I am fortunate in that I have a regular stable of people with which I play online games. It isn't really a large enough crowd to be a guild or clan, but anywhere between 3-6 guys/women get on Teamspeak several nights a week and we get together and share our latest game... which is great. The only problem is that in the past several months, I have come to realize that I hate my gaming group.
See, recently things have not been so smooth for my gaming crowd. There have been moves, new jobs, family engagements -- the normal comings and goings of 30-40 somethings that interfere with gaming. No big deal there... we are all pretty busy, everyone has a reasonably demanding job, two of the guys are family men and those that aren't have active social schedules. I get it: real life >> gaming life.
What bugs me is this: Every so often the stars align and everyone puts the kids to bed/ditches the wife/takes the evening off or otherwise clears their schedule, grabs a drink, dons the headphones and fires up their computer. This might happen once a week or so and when it does...
We don't play together.
Have you ever "gone to lunch" with a group of friends only to find that it is 1:30pm and the only conclusion you have reached is that there are 13 restaurants within driving distance and someone in the car can find a reason to dislike every single one of them? Our Teamspeak sessions are THAT car.
L: "Let's play CoH. We all still have CoH accounts and I have another Fire/Kin I am dying to level."
C: "Umm... I let my CoH account expire."
L: "Aw.. why'd you do that?"
C: "Well, we have played CoH for years now. It's boring. And anyways, you guys have essentially beaten the game right. I don't really want to tag along while you four-box your team of plant/storm controllers. It's not fun anymore."
L: "I only three-box."
C: "Nonetheless... let's do something else. What about WoW? I would love to dust off my WoW account and actually level my warlock."
L: "I could do that."
J: "Ugh... I HATE WoW!! The graphics suck!! Literally, they make me nauseous."
C: "Dude, who cares about the graphics? The gameplay is what counts."
J: "The art style is so cartoony... I can't stand it."
C: "That art style is deliberately designed to look like a Warcraft game. Haven't you ever played Warcraft?"
J: "And those hideous Popeye forearms... ugh... I just threw up a little in my mouth."
C: "Ok, ok... no WoW. What then?"
S: "LORTO just came out with a new expansion... I could show you guys around."
B: "How can you like that game? It feels nothing like Middle Earth."
S: "Yeah, but it's a good PvE game. Don't think of it as Middle Earth. Think of it as an MMO without shoes."
J: "I suppose the graphics are ok on that one."
B: "If you'd have read the copy of the Silmarillion I lent you..."
C: "Ok... no LORTO!!!"
S: "Huh, why not?"
C: "I have a rule: once someone mentions the Silmarillion, the argument is over... It's a lot like Hitler that way."
D: "How about EQ2? I used to have an account there."
C: "Oh I don't know. I played EQ2 at launch and frankly it was a little dull. The crafting was a pain and you had to grind 10 levels before you could even play an interesting class."
D: "Yeah, but I've played more recently than that. A lot of that crap has changed. They have really improved the game these past years."
L: "Please, 'Come back and play... the devs have really improooved the game with patch 80398-B'... If I had a quarter for every time I'd heard that..."
C: "You still wouldn't have enough to pay the monthly fee for all of your CoX accounts."
L: "Good point."
S: "Isn't EQ2 a Sony game?"
D: "How about Vanguard then?"
S: "Sony game."
B: "Are you still on about Sony and SWG?"
S: "I WILL NEVER FORGIVE THEM FOR WHAT THEY DID TO MY BEAST TAMER!!!"
C: "Well... how about we try some free to plays? No risk there... just download and play."
L: "Yuck... You have fun with your Korean grind-fests. I am going to run through some player-created content on CoX."
C: "Would that be RitkiFarm#341 or CouncilSlaughter#418?"
L: "No way, my new farm is called StatesmanIsMyBitchNow. The XP flows like..."
L: "I was going to say 'butter', but whatever."
D: "I don't even think Statesman is with CoX anymore. Isn't that guy off making Champions Online?"
(All in unision.. and with awe): "Oooooh, Champions Online."
S: "I'm really excited for Champions Online."
C: "Me too."
D: "Comes out soon, I think."
J: "I am looking at the website now. Look at those awesome graphics -- just like it was straight out of a cartoon!"
C: "Umm... what is the difference between 'cartoony' and 'straight out of a cartoon?'"
C: "Forget it."
B: "I hope it comes out on XBox."
C: "What? Why?"
B: "My computer won't run Champs Online... no way. So they better release this thing on XBox or else Statesman will have nerfed me again."
C: "I don't think they are guaranteeing cross-platform gaming. So, even if Champs Online is the only game we can all agree on, and we all go buy it together... you STILL might not be able to play with us. You should go out and buy a new computer."
B: "No way I am buying a machine just to run a stupid game!"
C: "You just bought an XBox."
J: (obviously changing the subject) "Why don't we all try the trial for DDO?"
(laughter ensues and we all log off for the night)