Saturday, April 21, 2012

Terraria and My Aversion To First Person

You know when you get sideswiped unexpectedly? When something tackles you and changes you and you never saw it coming? Well circumstances dictated that I added yet another game to my current playlist, bringing the grand total up to four: WoH ( aaahh ^_^), Aion (oh :| ), Age of Empires (eh?) and Terraria (oO).

As with all the others (excluding AoE which is a relic from my youth), I was coaxed into playing Terraria. Less coaxed, more drawn into, in one of those occasions where you need to try something new to rinse your mouth from the taste of all the tried and tested games in your repertoire.

Terraria could be described as the love-child between Minecraft and a 90s side-scroller with JRPG aspirations. You dig, craft, build and kill. Not necessarily in that order. And if you're as adept as me you'll be doing a lot of accidental item throwing, cliff falling and drowning in two inches of water as well. I haven't done much of the building and crafting but that's simply because I am one to delegate. But, in consequence, I am not yet very familiar with the depth and complexity of said system although it has proved competent enough so far.

A cat within a cat
So why not play Minecraft instead, seeing as it's all the rage right now? I've tried Minecraft and there are two things who will, most likely, always steer me away from it. First of all, it's all the rage right now and I am repelled by hypes. I'm even considering not giving GuildWars 2 a try (was that a gasp I just heard?). I refused to dive into SW:tOR and we all know how clever a choice that was on my part (one of few). Secondly, Minecraft is best played in first person. I say "best" because I don't see the usefulness of having half my screen blocked by a self-representing fugly block.

I have this thing with first person in that it makes me nauseous. Physically ill. Like when you play Katamari Damacy for the first time or for too long. Or maybe that's just me. It is an attempt to mimic how a human perceives the world around it but my screen will never be wide enough to accurately simulate my entire field of vision, nor is there anything that can properly mimic where my focus rests except my own personal focus, which chooses inside my own field of vision and not just the screen and... Maybe I just over think it. Or maybe it's a kind of Inception effect.

I went off on a tangent there didn't I?

The main appeal of Minecraft to most people was the absolute freedom of the game and that progression revolved around the accomplishment of your own personal goals. I, for one, am a self-proclaimed sheep, meaning that I'd rather be told what to do and strive to do my best to accomplish it. I'm not a leader nor have I ever aspired to be one. So I'd much rather follow one to achieve a goal I relate to and believe in. In that respect, Terraria trumps Minecraft in that it actually has events that trigger and things to strive for. You can still dick about as much as you'd like but all of your exploration and subsequent gear progression serve to enable you to kill bigger and badder things.

All things considered, it is probably not a game I would devote many of my lonely hours to, what with my reluctance to create goals for myself, but it has filled the void born from a need to play a simple and non-massive multiplayer game. My void is filled.

Yes, I know how that sounds.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Taking Solace in Murderous Rages

It was the best of weeks. It was the worst of weeks. And then it was a gaming week. Which then turned into a full blown gaming month.

Around the first week of March I was a very excited young woman. You may have guessed why. I was on pins and needles and everything seemed like it might turn out ok. But lo, things did not turn out so. Like so many other facets of my life things went tits up, as it were.

If you thought I might have spent March playing Mass Effect 3 you would be wrong. It was my original plan, yes but, after a few hours of gameplay, my disillusioned self concluded "well, if Shepard doesn't give a fuck, why should I?" And so no, I have not yet seen the ending. Something tells me I'm a happier person for it.

No, my solace came in a very unexpected form. I had been playing most of the beta weekends of Wrath of Heroes and suddenly, they opened the servers 24/7. I found myself logging in more and more often, relieving me from the stress of grinding in the colorful and peppy world of Aion. Every day I seem to have less and less of a reason to go back to that game and every day that I do I struggle to find a reason to stay. We all know where this is headed.

Wrath of Heroes however, has griped me tight. It's the Warhammer vibe, no doubt, with its grittiness and kill thy fellow man motto. I have become very good at this last part, if I do say so myself. However, the game is not without its faults. It is an EA game after all, farted out by Bioware Mythic to retain the Warhammer IP or so I hear.

One of the things that irked me the most was their decision to change everybody's name to match their Origin ID. I didn't even know I had an Origin ID, I'd never even thought about it. It doesn't upset me as much that they did it than it does that they gave no fair warning and no subsequent explanation. Mythic is not well known for their communication skills with their player base and this does not prelude a positive change.

The game also still currently sports just three maps, which can get a bit old when you've tried and tested almost every strategy. In its defense, the game is still in Beta and we are hoping not only for the return of the old heroes but for the introduction of some new ones, new scenario maps and distinct queues for people in different mastery tiers.

In the end, like with most online time wasters, it's the people that keeps me coming back and that make the experience terribly entertaining. So thank you all for having me in your warbands and thank you to those that let themselves fall under my gobbo stick.