hours without sleep. According to Mihály
> Csíkszentmihályi, "flow is completely focused motivation. It is a
> single-minded immersion and represents perhaps the ultimate in harnessing
> the emotions in the service of performing and learning." (from wikipedia).
> Athletes call "flow" being "in the zone." Once you experience it, it can be
> the most addictive feeling around. It is the memory of hours of flow, and
> the anticipation of more to come, that has me working 100 feet in the air
> repairing my antennas, traveling to far-off lands, constantly leveling up
> skills. It isn't about winning, it is about the hallmark of flow: "a
> of spontaneous joy, even rapture, while performing a task." Flow only comes
> when a difficult challenge meets high skill in an all-consuming activity.
> When you are in flow, you can ignore everything else. A friend owes a
> 10-year-old record in CQWW to the fact he had an impacted tooth that was
> excruciatingly painful - but only when he stopped operating.
> 99% of the people who fill out my logs in the contest may think I'm crazy,
> but the 1% at the top of the leader boards know *exactly *what I'm talking
> about (although they might not have heard these words before). Think about
> it; something is motivating people to go to the extreme lengths they do,
> believe me, it ain't about adrenalin or winning a piece of paper. Maybe
> DXing is about that, but contesting for the elder players is about flow.
> My mission is to inspire awe in our hobby - not among young gamers, but
> among you all. Learn how to express this, and you will be able to recruit
> new people. Don't do it, and you'll lose to the competition for their
> and minds.
> I was driving to a science conference from New York to Boston with a
> colleague and his teenage son. When I told him there was an HF transciever
> in the car, he said he had Skype on his cell phone and we could call
> anywhere in the world, and we could talk to people we knew, not random
> He didn't understand. So I told him.
> "Using a little box of electronics, and about the same power as just one of
> the 11 light bulbs in my kitchen, we are going to send electrons up and
> a piece of wire wrapped around 7 feet of fiberglass on the roof of our car.
> Invisible light would boil off this wire, and spread out all over the
> bouncing off the upper atmosphere, the ground, the atmosphere, the ground,
> perhaps many times, and most of these photons would be absorbed or diluted
> as the spread out over the globe. Yet enough might land on another tiny
> piece of wire somewhere on the planet and induce electrons to move back an
> forth there too. Another person who shares my interest might stumble across
> those electrons and decide to reciprocate. And we will talk to each other."
> His jaw dropped.
> Our car trip wasn't long enough. My friend and his son could not believe
> their luck to experience such a miracle as we swapped photons with people
> Italy, Russia, Brazil, and perhaps a dozen other countries.
> I have to go now to pack for my trip to TI5N to operate the ARRL DX
> Like dozens of others, I will get in an aluminum tube, and travel 7 miles
> above the earth at five sevenths of the speed of sound to a land thousands
> of miles away to sit down at the home of just one of my million brothers
> sisters to push electrons around his crop of aluminum. I will exchange
> with thousands of you, but my goal is not to win a piece of paper that says
> "1st place, 15 meter single band" but to experience flow and the awe of it
> all. There is no way you can tell me this isn't going to be an epic
> experience for me. And if it isn't going to be one for you, all I can say
> that I hope you level up some day.
> It wasn't until we began creating virtual worlds for a multi-billion dollar
> industry that we really began to study in earnest what makes for a
> compelling experience. The goal of my article is to discuss what we can
> learn from these designers of worlds so as to more fully appreciate our
> sport, and to improve upon it. For many, I also hope to rekindle the awe
> experienced in your youth, and if you do that (and hang around with young
> people), you'll find that it rubs off.
> Brooke N2BA (soon to be /TI)
> PS. Come on guys - start telling me your personal epic contesting
> experiences. I know you have them - cough 'em up.
> On Tue, Feb 15, 2011 at 5:58 AM, Lew Paceley <email@example.com> wrote:
> > Hi Brooke,
> > Personally I find your proposed article a bit of a stretch. Online MMORG
> > 3D gaming is really nothing like ham radio. The backbone of all good
> > is not an epic story line (which provides context but little more) but
> > rather Player versus Player combat. Essentially, the "contest" runs 24x7
> > and your preparation and skills determine whether you "live" or "die"
> > (virtually). There's a strong element of adrenaline involved in 3D
> > that as a noobie contester I haven't found mirrored in any ham radio
> > activity. Yes, there are other activities that many games support but
> > activities are typically centered around player versus NPC (Non-Personel
> > Characters, ie. computer driven robots) or activities designed to
> > in-game money.
> > Another unique characteristic of 3D gaming is that it is highly
> > and very visual which again has no direct equivalent in ham radio. While
> > I'm not sure I understand the goal of the article I can tell you that
> > to convince young people that ham radio has a lot of the characteristics
> > a 3D video game is not a credible objective IMO.
> > My $.02.
> > 73,
> > *Lew*
> > K7GO
> > On Mon, Feb 14, 2011 at 4:30 AM, Brooke Allen <firstname.lastname@example.org
> >> Interestingly, I just queried QST for an article I'm entitling "Ham
> >> Contests - The Original MMOG" (MMOG=Massively Multi-Player Online Game).
> >> They are interested, and I hope to get this done in the next few months
> >> (work and contest commitments permitting).
> >> This article is still being formed, so I want your feedback.
> >> I will discuss many of the attributes of game design, evident in good
> >> contests:
> >> - Easy to play, hard to master.
> >> - Flow (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flow_(psychology)
> >> - Leveling up: Visitor>Novice>Regular>Master>Elder Player
> >> - Badges and Leader boards (certificates, trophies, Top-10 listings,
> >> - Collections (DXCC, WAS, etc.)
> >> - Aesthetics and emotional engagement: Surprise (JT1 calls over the
> >> satisfaction, pride, gratitude (QSL cards), etc.
> >> - Community, administration, policing, and chat boards (like this one)
> >> - Social style: Playing alone with others (single op),
> >> - Bartles player types (Achievers, socializers, explorers, killers)
> >> http://www.mud.co.uk/richard/hcds.htm
> >> ---
> >> I will make suggestions for improvement that are informed by what the
> >> design community has learned:
> >> Onboarding - the process of getting someone started (what if there was a
> >> frequency on each band where volunteers help onboard casual operators
> >> would otherwise find their operating weekend destroyed by a contest),
> >> tutorials, etc.
> >> The Engagement Loop - adding missions, quests, unlocks, in-game
> >> custom leader boards, progress bars, etc.
> >> ---
> >> In her book *Reality is Broken*, Jane McGonigal makes the case that,
> >> compared to modern well-engineered games, the real world is not very
> >> engaging. She explains that we need to bring game mechanics to how we
> >> educate and motivate ourselves to learn and work. My favorite quote from
> >> the
> >> book: Noel Coward said, "Work is more fun than fun."
> >> The best games take players on an Epic Journey, and the best MMOGs are
> >> an
> >> Epic Scale.
> >> The difference between ham radio and on-line contests is that our game
> >> played (for the most part) in the real world.
> >> Ham radio has played a central role in my personal Epic Journey:
> >> - By the time I'd graduated from high school, I'd talked to perhaps
> >> people world-wide, and exchanged postcards with thousands of them, and
> >> was knowledgeable and curious about the world's people.
> >> - I knew of the invasion of Czechoslovakia hours before the news broke.
> >> - I have operated from about 30 countries (and I leave Wednesday to work
> >> ARRL CW from Costa Rica, a new one for me).
> >> - After Papa Doc died, I made 7 trips into Haiti bringing in
> >> amps, and antennas to re-equip numerous hams, and I was part of the
> >> contest operation from Haiti in 22 years.
> >> - While living in Japan, I relayed news of the Gorbachev Coup to
> >> hams.
> >> - During the Nicaraguan earthquake, I helped man a key station for a
> >> providing relief communications.
> >> - Ham radio has even informed my career as a securities trader -
> >> low-pass filters help us make thousands of trading decisions a day,
> >> implemented through software that looks suspiciously like a contest
> >> logging
> >> program, except that ticker symbols don't have numbers in them.
> >> - Even the expense of winning a contest has been a positive, motivating
> >> to levels of career success I would not have otherwise achieved.
> >> ---
> >> Some times I feel that many of us fail to see our lives as a Truly Epic
> >> Journey, don't see how *awesome *our hobby is, and do not take full
> >> advantage by allowing it to shape our lives (present company excluded).
> >> We can learn a lot from gamers. And we can teach a lot too.
> >> Would everyone please send me your ideas for my article, particular your
> >> own
> >> Epic Journey stories.
> >> 73,
> >> Brooke, N2BA
> >> On Sun, Feb 13, 2011 at 2:15 PM, David Gilbert <
> >> >wrote:
> >> >
> >> > With all due respect, Steve, I suspect that you have never actually
> >> > played any modern online multiplayer games. It is a far richer
> >> > experience than any ham radio contest, and I can't imagine any online
> >> > gamer being persuaded to join us based upon some sort of legacy
> >> > It would be like expecting an audiophile to spend any serious time
> >> > serious dollars) to listen to old wire recordings.
> >> >
> >> > I really enjoy radiosport (in fact, it is probably the only operating
> >> > aspect of ham radio that still has significant appeal for me), but I
> >> > enjoy it because it has a history for me and it's a focused event ....
> >> > kind of like seeing how many free throws I can make in a row on the
> >> > basketball court.
> >> >
> >> > Online multiplayer gaming, though, can be incredibly complex with
> >> > literally several dozens of different player types that each have
> >> > strengths and weaknesses versus one another that sometimes change
> >> > depending upon the environment. The permutations are truly
> >> > It often takes years for most gamers to get proficient at these
> >> > and it also takes lots of study ... there are several online wiki's
> >> > describe aspects of any particular game in great detail and also
> >> > key player strategies. How do I know all this? My wife and son are
> >> > both avid gamers, and I can tell you right now that anyone who claims
> >> > today's youngsters are not drawn to ham radio "because they aren't
> >> > willing to work for it" is ridiculously off base and simply kidding
> >> > themselves.
> >> >
> >> > Consider also the impressive audio and video implementations in most
> >> > online games, the ability for group voice interactivity via free
> >> > applications like Ventrilo, the occasionally clever background game
> >> > scenarios, and minimal hardware/software cost. The overall comparison
> >> > to competitive ham radio is not favorable in the least. It is
> >> > possible to be eminently competitive in online gaming with a $500
> >> > computer (which most people have anyway), a decent internet connection
> >> > (which most people have anyway), and maybe $250 per year "operating
> >> > cost" (online subscriptions, game upgrades, etc). That's cheaper than
> >> > many folks pay for their cell phone hardware and service, and it's a
> >> > heck of a lot cheaper than what I've invested to be a semi-competent
> >> > contester.
> >> >
> >> > Maybe someone can prove me wrong in a few isolated recruiting
> >> > but I'm pretty sure it won't be very many.
> >> >
> >> > 73,
> >> > Dave AB7E
> >> >
> >> >
> >> >
> >> >
> >> > On 2/11/2011 6:30 AM, Steve Sacco NN4X wrote:
> >> > >
> >> > > Having said that, has anyone considered that we, as radiosport
> >> > > enthusiasts, should be trolling for new blood in the electronic
> >> > > world? I'm very serious! Consider that playing on a console in one
> >> > > thing, but can't we lay claim to being the "Original electronic
> >> > > gamers"? Surely there are some whose curiosity would be piqued!
> >> > >
> >> > > 73,
> >> > > Steve
> >> > > NN4X
> >> > > EL98jh
> >> > >
> >> > >
> >> > _______________________________________________
> >> > CQ-Contest mailing list
> >> > CQ-Contest@contesting.com
> >> > http://lists.contesting.com/mailman/listinfo/cq-contest
> >> >
> >> --
> >> Brooke Allen
> >> ---
> >> www.BrookeAllen.net <http://www.brookeallen.net/>
> >> www.NoShortageOfWork.com <http://www.noshortageofwork.com/>
> >> _______________________________________________
> >> CQ-Contest mailing list
> >> CQ-Contest@contesting.com
> >> http://lists.contesting.com/mailman/listinfo/cq-contest
> Brooke Allen
> www.BrookeAllen.net <http://www.brookeallen.net/>
> www.NoShortageOfWork.com <http://www.noshortageofwork.com/>
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