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Tastes Gamey

This blog is about stuff. Sometimes that stuff has to do with MMORPGs.

Author: neschria

Rehashing old themes: veteran apathy and the divide between player types.

Posted by neschria Thursday November 15 2007 at 4:09PM
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There's an EQ dev chat tonight. I think I might try to show up for that. I think I might even have some questions for them. They asked for feedback on the forums about ideas for a possible special ruleset server, and also about ideas for encouraging people to take newbies under their wings. The obvious question is whether they are actually planning to act on either of those issues any time soon.

I still have an active EQ account until Saturday, but I don't have the game installed anymore. It was kind of fun, but it wasn't quite enough to keep me. It's not that I got pulled away by another game. It was fun, but it wasn't fun enough.

Part of it was being a veteran, which gave me a really clear perspective on exactly how far away the end game was from where I was-- even my level 73 character was weak on both AAs and gear. Level cap is just the bottom of another ladder in EQ, and when I was playing a brand new character, I couldn't help but feel at level 1 that I was 74 levels and a thousand AAs behind where I needed to be "viable", even before thinking about gear. It's hard to have an adventure and enjoy where you're at in the game when you have that thought in the back of your mind, and I couldn't quite banish the thought.

It's easy to contrast this to other games that I've played in the last year or so-- I started Lineage 2 from April to June this year, and even though I was really far behind, I didn't feel like it. I was able to just enjoy what I was doing, and getting to my first class change at level 20 was a big deal to me. It felt like an accomplishment, even though I am sure that veterans of that game wouldn't feel that way about it, any more than I'd think getting a surname at level 20 in EQ was a big deal.

Both EQ1 and L2 are games where people say that the "real" game is the end game.

It's pure veteran fatigue that kept me from really enjoying my last venture into EQ1. Having been there and done that, I had a hard time seeing the world with the eyes of a real newbie. It was all just "catching up" to me. I couldn't help but feel like everything I was doing was trivial. It's the same feeling that makes some people say, "big deal!" when another person is excited about achieving something relatively small. (That's a pet peeve of mine, by the way. I can't stand it when someone has to make a newbie feel dumb for being happy about doing something "everybody has done a thousand times" or looting "junk" that may be a huge upgrade for the newbie in question. Just call me "Neschria, Defender of Newbs". )

It's the same thing that makes people who have played and played all these different MMORPGs feel like the new games are just more of the same.

(...because they are!)

In other news, my NaNoWriMo is coming along. My word count isn't quite where it should be halfway through the month, but I'm ok with that. I am not sure that it is really all that readable, but I am having fun doing it.

And this brings me to another MMORPG point. There are certain vocal people who are either critical of the whole NaNoWriMo idea or specifically people who write crappy novels, knowing full well that they are writing crap, because writing is Serious Business, not for amateurs and hacks. I can't help but see a parallel between those people and those who play MMORPGs seriously and are annoyed by other people just screwing around for fun. It's as if both groups feel like their own hardcore skillz are cheapened by other people who don't take it as seriously as they do. These are the kind of people who feel the need to tell you that you don't know what the game is all about if you aren't all about leveling up, getting gear, and reaching the end game. These are the people who approach roleplayers and scold them for wrecking their game by roleplaying among themselves. (I've seen it happen!)

But most major pay-to-play MMORPGs are ultimately neutral platforms. Meaningful play is what makes you happy. They provide a virtual world and a game structure. Just because a player chooses to "beat the game" and another chooses to pretend to be a dashing elf knight doesn't make either of them wrong.

I say "most major pay-to-play MMORPGs" because those are often the only places where the world has enough depth to be a good platform for exploration or roleplaying. A bare grinder in a linear world where every area is a box with the same monsters in different colors isn't as exploration/roleplay friendly as the bigger, more fleshed out worlds, in my opinion. I am sure someone could argue that IRC is a perfectly good RP platform, so anything with graphics and even the thinnest lore to work from has to be better, but I am not sure that IRC isn't a better platform than a straight grind game.

Someone might also think that bananas make good shampoo. I'm not going to argue with them either, especially if I am not willing to mash bananas on my own head.

(Baking soda does work for washing hair, btw, if you are greasy, desperate, and shampooless. That was my experience-- I read it online and had to try it out because I am weird like that and it seemed harmless enough.) writes:
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