The Kids These Days with Their Fast-Paced MMOs
Like many of you who will read this, I enjoy MMORPGs. I've been playing them off and on (mostly on) since the late 90's. I started with Asheron's Call, took a detour through Everquest, City of Heroes, Star Wars Galaxies, and I have found a comfortable existence in Lord of the Rings Online, and World of Warcraft, with the odd attempt now and then to give myself a seizure in Perfect World. While some of you may count this a thin resume, I feel that it gives me a certain pedigree in the world of online gaming. At least I know which way is North on my HUD. So, why is it that my first priority in playing a new MMO is getting totally lost?
The answer is, at least I think it is, that I'm an adventurer. If you put me in a sandbox, my first instinct is almost always to wonder off and get lost among the dunes. You see, I just don't have that drive, killer instinct if you will, to power level through a game; boar's blood barely dried upon my axe before the Wargs start to fall beneath it.
No, I'm more like: "Oh, what's that over there?" waddle, waddle, waddle, "Why, upon closer inspection this is a slightly different tree than the one looking at earlier. Oh, what's that over there?" waddle, waddle, waddle, "Oh, it's an elite mob who is twenty levels higher than me, I've wondered out of the newbie zone, maybe I should have been killing things, rather than looking at pixelated trees." Sadly, this is not a fictional account.
I am easily distracted, this is not something that generally hinders me in my daily life, but when I'm playing video games, it's in my off hours, and I tend to want to indulge in my vices, and one of my vices is to be very flighty. It makes playing MMOs with friends difficult. Oddly, many of them want to get to a high level and take part in end game content, like raiding and the like. I don't get that. I mean, I like doing that stuff eventually, but I'm far more content to fish, or bake, or craft, or just wonder around and look at all the funny animations and detail the designers put into the game. It makes hanging out with the "sever first" crowded a little difficult.
Part of my problem with the whole rush to the end mentality is, I'm paying for this game, I want to wring every last drop of entertainment value that I can out of it. I'm reading every book on every table, going down every dead end in every instance, climbing to the top of every mountain, even if uninhabited by Man or Troll. I'm going to swim all the way around Kalimdor (they don't have an achievement for that, trust me, I know), decipher all the runes in Thorin's Hall. The game designers put huge amounts of work into the details of these worlds, and I really think they're awesome, the idea of rushing past them as fast as some folks do, well it makes me sad.
To my fellow heroes of the virtual realm, I offer this advice. Stop and view the roses; you may not be able to smell them, but they are beautifully rendered.