Friday, April 13, 2012

Gamer Geek Problems

“So who are you rooting for this Sunday in the big game?”
“The Horde!”


I am in a weird state right now.  I am a bit unsettled because I am caught between four video games and don’t know what direction I want to go.

A year or two ago, my North was World of Warcraft.  I been playing WOW for almost five years and for the most part it was a quite fulfilling game.  WoW would satisfy my desire for competence and eventually I would standardize on being a healer.  My only dissatisfaction would be playing with other people online in the progressive elements of the game.  At first things would be pretty fun, but eventually it would lead to dysfunction and drama.  After a period of time I would lose interest when my guilds would start falling apart or it was hard to find pugs that would do end game content.  Mind you, I was usually that last person to pull out of a bad situation, but it just seemed my desire for a semi-progressive guild that would do endgame content and be helpful would never seem to be met.

Fortunately, Starcraft 2 came out and became my East.  My close friends all seem to play SC2, and we would meet on during the week and Sunday evening to play multiplayer against the computer AI.  It was very rewarding, but then Cataclysm came out and sucked up my time.  One major problem for me with SC2 was I desired to ladder multiplayer, but none of my friends wanted that kind of pressure.  I tried to ladder, but found myself researching more then just playing. 

I enjoy watching Day9 and ForceSC2 a lot.  This is probably the most positive thing to come out of SC2 the casters vLogs.  Day9’s passion for the game is unmatched, and makes me want to be a better gamer.  Force is also a very good caster, a lot more mellow then Day9, but still equally as good.  I wish the WoW community would have such passionate and dedicated personalities.  I don’t think MMO’s will ever get as dedicated folks that break down each class each week and discuss optimal strategies.  Most are just news casters who look to the forums for comic relief.

I think my biggest hurdle laddering is not knowing what to do when I lose.  When I played my mother in chess, at least she would give me feedback.  That is one of the problems with laddering, you can go weeks probably never figuring out if you are doing something wrong with your build.  In the end I felt the strategies the casters were explaining made sense, I just couldn’t grasp the tacit knowledge.  I understood the game, just my timing was always a bit off. 

When Cataclysm came out, I found myself drawn back in and found a great semi-progressive guilds and was doing my best to learn to play a Paladin healer.  It went okay until heroic raid content was being attempted.  Once again I found myself in the middle of guild dysfunction where there was a lot of drama because people were burnt out on the first tier raid content which resulted in attendance problems, and me being left out of the ten person runs.

Last late Spring, Summer, and Fall was spent playing a number of board games with friends and relearning HDR photography.  I would occasionally play SC2 with my friends, for the most part giving up on trying to ladder.  SC2 was also going through a number of adjustments that would require play style adjustments. This also interfered with the learning curve a bit.  I guess for me, the main reason why I didn’t ladder was due lack of comradery and wished I had some friends who would join me to enjoy my achievements.  I mean, It would be kind of cool to say I hit gold or platinum, but if none of my friends played, it wouldn’t really matter.

The past Winter, Star Wars the Old Republic was released and I once again joined my friends in leveling characters.  The game was pretty fun and became my South for the first 30 levels, but then quickly became a bit of a grind.  My chief complain with SWTOR is that the UI lacked many of the refinements of WoW especially mouse over healing.  Everything required clicking on unit frames to cast spells.  The other major flaw with the game is the lack of queuing for dungeons.  I mean you can LFG in chat, but it is not like WoW where you just queue up for your daily quest or specific instances.  Patch 1.2 just dropped, and it the UI elements and content looks pretty good, but the lack of mouse over casting, and queue grouping holds me back a from really getting to excited.  What is strange is, I wonder if my desires for these refinements are unique, meaning is this same thing stopping others from going deeper in the game.  I really feel that SWTOR is a better game than WoW in the story telling aspect, but the lack of MMO refinements seem to leave me at an impasse.

This Spring, Diablo 3 will be released, I know in my heart of hearts, this is going to be my West, and I think it will be deep enough to cater to my desire for competence as well as comradery.  Still, I find myself secretly desiring to play WoW, SC2, and even SWTOR when they address at a minimum the queuing for instances.  Mist of Pandera looks like it is going to be pretty titanic character shift and with all the pressure for SWTOR and other free to play MMO’s, it might be the beginning of the end for WoW.  I think MoP needs to add some better raid frames to the same level as GRID, and the ability to customize the location of elements like SWTOR just added.

Lately one thing that has been feeding my gamer hunger has been playing the D&D board games with my old D&D group.  It is great to get together for a couple of hours with friends and play the weekly adventure. 

In the end, I think I enjoy co-op games where I play a specific key support role within the group.  It just feels like I am in the middle of a complicated box I have created, and I am wondering how I balance my desire for comradery with competency.

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