Does the destination matter to me anymore? Is the journey to a level cap, or endgame the important part of a game or does my enjoyment start when I am maxed out on levels? I think I have finally answered that question for myself. I don’t know how, after 15 years of online gaming, I didn’t know the answer, but self-reflection isn’t my strong point. Some relevant cases:
- On Toril, upon getting my ranger to the cap of 50, I switched to the warrior I was playing (Rarik) and capped him. Then there was an elementalist (Nerral), who hit 50, whereupon I began moving the bard, Meclin, towards 50, hitting 46 when EQ2 launched and I left.
- Which brings me to EQ2. On Crushbone, playing off and on between other titles, I capped 3 or 4 toons, and all of the tradeskills but 2. Those toons are over 60. I don’t think I really played any of the capped toons once they got there, except to raid sporadically.
- WoW–same as above, various servers between PVP and PVE.
- EVE–doesn’t fit because there is no end I can find. There are some deadend systems though.
After I wrote about the end of WAR for me, I wanted to figure out why I didn’t “fit” into the game. I was excited about the Casualties of War guild. I like PVP. I have played PvP extensively in other games, from FPS to MMO. So what was missing? I think it must have to do with my desire to progress. I want tangible progression towards some greater stature, but I also need variety. It was taking me an inordinate amount of time, or an inordinate amount of PVE quests, to see any semblence of advancement. It was suggested elsewhere that we could have ran PQs to 40 if we wanted a group experience–in my opinion this is only a group version of the PVE side of WAR experience. The rewards of the progression bar and chance at marginal loot, coupled with the same slow experience grind just did not rise to the level I need in a game. The favored path of advancement seems to be scenarios. If I enjoyed the scenario grind I think I would still be in WoW, which I’m not.
There is a contradiction here, however. I will park my Hulk and Retriever in a belt and mine for hours. I spent eight hours the other day laying in kernite. Why can I grind out the most mundane task and take some enjoyment from it? In EQ2, one of my favorite activities is harvesting. I typically have about 30 minutes before I go to work where I watch the news. Call it a professional obligation, but I need to know what the issues of the day are before I go to work. Since I’ve been back in EQ2 I have picked up an old habit. I am getting up a bit earlier, firing the TV up on the second monitor, and harvesting with my guardian on Guk–and enjoying the hell out of it.
I have come to the conclusion that the scenarios in WAR and the PQs just didn’t payoff for me in a way that I found meaningful. The loot in PQs was marginally better, if at all, than the quest equipment I received. The random roll, when I scored in the top 5 invariably colored me a loser as well. A couple experiences like that and I was done with PQs. The massive lag in scenarios and chunky operation altogether made it seem unfair as well–the flag carrier was halfway across scenario before they appeared many times. And of course, I have LotrO, EQ2, EVE, and a number of other games to compare performance with–and it’s not me or my machine.
So in a sequel to my last post, I think I have figured out finally what drove me from not just WAR, but a number of other games as well. I had a few things going for me in WAR–a set group, a set guild, and a decent gaming rig. The game itself defeated my will to play–it just doesn’t satisfy what I’m looking for in a game, for the reasons listed above. Succinctly, I felt like I was on the WoW honor/arena grind except I was going to have to do it for 40 levels. That grind is why I left WoW, so WAR is in good company.
As others have pointed out, I have the gaming attention of a fruitfly, but going back to EQ2 with a fresh set of toons has been a great experience, though I have only been at it for a week. The guild is there–I actually found out one of them only lives a few miles from me–and they have helped me with bags/boxes without being asked. That is a good sign, and I hope portends well for the future. I have hit the sweet spot for farming named mobs, normally the bane of my AA point climb. Fabled loot and master chests are just as addictive as rare harvestables.
So this is my last WAR post, I wish the players and Mythic the best. I don’t intend this as an endorsement or condemnation of the game, but instead a bit of self-exploration.