Romantics & Dreamers

Sometimes I just don’t understand other gamers. Why do they hate the things I love, and vice versa? There’s something about me that’s just different from most gamers. And I finally figured out what it was.

I’m a romantic and a dreamer.

Fable 2 actually got me thinking about this. I loved the game, and the ending was incredibly moving to me. It left me feeling quiet and thoughtful for a long time. But I read other impressions of the game and they’ll tell you the ending sucked. Huh?

Well, if you’re playing with your fingers and eyes, the ending did suck. If, like me, your heart was thrown into the mix, the ending was amazing. One of the most thought-provoking endings I’ve ever encountered.

This morning Angela was working on a web site that I’d done the database design for. I knew she’d have a certain number of questions about the choices I’d made, so I didn’t want to get too engrossed in anything. So I logged into LOTRO to work on some Shire deeds. The character I was running is well beyond the level of the Shire but he never did the deeds in there. So mostly I had to run around and ‘discover’ landmarks, and hunt lots of very gray bugs and slugs and wolves.

And y’know, I was enchanted. Whenever I’ve been away from LOTRO for any amount of time, I’m a bit stunned when I return. The landscapes, the music, the people going about their business…it all feels very much like a “world” to me, and one where there is still hope and happiness. Watching the sun come up and the clouds move slowly across the sky. Watching brooks babbling over rocks, and the sunlight reflecting off the water. It all feels very relaxing. It feels like I really am in Middle Earth. And it makes me want to defend this place from the intrusion of darkness.

And at the same time, I know for a lot of gamers what I was doing would be considered pointless grinding and a huge flaw in the game. They wouldn’t stop to watch a shrew clean its face or nibble on a tidbit it’d found. They wouldn’t notice the sky. They’d find a hobbit outfitter that sells cosmetic items and snort and think “What a waste of money..why would I get this for my toon?”

Actually, I think “toon” is significant. If you think of your characters as “toons” then yeah, every time you think about them you’re reminding yourself that this is all really just a spreadsheet with graphics layered on and that there’s a most efficient way to increase those numbers quickly. I think of my characters as characters or, more often, as “me”. I have to deliberately say “Gillain did this” rather than naturally sliding into “I did this”.

I feel faintly embarrassed to be admitting this. Ysh was talking about Wizard 101 a few days ago and someone commented that he was too old and too male to play Wizard 101. It’s just part of our culture (particularly among the young, and I consider anyone under 35 or so in that category) that guys are supposed to be hard and apathetic about beauty (except for hot women, of course) and fluff. We’re supposed to be all about the killing and efficient leveling. Competition and being the strongest and the best.

But that just isn’t me, at least a lot of the time. I’m about the experience. That’s why I get so excited when I run into Gotrek & Felix in a tavern in Altdorf. It’s why I mutter under my breath when I have to slog through a marsh and ruin my new boots. It’s why killing 10 rats isn’t a problem for me, but killing 10 bunnies is.

I mean yeah, I really like getting a new level, and I enjoy winning a bout of RvR. But not all the time. I need more than that, and maybe that’s why I’ve gotten somewhat less enthusiastic about Warhammer. Mythic deliberately designed a GAME rather than a WORLD and I kind of miss the world aspects sometimes.

Anyway, no real point to all this. I’m certainly not saying one way is better than the other (and I don’t think there’s a dichotomy here…it’s definitely a gradient kind of issue). I just find it harder to find other gamers like me than I do the type that is very goal-driven and not really about the extras. Maybe we need to form a support group or something.

Thanks for reading all that, if you’re still here. 🙂 As a reward, here’s a couple of ‘wallpaper’ screens I took this morning. Very valuable, very rare!!

lotro lotro

9 thoughts on “Romantics & Dreamers

  1. Agreed on the “world” aspect. Azeroth, etc. felt like a world, more or less, but because WoW was so gear-driven there was always this pressure to Go Go Go! Level Level Level! LOTRO, to me, feels like even more of a world, a real (well, virtual) place. There are far fewer bottlenecks into various zones, and because the game isn’t so gear-dependent, the pressure to constantly be leveling isn’t there. It’s ok to just “be” there and do whatever activity strikes you.

    WAR… yeah, that never did feel like a world. I play Guild Wars, so instancing and zoning itself doesn’t bother me, but because WAR separated its entire world by tiers, etc. it almost felt like (during its first month, I canceled before that was up so perhaps things have changed) because all anyone ever did was scenarios, that the whole game was basically a Diku-Shooter-RPG where the “world” was just a 3D public lobby where I could kill PvE mobs and visit vendors while waiting on my instanced shooter map (ie. scenario) to open. WAR is definitely on the Game side of the spectrum, and even if the RvR winds up being fun at some point to possibly bring me back, the world still won’t feel real or matter to me in the end. Which means, for me, the higher goals of RvR will fail because I won’t care…

  2. Pete, even after reading the negative stuff surrounding Fable 2(which isn’t much) I still decided to order the game. I too want to be ‘moved’ by a game rather than just being taken along for a achievement ride.

    Immersion into any fantasy world is what drives all us ‘explorer’ types, right?


    Please forgive me, but I was one of those that thought the ending to Fable 2 was not all that great. And it wasn’t because of the story, it was the little effort it took to complete the ending. I was fully expecting some sort of epic clash, and was more than dissapointed when that wasn’t the case. Believe me, when I chose the uber good ending, I was totally bummbed. I couldn’t help but feel sad when I went back to an empty house!!

    *** END SPOILERS ***

    Btw, really nice screenshots!

  4. JayeDuB, I added some spoiler warnings to your comment. 🙂

    I’ll try to keep this comment vague, but here’s another SPOILER WARNING just in case. 🙂

    But anyway, I totally respect your reaction to the ending; its a logical one, really. For me, the problem you had didn’t matter because I was so swept up in events, and in a way I found it kind of amusing in an Indy Jones kind of way. But then, I *hate* games that take you 95% of the way through a storyline on a nice even slope of difficulty then spike it at the end so you have to really struggle for that last bit of story.

  5. @Scott, I respectfully disagree that WoW is “so gear driven”. Yes, one can get caught up in the need for epic gear, but I think that proves Peter’s point. One can also thoroughly enjoy Azeroth to include the big dungeons and not have a lick of epic gear nor care if a piece ever comes their way.

    @Peter, you already know I completely understand and agree, and will happily join your support group!

  6. Sorry about the spoiler, I was hoping that it was vauge enough.

    I would be one of those players that does not have a lick of epics, unless you count a few pvp rewards as epics.

  7. JayeDuB, you probably were vague enough, I just am a bit fanatical about spoiler warnings… I drive people crazy that way. 🙂

  8. I am also ready to join your support group! I love the wandering and ambient aspects of LOTRO. The Shire is especially well done, and I hope they add some higher level instanced content down the line to allow for coming back to defend the Shire from invasion.

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