Sometimes I do not understand my own gaming whims. In theory I should be logging into Final Fantasy XIV every single night and working on collecting the last bits of stuff I need from Omega, or at the very least trying to cap the latest limited tier of bookrocks. However instead I am finding myself wandering around in a bunch of different games where I have little to no online gaming community. I’ve been in pretty deep turtle mode, and as a result I have been dodging other human beings left and right. I’ve talked about the “spoons” concept in the past, but right now it feels like every last spoon I have is getting used up before I hit the house in the evening. So what this means is a much higher percentage of passive activities like watching stuff from netflix, and a lower percentage of things like gaming that requires active participation. Effectively at this very moment I am managing two different teams at work… one of which my normal crew of developers and the second being a sort of response team to an issue that has been going on. This is eating up every last drop of my time and attention. There was one day last week where out of what turned into a 10 hour work day… I had 7 hours worth of meetings… followed by furious periods of attempting to get anything done. The glorious lie of being salaried is that in theory you get the same amount of money if you work 4 hours as if you work 40 hours… but what that means in reality is I have never worked less than 40 hours anywhere I have ever been. Most weeks I work significantly over because I wind up working through lunch. Needless to say all of this sustained madness leaves me pretty drained when it comes to interactions with other human beings. To make matters worse in a short amount of time we will be going through the upheaval that comes when my wife starts back to school for a new semester, and having to double down on my support infrastructure as she adjusts to having to leave the house every day.
I am not sure if it is due to my current state of mind… or if I have just slowly warmed to the game over time… but at some point I decided that Guild Wars 2 was apparently something awesome to be playing. I have a really tenuous past with this game that I won’t go into now because I have talked about it at length in the past on this blog. At some point however it started to feel decent to run around in this world and have all of these little micro objectives that I could be doing… without feeling like I was terribly tied to completing any of them. This week however I for some reason started working on the main story quest yet again… and almost five years after the launch of the game I managed to beat it and have officially entered the “living story” content proper. I cannot tell you how initially turned off I was on the concept of living story being this limited time thing. The fact that all I can see from Season 1 is a short montage of the events that happened in it still frustrates the shit out of me. However the fact that Season 2 and Season 3 are sitting there waiting on me actually gives me some reason to keep moving forward in the game. There is just a deluge of content available spread across a whole ton of games that I enjoy playing… and in order for me to keep being interested in a game it needs to sit there waiting on me. In truth I juggle a bunch of games at once, flipping to whatever game happens to feel good at that very moment. Recently I have been playing a sizable amount of Rift as well because it similarly is devoid of a social community that I have to worry about interacting with. I have a feeling that if this turtle keeps up… I will be revisiting SWTOR and Elder Scrolls Online as well… and in all of those cases I know there will be fresh content patiently waiting on me to return and enjoy it.
What has kept me engaged thus far in Guild Wars 2 was that the story picked up. For a long time I thought the main arc was a little nonsense, and it involved a lot of characters that I was not that deeply endeared to largely because they were all dicks to each other. However at some point the tide turned and I got engaged in the race to discover Orr and uncover its mysteries. This process kept pushing me into zones I had never seen before, which lead to me wandering around and exploring… which lead to me doing little side missions and objectives. What used to feel like an unsatisfying loop… suddenly felt extremely sticky as I slowly became invested in the game world. Now I legitimately can say I love this game, and it took a really long time to get there. For years I didn’t understand why people enjoyed it. There was a point last year where the AggroChat crew and I did some Fractals… at which point I thought I had understood where the core fun of the game was. However after spending some more time wandering around it feels like the core fun of the game… is that there is just so damned much stuff to be doing at any given time. All of it feels equally rewarding and equally likely to give you something that might be useful. The difference here is that I am effectively in the same gear I have been wearing for the last few years… but that the game has given me all sorts of horizontal leveling paths that do everything from increase my mobility… to simply increasing my luck chance. The best part of all of this is that a good deal is unlocked at an account level so regardless of which alt I decide to be playing… I am getting a good deal of the benefit. How I got around the old world without gliding is beyond me… and I have a feeling with the upcoming expansion once I get the ability to ride mounts I will have a similar feeling. Another major change is the fact that with the expansion character models… I can now have a proper beard as you can see me sporting in the first image… as well as a nifty eye scar. I am not exactly sure when the turtle will end, but in the meantime I am finding interesting ways to enjoy new worlds.