Blaugust Day 15 – Dying is Educational

In Project: Gorgon*, you get xp every time you die in a new and interesting way. Which, given the name of this blog, really means I should play this game from now until the end of time, or at least until I give up on the blog. Though in all honesty my corpses aren’t particularly stylish yet since I’m wearing the noob stuff you get just for showing up.

I did not get a play much in my first session — an hour or so — but that was fun nonetheless. Bhagpuss did a much more comprehensive and entertaining post about it a few days ago, and I find I agree with him on the humour though it seemed to tickle me a bit more than it did him. A lot of descriptions and dialogue snippets in Project: Garden are quite silly, but intentionally so, and I happen to be a big fan of silly things, silly people and silly places (Camelot, for instance).

My plan to log in at the crack of dawn this morning and PLAY ALL DAMN DAY BECAUSE I AM AN ADULT AND NOBODY CAN TELL ME OTHERWISE ON MY DAY OFF (and all caps makes me sound more mature)… did not work out. I was called on by that Real Life game again, and then, quite unexpectedly, I got sucked into a time loop where I ended up playing Loot & Legends for *coughcough* hours. (I think it’s only an iDevice thing right now.)

You have to understand, I’m new to this whole mobile games thing. I didn’t get a smartphone until last year, not from any Luddite leanings but because we lived in an area with no signal to speak of and why for should I spend $100+ a month for nothing? And I didn’t get a tablet till this year (I don’t count the Kindle, even the Fire), because reasons. Then I got an iPad and now I’m discovering what I’ve been missing, which is how to totally waste my life on things that want to suck my real-life money every second I play them.

I spent several years translating a number of these mobile games and, believe it or not, that’s a really good incentive to not play them much because you get to see the graspy underbelly even more clearly than while you’re playing them. But still, I had fun.

Anyway, I will be doing the Project: Gecko thing now, assuming an unexpected divine cartoon hand doesn’t reach down from above and make me do something else. It happens.

Gilliam_handVeering back to Project: Gumball**, I managed to die entertainingly twice (+100XP, yay!). This was after making an Elf, whose racial superskill seems to be sex-addiction and a strong preference for double-entendres, which I thought I could run with if and when I RP (or even talk to another player). Here she is.

Ysharros the Annoyed

Her name is Ysharros. I don’t know if there’s a friends list yet and I don’t even know how to speak in /say, but we can always gesture and grunt if we run into each other. And here she is dying the first time to a wolf so weak he could barely stand up. I’m pretty sure he died of starvation right after he killed me.

PG death 1I made it out of the tutorial cave (having picked up a couple of levels of Mycology skill in the process — see mushroom, will harvest) and to the nearest village. I have no idea if it has a name, but there were quite a few newbies there aside from me. I assume they were newbies because we were all wearing the freebie armour you get so that chickens don’t kill you. It’s very RED.

I almost got killed by some… psychic mantises? They were like mantises and they stunlocked me and almost chewed off my face before I managed to run away — and that was just one of the random houses in the village. After that I proceeded a little more cautiously and set the bar a great deal lower. I killed a couple of chickens (for feathers, to help out a local NPC), killed a couple of pigs (for snouts, ditto, which I didn’t get because I forgot you need the skinning skill, which you get by using a butchering knife, which I hasn’t bought), and killed a named pig whom I didn’t remember to immortalise in a screenie so we’re going to say he was called Mr. Snouty. He didn’t drop much of interest, certainly no pants yearning for the sea.

And that’s where I had to leave it. I’d be back there now if I didn’t have to write this blog post. Or play just one more round of Loot & Legends; I owe some troglodytes a rematch.

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* Can we please rename it Project: Gordon already? It’s all my fingers know how to type. Maybe I should set up auto-correct… but then, every time I write to my good buddy the Commish, I’ll call him Gorgon… sigh.

** This is almost as entertaining as getting Benedict Cumberbatch’s name wrong. If not as eye-candyish.

Blaugust Day 13 – the Dreaded Doldrums

TL;DR – Much soul-searching as to why I’m ‘meh’ about games. Need people. Don’t want dungeons. Insoluble. Inconceivable!

I keep calling them that, but I think it’s more than the usual “I’d rather be outside reading a book” summer thing. I have a million games I could be playing and yet, as I have lamented more than once of late, I’m not really playing any of them. Not to any degree of involvement, anyway. Actually, when looking for posts to link in that previous sentence, I realised that those two “what shall I play?” posts were in fact not weeks, but rather months apart (January and July). Which means I’ve been feeling this ‘meh-ness’ about gaming for some time.

meh_catFirst I wondered if it might be that I’ve simply grown tired of MMOs or, *gasp* gaming in general. I still have fun playing Sims 4 now and then, though admittedly that’s not a particularly demanding game; but I don’t play for ‘demanding’ so that’s not an issue. I log into WoW more out of duty than any particular desire to do so, but I am paying a sub (and have been for the last 5 years – I might want to rethink that) so I might as well use it. I haven’t logged into EQ2 for almost a year now, even though I love that game. I check in on The Secret World now and then, but that game is demanding, specifically in a theory-crafting kind of way which doesn’t particularly motivate me. (More on TSW some other time.) I’m not logging in to SWGEmu much and if my vendors burn up, I’m not really bothered. Aside from those there’s The Repopulation, Shroud of the Avatar and Project: Gorgon, and that’s just all the MMOs I have I’m not playing. And I really want to play Project: Gorgon. I’ve backed the Kickstarter and all. But… meh.

And it’s MMOs I want to talk about in particular because I think I know what’s going on.

I don’t really have anyone to play with anymore.

It galls me vaguely to even say that. I’m an introvert. I’m perfectly happy in my own company. I don’t mind — in fact I very much enjoy — bimbling around by myself in games… provided there are other people to chat with. And there’s the rub. While I’m an introvert, I’m also a sociable player and I like to share the experience with people I know. Which means I’m not counting General Chat in any game as an acceptable alternative. Taking part in general chat is like bathing in a sewer — and not the clean, clearly lemon-scented sewers Baghpuss mentions.

Part of the problem is that I play odd hours. I’m not much of an evening player for one, and I’m in a weird time zone for another — 2 hours behind the US East Coast and an hour ahead of the West. (Granted I’m not playing from Australia or Thailand, which I’m sure presents even greater challenges.) I play during the day, which means I tend to interface most with Euro times — and that’s fine, when it works.

Another issue is that while I know eleventy-thousand gamers through Twitter, Facebook, blogging and just general gaming, we’re all playing different games — so even if they’re online when I’m online, chances are we’re not online in the same virtual world or server. And while I am acquainted with many, I don’t really know who they are in the various games; my occasional attempts to hook up with folks in games tend to fall flat because of issue 1 above.

Then there’s the fact that I am primarily a solo player. I did game with bloggers and e-friends at one point, and we even made guilds together, but because I am not particularly keen on the group thing, I don’t really fit in. So I slip out of touch. And then everyone moves on to another (usually different) game and/or stops playing, etc. etc. etc.

I’m beginning to think I’ll have to embrace the group thing in games. I don’t mind grouping at all (ask my SWG buds, if you can find them), but the primary purpose of grouping in most games is to run dungeons and I would really rather not. I’m certain I’ve explained why elsewhere but I can’t find a link, so in 10 words or less: dungeons = too much visual / auditory input for me. I’ve tried the whole desensitisation thing (thanks to friends who kept telling me that if I did lots of dungeons, I’d start to like them), I’ve tried running them with friends (helps because no PUGs, doesn’t help with the whole input-excess thing), I’ve tried running them in different games (and some are less bad, e.g. FFXIV, while some are awful, e.g. WoW). I’ve tried turning off the particles and turning down the sound, but then what exactly is the point? Oh, right — items.

Makes my eyes bleed (From the GW2 forums)

I am not motivated by items. So the absolute primary reason to run dungeons, which is to obtain stuff so you can run the next dungeon and get even more stuff… just doesn’t matter to me. The only items I care about are my crafting tools, my housing deco, pets, and the occasional piece of clothing. And even then I’m not always motivated enough to get those that I’d crawl over broken glass to get them (i.e. do long & boring quest lines and/or dungeons).

So while I do occasionally run through dungeons by myself when I’m high enough to not get my ass kicked, it’s not something I make a habit of. And it’s not something that really floats my boat or rocks my world.

I have the uneasy feeling that what I really want — which is to be in an MMO for more than 2 months at a time, to have a couple of dozen folks I can hang out with, and to feel at home again in an MMO rather than like a visitor — may not be available to me right now.

Well then. I shall just have to stop whingeing, pull my socks up, and pick a game. Then *I* can be the one player that’s always there even when everyone else ups and wanders off.

Eenie-meenie-minney-mo… PROJECT: GORGON it is! On with the download! And if you decide to join me, chances are you’ll find me as Ysharros*.

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* Except in all the games where I’m Eloise or Heloise or Alouette or – yeah, whatevs.