Archive for July, 2011


In Which I Fail

Whilst trying to do a new daily yesterday, it was brought home to me quite how much of a ‘non-gamer’ I really am.  The quest, requiring me to race around a cave activating runes, proved completely beyond me.  My son, who popped his head around the door to see what the swearing was about, remarked   ‘that’s nothing compared to some levels in Super Mario’.  And there is my problem.  I have never played Super Mario or any other console-based platform game; I haven’t even played any other MMO’s, apart from a brief side-step into the Rift free trial.

This lack of gaming experience shows itself in strange ways.  I can often grasp the mechanics of a gimmicky fight, but find myself completely unable to execute them properly.  Anything requiring split-second timing or movement in three dimensions can take hours of practice.  Any quest text which begins ‘ mount this dragon/gryphon’  can throw me into a panic, likewise anything requiring me to jump from rock to rock, or across lava or……you get the picture.

I know I am not alone in hating these types of quests – yes, I do read forums – and yet they seem to be becoming more common.  My son has a theory that the skills needed are at a very basic level for anyone who has grown up as part of the ‘console generation’ and are only difficult for WoW players coming from the ‘pen and paper’ tradition via older MMOs.

I am aware that some of my problems are personal and due to plain old age – I just don’t feel comfortable with constantly-changing camera angles and I know I need to improve my movement skills.  I have avoided questing in Vash’jir on two characters – maybe I should bite the bullet and just deal with it, and hope that a prolonged period of enforced swimming will train my brain to cope better.

Or, (and this is an even worse thought), tackle another of my bugbears and start jousting.  In all probability I will in fact do neither – I will continue to muddle along to the best of my ability, and grab a passing family member to get me out of trouble.  I certainly have no intention of taking up console gaming – some new tricks are beyond the abilities of even the most willing old dogs.

This has been a very strange week.  It has brought home to me just how much my gaming experience has changed in the last couple of years,  in all aspects, from the way I play to the people I associate with.  What happened was, two of my oldest in-game friends disappeared. One left because of some guild drama, one decided that, for personal reasons, he needed a ‘completely fresh start’, deleted everyone from realid and disappeared.

This finally brought home to me how few of the people who were once an everyday part of my play-time are now still around.  Of course I have made new friends, but I think the bonds made when you are new to the game, or new to a server, are special, and I, at least, mourn their loss.  Some friends have quit the game with a cheery good-bye and a chunk of gold for the guild bank, others have simply faded into the night leaving only a memory behind.

On a more practical note, the recent departure of those two individuals has thrown our fledgling plans for two raid teams into disarray – the loss of a well-geared tank and healer is bound to leave a mark, and has caused problems our hard-working GL could have done without,  especially as they were both officers and potential raid-leaders.  Add to that a sense of personal betrayal, and you can imagine the atmosphere over the last few days.

Luckily we have new members who are willing to help – I do not yet know them well, but I hope they will become friends as valuable as those I have lost . Like first love, first ingame friendships cannot be repeated, but in an ever-changing community, there is always the possibility of new contacts – there is no point in looking backwards.

P.S.  Does anyone else think there is something rather ‘Monty Python’ about the sight of a tank heading towards a Firelands boss carrying a balloon?

Firefighting

So the new Firelands patch has arrived, the dust has settled, and more guild members are logging on every night than we have seen for months.   A combination of pc issues at home (having to share a pc with a Team Fortress fan isn’t easy) and some necessary guild admin due to an influx of new members, has rather limited my playtime this week.  I did manage to do the Thrall quest chain for my new cloak, but have only managed 1 day’s worth of dailies so far. I wasn’t impressed by the ‘chase the ghost deer’ one, but I was enjoying punting baby turtles until I was called away to an officers meeting.

I also did my first guild Firelands trash run last night – and I enjoyed it far more than I would have expected. The open expanses of the area give it a much less cramped feel than, say, Molten Core, or the initial trash of ICC.  There is actually room to move – although this is limited somewhat by the paths of patrolling mobs.

The encounters themselves proved less difficult than I had feared – our main tank had some experience and most of the pulls went well.  We wiped a couple of times when things went wrong, but nothing caused us any real problems.  Reputation gains seem to build up pretty quickly, I got a load of leather from the scorpions, and some gold too.

The thing that has amused me the most this week, however, is the bug which caused ‘random falling damage’.  I hearthed out of a BoT run with full health, only to have my health bar plummet by 90% whilst walking to the bank.  It was a classic ‘WTF!’ moment,  and must have been even more alarming for the players who actually died from it.

And so I head into the weekend, balloon in hand, ready to put out more fires, with a determination that I WILL get my dailies done,  and Team Fortress will just have to form a queue.