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