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In My Understanding

An old school gamer discusses the challenges facing the MMORPG community and it's leaders.

Author: jesad

Epic MMO Interruptions

Posted by jesad Wednesday May 22 2013 at 4:06AM
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We've all seen the video of that one kid throwing a fit because his mom disconnected him from his World of Warcraft account, and I know that we aren't all that crazy when it comes to our games, but let's face it, interruptions are annoying and sometimes they can get the best of us when we are already in a highly stressful situation such as just almost getting that one raid mob that you have been trying to take down for weeks dead, or in the middle of some fairly even matched pvp.

I bring this up because I had an episode of my own just a few days ago, and it made me so angry that I went on ranting and raving about it for most of the day only to find myself laughing at what a jerk I'd been later on, after things had cooled down a bit.  But let me just tell you about it.

So I'm on this spying mission.   My goal is to get into a heavily patrolled city without being noticed, speak to a few contacts (which I of course have scouted out in advance), and then proceed to pick-pocket a variety of scouting and patrolling guards for any orders or intelligence that they might be carrying.  My boss has assigned me to get 10 pieces of this information, and there is a recharge timer on how often I can use the pick-pocket skill as well as a chance at failure every time I make an attempt.  Meanwhile the guards of this city, who are all real people, not npc's, and who are touchy enough as it is, are all running around shaking down anyone who doesn't look like they belong, and I quite obviously look like I do not belong.

Are you getting the picture?  This is about as stressful an MMO situation as any, and it is about the worst time for the telephone to start ringing and for me to look over and see that it's the mortgage company's number calling.

I ignore it.  I paid that shiz, I'm not the droid they are looking for, plus I am only just outside the city walls and so far no one has even looked at me.

I continue on in my mission of stealth and intrigue.  My pulse is beginning to beat faster now as I come into the line of sight of a few players with that tell-tale yellow glow above their heads that signifies that they are part of the city patrol.  I begin to take evasive actions, leaping from roof-top to roof-top to avoid their gaze.  My contact is just up ahead.  All I have to do is make it to him, get what I need, and bounce for a minute until the heat cools down.

I see him up ahead.  I make a beeline.  Just then my wife opens the basement door and shouts my name.  "What?!?" I answer.  "Did you move the money into the right account so that the mortgage check could clear?"  "What?!?!" I respond again.  Whatever she is saying sounds like Greek to me, and I am not Greek.  My contact is right there in front of me.  I click on him in order to talk and get my first piece of information, the most important piece of this trip. 

I hear my wife snort and come pounding down the stairs.  "Why do they walk like that?" I half wonder in the middle of everything else that is going through my mind right then.  "And if they are going to stomp all over the place shouldn't they also develop some kind of saying to go along with it?  Like Fee, Fie, Foe, Fum! or something?"

I'm trying hard to ignore her.

"Hey!" she snaps.  "Did you move the money to the right account so that the mortgage check could clear?" 

I get attacked by a city patrolman with an itchy trigger finger.  "Hold on for a minute", I say.

Now a little note here.  This woman has played these games with me.  We have both played on open PVP servers together.  She knows exactly where I'm at right at that moment, and yet, amazingly, she doesn't care in the least. 

I find this incredibly annoying all of a sudden, the guard is pounding on me, another has joined in and so I know that there is no way that I am going to win this thing, but I am at least beating the one that attacked me initially pretty badly, and all I need is another two or three minutes to finish this thing off and then I will be happy to turn my chair around and address whatever mortgage faux pas that has taken place with all of the attention and caring befitting of my dear sweet lovely wife.

But in the most famous words of that one song from the old punk bad Suicidal Tendencies..."BUT SHE WOULDN'T GIVE IT TO ME!!"

And so of course, I freaked out.  "WOMAN!!" (that's how you know it's about to go down)  "WOMAN!!" I said spinning around in my desk chair and completely abandoning the entire fight, game, and screen.  "WHAT IN GOD'S NAME ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT!?!?!"  "I PAID THAT SHIZ!!!  I ALWAYS PAY THAT SHIZ!!!  WHY IN THE WORLD ARE YOU MESSING WITH ME RIGHT NOW!!!!!"

Well, that didn't go well.

Some people never argue.  They talk to each other in a calm monotone fashion, saying only what they mean and completely understanding that each member of the conversation is an individual and justified in having their own feelings and perceptions of the world even if those feelings and perceptions do not agree with their own.

My wife and I are not like that.

What WE like to do once we get arguing, is to stand about four inches from each others face and use our "down the street" voices to debate over who is the most childish and least willing to take responsibility (her opinion of me) and who gives less of a shiz what she thinks (my argument :P).

So we do that for like an HOUR.  Then I go and look at the bank account and find out that she processed the payment before putting the money where it belonged.  The long and short of that being that it was HER FAULT.

Now I know we all make mistakes.  I've made mistakes.  And who really cares if the mortgage guy gets his money a day late or a month late, he's gonna get his money one way or another or someone is going to be out of a house.  But at just that moment.  That moment when we figured out that I not only....

A. Had nothing to do with the problem at hand.


B. Had missed out on one of the golden opportunities of PVP, which is, in a gank situation, to take at least one of them with you.

I could not help but give her the look.  What look you ask?   You know that look.  That "Look at what you've done to me" look.

Later I felt bad about the whole situation.  But then 5 minutes after that I couldn't help but laugh at how mad I had become over the whole deal.  See, it wasn't the game itself that I cared about so much, it was the emotion of that moment.  That moment in time when my attention was completely focused on one thing and one thing only, just to have something completely foreign to that moment invade my brain with distraction.

I'll bet that if the mob was hard enough to take down, and I had a large enough role in potentially getting that job done, that a long lost relative, previously thought to even be dead, could pop up at my door and I would tell them "Hold up!  I gotta finish this!!" before acknowledging one single thing about their re-appearance.

That's how good it gets sometimes.  At least in my understanding.

(Author's note.  Although the topic of this blog talks about subjects such as neglecting one's responsibilities in lieu of playing video games, such actions are not considered actually acceptable and should not be attempted at home.  With that said however, I would still love to hear some of the moments when you've either been un-ignorably distracted from your MMO playing, or not, and how you responded.)


From MMO Old Schooler to MMO Codger

Posted by jesad Monday May 6 2013 at 5:58AM
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So I've finally made it.  It took some 17 years, not counting the pen and paper days, it also took a lot of writing, a lot of thinking, and a lot of hard lessons, but I have finally graduated from Hardcore, to Old School, to ..............drum roll please!!!!

MMO Codger!

You ever have one of those days when, love em as you do, the dang kids just wear you plum out?  (and yes, I am using words like "dang" and "plum" to relay my codgerness, also because I CAN!)

So I'm playing Age of Wushu the other day (all the coolest kids are you know?), and I'm grouped up with these two guys who are determined to finish out this instance that we are in (Twilight Village for those of you in the know).

Now normally I am all for skill and perserverance.  In fact my Old School persona felt that anyone, below the age of 30, who still had ego enough to continue attempting to clear a level that they had now suddenly become dangerously underpowered for was someone with qualities that should be respected.

But these guys, for whatever reason, decided that it would be wiser, instead of pulling the guy away from his henchmen, or removing his henchmen from the equation, that we would instead only take out the first two guys standing in the corner, and then fight the main guy in that same corner, hoping and praying that the rest of his 6 - 8 other friends wouldn't see the need to get invovlved.

We pulled that scenario 5 times.  5 times we were promptly dispached, complete with statements in regards to how weak our Kung-Fu was (which I really enjoy for some weird Saturday Morning Kung-Fu Theatre reason) for good measure.  Until finally, I heard myself saying something in my mind that must have made me grow at least 4 grey hairs right there on the spot.

You ready for this?  Cause this is how you will know that you have crossed that line when it comes.

I said, "Young people waste so much time trying to save time!"

And 4 grey hairs popped out of my head instantly.  On top of that I could feel my blood pressure (pressha if you're from where I'm from) going up, and my Sciatica, and Gout both kicked in at the same time!

And you just knew that they were young too because that had that whole runnie around chattie thing going on.  You know "Hey! follow me, over here, now over here kill this guy, now over here, why are you sitting down?  Hurry, come help me before it kills me!!!"

I almost actually said something out loud too but I was afraid that if I did my rig would instantly fall three to four upgrades behind (as if even having a rig these days cellphones doesn't already antiquate me to some)

(and what is the deal with these new phones anyway?  When I was a kid, it was all about getting that thing down to Dick Tracy size so that you could wear it on your wrist!  Who's bright idea was it to then start making them bigger and bigger until now they are bigger than the old 80's "wireless" phones that everyone used to make fun of!?!?  You put that thing to your face now it's like answering a pancake!) and everyone would have updated to T3 lines while I was still in the middle of my two year cable modem contract.  So I just chilled, and died with them repeatedly instead. 

Besides, who was I to give these kids grief like that?  I used to be just like them once, well....maybe not JUST like them, but I can recall more than one day when the right epiphany at the right time just didn't come.

(And if you had to go back and re-read those last couple of paragraph's because you somehow lost your place, you are either too old and need to go and get your reading glasses, or too young and need to have your meds adjusted.  Land sakes, people can't even focus to read anymore!)

But it all got me to thinking. 

"Oh my god what is happening to me?!?! " LOL

No, really, it got me thinking that In spite of my best efforts, video games, wild parties, several wives, and a firm devil-may-care attitude, that I have still turned into my grandparents.  Which, in a way was kind of depressing, but in a whole nother way (yes nother), it was kind of cool too. 

Cause see, as old as I was, I was still playing with the kids.  I was still able to connect with them at least on some kind of level (even if that level was in being a complete idiot instead of just clearing the room and taking the guy down).  And that made me happy.  Because when I first started playing MMO's, there was not a person over 30 in my family that would even come near a computer.

But wait, I lie.  They came, but when they did they did embarrassing things like calling the computer "the hard drive" or trying to get all technical and calling the "the central processing unit".

"It's a computer darn it!  Just a computer." I would say.  And they would look like they were about to say something for a minute, but then they would just chill instead.

But yeah.  As I get older and older, the things that I see annoy me more and more.  The cheating, the side stepping, and all of the hurry that goes into making shorter that which was made to be long for our enjoyment.  And pretty much I get to this point in my game where I don't even want to be social, don't even want to talk to anyone, just want to be that solo guy.

But then I don't log off either.  Because a real codger would rather stay and complain.

At least that's how it is in my understanding.

I wonder how many others are like me on this very site?