lord of the rings

Gear: make me care about it

lord of the rings aragorn narsil sword

“That’s all nice and well, Aragorn, but does that sword get you hit capped?”

Tyler F.M. Edwards of Superior Realities has recently given us a short summary about his love/hate relationship with RPG’s, highlighting what he likes and doesn’t like about the genre. One of the issues he has with the genre is the fact that your character’s gear hardly feels important. In fact, most games make it something replacable, merely a way to give your character bigger numbers so he can fight bigger enemies. Yeah, that makes gear important for beating the game, but how does it make it important for your character?

Maybe I’m just too much of a role-player, but to me, the equipment a hero carries says something about his personality and his past. Considering we are playing heroes in most RPG’s, I feel like the gear of our adventurers should really add to their or emphasize their characteristics. Of course your warrior will carry a sword and board, but why does he do that? Has his father taught him that the best offense is a good defense? Even better: did he inherit his shield from his dying father, hearing his dying words after that bloody raid on their hometown? Fiction is filled with examples of items that are so much part of the character we couldn’t imagine them without. Those characters wouldn’t trade in their equipment just because “it deals more damage and adds to my Stamina rating”. I mean, imagine how weird Return of the King would be if Aragorn went to the Auction House to get an upgrade for Anduril…

What I’m arguing for here is to make gear cool and personal again. Give me, as a player, to start caring not just for my character, but also for the equipment he carries. Give me ways to spend my adventure with not just fellow heroes, but also with that wand my character earned after graduating from the magical college. If the item has durability, make me really watch that so it doesn’t break and it’s lost forever. Make the destruction of an item equal to the death of a character: dramatic and plot-changing.

Alright, that might be a bit too much for video games, but it emphasizes my point: make gear more than just numbers on my character sheet. Instead of bragging about my new epic from last night’s raid, let me tell other players about my character and his blade Seven True Strikes, the sword he felled the demon lord with. Lord of the Rings Online is going in the right direction with their legendary items, but it’s not quite there yet. Let gear scale with your character, allows us to customize it, just give us ways to not feeling forced to replace it.

RPG’s are about role-playing, so please let me incorporate the gear into role-playing my character. Can’t explain why he changes weapons every week, y’know!

 

Being a fan of fans

“Fangirl Vision” by pie1313

Fans (by which I mean the people who adore certain things, rather than the metal devices I bless these days for keeping me cold) are something I love to observe. This sounds weird (and it probably is), but studying the behavior of people who belong to one or multiple fandoms should be a science in itself. Fanology sounds catchy, so let’s go with that.

To clarify my fascination with fans, you must know that I can be a really enthusiastic man (trust me, if I love something, you’ll know), but for some reason I lack the capability of being a real fan. What do I mean when I say “real fan”? Well, let me tell you about living with a few girls who are all really awesome and stuff, but who all have the capability of “fanning hard” (gosh, that sounds wrong) when it comes to their fandoms. They are the kind of people who are up-to-date about when the next book from their favourite author is published, who discuss the last episode of their beloved show in depth on all social media and who turn into drooling and mindless teenagers when they see certain actors. They show honest and deep love for whatever they…well, love, and don’t mind if the world finds them strange for that. Watching them is a pure delight, as these highly-educated women use their vast mental capabilities to dissect shows like Supernatural or Hannibal, while getting all pumped about a tweet from some presumably hot actor.

And you know what? I love them for that. I’m a fan of them because of that. Not just of those girls I used to live with, but of fans in general. These die-hard fanboys and fangirls are both fascinating and disturbing, and this stark contrast just begs to be observed. Different fandoms are social structures on themselves, but no matter if you geek out about Harry Potter, Game of Thrones or some elf dude who had fifteen seconds of screen time in The Hobbit, certain elements can be found in each and every fandom. Though the thing they love might be different, the way they love is the same, and it’s always curious to observe.

Yeah, I might never be as big a fan as some of those people, but I will always be a big fan of all you fans out there! Though you scare me from time to time and have me question my faith in the intellect of my generation, I do understand that all you do is out of love. And what is born from love, often gives birth to love…even if that love is expressed in really gross Yaoi fanfic featuring My Little Pony and one of those guys from Merlin.

Oh fandoms, you never cease to amaze and disgust at the same time.

With (cautious) admiration,

the Chindividual

Strange Sunday – who wants to live forever?

highlander queen

This week’s Strange Sunday will be another quick one, since I’m still recovering from an epic Lord of the Rings marathon (including The Hobbit). This week, I want to just raise some questions concerning the odd nature of immortality. What is strange about it? Well, immortality on itself isn’t that great. Unless it comes with some more nifty powers, you just have more time to do whatever you want. While that might be good for some persons, in general you’ll just outlive everyone you ever loved. That’s at best strange, but mostly traumatising.

So, what do you think? Is the wish for immortality strange or cool?