This has been covered by others already, but fortunately for me I never claimed to be a scoop-hound (I’m far too
lazy busy with work). I’ve let it sit in my mental microwave for the last few days, and when it finally went ping I decided that yes, I’m probably going to try out AC2.
I remember the AC2 beta and how froth-botheringly excited the community was, because AC1 players got priority for beta testing – at least that’s how I remember it. It was a long time ago. Hell, it was THAT long ago that the spousal unit and I actually got CDs through the mail to install the beta client. No, really. People used to send CDs all the time. Then again I’m old enough to remember floppies. Wait, does that sound bad?
Anyway, froth-bothering excitement gave way to puzzlement (wtf is this? it’s not AC1!) to interest (okay, but it’s actually a pretty cool character system) to frustration (oh look, another play-stopping bug!). And before someone berates me for complaining about bugs when I was beta-testing, I know. I know. I know. I like beta-testing and I’m aware bugs are the whole point and hell, I do it professionally now, so don’t teach your internet grandma to suck eggs. Every beta-tester has a point at which they transition from “Hey, this is kind of a cool bug, let’s make that cow’s head explode again” to “Ohhhh Goddddd, not another one… Now I can’t move. Now I can’t talk. Hey, what happened to my inventory?”
I reached that point with AC2 after a few weeks of testing which, coupled with a machine that was only barely able to run the game, kind of put paid to both my testing and my interest in the game. I didn’t buy it at release, though a number of my AC guildies, The Knights Who Say Ni, did.
AC2 had quite a few issues in beta, which is what you’d expect. Chat, as I recall, was pretty gruesome (and the Elder Game post referred-to above explains why), but then chat had issues in more than one game back in 2002 or 2003. Star Wars Galaxies was fickle as a drunken debutante when it came to letting you chat or not, at least for the first few months – setting up one of the first cities was quite the experience without guild chat, especially since this was before anyone much used voice-chat.
So yes, my guildies played it and enjoyed it, though it never got as much momentum within the guild as AC1 did. Nothing’s ever the same as your first… Also, SWG came fairly hot on the heels of AC2 and we ALL wanted to try out a Star Wars game (though again, not many of us played it for more than a few months). Actually, that was more or less the time when the MMO market sort of exploded – after SWG came City of Heroes, then later that year both EQ2 and WoW, and on and on…
I didn’t play AC2 at release, I was probably a little unfair about it for various reasons, and now I’m a jaded old hag – or hack – with nostalgic leanings and I’m going to check it out again. It didn’t take me but a couple of minutes to recover my Turbine account info, and there’s my AC1 account all ready to be activated to grant me access to what’s old is new AC2 (although it’s not my original AC1 account – I didn’t migrate it soon enough back in the Microsoft/Turbine migration or I just plain forgot the details, either way my original chars are lost somewhere in v-space).
We’ll see, right?
So I’ve been playing WoW again for a little over a week, and it’s been a lot of fun!
For one thing, I hooked up with my old guild and old friends, some of whom were all like, “Huh? Who the hell are you?” — oh, the ego! — and most of whom are entirely unknown to me. Still, they’re a good bunch. Even those that aren’t old enough to be smart aren’t annoying (at least not in the guild chat I’ve seen), which is saying something.
My old huntard main, Eloise, has become my new main, and is levelling like a byatch! Even if it hasn’t been 5 levels in 2 days the way it was a weekend ago. She is now some ways into 67, soloing her way around the various Outland zones, taming whatever looks interesting and usually releasing it about 5 minutes later.
I’d played Outlands before in winter 2008-2009 when I briefly came back to WoW and played on Rexxar (and here’s a rant I found while looking for those links that made me laugh. Damn, this blog was SO much better 2 years ago! Post titles from the White Album? Dude! Uh – where was I?). The experience isn’t all that different this time around, even though it was with a Death Knight back then.
Hellfire Peninsula is B R O W N. And omgwtfbbqBORING after seven thousand quests. Zangarmarsh is bluey-greeney-purple. And omgwtfbbqBORING after seven thousand quests. Terokkar Forest is greyish-blueish. And omgwtf — you get the picture.
In all fairness this isn’t entirely WoW’s fault or a design flaw. The zones are very distinctive from each other, sometimes almost too much so, but that’s always been the case with WoW. And I’m the one who gets into Terminator Questing mode – nobody’s forcing me. For the faint of memory and despite the vanity inherent in the process, I shall quote myself:
Terminator-questing mode is basically where you mentally figure out what the shortest, most efficient circuit is that you can run, killing everything you need and speaking to everyone you need (including new quest-givers) to get the most bang for your questing buck.
It’s just so insanely easy to hit that mode in Outlands — and okay, maybe we do have to blame the designers just a little bit, because I think Outlands was designed to be that way. Remember that WoW isn’t about enjoying the difficult journey, it’s about being marginally entertained while you level as fast as possible so you can hit that mythical End Game Content (TM). Well, I dunno about the EGC, I have less than zero interest in it, but I will admit that the “marginally entertained” criterion is certainly well-fulfilled in WoW these days. I’m more than marginally entertained — I’ve been having a blast, to the exclusion of work I’m supposed to be doing (thank god it’s Xmas and the workload is light!), pew-pewing the crap out of everything that moves, pew-pewing elites with the help of my omgwtfbbqleet pets (ok, and level 80+ leet friends now and then), and pew-pewing myself closer to 68 so I can buy cold weather flying and finally move on to Northrend where the lewt is even phatter!
Oh yeah, and by the end of a gaming session I’m like a wrung-out sponge, I’ve had so much intense Terminator-questing fun.
Probably time to dial the Roboquesting down a little, hit the Winterveil Crush in Stormwind, have some eggnog, and unwind a bit.
Actually that’s one of the things that still bothers me from time to time about evolved-MMOs compared to the oldschool-MMOs. I really, really miss just hanging out in the same (virtual) physical space with other people and shooting the breeze. These days everyone is Terminator-questing or harvesting or doing heroics or preparing to do heroics or cybering on the Deeprun Tram, and you just can’t get the quiet facetime anymore. It’s a bit of a shame and it makes me feel just a little disconnected from everyone else.
Part of the fault for that lies in my playstyle, of course. I’m an introvert soloing huntard no-social-skills reject (apparently) — if I were grouping, I’d be getting facetime. Face-to-the-floor time maybe — because see, my definition of face-time doesn’t include doing everything I do when solo except with 4 other people. That’s just… doing everything I do when solo except with 4 other people.
I know the halcyon days of having so much fucking time on my hands I can afford to spend 2 hours in the equivalent of a virtual pub with a bunch of my friends are gone. They belonged to a younger me and younger MMOs and even if they come back in some form or other when the design wheel turns full circle, it’ll never be the same thing because I’m having a Proustian moment and wishing for a time that by definition (unless you’re a really smart physicist) can’t come back. Oh well. I’ll just be all nostalgic for a while then and have another pastry.
And then I’ll go back to levelling my ass off.
It’s been ten years this month that Asheron’s Call came out, and not quite ten years that I experienced my first MMO. And while most people might be going “AC? What’s that? It’s not UO, and it’s not EQ… never heard of it!” for me there are some very strong associations that persist to this day.
For one thing, I met my husband there. Well, he wasn’t at the time, but he is now. So AC is effectively to blame for me coming to the US. That whole thing is a little bittersweet in parts (I miss my friends back there dreadfully), but I guess life is about moving forward. I don’t regret coming here; I do wish someone would hurry the hell up and invent a teleporter and the Instant Money For Free Tree so I can have my mates over to visit, or go visit them, whenever I like.
Aside from the spousal unit, I also met a core of people with whom I’m still e-friends to this day. I’ve only met a few of them “for real”, but after 5-10 years hanging out with folks, it’s pretty hard not to get to know them. Actually, AC is therefore effectively to blame for my wanting to move to Albuquerque — a handful of those friends live there, and after one visit there last month I was sold. As an alternative to the Dallas/Fort Worth area it probably didn’t have to work that hard anyway.
And, of course, it started me on the MMO road. So I guess we can probably blame AC for my blogging, too. So if you want somewhere to send “You idiot! Look what you made her do!” mails, send em to Turbine. I’m sure they’ll be thrilled.