Wednesday, March 15, 2006

In Search of ... The Next Big Thing?

So my hobby life appears to be lying fallow. Roleplaying is stable, challenging and fun. CCGs have, in the short and medium term have been knocked on the head. Fanfic writing is indeed a dodo. So all thats left really is WoW.

And thats being a bit of a pain in the arse, to be honest. The recent merger between the Dungeoneers and the Hex Spammers has been problematic. A mixture of differing expectations, clashing personalities, radically diverse communication methods and just a whole load of 'change is bad' rubbish. The result has been what T.I.F. calls 'Golf Club Politics' and too many hours pondering and angsting and posturing, when we should be plundering, attacking and pillaging.

My recent tactic for avoiding socially-related stress has been to hide and ignore, taking solace in the last vestiges of my Comic Images work and increasingly my family life. (Hey, you laugh, but for the first time in maybe five years, my wife and I snuggled on the sofa and watched a film! It's just something that we never do...!). My adventures on Scarshield Legion, the RP-PVP server have continued although I am now Level 15 and my companion Dave, is still Level 10, so I can't really rush on too far from him.

So I found myself yesterday looking at the prospect of an alternative MMO - something to have when my muse for WoW wanes a little. It was not an easy process. I've never been a great consumer of computer games and thus whilst I see a £25 roleplaying book as a sound investment, a £30 computer game still seems like an extravagance - which is sheer folly when you consider the 1000+ hours of gametime I have logged with Gorthaal compared to the 0.0 hours gametime I have logged with my Changeling: The Dreaming collection! I want to get something thats great value for money and a cool play experience.

So, I thought, I would shop around online and see what reviews I could pick up? Oh boy....

Apparently, all games are bad. All high ratings are the result of voting by [insert company] fanbois and they haven't been enlightened to the One True Game...which doesn't appear to exist. Every single game seems to have a massive array of detractors and a massive array of proponents. I have discovered the concept of the 'Korean' game - one that was apparently designed for a different species and is in no way, shape or form suitable for western tastes. I have discovered that apparently there are many different forms of MMORPG, all variants on the mystical 'true' MMORPG - highlighted in phrases such as 'This is not a true MMO, it is more a [insert three mysterious letters]RPG'. All games are apparently a grind WHILST simultaneously being fun WHILST being repetitive WHILST being great WHILST being shite.

IN essence, thanks, you have indeed perpetuated my rather acidic view of reviewers to the extreme.

At the moment, the jury is out. I had a copy of Dungeons and Dragons Online in my hand yesterday but put it back...unsure of making the commitment. I have looked time and again at EVE Online, space trading sounding oh so cool....but never quite wanted to take the plunge as a n00b into something so established and complicated. The warm and friendly comfort zone of Warcraft is alluring. I have mastered the game, I have crested the learning curve, it is all there before me - do I really want to start again elsewhere?



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