Normal service resumes

April 20, 2010 at 3:38 pm | Posted in General | Leave a comment

Wotcha everyone,

Well, if my Big Fat Experiment taught me anything, it’s that self-denial just is not for me.  Especially when I deny myself the opportunity to partake in something I really enjoy.

But it did allow me the chance to take a step back, and ponder what it is about gaming that I really like, without the need for phat epixxx to get in the way.

The Mental:  Whether it’s PvP or PvE, MMOs have a huge puzzle element to them.  The most obvious part is raiding, where finding the way to defeat a Boss can be all about deconstructing and then solving the puzzle of where to stand, what abilities to use, and where and when to do it all.

But there’s also the puzzle of how best to set up your character’s traits and abilities, how to set up an effective UI, what the best rotation of skills and spells to take out a particular mob is (because you need to kill 4 meeeeeellion of them for a quest/trait and you don’t want to take all year).  And then there’s the puzzle of working out the best gear to carry/wear for the role you want to play.

This puzzle solving can be overt or covert, but it’s one of the things I really like about MMOs.  Rather than sit back and let the game sort every last thing out for us, we get to make decisions.  Decisions that can mean the difference between success and failure.  Decisions that keep Mr Brain active.

The Social:  The image of the lone geek, playing MMOs at all hours from the comfort of his parent’s basement is a popular one (especially in the media) but I’m not so sure it’s all that valid.  The gamers I tend to meet are witty, smart and most of all social creatures.  Maybe I’m just lucky.

I usually find that any game is vastly improved by social groupings.  An average game becomes good.  A good game becomes fantastic.  This is because good company makes any endeavour more enjoyable (whether that’s fake worlds or real worlds).

The Ease:  MMOs are easy.  When it comes to just getting in and playing, there’s none of the effort needed for so many real world hobbies.  There’s no having to set anything up before play can start, and there’s no tidy-time at the end.  The only time you need to arrange people is when you want to arrange a specific group activity such as raiding; usually you can just go on and see who else is around.

They’re so easy that we don’t even need to keep track of the rules ourselves.  The game engine does all that for us.  All we need to do is get on and play.  And we can usually do that in moments.

Yay for us.

Of course there are plenty of things that are bad.  Bad game-play, bad design ethos, bad fellow players.  But it’s nice to realise the good things, to remember why we play the games we do.

And it’s great to be playing them again.



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