What I was supposed to be playing last night is World of Warcraft as Wednesday is our normal mythical nonsense night. Unfortunately we were down two people already and I myself wasn’t really in the mood to do it either. I’ve been dealing with some stuff and yesterday was a bit of a bad mental health day. When those situations happen I tend to turtle up somewhere quiet and hang out by myself until whatever it is has passed. World of Warcraft is such an inherently social game that even the act of logging in ends up prompting a bunch of people to poke me and say hello… and it feels bad to ignore them when I need to ignore them.
Sure there is now “Appear Offline” mode but even then that is not a perfect scenario. For me at least there are a handful of people that I am generally okay with interacting with, because they know the drill. They understand deeply because they go through their own periods of turtle time, and as a result there is no need to attempt to keep up appearances as it were. However if you are in Offline mode and you reach out to one of those people who are on the closest rings of your monkeysphere… they cannot respond. You will be able to send them messages all day long but they will always get the offline message when attempting to respond back to you. As a result when I am feeling like this I just avoid WoW like the plague because it isn’t worth the hassle.
What I wanted to be doing was to sit on the couch and play some Everquest while watching some more Mighty Boosh streamed through the television. Unfortunately they seem to have had a rather traumatic maintenance yesterday. The servers went down at 5:00 am EDT on the 18th and did not come back apparently until 2:30 am EDT on the 19th. I have no clue at all what was going on… but I kept trying to fire up the launcher and getting the maintenance message. I have been enjoying myself a shocking amount in Everquest, but I realize that I am riding the drug that is nostalgia. I am not sure how long that drug will last but for the moment I am riding its high.
What I did instead was play a lot of MTG Arena as I got it set up on my laptop. Yesterday Scopique wrote an interesting response to my post about Arena… or at least one that mentioned it because it wasn’t exactly a direct response. The funny thing is I wouldn’t necessarily call myself much of a competitive gamer. I traditionally shy away from player versus player situations, but games like MTG Arena or the Crucible in Destiny don’t seem to bother me that much and I am not entirely certain why. I stumbled across a post from Tobold who very much did not enjoy his time with Arena, but for the moment I don’t mind at all that it is largely just a stripped down 1v1 client. I think ultimately if you are going into Arena expecting Duels of the Planeswalkers or MTG Duels either one… you are going to be sorely disappointed.
Arena is simply a Magic the Gathering Online that isn’t horrible. Sure MTGO is serviceable but nothing about it is really intuitive and it feels like you are jumping through a lot of hoops to make anything work. MTGO was absolutely less cludgy than the days of trying to arrange a game on IRC and then getting both parties to fire up and connect to each other through the Apprentice application. However card gaming on a PC has changed drastically since then and Hearthstone more or less has led that charge. Arena is that Hearthstone-esc interface for the far more seasons and complicated game of Magic the Gathering, and the thing is… it works amazingly well.
There have been a few times I have been bit by the game trying to move forward without me… but in the grand scheme of things it seems to do 99.9% of the right things at the right time. The other moments don’t bother me too much because I am not placing a lot of my personal ego into whether or not I am winning. I am simply enjoying playing cards and occasionally I do really well. I do feel like Tobold’s comment of not feeling like he could be competitive with the decks presented was a bit nonsense given that I have been entirely playing the stock Golgari Exploration deck. I felt like I was able to pick it up and start winning matches almost immediately… and sure as my rank has risen I am winning less matches but even that doesn’t bother me much. I am still winning more than enough to complete daily quests getting me packs and gold… to buy more packs. All in all I feel like Arena is going to shape up to be a very solid version of Magic the Gathering Online… but we need to stop the comparisons there for our own sanity.