Be my muse

When I agreed to write stuff for Hammer of WAR online, and decided to do a column about alts, I thought I would never run dry. Sadly, this week I am without a scintilla, nay even iota, of inspiration. (If you actually know which of an iota or a scintilla is smaller, shut up.)

I have too much other stuff on my mind — work and the usual RL gubbins, but mostly that death in the family which is still having weird ripple effects and has made it really hard to concentrate lately. I thought a week was going to be decently long to grieve, but I guess we can’t schedule these things as neatly as we’d like.

It’s possible that bemoaning my lack of inspiration will either trigger said inspiration (it being perverse that way) or prompt one of you fine readers to suggest something. (Something printable, that is.)

I’ll tell you what else, I sure picked the wrong week to quit being negative. Maybe equally perversely, I have, predictably perhaps, found myself mild-to-moderately irritated by everything, and even frothingly infuriated by a few specific things that don’t really deserve it. The world has offended me this week. (I know, it’s not the world, it’s me. But if the easiest psychological explanation also serves — that I’m mad about the loss of my grandad — then there isn’t a whole lot I can do about it but wait for it to pass.)

11 thoughts on “Be my muse

  1. Apologies if you’ve already covered it.

    Why don’t hybrids satisfy the alt desire? I have three level seventy characters, all hybrids, in WoW. You’d think that as, say, a druid – who can tank, dps (melee or magic) or heal, depending on spec – an altophile wouldn’t ever need to play another class, and yet I find myself hooked on alts nevertheless.

    Perhaps it’s not just about the class mechanic, but about the feel of the class, its background or ‘character’?

    I think there are a few classes in WAR which could be classed as hybrids, Archmage springs immediately to mind. So I think the question would be relevant there too.

    Anyway, that’s my attempt at musing.

    Muse Man away! KAPWING!

  2. Having a rough start to the day myself. Sorry, not much inspiration here, just frustration and annoyance.

    And an urge to smash stuff…

    I lost my grandfather on my mother’s side when I was 15 years old. It was a rough day because I was doing 15 year old stuff while my folks went off to the cottage my grandfather/grandmother owned. I though I was going to have free reign that day.

    I ended up going to a friend’s house, we got into the booze and, being 15, I didn’t know when to stop until I started blacking out.

    Long trip home on a bike (and several times falling off it) I came home to find my parents already there with my grandmother.

    I don’t remember much of that day. I remember my dad driving me to the hospital where I learned I had a concussion (or five). I gave them some bullshit story which they didn’t buy (or so I learned later). I didn’t get into trouble, though I was hurting the next couple of days.

    I can’t believe how much of an ass I was and how worse I made that day for my parents and grandmother. Here she is mourning the fact that her husband is dead and her grandson staggers in drunk.

    I bring him up because you’re mouring yours and today is Remembrance Day (I believe it’s called Veteran’s Day in the U.S.). My grandfather was an engineer in the war so I always think of him today.

    My grandmother on that side is the only grandparent I have left and she’s a great woman, the kind of person that should have a long life.

  3. My grandad was in WWII, along with most every other able-bodied male of the right age at the time. Actually, he and my grandmother got married during the war (which started long before 1941 except for people here in the US ;)). All they could get or afford back then were tin wedding bands, and while she got much nicer rings later, he wore that tin one all his life.

    Thanks for bringing up a good memory. The circumstances around my gran’s death (I was the same age you were) were also somewhat fraught for me, so I know exactly what you mean.

    @ Melmoth — good idea! I’ve wondered about that one myself, especially since I LOVE hybrids.

  4. As an incurable altophile myself, I think it’s the mechanics of the different classes that appeal to me. For many classes/careers that tank, it’s pretty much a matter of mashing one or two buttons while you get healed and the opponent dies under the other incoming DPS. Fun for a while, certainly adrenaline fuelling but nothing I can play for days on end. So I’ll swap to playing a DPS or a healer for a while, or a hybrid, and round and round we go.

    So I guess my question would be which class mechanics do you find work for/amuse you the most? Which don’t you like, and of course why?

  5. Alt issue: How do you manage your alts? Do you spend a lot of time mailing gear and items back and forth, or does each one ‘stand alone.’ How do you decide which one to play on a given day? Do you level them sequentially, or do you keep them all at some kind of parity, level wise? Do you remember back when you need to have a friend to transfer items between alts? Remember in Asheron’s Call when you could drop something on the ground, log out, log in the alt and pick it up, assuming no one had come along in the interim?

    I’m afraid I don’t read you at Hammer of War (my eyes can’t take their layout) so if you’ve covered these, I’m sorry.

    Both my grandfathers passed away when I was pretty young. In fact between 5 & 10 I lost both grandfathers, one grandmother and my dad. It was a bad run. My paternal granddad was the earliest to go and I barely remember him except that he smoked a pipe. My maternal grandfather was a fisherman and during prohibition rum-runners would “rent” some of the outbuildings on his property to store some “things” for a night or two. The family was told to stay away from that building, but I guess it was good money for the times.

    I know he also “caught” a few crates of contraband booze in his fish traps once or twice, when the rum-runners would have to dump their cargo to get away from the feds.

    My dad was in WWII, in the Navy. He was on the USS Lexington at Coral Sea when it was sunk, in fact. He never really talked about it though. Apparently he was also on a destroyer that was sunk, but he made it through both incidents.

  6. Pete covered one of my alt questions – the management issue. The other question I have is “how do you remember what skills each alt has”? I have a terrible time switching between alts — as a result my alts tend to be both seldom played and very low level.

    Again, my sympathies on the loss of your grandfather. I never knew either of mine — my Dad never knew his Dad and my Mom’s parents were separated when she was 3 and divorced at the end of WWII. Apparently, neither one of them was a very nice guy. Both served in WWII though. I had two wonderful grandmas whom I miss terribly. One died in 1981 and the other in 2001.

  7. First off my sympathies to your loss.

    I use to be an Alt-o-holic in WoW. I use to have a thousand toons all mid range level, and I had 7- 70’s. My main, and favorite was a warrior. Prot Warrior, and I inspected another warrior one day and was totally impressed with his gear. I said to myself. Damn thats where I should be gear wise, but because I played around with all these alts, I wasn’t.

    So I quit being an altoholic, now I only concentrate, on my chosen, and my WoW mage. Thats it.

    Though on the Chosen it’s hard, cause grinding is a pain on there.

    On another note I can’t believe I missed your blog from my blogroll, I slapped in on now. It’s a good blog.

  8. Going in a different direction, considering the recent collection of bloggish articles questioning the need for levels in MMOs, what about taking a look at levels from a PvP perspective, since that’s ostensibly what WAR focuses on.

    To my mind, PvP works best when there’s a level playing field, and character levels, especially in an RvR setting, can swing the battle too far in the direction of favoring grind over skill. “Sidekick” equalizers can make a difference, but I’d suggest looking even further into the roots for a solution: what would a solid PvP game be like without levels at all?

    To some degree, PvP in WoW or WAR is just a differently themed Counterstrike or Team Fortress 2. One, those games test skill over grind, and two, they are free to play online, rather than subscription based. As such, would there be a market for a PvP game with WAR’s pedigree that doesn’t tack on the PvE subscription nonsense, but really captures the sense of PvP skill-testing warfare? Fury sort of aimed in that direction, but fell flat on their face.

    What is it about fantasy worlds that suggests to gamers that PvE and levels are necessary? Why did WAR smush them into the game, despite wanting heavy PvP and RvR game action? Why are scenarios the best reward/time in WAR in that light? Is it the subscription model that suggests a PvE grind to suggest a persistent world? Could PvP and/or RvR stand on their own as a valid product, either via subscriptions or via a Guild Wars/TF2/CS purchase, play for free model?

    I’m not a PvP player, but these are questions that WAR has brought to my mind. I’m curious as to what others might think, and if you’re tackling WAR, perhaps there’s some nugget of an idea you can riff off of here.

  9. What about the tradeskill hobbyists? Wouldnt their craving be fed by having an army of alts since most games will let you have limited trades per toon? Ex, I have a Cultivator/Alchemist, Talisman/(Fragment thingy), Scavenger/Alchemist alts that feed each other with ingredients. Save for the fact, the lower 2 are kinda stagnant atm…

    Perhaps alts may be a way to belong to many different social groups/guilds or a way to hide from your ‘main’ guild?

    How about the multiboxers? Are those concidered altiphiles since there really is no ‘Main’ and most guilds may force them to play a main toon only in guild events but their alt on the other box may be needed on occasion for example.

    What about hidden alts for those flirty encounters some may use them for, never to be assosciated with their other toons?

    What about alts for content advantage? Example, in EQ1 in our hardcore guild on the 7th hammer, alts would be in place near spawns that were contested. So a level 1 with the right faction or a Ranger in tracking range would often be prime choices. Some may be used to get mats or items that could be purchaced or obtained by toons with certain factions but are able to be traded to anyone.

    What about alts set up where you can turn off experience or keep their exp at a certain level so they can be dominant in a certain area/tier? BGs in WoW used to be that way and if there are level ranges where you can attack each other, a pimped out toon vs a non pimped out higher level toon, the lower would dominate simply be uber gear. I think EQ2 could be set up this way. Look at Fancy the Bard from EQ1 that stayed level 5 iirc and used the bard charm mechanic to get around the PvP rules.

    Thats about all I can think of right now…

  10. Sorry, I’m working on tons of different things today. To tie what I was writing into the alt theme, would people play lots of alts if there wasn’t a leveling grind? If the game was based on PvP with no leveling, would players stick with a persona and build a reputation, or tinker with a lot of different alts and “builds” (Guild Wars) to see what classes and balance the game has to offer? Do players try out different classes in TF2, or just pick one and develop their play skill forever?

    In other words, what drives the choice to select an alt, and would a tighter focus on PvP (jettisoning PvE) create more altitis (testing different PvP options), or produce fewer alts as players have to turn to their own skill to define their character, rather than time spent grinding in PvE situations?

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