March 04, 2007

Meandering, always

When life itself is not throwing me curve balls, somehow I always manage to drop the bat.

So I was playing World of Warcraft Online. I got into a really good roleplaying guild on Blackwater Raiders when suddenly the server filled up and for a week I could not log on. So I changed to a new server, Moonguard. Got a warlock started and up level 16 when Burning Crusade comes out. Still haven't found a roleplaying guild, though. I buy Burning Crusade, but one of the disks doesn't install. So I try to log on assuming that like every single MMORPG in existence, the updater will replace the missing files.

Nope. It's not really an updater at all. It is only a low-level patcher that can only apply small patches and must disconnect even to do that! This means that I cannot log into the game until I find some way to replace the missing files.

No problem right? A standard practice in the MMORPG industry is to put up a zip file of the current client. Blizzard does the same. TWO MONTHS AFTER THE RELEASE!

Back to City of Villains while Blizzard figures out some way to get me back into the game. I log on, and the first thing I discover is that one of my favorite villain group members has come back! Turns out that almost everyone has. Apparently, for whatever reason, while I was out trying to find some way to fill the void left by my dying villain group, they all decided to come back to the game!

Fortunately, I hadn't deleted Dusty Enalios. Inside a couple days I'm back in with Villainous Vixens and have my officer rank restored, most of the old-timers are still around, and everything is peachy keen!

On a lark, a friend and I make heroes. The City of Heroes side of the CoH/CoV world is older, more established, and much harder to play. Cryptic Studios made a lot of organizational errors in putting together CoH storylines, but they're smart folks and they learned from their mistakes. The CoV side of the game is tightly organized, easy to move around in, and very convenient for both hardcore and casual players. Roleplaying in the CoV side is almost a given. The structure and overall feel of the game really encourages it so even people who normally find roleplayers "a little off", will sometimes find themselves falling into acting out their characters. This is why I say, "on a lark". Neither of us really enjoy the hero side of the equation.

I intentionally put together one of the weakest, most difficult to play archetypes: An Empathy Defender. Empathy/Archery to be precise.

Turns out to be kinda fun. There are many, many small challenges in playing the character. Planning ahead of time which power to apply when, trying to plunk a few arrows into a target while keeping an overly aggressive team alive with heals, and so on, add up to an exciting and stimulating challenge. Of course, without the year or so I've spent playing CoV, the "challenge" no doubt would have been an impossible hurdle. I was able to take my basic understanding of how the game works and what the assumptions of the creators are into consideration in a way that I've never been able to on the hero side.

Next thing I know my hero is in a roleplaying supergroup and is promoted to officer status. So now I have a level 13 Empathy Defender who is an officer in a hero guild and a level 45 Robotics Mastermind who is an officer in a villain guild! I'm playing both sides of the fence, roleplaying almost every minute I'm ingame, and having the time of my life.

My World of Warcraft subscription ends in July. So I have plenty of time if everything falls apart again in CoH/CoV. I do need an online game, though. The immersion factor is extremely important to me, and the level of socialization it provides is simply not available to me here in Japan. There's no telling where this horse will take me, but I'm riding it for all I'm worth!

The downside, of course, is that I'm not doing as much writing as I would like to be doing. Somewhere along the line I'm going to have to start cutting back on my game time and spending more time writing. Not today, and probably not until summer. I'm having way too fun playing around in Cryptic's bizarre little comic book world.
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