Monday, December 27, 2021

Tell Me Something I Don't Know

How do you like your MOTDs? Purposeful and practical? Plain and prosaic? Playful and peculiar?

I can't honestly say it's something I've thought much about in the past. It's been so long since I've been in an active guild with other people who aren't versions of me, I can't even remember what sort of topics used to come up or how they'd be phrased, back when I was.

In most of the mmorpgs I play these days, the only guilds I'm in are ones I've created myself. I came up with a guild name I liked about a decade ago and I've been using it ever since. Most games nowadays are happy to let anyone create a guild, virtually from the moment they log in. I can't remember the last time I was expected to have actual guildmates to do it. 

Even in New World, which I did think might be a little stricter, given the focus on territorial PvP, I was able to make my regular guild (Or Company, as they call them in Aeternum.) without having to provide evidence of support. Not that I plan to slap my  tag on a town but at least it minimizes the number of drive-by invites I have to turn down.

Guild Wars 2 generously allows you to join up to five guilds simultaneously. Across three accounts, I'm in a total of something like eight or nine in total. Once again, most of those were created by either me or Mrs. Bhagpuss, mainly before ANet wrecked changed the way guild progression works. It used to be possible, if not especially easy, to earn a large amount of extra storage space for even a single-person guild, which was a great motivator for making as many of them as the rules allowed.

For a few years, in both EverQuest II and GW2, Mrs. Bhagpuss and I liked to change the guild message of the day quite often, usually to make fatuous jokes and puns, sometimes to promulgate relevant news or information about the game. At that time there were meaningful numbers of players who weren't us in the guilds we'd made, hard though it is to believe now, so the MOTD was a handy way of keeping everyone on the same page.

As time went on and paricipation dwindled all of that became somewhat pointless. If we want to make infantile jokes to each other we can do it at home. And if that doesn't get the laughs, there's always this blog.

The current MOTD in our primary GW2 guild hasn't changed for a couple of years or more. It's an exhortation to eat more spam that, believe it or not, is a joke that isn't a Monty Python reference. In my EQII, guild, where no-one but who isn't me has logged in for a shade less than seven and a half years, the forlorn message consists of my email address, should any former members wish to contact me, and a note to myself reminding me which of my characters keeps the dressing-up boxes in their bank.

I was thinking about all of this because lately something has happened to the MOTD for EQII itself. In common with many games, there's a generic "Welcome to the game" message that appears at the top of the chat box every time you log in. I don't have many memories of how it used to be other than that, as far as I can recall, it was always very straight and factual, telling you if there were patches scheduled or other in-game events you might need to know about.

It still does, but now it's with attitude. I believe the tone changed about the same time the last Community Rep left and the new one took his place. It seems likely. I'm guessing writing the MOTD is one of the duties that comes with the post.

It doesn't change every day. It probably doesn't even change every week. Sometimes, as of old, it's just a very basic piece of information or a generic greeting. More often than not, though, there's some kind of sarcastic comment or in-joke.

I like it. It's the sort of thing that only works if the person behind it has a genuine sense of comedy, something that's a lot rarer than altogether too many people seem to think. (I'm waiting. Get it out of your system and we can move on.)

It also seems to me to smack of an increased sense of confidence, something I've begun to sense in the game over the last few months, quite possibly since the change of ownership. It's easy to read too much into these things but I've been playing the game for a very long time now and I like to imagine I'm attuned enough to recognize a change in atmosphere.

It's no kind of big deal but I noticed as I looked through some screenshots that I'd happened to capture two or three of the messages, so I thought I'd make a note of it. At least that way I'll have some kind of benchmark to compare against. should things change again.

I kind of hope they don't, at least not for a while. Color me amused.


  1. I used to try to have fun with the MOTD on the Kin the mini-Reds and I have in LOTRO, but after getting it changed back with a "DAAAAAD!!" comment, I've kind of fallen off the wagon there. Maybe I should get back to that....

    1. Nothing like a few dad jokes to put the wind up Sauron!


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