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In The Beginning, We Were All Strangers

It’s been just over a year since I started this blog. And what a roller-coaster of a year it’s been.

A lot has happened both in my gaming life and my personal life, and I am at a vastly different place now than where I was at the start of this little journey.

As a gamer, I feel I’ve lived through and observed so many hype-cycles through this past year. I’ve dabbled in so many different games, online and off; completed some, left others partially finished in my come-back-later-to-finish pile.

I must have been living a mad scramble, desperately filling the gap that my almost-decade long hiatus from gaming has left in me.

But now, that gap’s been stuffed to the brim. It’s gotten so full that I needed to relax and take a step back. My pace has slowed. The urgency has gone. I can take a day to just watch TV, or just go to bed instead of sitting in front of the computer. It’s a liberating feeling.

I do miss my WildStar family, who got me into this gaming community in the first place. But unfortunately, the strain of the MMO lifestyle is unsuited for me right now. The most I can do, and probably will, is to dabble in story quests in whatever game I feel like, half-hour chunks at a time. It was Guild Wars 2 last month, and it’s WoW and Dragon Nest this month.

I’ve also taken plunges into Fallout: New Vegas, and played through the main campaign of Diablo 3 again. Life is Strange, The Stanley Parable, and even the tedious Risk-like Paradox strategy game, Sengoku, have all given me great and memorable experiences in my recent memories.

The long and short of it is, I’m more comfortable now with what I play and what I choose not to play. I no longer feel remorse for deleting my unfinished games from my Steam library. I no longer feel the need to play so I can “fit in”.

As the dust settles from the game-gorging activities of the past year, I can see more clearly: games can be fun, but what’s more fun are the people.

In the beginning of this journey, I just had the game to cling to; this fresh and struggling MMO called WildStar, which coincidentally blew my dormant social media life wide open. With it came new folks and new connections with shared passions: The WildStar community, the MMO Twitter community, the gaming blog community.

In the beginning, we were all strangers. What a difference a year makes.

After a time, I found myself surrounded by a small, but great group whose shared interests transcended the lifespan of any specific game. The friends I was unable to make in-game, I made in social media. And I didn’t need to be in the same game to enjoy their company. I realized that I had here what I was seeking in an MMO from the start. I no longer needed the game as an excuse.

I know there aren’t many of you, but the handful of you who have chosen to share this journey together with me have truly made a positive impact in my life. I am grateful and happy that you all are a part of my life.

Thank you for making my life a richer and more meaningful one.

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Posted by on November 27, 2015 in Gaming

 

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Day 12: A Time to Play, A Time to Rant

Blaugust Entry, Day 12

I don’t like to repeat content in games.

This thought first occurred to me when I was in high school, and my friends would always go to this Korean Internet Cafe to play Counter-Strike 1.6. I wasn’t good as those guys as I was under-practiced, but I was trying to catch up. Then I started to get bored. “Hey guys, can we play a map other than de_dust2?”

I totally understand the allure of the “even playing field”. When everyone knows a map so well, nothing is left to chance. It’s what makes chess a great strategic game. It’s most likely why the MOBA genre has gotten so popular. It’s why sports are so interesting to watch, even when you’re not actually playing them.

When I’m in the driving seat though, I don’t find it fun. It bores me to hell. I certainly can’t bring myself to play Diablo 3 again, just to face the prospect of getting through Tristram again, just to kill more things and get more loot. Guess I should have said, “it bores me out of hell”! I also get bored playing the same storyline in an MMO after I have finished the main storyline. That’s my biggest gripe with the MMO genre: the need to keep people playing = more time sinks = more rewards for playing the same content every day. Daily quests? Pssh. No thank you. My time is valuable.

The only reason why I would want to play something again and again is to overcome a challenge I haven’t been able to complete yet. Platformers are a good example. Something like Super Meatboy. Maybe Dark Souls, if I ever get to it. The thing is though, once I finish these games, I probably won’t play them again. Games like Crossy Roads and various puzzle games, even though they’re repetitive, have variations to them which make them interesting. Before you speak, I don’t like procedurally generated games either. Variation is usually all there is, and they often lack focus and direction.

The bottom line is: the end goal is not worth a tedious journey. The journey is the most important. And if there is a great ending, it should be because the journey made it great. Movies, books, and music are different, because they are crafted works of art. They are enjoyed in a way where you can appreciate the intricacies of the artists’ work, sometimes even more so the second or third time. Games often aren’t designed in that way, unfortunately. MMOs certainly aren’t. Yet. (On my previous rants on my frustrations with MMOs, click here and here.)

I have to admit though, Clicker Heroes has been running on my PC a whole lot these days.

Ah well. I can’t have my way all the time.

Onward, to Day 13!

To participate in this month-long blogging challenge, check out the official Blaugust

 
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Posted by on August 12, 2015 in Gaming

 

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