Flow

Before I make my point, a brief timeline is necessary.  I started playing in the role playing/fantasy gaming genre modestly– Advanced Dungeons and Dragons in the early 1980s–I dabbled with Middle Earth Role Playing when it came out, bought several of the Battlemech roleplaying books, and read a lot of the sci/fi and fantasy genre.  When I first got hooked into the internet, around 1991, it was through an IBMVM machine that was roughly the size of my living room.  With that connection, and a telnet client, I found the world of MUDs MOOs and MUSHs, my first experience with online MMOs.  I played that game online, almost exclusively, until switching to Neverwinter Nights, Everquest (briefly), Everquest II, and World of Warcraft.

I have made many friends, a few enemies, and had a good time playing each of the above titles–the term “flow” comes to mind, which has become popular in recent times amongst pyschologists.  In short, it is the part of your life where you feel most fulfilled.  Where you feel active, alert, using as many of your physical and/or mental facilities as possible to accomplish a goal you deem important.

Which brings up one of my two points:  the first grew from a post on Dwarven Runes concerning relationships between people in an online enviornment, entitled “More Than Just a Game?” If playing an MMO, whatever title you perfer, fills the above defintion of “flow,” then isn’t that justification enough for playing?  Is there a reason, providing your enjoyment of gaming is not detrimental to yourself or your family, you should feel pressure to not admit your pasttime to others?  Is it fear of being labeled?

Secondly, and more to specific to me, why do I not enjoy PvP (player versus player) servers?  I think the best experiences I ever had with PvP were in World of Warcraft.  The battlegrounds were fun, at least for a time, despite the inherient imbalance between the two factions–please don’t argue this point–with a random sampling of some 8 million, the horde tends to dominate certain BGs, the Alliance others.  I think across the board this points to game mechanics, and not the more oft heard argument, “Hordz r l33t.”

Recently, Wilhelm asked if I would like to try a PvP EQII server, as the hosts of the EQ2-Daily.com folks do.  I responded with a negative, and then tried to figure out why I didn’t like the idea.  Another friend, who used to work with me and still breezes through my current building, left the WoW raiding guild and server where we both played to begin anew on a PvP server.  I had tried the same thing, and leveled as far as 30 on a Tauren Druid, then decided being griefed and ganked by level 60s all day wasn’t for me.  It reeked of something called “pkill.”  The term may not of originated on Toril MUD, but it is the first place I remember seeing it. 

Pkilling is literally “player killing” and was illegal on Toril, as on a number of other MUDs, while some servers were dedicated to the practice.  I am unsure if being indoctrinated for so many years with the idea that pkilling was wrong or if just being harrassed by higher levels quenched my desire to play against other players.  It has no draw for me, and probably never will.

Or, I am just not experiencing “flow” when engaged in PvP.  It isn’t the best use of my time or resources, at least in my own mind.

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6 Responses to Flow

  1. Kilanna says:

    Many people that I work with and all of my family and friends all know about my MMO gaming.

    Some think it is “cute’ some think it is a waste of time. I see this pasttime is just as valid as some of my other pasttimes (hand crafts, reading). I have also come to appreciate in the last week that the relationships we develop online are no less valid than any other relationship we have offline. I would much rather spend a couple of hours playing EQ than a couple of hours passive in front of a TV, but each to their own.

    My husband loves the battlegrounds in WoW from time to time too. I just hate PvP with passion ever since I was ganked in SWG a few years ago. While i can appreciate that some people would experience that “flow” in PvP, I personally feel it more immersive to enjoy the environment (the Sunset over the Sinking Sands never fails to dissapoint) or quest towards that new weapon/armour/other shiny bauble.

  2. Kesselia says:

    I agree with Kilanna. I tried PVP in EQ2….I tried it first with my husband and then alone…and both times I got sick and tired of being killed by players who conned orange to me and I could do nothing to defend myself …it was completely pointless and the amount of hatred toward the opposite faction of ppl…ahh…I had to get away from it cause I simply couldn’t stand it…forming groups and raids to do nothing but go infiltrate the opposite faction and try to kill as many other players as possible….the spreading of gossip on players of opposite faction..coming up with kill lists and lists of players being specifically targeted….I couldn’t take it.

    PS. Two toons on crushbone are in Bane….which is a guild with….umm…how do I say this politically correct…gay ppl…and they are fun! They were so kind in welcoming me…chatting and wanting to get to know me and just play and quest together…it was one of the most wonderful afternoons I had of gaming in such a long time. Hats off to the guild Bane on crushbone..you guys rock!

  3. Gaff says:

    Bane sounds like it does what a guild should–and if that is the case then it is a good guild. I haven’t had a chance to group with anyone from that guild, as most my groups involve either close friends, or close guildies, raids being the exceptions. I also quit doing pickup groups, for any reason, a long time ago. For most of the quests, even heroic ones, I have no need since I two box. Good luck in your new home–send Gaff a tell 🙂

  4. David says:

    I tried PvP in EQ2 as soon as it was available, and for the first while, I loved it. There was just something “exciting” about harvesting out in Commonlands knowing that you could get jumped at any second. That added bit of “danger” gave me a nice adrenaline rush. I soon grew tired of PvP however, when I found I was spending more time running over to Antonica to kill the “goodies” than I was questing, and questing is what I’m all about.

  5. Celline Layonaire says:

    Hmm, why the heck are people calling MMO’s mere a ‘timesink’ ?

    In fact, timesink is ‘everywhere’ . It’s even a part of mankind’s daily ‘life’.

  6. Gaff says:

    I agree–there are a number of things in my professional career which are mere timeskinks. That doesn’t mean I don’t love my job, I do–those parts of my job are not enjoyable, do not work towards a goal, and seem mindless. The term “timesink” has been applied to certain parts of various games, i.e. kill 1000 sentient beings for the Claymore, access quests, etc. In some cases SOE has removed these impediments, but in the Claymore case, it still takes 1000 sentient beings. Many players of World of Warcraft claim the timesink type quests and activities are less–after playing there for 18 mo and raiding much of that time, I beg to differ. We did the same things repetatively just as often.

    Thanks for your comment! Sorry to sidetrack the conversation 🙂

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