Monday, December 20, 2010

A Gamer's Holiday Gift Ideas for Non-Gamers

With the holiday quickly approaching and many people looking to purchase gifts for their loved ones, I thought I'd throw out a handy dandy gift guide. I find that many of my relatives don't quite understand my hobby. It's not like watercolor painting or maybe scrap booking, where someone can easily get me a gift card for the local art supply shop and feel like I'd absolutely love them for it. Our hobby, involves a technical barrier that prevents idle purchase. Now my hints below will be primary for players inside the World of Warcraft, but much will apply to other gaming.

Gift Ideas:
  •  Authenticator - In this world of key-loggers and hackers attempting to make money from gamers. This provides your gamer security, via a token that generates a random 6 digit key. This key is unique to their account and will need to be entered everytime they logon to the game. This $6 investment pays back in the form of not missing game play. (and it grants a free pet).
  • Time - Time to explore and enjoy this world (Free) or time, in the essence of a prepaid month(s) of play. Blizzard sells time in blocks of 1 month ($15), 3 months ($42) or 6 months ($78). "Time is Money, Friend"
  • Real World Money for in-game perks - I would not condone purchasing items on eBay. Most of the items their are people who have found wining trading card game cards. Considering the TCG careds are only a few bucks a pack, why pay over $60 for an item here. Great fun, but most have charges, or limited use. What I DO like, is the in-game pets and/or mounts. Currently the Moonkin hatchling is on sale for $10, with half that purchase price going to Make a Wish (now until 12/31/2010). Besides, he dances, he flys, he's all around cute.
  • Gear/Hardware - Now unlike a gaming console, like xBox, PS3 or the Wii, your gamer is playing on a PC or Mac. What equipment you buy may play an important factor. Since there is an You may want to simply invest into a gift card for your gamer. 
    • NewEgg.com - online retailer with quick shipping and great rates.
    • Best Buy - Numerous locations, prices a bit higher, but has a physical presence to shop at and look around. 
    • Apple - I know NewEgg and Best Buy have Mac accessories, but they may not sell some of the finer upgrades.  
  • If you're not one for gift gards, there are options:
    • Gamers need lots of memory - This equates to the how complicated the game can be (Warcraft is complicated) and how fast things come up. More memory faster game play.
    •  Gamers need fast graphics - I upgraded my video card from the stock card, to one around $150 and game play was dramatically different. I could complete game play that I could never even imagine. Laptop players and Apple devices may not be able to, but Window's Desktops, definitely.
    • Gamers need faster PC - Now some times upgrading is just not an option, and you need to get a brand new machine. Why not a new Alienware PC?! :)
    • Gamers need accessories -  I've created this Amazon page to detail some hardware I use. Nothing fancy, but get's the job done. Read the reviews other people made before a purchase. (click box title to see more:)
  • Play along! - If you are also a gamer, consider getting a Trial account and playing along. Your gamer will enjoy the perks of having you tag along, plus there's the rocket! $3 get's you the media (or download for free) to play through the starting areas of several races. There will be things you can't do, but plenty you can.
    • Purchase pets from auction house, or in-game vendors.
    • Vanity items - wine, flowers, cake
    • Ride a dragon!
Gamers, what did I miss? Tell me what you'd want from your non-gamer friends and family and maybe we'll all benefit!

Reader Suggestions:
  1. 10-Person Ventrillo subscription - Vent is a Voice over IP solution used by gamers. It allows for 10 simultaneous people to communicate with each other. Think Party Line. My mom called it "Kid in a box". Best of all, anyone can use it. Want to chat with remote family members, while they travel? Want to have a party chat with 9 other people. 5 user subscription is free. A 10 user subscription is $50.
  2. Good chair. Gaming isn't that physically demanding, but sitting on one's derriere for several hours on a bad chair (at a badly configured desk) can be. A good setup is a 100x cheaper than physical therapy. Sorry, can't provide suggestions. I still sit on an extra kitchen table chair. Just remember the adage, "you get what you pay for".
  3. Steam Games - Steam is an online distributor of PC games. You install a small agent on your PC and then select games from the Steam Store. Check back later and you have it installed and ready to go. Right now Steam has a number of holiday gifts available, including Portal( click here for trailer) for only $4. Purchase the game online and say "Purchase as gift". Your gift is delivered as an email for them!





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