This week has seen a rather dramatic return to FFXIV for my primary social circle. This time last week a few people were poking around, and suddenly the last few days almost my entire old raid crew is back and active and running things together. It is funny how having people I like and care about to run things with increases my enjoyment by an order of magnitude. It has been months and months since I’ve done anything resembling raiding or progression in any game, and I can’t wait to finally dig into some of the new bosses in FFXIV that I haven’t seen yet. Unfortunately I know myself well enough to know that being too social and having people depending on me will eventually lead to me sealing myself back up into my introvert bubble, so I’ve been taking steps to prevent this. It is a weird position to be super happy my friends are around but also forcing myself to step out into other games or just away from the computer to make sure I am mentally equipped to handle the social times when they count.
One of the things I did last night to try to carve out some “alone” time was to download Riders of Icarus. This MMO just went into open beta yesterday, although since it will be free-to-play I’m not exactly sure if the difference between open beta and launch is very meaningful. In any case, I had a few friends who were trying it and wanted to see what the fuss was about. The game is definitely pretty, but I’m not even sure that is a point in favor of a MMO anymore. All of the recent MMOs I’ve seen have been pretty, and sadly most of them are pretty in the same vague quasi-real-but-still-fantasy way. There wasn’t anything in particular about the art style of Riders of Icarus that stood out for good or ill. The world seems quite cool, I am a definite fan of sky whales and dragons, and the concept of finding creatures to tame and ride out in the world is really enticing. That seems to be the high point though. The action combat system that other folks were happy with seems not to shine through very well on a mage-type character. Also, the interface and systems feel like they came from a much older game. Looting in particular just felt bad to me. When I kill a monster and take its stuff I want it to be exciting but also quick. I don’t want to have to mouseover and interact with 3 little bags on the ground. FFXIV’s “everything instantly goes into your bags” mechanic and WildStar’s loot explosions and loot vacuum have really spoiled me. In any case I only managed to play for an hour or two, so I intend to push a little further to see if anything sticks. As it stands now though, I don’t think this game will be for me.
The other game on my radar right now is Pokemon Go. Yes, the fever is definitely sweeping through my friends and my twitter feed. I managed to log in last night when it launched here and catch the squirtle in my house before being chased away by connection issues. It definitely took me a very sad amount of time to figure out exactly how to catch a pokemon, but I can eventually be taught. This morning I excitedly walked down to the local park where there was a pokestop, and collected a few items there. However when I got to work the reality of living and working in a pretty rural place set in. My workplace, where I usually take walks at lunchtime, doesn’t even show up on the map. In the game world, I spend my days in the middle of a giant field I guess. It is sadly devoid of pokemon or points of interest here, so to play this game I’d have to seriously change my behavior or else get lucky trying to find things when I go to the grocery store etc. I’m not sure that’s very appealing to me so I might have to sadly let this poke-craze pass me by. If anyone out there has a similar problem or has found a way around it please let me know!