Anonymity (Or the Lack There of) in Ingress

Many many moons ago, there was an uproar in the Warcraft community about being forced to use RealId (aka real names) in lieu of chosen aliases.  Women and other often targeted minority groups were very against this for, what should be, obvious reasons (i.e. taking online stalking to the next level).  I was very much against this and while against RealId at first, I ended up using it to connect with a few real life friends and, eventually, a few WoW friends that I had met in person.

When Blizzard came out with Battletags, I was honestly thrilled.  I could retain my online anonymity, even though I was blogging by then and putting more of myself out there online.  My boss, parents and real life friends were able to find me easily on Twitter and some of my game friends were now on my Facebook.  The line between my online persona and my real life self was blurring.

Then I got my husband to join Twitter.  He has always had interesting names (Jigokukoinu, Paliclaus, Cyniclaus, etc) so I didn’t think I’d have to watch him when he made a Twitter alias.  Imagine my surprise when I got a follow request from HusbandLastname.

“What the ever loving hell did you just do?” – Me shouting at him from the other side of the house.

“I don’t want to use an alias here. I want to use my real name.”  He wandered towards me with a confused look on his face.  “Why is this such a big deal?”

“Because I have referenced where I live enough, and they know my first name.  So if they add it up with our (rather uncommon) last name, they can find me.  CHANGE IT TO SOMETHING ELSE RIGHT THIS SECOND I SWEAR TO GOD.”  I think two voices came out of me at this point.  One from my throat and one from the pit of my stomach as I imagine piles of dog crap getting mailed to my house from jerks on the internet.

“Fine, whatever, if it makes you happy.”  And he wandered off to change it to @NotAPseudonym.  Which was a poke at my paranoia, but whatever.  I won.

When we started playing Ingress, which is obviously a location based game, I picked my name and went about my life.  I had a great time and didn’t think anything of it.  Until a group of resistance agents (aka smurfs) drove to my tiny town and smashed it up because it was MY town and because my husband and I lived there.

I was one town away at the time (about a 10 minute drive) and when I started getting notifications that they were attacking my stuff, I sent them a message saying “OMW”.  It wasn’t until I was about halfway there that I realized two things.

  1. I was alone.

  2. They are all men.

Now.  I have known one of those agents since I was 18 years old.  The other 2 I wasn’t as comfortable with.  I pulled over to the side of the road and had a panic attack.  I started pleading with my team to get them out of my town so I could go home.  My husband was not going to be home until later and I ended up sobbing in my car next to a portal they had already hit (so I knew they’d not be back) while I waited for confirmation that they’d left town.

If I hadn’t let them know I was on my way into the town, they wouldn’t have been watching for me, and I could have slipped by them and gone to my house without them knowing I had gone home.  But because I had said I was coming and because they knew my car, knew I lived in town and knew the general area where I lived (like I said, location game) I didn’t feel safe going home until I knew they were out of town.  I didn’t want my house to be known to the resistance because I don’t want to be trolled.

Why am I writing about this?  This is the downside of Ingress.  Because it’s a location based game, you can track people and know where they are.  We joke about it within our community (“If it’s not sketchy, it’s not Ingress.”) but this is something that is a concern for me.

In our area, we have a lot of women playing and they often play alone.  We have certain protocol for approaching agents when they are alone.  (This past Saturday, I was alone in my car and a resistance agent messaged me in Comm to ask for a face to face meeting.  It was daylight, at a park with others around.  So I met him under a tree.)   But I’ve had to have long discussions with a few male enlightened agents about being female and being alone and being safe.  If you are female, you know what I mean.  If you are not, just look at the hash tag #yesallwomen on Twitter.

And last night, to me, it came to a head.  It wasn’t my couch portal, it wasn’t my address, it wasn’t my name.  But a enlightened agent has had her real name with her real address posted three times by a “high ranking” member of the local resistance leadership.  This enlightened agent did not submit this portal and she has requested it’s removal.  You can reach it from the road, there is parking there and yet still she is being harassed about this portal.

Giving out this kind of personal information is against the terms of service.  Posting it three times is pretty awful in my opinion.  When Husband and I discussed it, he got very indignant and passionate.  (And if you know him in person, this is not something he gets often.)  I don’t know what this agent is planning on doing to fix this situation.  But I’m lucky enough that I’ve been able to watch online interactions for almost half my life and I know what my rights are.  I hope she’s safe.

I may be on the side of the angels, but do not think for one second that I am one of them – Sherlock

 

 

What a difference a year makes …

1 week ago: Husband and I were driving around downtown Eugene with a van full of strangers, doing a multi-level op in Ingress.  Much singing and laughing and snarky talking was had.  Friendships were made.  We went home and realized how lucky we are to have such a great community in the Enlightened.

2 weeks ago: Salem hosted a Ingress First Saturday event called Glow for First Saturday.  We drew over 100 agents, over 50 from each side, and decked ourselves out with glow sticks and other awesome light up items.  It was a huge success and again, we went home and realized how lucky we are to have such a great community.  We will be hosting another First Saturday event in April, this one sponsored by #hintwater and we will be having a food drive!

3 weeks ago: A group of 5 of us hiked 2.5 miles up to a fire lookout for a remote portal capture.  It was a epic climb (considered ‘moderate’) and took us all day.  We had a wonderful time and felt like heros, albeit sore and tired heros.  The police were alerted we were missing when we missed our appointed check-in time, but we were safe with only 1 issue, I had twisted my knee on the way down and ended up having to limp the 2 miles back down.  It was very painful.

1 month ago: I totalled my car by running a stop sign and ending up in a grass field.  I wasn’t hurt but I did manage to deploy both airbags and needed to get a completely new car.  Say hello to the BattleBeetle!

2 months ago: Husband and I went on a trip to Southern Oregon for a mega field.  It was a stormy day, with wind gusts in the 30-40 range (mph) but we hiked out to the Cape Blanco lighthouse with two other Enlightened agents and threw a field that covered most of Oregon.  I got to throw a link to Hawaii (EEE!) and another one to Alaska.  It made my whole month.

4 months ago: Husband cancelled his WoW subscription to dedicate himself full time to Ingress.  It was hard to keep up with raiding in WoW and ‘raiding’ in Ingress.  (We raid towns, much like Vikings!!)

6 months ago: A group of us drove to Tacoma for the Helios anomaly.  We left at 12:30am on Saturday morning/Friday night and returned home at 12:30am on Sunday morning/Saturday night.  It was crazy and intense and wonderful.  I learned that I can push myself if I am driven enough.  I learned that my team is awesome.  And I learned that I am willing to sacrifice my own goals for my team goals.  I also deactivated my Wildstar subscription at this time because I had stopped playing to devote myself 100% to Ingress.

7 months ago: Met our Ingress Enlightened agents for the first time.  We had been careful about getting too involved at first.  We weren’t sure if this was something we were going to stick with.  We met the first batch at a pizzagress gathering in Corvallis.  Then met the Salem agents at a farm.

9 months ago: Started my new job.  Downloaded Ingress, made accounts and emailed our local Enlightened team to get in touch.   Promptly hurt my knee and stopped playing until July.

1 year ago: I cancelled my subscription with WoW. I gave it up to play Wildstar.  Little did I know about the cellphone game that was about to steal my life away.

13 months ago: Left my previous job of 11 years for a new opportunity.  Much fear, anxiety and nervousness.

 

That has been my time frame for the last year.  It’s been a rollercoaster.  I can’t even explain how different my life is now.  My commute is 30 minutes from my house, at least.  Husband and I are rarely home.  We have a completely different social circle now and they know that I’m crazy and accept it.  They are wonderful and I adore them.  All the decisions I’ve made that has led me to this place have been hard but they’ve been worth it.  The community for WoW was always one of the best parts of it.  And now I have that community but in meat space.  I see most of these people every other day, if not more often.  My phone is my guild chat.  My BattleVan is my raiding vehicle.

The downside of this game is that you still get the jerks.  You still have the assholes that just want to blame others for everything.  It’s the way of the world.  And the way of the internet.  People forget that there are actual living breathing people on the other end of that keyboard/cell phone/scanner/whatever so they are mean and cruel and nasty.  They don’t do that to you in person, they only do it in the game.  And on G+ (since Ingress is through Niantic which is part of Google, G+ is the forum of chose for everything).  The term ‘spoofer’ is just about the worst thing you can say to people here.

If you can get past that, which honestly, what game doesn’t have that these days, this is amazing.  On the Resistance side earlier this year, one of the agents had his very very expensive bike stolen and his fellow agents put together enough money to buy him a new one.  (He primarily bike-gresses.)  As one of my team mates said earlier today “there are bad apples on both sides, but the best bad apples go in my tummy” (referencing 2 Towns Cider brand Bad Apple)

If you guys really want something fun to do this summer, pick this game up.  It’s really awesome.

http://www.cnet.com/news/ingress-the-friendliest-turf-war-on-earth/

http://www.natgeotraveller.co.uk/destinations/europe/italy/gaming-the-alps/

 

RL: 6 months at the new job

My time to sit down and game has been very diminished since I started my new job back in May.  However, I wouldn’t change this for anything.  While I liked my boss and I enjoyed doing what I do, working where I work now is a completely different thing.  I celebrated my 6 month anniversary with this company on Friday.  It doesn’t seem like it has ONLY been six months.  It seems like I’ve been there so much longer.  Yet, at the same time, I guess it’s been such a short amount of time.

I’ve mentioned before that I work in the mortgage industry.  I still work there, but where I used to work for a small 3 person mortgage broker, I now work for a large bank in their mortgage lending division.  My branch has 8 people working in it and there are another 5 locations in our state.  I was relocated from one branch to our ‘main’ branch, which is a further drive for me but has more processors and all my loan officers in it.

It’s amazing.  I’m so very busy right now.  I feel like I’m thriving and blossoming into the person I should be.  And the office environment is pretty wonderful.  It’s fun and even when it’s stressful, I know that my fellow processors have my back.  I am so happy here.

I think it was a year ago that I was approached with the opportunity to meet with the area manager and interview for this position.   I’m so glad I took the chance, because all the stress and all the anxiety for the months leading up to my start date have been repaid so much.

I’m spending a lot more time away from home and I think we’re going to have to move closer to town.  But that’s okay.  It’s all worth it.

Ingress – HELIOS and Fielding

Begin Transmission

LINK ESTABLISHED

Agent Name: Karegina

Faction: Enlightened

Current Level: L9

The struggle for the Willamette Valley seems to have swung to our favor the last few weeks. With Operation Tacovan happening during the last Helios anomaly in Tacoma and Vancouver BC, and the successful execution of Operation Get Off My Lawn over Corvallis and Albany over this past weekend, the Enlightened seem to have a strong network between the different cells in our area.

I meant to send a report for Helios but when I got back, I had to jump directly back into the fight for the Willamette Valley, so I was unable to upload one. Below is my report.

Cyniclaus and I were on team Drunkstruction. For the first measurement, we were stationed near the splashpark in Wright Park. We were heavily outnumbered by the Resistance at that measurement due to having a Volatile portal in our section. I have heard there were at least 42 Resistance to our 9 Enlightened at that measurement. At the second measurement, I was stationed in front of the old Bank of California building and I succeeded in my task of holding it until the end of the measurement with the help of Cynic and another teammate. At the third measurement, I helped defend the ZipCar kiosk for the measurement. And for the last measurement we were grossly outnumbered and out of gear. But at least one of our portals was claimed at the end, and when the numbers came out, the anomaly went to the Resistance. However, it was a extremely fun time and I learned a lot.

Official Niantic Ingress Cross Faction HELIOS Picture

Official Niantic Ingress Cross Faction HELIOS Picture

In other news, Cyniclaus successfully pulled off a fielding of Salem/Keizer that lasted over at least one checkpoint, and after the Resistance dropped it, I was able to go out before heading into the office and throw it again. They did drop it again, but I had fielded in most of the Eastern Willamette Valley.

Fielding seems to be a bit of an art. You can do basic fields, I.E. make small triangles, make bigger triangles, or you can get way more complicated and make layers of triangles. It’s rather exciting and satisfying to make those bigger triangles and see those beautiful green fields appear before you.

Now, it’s time to move, as Niantic Labs says.

****************Full Stop********************

End Transmission

LINK DESTROYED

Ingress

Reports of my demise have been very highly exaggerated.  I did stop playing WoW, and started playing Wildstar, however I haven’t made it past level 25 yet.  My new job (is it still new if you’ve been there almost 4 months??) is amazing and keeps me very very busy.  I’m currently working about 40 hours a week, although this week I’m going to be putting in closer to 45 since it’s end of the month.  I have my own office now with a door, four walls and everything.  I don’t get a window, but hey!  I’m not in a cubicle!!!

A few weeks after I started my new job, Husband installed a cell phone game called Ingress.  I was half asleep and pretty annoyed at the sounds the game was making while I was attempting to go to sleep (didn’t he realize that I had to work the next day?) but after he figured out the basic idea of the game, he convinced me to install it and we started playing.

The premise, if you haven’t heard of it yet, is pretty simple.  There is ‘XM’ leaking into the world through various portals that are scattered around the landscape.  Portals are generally places of learning, worship, or any kind of inspiration.  (I.E. art, libraries, museums, etc.)  You pick a faction (Enlightened or Resistance) and go out and claim these portals for your faction.  It’s a lot of fun and we’ve been out doing a lot of walking since we started.

When we started, Husband was just expecting that this would be a good excuse to get me out of the house and walking around.  Little did he realize how much of a local community has been built up for our Ingress factions.  At the moment, in our tiny town, there are only about 3 or 4 people playing.  But when we go into the cities around us, there are between 30-60 people playing regularly.

We avoided the community for the first few weeks.  They were very welcoming but we weren’t sure what we wanted to do so we just joined the chat and listened in.  However, at this point, I think we’ve spent 5 of the last 7 days doing something with someone or someones from our local Ingress community (either faction).  Last Friday, I went to lunch with a cross-faction group and got to meet a few ‘smurfs’ aka Resistance players I had not met before.  Saturday, we had a impromptu “farm”  (yes, it means the same thing in Ingress as in WoW) with a bunch of the ‘toads’ aka Enlightened.  Sunday, we stayed home. Monday was another farm.  Tuesday was dinner with one of my favorite smurfs, Wednesday was a long distance farm and then tonight I am staying home being an introvert!

It’s amazing.  I love how many people there are here and how passionate everyone is about it.  Yeah, there are jerks (as always) but it’s extremely refreshing to go wander around for hours with a group of 10+ people.  We’ve been asked if we’re a flash mob, we’ve had our pictures taken.  I have yet to be asked to leave somewhere by the police, but that is always a possibility, seeing as how a lot of these farms happen after dark.

 

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So, yeah. That’s what I have to say.  Sorry, Husband came in and wrecked my train of thought.  I love it though.  So if you have some time, and you like being out, check it out.  And choose Enlightened.  We’re awesome.

Knowledge is power. Power corrupts. Study hard. Be evil.

Bye bye for now Azeroth, Hello Nexus!

I know I’ve been quiet here for a while, for good reason.  In February I ‘transitioned’ from a small company to unemployment.  This was only supposed to be for a month and then I was supposed to go to work for a much larger (seriously larger) corporation.  Well, I ended up being unemployed from Valentine’s Day until just about the 1st of May.  (That’s 2 and a half months for those of you counting at home.)

In the lead up to my change of employment status, the stress of preparing my old company for my leaving completely overwhelmed me and I ended up stepping back from raiding.  I wasn’t doing a very good job of it and I honestly couldn’t bring myself to care at that point.  I figured that for my own mental health (and that of my poor raid leader) I should probably stop raiding completely.  I stopped raiding sometime in January and just did a few casual things after that.

I ended up bingeing on WoW the first month or so that I was off.  I got one of every character to 90, except for a death knight.  I transferred my druid back to the Horde and played with friends over on Llane for a while.  And then, I slowly burned out.

It was small at first.  I’d log in and then idle.  I’d sit and read at my desk or I’d watch Netflix (I got all the way through Supernatural!) and eventually I just stopped logging in and snuggled up with my cats in the tv room.  The expansion wasn’t grabbing my attention, but I kept trying to find things to do to keep my love affair with Warcraft alive.  I wasn’t ready to move on yet.

Then a friend visited and showed me the Youtube videos for Wildstar.  I fell in love.  I got a beta pass for the next beta weekend and forced Husband to play with me.  I was hooked.  By the time I got the phone call in April to start my job, I had already decided to buy Wildstar and give up my WoW subscription.  I barely played the last month of my paid time in Warcraft.  And by the time I started my new job in May, I had pretty much stopped playing all video games during the week because the commute (a WHOLE HOUR ROUND TRIP) and the weirdness of having over 10 people in the office with me was making me a little stir crazy.

Tomorrow is my one month anniversary at my new job and I’m feeling very settled.  I’m extremely busy and I’m really happy.  I have my own office with a door.  I can listen to whatever music I want and I’m in the middle of town.  Husband and I carpool sometimes (like tomorrow!) and I like my coworkers.  However, these last 5 months have been very cleansing for me.  I’m very very relaxed and at peace for the first time in forever.  And while I miss playing with Husband, we’ve picked up other things to do together.  (Like playing Ingress!)

So, I’m currently residing on Nexus.  So expect to see some posts here about that.  I’m not too willing to give up this blog just because I am not playing WoW.  Karegina still exists, she’s just a Mordesh now.

Update on 12 to 90

Since I last posted, I managed to get my hunter and my warlock both to 90.  My hunter is over on Llane (yay!) and my warlock is over on Tichondrius.  Which means that in my list of classes I’m still missing at 90, I have a death knight and a monk I need to work on.  My death knight is currently being leveled with Husband’s shaman.  (Over on Madoran!)  And they are currently level 86 or 87.  My monk, of which this is my 3rd, is currently level 78!  And I have a 300% bonus elixir for her.  WOOHOO!  /rubs hands together

Soon.  Soon my collection will be complete.

Boggle – Aka February Wrap Up

Recently, I have felt like my life is a game of Boggle.  You know, the game where you shake up the letters, twist them and then hunt for words for 3 minutes to see how many you can make in that time limit?  Well, my life has been shaken up and twisted.  I’m currently hunting for words in an unknown period of time to see how I ‘score’ at this thing we call ‘life’.

At this time, I have been unemployed for two weeks.  I left my job (that I’d had for 10.5 years) on February 14th for a similar job that I was promised to start sometime the middle of February or beginning of March.  As it is now March 1st, I’ve not heard when I actually start with my new company and this is stressing me out a LOT.  I’m still in the background checks and I think they were waiting for February to be over before they officially hired me.  During this time of unemployment, I’ve accomplished a lot.  My house is clean.  My paperwork for the last 2+ years has been filed.  I got a trip to Ikea (!!!) where I managed to pick up a lot of awesome household goods.  I’ve also had some time to accomplish a few things in World of Warcraft.

See, a few weeks before I quit my job, I ended up taking an unintended break from raiding.  The first week was due to family things that had come up and the second week was due to stress from my (soon-to-be) last few days of work.  (My last week of work, I only slept about 3 hours each night on average, with horrid nightmares during those 3 hours of sleep.)  My last day of work, I ended up missing raid as well because I had to go to my new employer’s office after I left my former employer and fill out a couple papers.  I also missed the next night due to family related business.

I ended up spending the next week thinking long and hard about what I wanted to do with my life.  What better time to think about where your life is headed then when you’re between jobs and cleaning your house?  I realized that I was avoiding my druid because I was so ashamed of how badly I was doing when I was raiding on her.  I had been avoiding my guild because I didn’t want to be talked to by my raid leader.  During the last month of my old job, I was so stressed out and exhausted from work that I didn’t have any energy to expend on my husband, let alone trying to do something for my fun time in game.

I talked to Husband about it and I told him I was unhappy and I don’t think I was cut out for dpsing, heroics and 25 mans.  At least, not all together.  I should have taken one of those on at a time.  I should have done either 25’s, or heroics, or dpsing.  I should not have gone into 25 man heroics and tried to learn my dps rotation.  It was a waste of the guild’s time to bring me there.  I did learn a lot, but mostly I learned I’m not a dpser.  It’s fun but I really REALLY miss healing.

So, I bit the bullet and took my druid off that evil PVP server and wished really hard.  She’s now a tauren again.  A beautiful moocow girl with long braids and mooing voice.  And I’m in Iron Circle on Llane, doing Flexes and normals.  And I’m healing.  And I’m thrilled.  Husband is still in Cadenza, as a ret pally.  Doing his heroics.  And while I miss him, we’re happier like this.  For now.

So, it’s now the beginning of March, and I’m still unemployed with no idea when I start my new job.  I haven’t found all the words in these letters of mine but I think I’ve almost got them all.  Maybe if I squint my eyes and tilt my head a little bit to the right.

For the Horde.

State of the Karegina

So, life.  My real life is in a complete flux right now.  For the last 10 and a half years, I’ve been working for the same small mortgage company.  And now, I’m moving to a large bank thing.  Because I have a very strong sense of family/loyalty, this move is causing me a lot of stress and it’s not helping that while I have been offered the job, the new company hasn’t given me a start date other than ‘sometime in February or early March’.

Because of this, I am causing my current boss a lot of stress (she is keeping me on for now despite my leaving her for a competitor).  I’m helping get all our current files over to a contract processor and am aiming at getting all my files closed up by the middle of February.  And I need to give her my official resignation on Monday.   I think I’m going to make my last day be the 14th of February and that way even if my first day isn’t until the 3rd of March, I’ll have a little ‘vacation’.

In WoW, I managed to get my rogue and warlock both to 90.  That’s the highlight of my WoW life.  I swear that as my ilevel goes up and the amount of stress in my life goes up, the worse my playing gets.  So, I’m disappointing my raid leader and myself.  And I feel like something has to give.  And I think it’s going to be WoW.  I don’t want to give up.  I don’t think it’s something I want to do but at this point, I’m literally causing myself physical harm.

I don’t want to drag Husband with me though.  I think he is having a lot of fun and is enjoying himself.  Plus he seems to be doing well.  We’ve been talking about how I can improve my dps and I read up, watch videos, But I don’t know.  It just sucks that I feel like I’m giving up.  Maybe I just need to take a break.

 

 

How to Oath?

Blog Azeroth Shared Topic: What vows would your character say, intend, or break, and to what allegiance? Would it be to class/race/specialization, deity, or ruler?  This is quite a challenging Blog Azeroth topic, however I know you are all up to it because you are amazing writers.

In my head, Karegina used to be a loyal member of the Horde.  She put her class before her faction and her faction before her.  The oath that she gave the Taunka in Dragonblight was one that she believed in wholeheartedly!

Lok’tar ogar! Victory or death – it is these words that bind me to the Horde. For they are the most sacred and fundamental of truths to any warrior of the Horde. I give my flesh and blood freely to the Warchief. I am the instrument of my Warchief’s desire. I am a weapon of my Warchief’s command. From this moment until the end of days I live and die – FOR THE HORDE!

This oath was something she truly believed in.  But only while she could believe in the Horde.  When Garrosh became the Warchief, her loyalty started to slip and as she watched the atrocities the Horde committed in his name, she broke her oath and sided with the Darkspear Rebellion.

Her personal oath to her Druid sisters and brothers is something she could never break.

By the Earthmother, By Elune, I swear by my skin and my blood to defend the land of Azeroth against any foes that face it.  May Nature find my heart pure enough to blend my essence with Mother Bear to defend my cubs in battle.  May she find my cunning keen enough to infuse me with the stealth of the Great Cat so I can ambush the enemy and defeat them in close quarters.  Let me become one with the Moonkin, so I may call upon the sun and moon to smite our enemies from afar.  And if it is needed, let me draw upon the strength of the Earth and the Trees to heal my compatriots.

These are Karegina’s oaths, her broken one and the one she lives by.  She won’t take another one.