You have created: 2×4May 13, 2010 at 3:26 pm | Posted in General | 3 Comments
Tags: fallen earth, hawley loves crafting, memories, virtual and in-game items
Yes, in Fallen Earth Wol created a 2×4. For those unaware a 2×4, or “2by4” as the cognoscenti call it, is a length of wood 2 inches thick and 4 inches wide. Wol uses his to bludgeon the post apocalypse (anything and everything in it) to death. So far that includes evil fake Franklin’s Riders, nasty coyotes (packs of them! Packs!) and even vicious plant thingies.
I/Wol like it because it might be slow, but it does a huge wodge of damage, and looks exactly like a 2by4 should. Like a plank of pain.
It’s far cooler than a pool cue, or even a baseball bat (which are other options). And when the time comes to leave our 2by4 for something a little less brutally unpolished, such as a sword, there will be a heart-felt decommissioning ceremony, with tears, testimonials, and a lone bugler playing the last post.
We love our plank of pain.
Whenever someone mentions gear, equipment or trez, I’ll usually state that MMO gaming is all about pretty pictures and ugly code. And that includes the items we pick up and use in them. They’re not real, they don’t exist anywhere but within the game, and they’ll last as long as the game servers do, and no longer.
But despite that, I still get attached to the items my characters get to use in games.
Sometimes it will be because the item just appeals to my sense of humour. Running around the GC with a 2by4 belabouring post-apocalyptic monsties about the head repeatedly? That makes me girly-giggle every time. Sometimes it’s because a weapon is carried for a long time; Skooge carried Heartseeker in one hand or the other for what felt like forever. And then there are the weapons that are strived for, from instance run to instance run, from raid to raid. Minstrel Hawley’s Mace of Song was earned through drops from a number of instances, and took some time to gain.
And then there are the crafted items. Whilst most games use crafted items as a secondary, less powerful item for use whilst waiting for a phat lewt drop from an instance or raid boss, I’ve always really appreciated the items that other players have made for me, and the ones I’ve made have always felt that little bit more special than a random drop. Time is the real currency of MMOs, so when we make an item for someone else, we’re gifting our time, and I appreciate it when others do that for me.
I do get sentimental about these items; I’ll spend time and effort acquiring them, whether that be finding the materials for crafting or running an instance or raid long enough for the item to drop, and for me to get my grubby mitts on it.
Yet I balk at virtual goods in the real world. One of the reasons I dislike the various mp3 stores is because I’d rather spend the same amount of money on a physical cd, and I’m willing to wait a couple of days to do that. Same goes for films.
Do in-game items have the same weight as other virtual goods?
Maybe it’s because I’m not paying for each individual item, but I’m paying for the game itself. That payment entitles me to the opportunity to attain any and all the items, as opposed to paying specifically for each individual item.
It’s also highly likely that “It’s a game” reasoning that means a phat epixxx leet sword o’doomy goodness will never have the same weight as an mp3 or film in my own head. I’ve held cds and dvds, but I’ll never have the opportunity to hold an in-game item in my real hands.
Should in-game items have the same weight as other virtual goods?
That’s the question. Whilst I might not see that phat epixxx leet sword o’doomy goodness as a “real” item, it’s just as “real” as the downloaded music of some popular beat combo, and I’ve paid real money for both.
For the phat epixxx leet sword o’doomy goodness I’ve paid real money in terms of box price of entry, and a subscription. And then, unlike approaching some online music retailer with a loaded credit card to complete my purchase, I’ve spent further time and effort in the game itself to get that weapon. Or armour, or mount, or even a stack of consumables.
In-game items must have some weight; enough games are now offering in-game items as sweetners for both pre-orders and regular sales. And we’re not talking just Collector’s Editions any more; standard editions are sometimes shipping with a bucketful of in-game booty.
Of course, over all my rambling pondering lies the spectre of account theft. If in-game items really were valueless, then why are people all too willing to steal accounts for their items and trez?
The stuff our characters wear and wield does seem to have a weight to them, for all their virtual nature. They have a financial weight, and they have a sentimental weight.
And then there’s the weight of a 2by4, cleaning up the GC one skull at a time.