Tuesday, October 30, 2018


It's a bit of a funny time for me in MMOland right now. Since I got back from my trip to Andalusia I haven't been playing as much as usual and when I do play, as I suggested a couple of days ago, I'm spending most of my time in a game I can't even name, let alone write about. I'm also diligently logging in to do my dailies on all three Guild Wars 2 accounts but of late that's about all I'm doing there.

Okay, that's not entirely true. Most days I end up answering some emergency call-out in World vs World. Last night, for example, I spent almost an hour and a half in a thrilling but ultimately doomed defence of our home garrison. Our superstar commander seems to have taken up PvE raiding again, though, so the Big Fun of a few weeks back has dissipated somewhat.

Halloween goes on, of course. Some days I run Mad King's Labyrinth, one of the best sources of gold in the game - if you can stand it. I do enjoy it but it sends me to sleep. Quite literally. If I join a squad and do circuits following the Commander, after about an hour the repetition does something to my brain waves and I pass into a kind of fugue state, at which point I either slump sideways against the wall and start to drool or I have to get up and go for a brisk walk to wake myself up.

Waiting on the wall for the Veteran Warg to spawn for the daily. Ten minutes of my life I'll never get back.

In any event, the attraction of farming the Lab took a very severe hit when I realized I could just use my vast store of Potions of WvW Rewards (I have over 2000 stashed in various banks) to burn through the WvW Halloween Reward track, earning as many stacks of Trick or Treat bags in five minutes as I'd hope to get from two or three hours in the Lab itself.

As for the rest of Halloween, I can't summon up much enthusiasm. It's much the same as every year. There's a new race that everyone hates: I got the achievement for that on my second attempt and haven't been back since. There's the return of a PvP instance from 2012, which I have yet to try. I'll have to see that at least once before it vanishes, maybe for another six years. The rest I can't be bothered with.

Other than that there doesn't seem to be much going on in GW2 right now. Syp has a post up speculating on whether ArenaNet are secretly working on a Guild Wars 3. I believe they may well be. My reasons are outlined in a (lengthy) comment on the thread, which I'd link to, only apparently you can't link to individual comments at Bio Break.
Only need silver for the AP. Gold can go stuff itself!

It's not that there aren't things I could be doing in Tyria. I have unfinished business in Jahai Bluffs, a map I really like. I also have something like 300 Ornate Rusted Keys banked that would take me a whole day to use on the Krait chests I need for my bubble hat. And then, I have half a dozen or more Ascended weapon collects languishing unfinished. The list of unfinished projects is long.

I just don't really feel like finishing any of them. All you get in the end is another appearance item, and let's be honest, I never change the appearance of most of my characters from one year's end to the next. I find the lack of meaningful, vertical progression in the game acts as a drag anchor to any desire to "progress". I'm coming to the conclusion I'm not much of a horizontal person.

EverQuest 2, in contrast, is vertiginous in the extreme in its verticality. As I reported, I had a couple of deeply satisfying post-holiday sessions, where I bumped up my numbers beyond any previous expectations. There's a lot more of that I could do but the expansion is due in less than a month and there's every chance that the regular rewards from that will outweigh any efforts I make now, so I'm slacking off until then.

If you're going to dig up a graveyard it's best go by night, I always find.

Halloween is all over Norrath too, naturally. I did do some of it this year. I dug up the new collection and got a bagful of house pets and furniture along the way. That was fun. I also revisited one of EQ2's several haunted houses. I feel I've done my tricking and treating for the year.

One thing I could do - should do - in EQ2 before Chaos Descending arrives is finish the Planes of Prophecy faction grind on my Berserker so he can buy all the items he needs from the vendor. The problem there is that I've already done all three questlines right to the end on three different characters in the mistaken belief that the whole account would get credit.

Not so. It's per character and I don't have the willpower to go through them again this soon. Although come to think about it, somehow my Berserker is credited as having completed two lines as far as the vendor knows - not sure how that happened. As I type this I realize that probably means I need to go read the whole thing up all over again...I've probably misunderstood some crucial aspect.

Just try not to make so much noise you wake the dead. Oh. Too late...
But I'm not going to. Or not right this minute. I just don't feel like doing it. And it's not like I don't have other options.

I have the icons for no fewer than eighteen MMORPGs on my desktop, not counting the ones I've mentioned, all just waiting to be clicked. Plus there are probably almost as many again on the two hard drives sitting in enclosures next to my desk. Somehow none of them is calling my name right now.

Although... hmmm... I just spotted the Aion icon among the desktop forest. I seem to recall reading about something major happening over there. Perhaps I'll take a look. And I finally got Dragon Nest Mobile installed and running - I wanted to do a post about that sometime...

Okay, that was useful. I seem to have typed my way into a couple of ideas at least. Maybe I'll even get around to writing them up one day.

But first, I think I'll just take another poke around in that game I can't name. Only for an hour or two. Or three...


  1. If you ask me, I’m coming to the conclusion that I’m not motivated in the long term by any kind of progression, horizontal or vertical or otherwise. Short term, yeah, sure. But it’s no cure for the personally motivating factor of novelty.

    1. I agree you can't beat pure new content for generating both player interest and retention. You can see that every time any game releases a real, full expansion. It's not really feasible to keep coming up with new content faster than players can consume it though, so some form of progression has to take the slack I think.

  2. I'm glad you're enjoying the GameYouCan'tName(tm) (does the apostrophe really work there? I don't think it does) I do hope that once the NDA ends you're allowed to write it all up and show us mere mortals what joy you're experiencing :)

    I REALLY hope it's not another case of "it was better in Beta", as I doubt I'll get to play Beta. But then I would never have experienced the 'better' state, so would I really be missing out?

    1. There was a big patch yesterday that seriously raised combat difficulty levels. It was definiely needed but I can already see the pre-vious, weak-mob version being held up as a golden age :P I played for three hours and stayed up later than I meant to anyway, so it must have been a move in the right direction, even if I did die more times than I have in the entire alpha so far before that.

    2. Sounds like you may be moving into a Platinum age then :)

  3. I still don't get what's so good about vertical progression, whether you are doing 200 DPS to 4000 HP mob or 2000000 to 40000000 or 2000000000 to 40000000000 is meaningless in the end. The only thing it does is devaluing everything you are doing with the set speed.

    Also, while I think A.net is definitely working on some yet unannounced game, GW2 still gets new content at a good pace. I'm yet to see current MMORPG that pushes new content faster than once per quarter.

    1. GW2 content flow matches up to current industry standards, it's true, but those standards are glacial by comparison with when I started playing MMOs, when I was used to a full, boxed expansion on the shelves of physical retailers every 6-12 months and several major game updates inbetween. The whole genre seemed to go into slowdown maybe eight to ten years ago so that what would have seemed like a content drought back then now counts as a flood. I'm used to it but as Jeromai says above, there's really no substitute for novelty for keeping players involved.

    2. I'm not really sure if I missed something crucial by not being around during early days of MMOs. I definitely wouldn't want to pay several dollars per hour of gameplay (at least I can thank Wilhelm for sharing his memories about those times) and I'm not sure that I'd want yearly expansions in SOE style with very limited pool of assets and primitive flat zones with mobs randomly scattered around.

  4. I think my interest in vertical progression is pretty much dead at this point, or at least in a persistent vegetative state. It works okay-ish in single-players games, but it makes no sense in MMOs. At this point I only pursue vertical progression so I can be "done" and then not have to think about it anymore.

    I've had a real problem getting motivated for gaming the last few months, but I feel like my interest is resurging (or relapsing...) lately, at least a bit. Currently splitting my attention between Bless and ESO, and I really want to try out the revamped Aion soon.

    1. I thought Bless was okay. Nothing special but perfectly fine for a few sessions now and again.

      I'm kind of the reverse on vertical progression in that back in the day when it was the be-all and end-all of MMORPGs I barely payed it any attention whereas now that it's out of favor I find I crave it. I think it has a lot to do with what Jeromai was saying above and what I alluded to in my reply to the Anonymous comment - when I didn't care about vertical progression much it was because the MMOs I played pumped out far more content than I ever had a hope of completing. I always had new things to do and I had no chance of getting the best gear so I was happy to ignore it. These days I frequently run out of new things to do in any MMORPG I playe even semi-regularly. Modern devs' idea of new content seems to be old content with a higher difficulty rating or old content you do a thousand times to get tokens. Neither of which really does much for me.

    2. Agreed. Grinding is only fun if you have a good chat group, and then it's chatting with friends whilst grinding, and grinding isn't the focus really. That's probably why I never made it past the 2nd map of 9Dragons and is typical of most Asian grinders I try. Though I did make a bunch of friends grinding bears in 9Dragons, I wonder what happened to them.


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