Indulging my inner child

For the last few days, I’ve been playing Wizard 101. I’ve been playing quite a lot of it in fact, in between the usual work/eat/sleep RL stuff we all do. I have briefly considered logging on to WAR, but the last time I tried it — on Tuesday evening? — things didn’t go so well. It wasn’t the game, it was me, but clearly I was being UltraCrabby as Mort felt he had to turn to me and say “You know, I think you should log out and just play that wizard game for a bit. It’d calm you down.”

Sounds like a Dear John letter but really, it’s not WAR’s fault, it’s mine. My capacity for tolerating the things about it that bother me is, currently, nil, so time away from it to let that tolerance-meter recover is essential if I don’t want to sour myself entirely on WAR.iridia1

That’s probably why Wizard 101 is so appealing right now. Most of the things that frustrate and grouchify me about WAR, W101 doesn’t have.

  • It’s cute, rather than grim.
  • It has pets. That’s about the only fluff it has I can think of, but for a pet-fanatic like me, that’s enough. I haven’t collected many yet but oh, I will! Even if I am apparently going to miss out on the neat Halloween event pets. There’s always next year.
  • Combat and the UI are about as simple as such systems can get. As an added bonus, I enjoy the card-game combat mechanic.
  • You can log in for 20 minutes and still get stuff done. Seriously.
  • You run fast. Not ultra-fast like you could in Asheron’s Call, but fast enough. I was SO tired of feeling like a lumbering cow (despite my guild affiliation) in WAR. I don’t think I will ever stop being tired of that, especially since I think it’s a fake mechanism for cheating people into thinking the world is big when it isn’t, but eventually I will be less annoyed by it and will be able to tolerate it again.
  • When you zone, which you do frequently in W101, it takes 4 seconds. I’ve timed it. Logging in takes 4 seconds. Logging out takes 4 seconds. Going from one area to the other takes… you get the idea. It might even be less than 4 seconds. WAR could really learn a lesson from that (hell, all these grown-up MMOs could!), and I hadn’t realised till recently how dog-tired I’ve become of spending what feels like 20% of my playtime staring at loading screens. The last time I logged Amariel on in WAR, it took over 60 seconds from hitting the button to finally having the world show up on my screen; and then, of course, I had to spend a minute or so fixing my UI (chat windows, etc), as I have to do every single time I log anyone in.
  • W101 isn’t demanding. That is eventually going to be less of a good thing, and around the time that happens I’ll be ready to go back to WAR more regularly. But right now, it’s exactly what I need.

Teeny tiny frustrations aren’t much by themselves, but acting all together over a span of weeks, they eventually add up to a millstone round my gaming neck, dragging me down. As Yosemite Sam would say:

Maybe I needed to find some equilibrium. If you believe in astrology (which I don’t, except when it suits me), it’s in my nature to seek balance anyway. If you believe in simple psychology, I just had enough of frustrations and am playing something that contains none of those frustrations. When W101 starts to become frustrating, or when the WAR-frustometer drops, I’ll go back to WAR.

For one thing, all the things that make W101perfect now will make WAR look good when I have recharged my batteries. Complex skills and combat, RvR, good friends to chat with and do stuff with, maybe even crafting. (Okay, not crafting. WAR’s crafting is a sad travesty that makes real crafters and pandas everywhere cry.)

In the meantime, if you thought this was a 100% WAR blog, you’ll be disappointed. If it were, its subtitle would be WAR musings and commentary, which it isn’t. I will, however, strive to remain entertaining.

16 thoughts on “Indulging my inner child

  1. Added Stylish Corpse to my blog roll even though I checked through all the ‘W’s (and even the ‘K’s) on yours… and… /cry

    🙂

  2. You’re not? How is that possible!?

    Yeah… it’s about time I synched my reader and my blogroll again. I keep forgetting they aren’t the same thing.

    Stupid blogs! Stupid reading! Ysh smash!

  3. You seek balance – you a libra?

    I always preferred the chinese astrology. For some reason being a Rat appeals to me.

  4. Whew, I’m so glad you posted. I was in withdrawal all day yesterday.

    Y’know what I find interesting about us blogger-gamers? I find it interesting how much time we spend (and note the “we” here, I am more guilty of it than anyone!) analyzing our own fun or lack thereof.

    I think, as bloggers, this is pretty important since it provides a lot of fodder for our posts. But I sometimes wonder how the other half lives. The people who leave a game without any kind of introspection, but just because “Eh, I wasn’t having fun anymore.” That seems like it’d be very freeing to me.

    And at the same time, we sometimes *almost* sound like we’re apologizing for having less fun in a game.

    Are you enjoying the solitude of W101? I was thinking of dabbling in it, and wanted to know (if I do) should I reach out to you or leave you your space. I know sometimes I really enjoy being totally anonymous in an MMO.

    BTW, I sent your Pharoah a message. Any interest in trading Kohl for Gold (I think you have gold)?

  5. Check your Nile scrolls, Pete. 😉

    I’ve been on my own in W101 mainly because I have no idea who anyone else is playing and how one might hook up even if I *did* know who everyone was. In any event, I’m old (if not mature) enough to tell folks when I need alone-time.

    So, how does one meet up? I’ll be the one wearing the red carnation outside Merle Ambrose’s house.

    As for analysis… I do it because I enjoy it and because apparently I tend to overthink things anyway — it’s a blessing and a curse. However, I am fascinated by what makes people tick, myself included, so thinking about why we enjoy what we do and how we enjoy it entertains me, and hopefully even enlightens, now and then.

    I also think many of the MMO-playing bloggers in our local blogosphere neighbourhood have been playing them for long enough to see a certain staleness in parts; and since we care, we analyse it and try to figure out what might change, if anything, in order to remove said staleness. MMO design can’t change human nature (we like new things) but as WoW demonstrates, it’s quite possible for one game to keep players for years even without gazillions of content additions.

    Optimistically perhaps, I think we’re poised on something new for MMOs, though it may take years to develop. I figure the players and bloggers can help define what shape the real next-gen MMOs should take.

  6. My oldest (and youngest) were watching as I played some W101 (I was reading out what the NPCs were saying) and he was quite interested in the game.

    I created a new character for my oldest who answered the character creation questions and came away with a Myth Wizard. We did the training quests and then I left him play on his own for a bit.

    I came back and he was low on health and out of mana but he was excited because he found a place behind some water falls. I showed him where to find the minigames to regen mana and stuff. He seemed to like them, I played a few with him and he played some others on his own.

    He wanted me to play some more but I there was a hockey game on (I haven’t had a chance to watch hockey in awhile) which I wanted to watch. The result was that I should have played W101 with my boy instead. 🙁

    Ah well, I’m sure he’ll ask me to play it with him later or tomorrow.

  7. Adding this to my blogroll too though I scanned through Tipas, and /cry.

    Probably because, unlike the rest of the blogosphere (and beyond), I’m the only one who has so far resisted trying W101. /sigh. And FINE. I’ll make a free account. You guys win.

  8. It may or may not be your thing. I *think* that for older gamers, it may be more of a girl thing than a boy thing, but what do I know. 😉

    I’m impressed by the fact that you can try out a fair bit of it for free — and then, if you’re not sure about shelling out for a sub, you can sort of pay as you go, though to be honest it seems *much* cheaper to just get a sub.

  9. @Ysharros — you lose access to all but the newbie parts of Wizard City if your subscription lapses. Access you buy with crowns is yours forever. So that’s a difference.

    I’m still waiting on a KI reply to my question asking why subscribers seem to get shafted. It might turn out better to subscribe until you’ve finished everything, then just pay as you go as new stuff comes out.

  10. @Tipa – Hehe, thanks. I was just trying to be funny. Thanks for the add though.

    @Ysharros – Yeah, I keep reading all the posts about this game some aspects of it intrigue me, but I just can’t get myself to try it. I’m too old and male. Maybe if I had a kid old enough to play it though, I would try it. That being said, I like the idea of a card game-based combat system, and the story-based progression. If anything, basically every post on my blog is about how I want that. I should have added “Just, not in kids form…”

    I also like the model where you pay for zones. I was wondering why DDO didn’t do that: basic game free, pay for blocks of dungeons (modules.) I don’t see how microtransaction (pay for zones) and subscription can coexist, so I guess I’m not surprised to see there’s a conflict there.

  11. Lars, your comments were very close to how I felt about it initially, though perhaps with less “male.” 😉

    A few days on, however, while it is clearly still a game aimed at children, I have quite gotten past my odd discomfort at playing a kids’ game and find myself wishing more adult games would learn from some of what W101 is doing.

    It’s safe for kids, but that doesn’t mean it’s uninteresting to adult gamers. On the whole, I’m rather impressed at their being able to actually please both. Sort of like a fantasy MMO version of the Simpsons! (For example, 2 of the guards in one of the Wizard City areas are called Rozencrantz and Guildenstern — I doubt many kids will get that, but it certainly made me chuckle.)

  12. I am also an adult. I started playing because my sister daughter wanted to play, and she wanted me to play with her, we are like best friends. I just thought i would play when she could and go on playing pogo and other things, well I haven’t. I am almost a master wizard and still have a lot to do. I help all day with their tasks and at night while they sleep I finally work on my. I have to many friends, but I want the kids to still have hope and enjoy when they get excited showing me a new spell or a new attack, and yes I let them kill the enemy. We all have fun, and I make sure to remind them it is a game, if we die we can hit re-start and try again. So yes, I am, “Indulging my inner child.” But a lot of adults are also on, so we learned how to talk where the kids can not read what we are saying. I do not like cussing of any kind and was called a bench, I said no one has sat on me, and made everyone laugh, even the boy who called me that, yes we are now friends, and he try’s to say sorry every day. So yes I also get them to say please and thank-you, and I use it too, more than I used to. The kids love me and I love them, like a big sister.

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