mmo

NaNo Prep: what is a “digital dragon slayer”?

What did I get myself in to?

First, I decide to participate in NaNoWriMo. That’s no biggy. I mean, I’ve done it before, so what could happen right? Right?

Well, ambition happened. Planning to write an informative discourse about the lives of MMO gamers turns out to be more work than I expected. Researching the history of the genre and trying to get some gamers to share their stories with me is taking more time than I had estimated, and so I guess I’ll be going into November (and thus into writing the damn thing) ill-informed.

Oh well, NaNoWriMo is meant to create drafts, not finished books. Right?

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NaNo Prep: of rebels & dragonslayers

Sometimes, you just gotta give in and start a revolution. It worked for the French (kinda), the Americans (sorta) and, more recently, the Egyptians (well…), so why shouldn’t it work for me and this year’s NaNoWriMo? Eff yeah, I’ll be what they call a “NaNo Rebel”!

So, how does one rebel during NaNoWriMo? Well, while all the other abiding participants write some fictional story about dragons and the people who slay them, I’ll be busy writing a non-fiction tribute to the real dragonslayers: MMORPG players. That’s right, this year’s project will be a written look at the history of these games and the people who play them.

Working title? Digital Dragonslayers – when office clerks become fantasy heroes.

Why am I not going for a novel like many other participants? Simple: this fascinates me. I’ve been a part of this hobby for years now, and I would love to mix my practical experience with more knowledge about the evolution of social games and the thoughts and motivations of fellow gamers. It’s gonna be an exciting experiment in many ways!

There’s research to be done and people to be spoken to. If you have some fascinating insight into the history of MMORPG’s to share, or if you would like to share your story, hit me up in the comments below or send me a mail at the.chindividual@gmail.com

Go now. Those dragons won’t slay themselves!

The endgame that (possibly) is no endgame

Above is the tweet I received from ANet after tweeting about the fact that I’ve achieved level 80 on my brave Charr Elementalist Akinja. Though it might sound silly, hitting the level cap in a MMO that isn’t World of Warcraft is something entirely new for me. As the experience bar approached the end, I was feeling anticipation building up in me. Then, everything went so fast: I walked right into a chain of events, and while fighting together with four other people somewhere in the Bloodtide Coast, the golden bar reached the other end of the screen and I saw the words “Level Up!” appear above my character. I had finally made it. The leveling process was over, and I could start…

Hang on there…why am I already collecting experience for the next level? Is there a next level? The GW2 Wiki clearly states that the maximum level is 80. Why do I still gather experience?

Well, turns out that you’re never truly done leveling in this game. The moment you hit 80, nothing tells you to dive into some raid or high-level dungeon. If you want to, you can just continue what you’ve been doing for the past eighty levels: explore the world, help people and just be heroic. No ones forcing you to do anything new now. Relax, and choose what you want to do!

It’s hard to explain how this realization has blown my mind. I knew that Guild Wars 2 approaches the endgame differently, but knowing that I don’t have to participate in some gearing treadmill, running through the same dungeon every week while praying to the RNG gods, was a big relief, almost akin to an epiphany. Truly, I’ve been playing the endgame since I started playing the game, seeing how the two are not different from each other. But…does that mean that there is no endgame?

When ANet promised to deliver a different type of MMO, I thought it was just marketing bollocks. Seeing how I’m enjoying this non-existent endgame right now, I think they might have been telling the truth.

Damn you, ANet, for making me enjoy an endgame that might not even exist!

Guild Wars 2 – love on second sight?

ArenaNet celebrated the first birthday of Guild Wars 2 past weekend. Around this time last year, I also started my first character in the game, leveled him like a madman to level 63, and then vanished from Tyria. Now, a year later, my new character is level 64, and I’m not leaving yet. Might Guild Wars 2 be my new MMO home?

I won’t dare saying that just yet, but I’m amazed how the game keeps me captivated. The Living World updates are interesting, the gameplay doesn’t feel grindy or all that repetitive, and I find myself enjoying PvP in this game! Could this be a case of love on second sight?

I don’t know.  I just hope my Tyrian bliss lasts longer and that I can really get settled in this fantastic world. Maybe I should start looking for a guild…

 

Discovering Tyria

the sun behind akinjaIt’s been a while since a GW2 related post, right? No wait, you got some fancy pictures just two days ago. This game really has me in its grips it seems. And why shouldn’t it? So far, my journey through the lands of Tyria has been really enjoyable.

One of the things GW2 just gets right is invoking a feeling of discovery. The zones feel grand and are full of hidden nooks and crannies. Also, by ditching the classic quest log and replacing it with these “renown hearts” on your map, you’re actually encouraged to roam around the map filling up those golden hearts. And you know what happens during those trips? Discoveries! No matter if you discover a hidden jumping puzzle or a dynamic event, you’re not simply walking from quest hub to quest hub. No, you’re actually experiencing a heroic journey full of unexpected twists.

Talking about those dynamic events…I just can’t get enough of them. True, many of them are rather simple and feel like your traditional quests, but some of them are just presented so damn well. Today, I came to a place where there should be a bridge. Thinking I had found the fastest way to the next renown heart, I had to discover that the bridge had been destroyed, and a group of traders couldn’t cross a gaping gulch to deliver their goods. Fortunately, some of the traders decided they would venture into the forest to gather wood, and I decided to follow them. As we arrived in the forest, it turned out dredge (communist mole creatures using sonic weapons and drills) were chopping down all the trees, and so I had to help the merchants to drive off the blind baddies while making sure we would also gather enough wood. Of course, we succeeded, and after a short construction sequence, the traders and I could cross the new bridge, parting ways once we made it to the next crossroad.

Did I expect this to happen? Definitely not! I just wanted to go to the next marked spot on my map, but the random and “breathing” nature of GW2 put this little story in my way, rewarding me with some extra gold and a chunk of XP. This is what makes every session of GW2 so damn enjoyable: knowing that, no matter if you want to or not, you’ll be surprised by a cool discovery.

Sure, the game has its downsides, but so far, I just love to play it for about two hours a day, exploring Tyria with babysteps. How long it will last? I’m not sure, but as long as I can discover something, I think GW2 will not get rid of me…

When should or shouldn’t you play Guild Wars 2?

guild wars 2 charr starter

Just give him a few more levels and he’ll be a lean, mean, killing machine

After lamenting about not finding a new MMO home earlier this week, I decided to give Guild Wars 2 another try. What followed was a quick and awesome ride on my new Charr Elementalist, before I killed my gaming rig during a harmless RAM replacement procedure. Guees it was just my mainboard’s time to go to hardware Valhalla, but fortunately I had some savings in my piggybank to get me a nice little upgrade out of it. So yeah, now I can enjoy Tyria in its (almost) full visual glory!

After a few more hours in-game, I started to analyze my gaming experience. That’s nothing special, it’s what we gaming bloggers do. Naturally, I’ve come up with a few things I like about GW2, and a few I don’t. However, instead of just telling you what’s good and what’s bad, I’d rather tell you what kind of gamer you should be if you want to give GW2 a try, and when you should save your cash and spend it on something else. Like, for example, chocolate. I heard that many people enjoy that!

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No MMO home for the homesick?

I feel like a digital nomad. Travelling from game to game, I try to find that one chosen title that can harbor me for more than a dozen hours. There are so many fascinating places to go, but nowhere have I put up my tent for longer than just a little while. I see the sights, mingle with the locals and eventually even join one of their clubs, but before long, I’m packing my belongings, step on my imaginary motorcycle and ride down the digital highway. Where to? I don’t know, probably just the exit to the next promising game.

I mean, it’s not like I never had this digital home, a virtual world where I could put on a pixelated skin that felt like my own. Those six years I’ve spent in World of Warcraft will always be a part of my gaming resumé. No matter how much the game has changed, I will remember the days I called Azeroth my home away from home. I will never forget the adventures I experienced in the role of my Troll Shaman Akinya, and I will never stop feeling nostalgic about my first raid or epic loot. Sure, even during my peak time with WoW I had my moments of “struggle”. I was like a teenager who got fed up of his hometown, so occasionally, I packed my stuff and visited another place: Paragon City, New Eden, Tyria…you name ’em. But sooner or later, I got homesick and returned to Orgrimmar.

Today, this homesickness has long been replaced by an unrivaled wanderlust. I’m like a lonely gypsy, blazing my trail through the woods that connect a myriad of mystical worlds. One week, I’ll be killing zombies in The Secret World, while the next week, I’ll be back in RIFT defending Telara against the dimensional forces. The only constant in all of this is the fact that, sooner or later, I’ll leave again, driven by this urge to explore, while trying to find a new home.

Will I ever find it? I don’t know, but if I stop looking, I will never answer that question. So I wander, homesick for a place to call home. If you see me stopping by in your game, just give me some helpful advice and a few buffs. I’ll be gone in a few days anyway…