On September 16th 2009, I embarked on a 10 month trip through Central and South America. I'd been looking forward to this day for over a year and gladly boarded the plane heading for Mexico City. I left many things behind, but gained far more instead. I've been on the road with my girlfriend for about 5 months now, and I'm still loving every minute of it.
Before I left I was quite an avid gamer, and I must admit that after going 100 days+ without playing an MMO... I kinda miss it. Nevertheless, in good MMORPG.com tradition I decided to put together a list together... 5 things a traveler can learn from a gamer (or vice versa).
1. Guard your possessions!
Being PK'ed or dying in just that one bad spot, can cost you dearly in an MMO. Everyone knows you leave big stacks of cash (preferable with some backup gear) where it belongs ... in the bank. In some more recent games... *cough* Darkfall *cough*... it turned venturing out naked might actually be the wiser thing to do. If only these Swedish girls in Nicaragua played Darkfall, they might just not have taken their camera, Ipod and passport to the beach. Needless they got PK'ed... lesson learned.
2. Diversify your activities.
After volcano nr. 6, Maya site nr 20 or Waterfall nr 101, it is rather refreshing to go rafting or heck even birding. You need to diversify things you do to keep your travels interesting and fun. Sometimes it's better to skip something and leave it for another place and time, you might just enjoy it more then. And in MMORPGs it's not very different. You see so many people just grinding and grinding those levels and rats, that you actually wonder if they are still enjoying the game. Nothing's more fun than to diversify. Mix up leveling with some crafting, questing, socializing, AH searching, You just might like grinding a bit after a while.
3. Capture the moment.
This one is actually kinda silly, but I think it has some merit. If there is one thing I do far too much while traveling and rarely do while gaming, it's taking pictures. Not only that but I blog pretty much weekly and inform my friends regularly of my whereabouts and adventures through twitter and facebook. Yet when I'm out there in MMO-land, I only take screenshots by accident and I'm quite shy to share my adventures with others. Maybe when I get back, I should make a habit of cataloguing my virtual achievements too. :)
4. Sometimes you need to solo/group.
This one can go both ways. Seeing as I travel with my girlfriend, I'm never really alone. I'm always in a group so to say. But sometimes you just need to get out there by yourself. Solo a bit and go out exploring alone. In MMORPGs I'd the opposite, I prefer playing solo and group whenever needed. I think both have their pro's and cons, but you need to do both cause ways of gaming/traveling provide a different view and experience.
5A. Traveling is part of the game, enjoy it.
Too often we meet people on the road that consider the journey from point A to point B as nothing more as inconvenience. They'll pay 50 dollars and take a Ticabus (long-ride luxury busses) anywhere. When there in the city, taxi's are the answer to everything and walking is something you only do in National Parks. Well sometimes it pays to take that local chicken bus or to go for that short walk searching for a good restaurant. Some story goes for MMORPGs. I've seen the evolution in games like Everquest where getting from Faydark to Freeport used to be a tedious boat ride before it got turned it a one click TP. I'm not saying this a bad evolution, but traveling the long way does add to the fun sometimes. You just might run into a new quest, a wandering bossmob or a 'friend you never met'. :)
5B. Traveling is part of the game, enjoy it.
Our end destination of our trip is five months away, when we hopefully arrive in Buenos Aires to hop on the plane back home. The joy of traveling isn't arriving there, it's in trying to get there. That final ding isn't something to celebrate, it is something you should dread to happen!
Any advise I missed on the list? Feel free to leave a comment, or hit bump if you enjoyed the read.