The Draw of MMOrpgs

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My New Blade & Soul Character

I’ve decided to dive back into the world of MMOrpgs. Well…. sort of? I haven’t been playing them much in the past few years but I recently had to do a lot of research on the best MMOs coming out this year for an article I wrote for another website and it made me very excited to play them again – all of them. Or, at least, the good ones.

I’m going to explore the main reason I want to return to MMOrpgs and the games that I’m trying to spend some time playing – hopefully to find the proper fit. Anyone have any suggestions?

The community has always been the biggest draw of MMOs to me. So, by returning to games I’ve played very little of before, I’m hoping to find community again because it’s not like I have an entire community of friends on them anymore. I’ve made some of my best friends on the MMO Mabinogi during my high school years and now that I’m older, and the genre is older, the culture of MMO interactions has seemed to change.

Many of the interactions now are utilitarian. Gone, it seems, are the days where individuals spontaneously begin conversation. Dungeons are silent, guilds are “hellos” and “goodbyes”… occasionally, and party chats are purpose-driven only.

That being said, my most recent MMO experiences have been on World of Warcraft where much of the community-aspect seems to have been shut down by the automatic party finders and the community that, though still large, is non-committal and doesn’t seem to fill the world as much as it used to.

But maybe it’s the nostalgia that leaves me hoping that one day I’ll join a guild again where there is a small community of people who just casually talk to each other while playing. (Maybe I just need to find the right game or make my own guild again.)

I spent this last week downloading (or redownloading) all the MMOs that I know to be good or that I’m interested in trying (again or for the first time). But I only consistently play any ones with my already-established online friends (well, really just my boyfriend and his best friend).

But really, there’s nothing quite like the MMO community (when and if you find it).

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New Tera Character – (Trying Clothes)

I’ll be switching between a few MMOs I think over the next month or two. Right now I’m trying to play Blade and Soul, Tera, Guild Wars 2, Elder Scrolls Online, and Archeage.

I’m jumping around between the few but am open to playing others and with other people. Any suggestions? Feel free to comment, I would love to read them!

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Why Video Games Aren’t Childish

According to a study done by Pixwoo, a gaming social network, the average gamer is approximately 30-35 years old. (**More stats are cited here on the average gamer, if you’re interested.) Interesting, since the stereotype is either an obnoxious 12 year old kid or a grown man living in his mother’s basement, but the survey shows that both of these are far from that.

Statistics aside, I remember seeing a post on facebook a while back accusing gamers of “not growing up” and becoming a man (or woman). This accusation bothered me. What about gaming makes so many people think it’s childish? Can’t we game and have a perfectly normal life? Is gaming just a hobby? Are hobbies childish, then? Is anything that we get immersed in, enjoy, do in our free time, etc. childish?

I think it’s seen as childish partly because of the stereotype associated with gaming: having no life. The reality is so much different but for some reason people associate gaming with people who can’t socialize, work, or survive on their own. If we look at the actually picture of a gamer the situation is so much different.

Myself as an example, I’d an full time college honors student taking anywhere from 16-18 CH a semester, I work 10-15 hours a week, I’ve been active in clubs, I volunteer, and do a slew of other activities. On top of all of that, I also game at least once a day for several hours a day, if I can. I don’t think that doing so knocks me down a few maturity levels and automatically makes me a childish person. As I said in a previous blog post, I game because I love all the different aspects of it: the story, world, community, character building, etc. etc.

Maybe it’s the addictive quality of video games that makes it something people perceive as childish? We picture gamers who can’t, don’t want to, or won’t get up and pursue real life interests just because they’re gaming. Which, I also think is a common misconception. You can argue the addictive quality of video games (WebMD has an article that points to it here, but they also state that 80% (approx.) of people can game just fine). However, I think that less people are “addicted” than everyone seems to assume. As for the children and adults that are addicted, however, I think there’s arguably a lot more to the situation than statistics let on. But that’s my opinion.

Overall, I think video games are a modern hobby/past time that just happens to have a lot of  negative connotations. I think people need to push past their stereotypes of gamers and understand that there’s more to it than just hitting and killing things.

I’m not childish, less educated, or less than anyone for spending my time gaming in the same way that not all jocks are stupid and not all people who knit are old ladies. I think those who judge gamers need to push past their stereotypes, preconceived notions, and judgments and recognize gaming as something a mature, responsible person can do and not be considered a child for doing it.

**This article gives a small critique of the study.

Indie Games

I am by no means an expert on Indie games. I have only recently been more heavily traversing the world of indie games while browsing online. I can’t give any full reviews or talk too much at length about the topic. But I’d like to touch on it a little bit.

Now, I’ve played Minecraft back when it was still technically an “indie”. Obviously, now it isn’t. But it’s one of the finest and most well-known examples of an Indie. In addition to Minecraft, I’ve also picked up a couple random self-labeled indie games and given them a shot. That’s about the extent of my Indie-playing.

I think Indie games are overall a major hit or miss. Before I buy them I try to look up reviews and gameplay.

Last night, even, I was considering buying an indie called “Forced”. (The indie studio that made it has a very interesting story if you want to read it: here) It got my attention because it was 85% off on Steam, a co-op, and had mostly positive reviews. It looked at least somewhat interesting and is a play style I’ve never necessarily tried before. So I decided to go for it. My friends and I played about 40 minutes last night before retiring. Though that certainly isn’t enough to get a good idea about the game my overall impression is just like the reviews – mostly positive. Though the controls are something to get used to I find the game to be pretty polished for an indie game. I want to play more and get to the harder levels before I have a final opinion on the game. The first few levels were pretty easy, but according to the actual reviews the game is going to get much harder later on down the road.

It’s sometimes hard to tell if an Indie game is going to be worth it or not. I think that the majority of the time you’re going to be going out on a limb when buying an Indie. Sometimes, this is incredibly rewarding while other times it can be very disappointing. But, I think if you’re going to try them out you’re going to have to be prepared for it to go either way.

Of course, you can always make an educated purchase of an indie game by researching it and paying attention to reviews that you trust. (In the future I hope to be reviewing all sorts of games, including Indie titles!)

What indie games have you played? Are you overall impressed by them or disappointed? Would you buy indies again? Which ones would you recommend? Let me know in the comments! I’d love to hear from you!

“Start. See What Happens.”

About a year ago, I went to listen to someone speak on campus and the main remark I remember from that entire hour was the speaker’s favorite quote:

“Start. See what happens.”

Too often, I, at least feel like “I’m not ready” for whatever it is I’m trying to do. But if not now, when will I ever be ready? Tomorrow? Next week? Next year, even?

I put off writing all the time because I don’t feel I’m ever ready. I have literal notebooks upon notebooks full of ideas, plans, character sketches, world building, and the like for the things I dream of writing but never feel prepared or qualified enough to write.

The same thing goes for starting a blog. I put off this blog for years (and even had a false start or two) simply because I never felt prepared. But if not now, then when will I ever be? Sometimes, the most important thing is simply to start and see where it goes.

There are generally two thought processes regarding new years resolutions: the people who are all for resolutions and starting new things and then those who are pessimistic about this whole “New Years Resolution” thing simply because it fails so frequently.

In my opinion, even if you fail and fall flat on your face, at least you tried. So, it may sound cliché, but I want to encourage others as well as myself to try new things and take risks this year.

Start. Then see what happens from there.

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If you want to know more about this blog and my plans for it, check the “About” section.