State of the Rez: Invariably Variable

Commitment is not a strength of mine; I’m more of a visionary. That’s true of both my blogging endeavors and my MMO gaming habits and while I’m conscience of this tendency toward good intentions with little follow through, having it on display via blogging heightens that self-awareness. A few weeks ago I decided to post three times a week— Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday— with specific categories in mind for each day. I was able to maintain that schedule for a week or two but quickly realized it was too much. I’m now committing (as I did at the start) to once a week with anything else being optional. That said, I have in mind to improve my speed as a writer and may attempt one or two additional posts per week, limited to 30-45 minutes for completion. (If any other bloggers have advice for writing quickly and briefly, I’m all ears).

Around the same time I set a goal to write on a schedule I also wrote a post about Final Fantasy XIV, stating that it would serve me well as a “home” MMO. I’m no looking for permanence in my virtual spaces, I’m more of a world traveler when it comes to these games but nonetheless I was enjoying the title so much I thought surely it had become the homestead amidst my nomadic exploration, a place for hat racks, area rugs and of course, ninjitsu. As with every venture I’ve had into Eorzea it begins well but ends with a fizzle. On paper it fits with what I’m looking for in an MMO and I imagine I’ll revisit the game in the future but for now I’m finished with Final Fantasy XIV.

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The deciding factor was Elliot’s post at Massively OP listing the steps necessary for a fresh 50 to be prepared for Heavensward. When last I left FFXIV I had just reached 50 and was planning to take a month off before returning to finish the main story scenario up through 2.55. I did not realize at the time that completing the story would require a certain ilvl. To be ready for Heavensward I would need to devote my time more fully to FFXIV rather than casually playing through a series of quests as I had expected so instead I uninstalled the client for now. I may return in the future but at this time I am put off by the prospect of having to go through the end game grind of A Realm Reborn before entering the next expansion.

Final Fantasy XIV wasn’t the only game I removed from my hard drive recently, either. The WoW token was released this past month and I had more than enough gold to purchase several months of game time and could do so from the character selection screen. Warlords of Draenor still offered little of interest for me but I had intended on leveling my followers and setting up my garrison in such a way that I could passively earn enough gold to continue my subscription indefinitely. After two weeks of logging in daily to send my followers on missions with little desire to pursue any other objectives in game it dawned on me: if I’m not having fun in WoW anymore, what’s the point of having a garrison able to cover the cost of a subscription?

Findweakness_Garrison Night

At that point I made the decision to not only uninstall the game but also the other Blizzard titles I own, the battle.net client, and to delete all the bookmarks to the WoW related podcasts and news websites that I have followed for the past three years in order to completely distance myself from the game. In all this time I’ve been playing other MMOs, I’ve never completely left WoW. Even when I wasn’t subscribed I continued to follow the news and listen to opinions on class design, content release, and lore. I was like an ex-boyfriend too curious about the current status of an old flame. As such I would inevitably return to the game but I think it’s time now for a clean break and a cleansed palette. That’s not to say I will never play again, but that if I’m going to return it will be refreshed and curious, rather than jaded.

Several other titles were uninstalled as well leaving only those games I am currently playing and a few others I may pick up again in the coming months including Star Wars: The Old Republic, Marvel Heroes, Rift, The Elder Scrolls Online, Guild Wars 2, and Trove. As for my current favorites, I have nestled quite contentedly into Star Wars: The Old Republic and Marvel Heroes. Coincidentally, the former was the title that a little over a month ago I thought was unable to compete with the others on my “must play” list. With both expansions purchased and having played for a month as a subscriber I have subsequently changed my opinion. It turns out I’m quite happy with the Star Wars flavored WoW clone, theme park, combat lobby MMO. In fact, I believe those words— often used derogatorily by many a Massively OP patron and columnist— describe the elements I enjoy most in the genre. It’s liberating to recognize and be content with the fact that I am happy with the mainstream model. Besides, if I wait long enough the genre will shift and I’ll get to tell the new MMO youngsters about the glory days of dungeon finders and gear treadmills.

“You mean characters used to progress vertically grandpa?” my cyborg grandchild will say.

“That’s right Mark-I,” I’ll nod, remembering those nights of chaining dungeons and raiding for hours with guildmates. “And we use to gamble on loot pulled from the corpses of dragons once a week as well.”

“You mean you didn’t have to wait in these lines? What about the crafting overlords, weren’t they mad you didn’t have to buy their stuff?”

Reality will wake me from bittersweet reminiscence. “That was before the rise of OPnet and the Bree-800 series cyber-economists,” I’ll say, resisting the tears. “That was before #Sandboxgate ruined everything.”

And then of course I’ll send my cyborg grandchild back in time to prevent the Sandbocolypse by stopping the development of Star Wars Galaxies at all costs. As his form vanishes a Bree-800 series android will burst into my open world housing plot and overcome my avatar slowly but assuredly with item decay.

….what was I talking about again?

Right, Star Wars: The Old Republic and Marvel Heroes. With 12x XP arriving on May 4th, I plan on diving into the class story of my Scoundrel however lately when I log in I spend most of my time healing in Warzones and Galactic Starfighting. With most MMOs in the past I’ve engaged in PvP sparingly and sporadically, but in SWTOR I am uncharacteristically preferring the leet pwning of noobs over PvE questing and Flashpoints. I’m not great at either Warzones or GSF but this past week has seen a couple of significant milestones for me in these arenas. During my last GSF match I managed to rack up eight player kills, three of which were rapidly one after the other. It was exhilarating. I attribute this relative success to my upgraded striker as much as any skill development on my part. As a healer in Warzones I managed to heal one million HP in a single match at level 35 this week and over 650k HP without a single death in another. I accomplished something similar in the 10-29 bracket but that was largely due to the fact that few people knew to target the healer at that stage. This time I survived because I had a better grasp on when and how to use my defensive cool downs, crowd control abilities, and cc breakers.

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Whereas SWTOR is my new favorite MMO, Marvel Heroes is more of a guilty pleasure. I recently leveled my first hero to 60 and rather than explore the end game for max level characters I have decided to level the other heroes I have in my roster. At first I was working on Ms. Marvel but with the announcement that the Avengers would be receiving an additional 50% bonus to XP, I decided to give Black Widow a try. In a handful of days I’ve leveled her to 40 and I fully intend to blitz my way to 60 before the event concludes. Afterwards I’ll pick back up where I left off with Ms. Marvel or set this game aside for a while as I tend to play it in bursts.

A lot has shifted over the last month with both my gaming and my blogging. My intention with this post was to outline some of those changes and to put my current blogging expectations in writing and to mention what I’ll be playing over the coming weeks and months. Expect one post a week with one or two writing exercises in brevity as well. I’ll be chronicling my leveling progress in SWTOR as well as Marvel Heroes and hopefully I will also get back into the habit of writing reflectively on scripture once again. David and Goliath Revisited was one of my favorite posts of this past month and I’d like to do more in that vein going forward. Of course, given my proclivity for writing down one set of plans and then taking off in another direction entirely, next week I may be chronicling the adventures of a fictitious time-traveling, cybernetic grandson instead. One never knows.

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8 thoughts on “State of the Rez: Invariably Variable

    • I read that from someone in the comments on the article, it certainly read as complicated though. Thanks for confirming that it is simpler than it sounds, I’m sure I’ll give it a go later. The Ninja job is still my favorite class of any MMO.

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  1. Yeah, that article put me down, as well. I mean, i knew going into the expansion with even a level 50 character would be a difficult thing for me to do, if not impossible, but what was written there seemed to take a long, long time- and it seems it is mandatory to go into Heavensward. I still want to see/experience it myself, but what Eliot wrote in this article didn’t sound like things i’d enjoy doing in that way. The funniest part was how he asked “you’re a fresh level 50 and want to get into Heavensward? Is there even enough time? Sure there is…” and so on- the fact that he posed this question was intimidating. Ah well, we’ll see. And SWTOR is a good alternative for me, as well- and it’ll be quite easy to catch up in that game soon.

    For blogging quickly; there are some ways that could work- keeping drafts, for instance. If you’re like me, you might have written something you didn’t publish- instead of deleting it, keep it as a draft. You can revisit later, maybe change the topic around a bit but still keep a lot of the copy. I’ll also create quick-drafts when i have an idea for a topic- sometimes it’s only a title i save, sometimes i’ll write a paragraph or something. I can pick up all these posts at a later date if i want to.

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    • Sounds good, thanks for the suggestions. Maybe I could write for a shorter time frame a couple times a week regardless of whether it ends in something publishable, knowing that eventually something will come of it.

      I had the same response about FFXIV, although I have seen several people say it’s not that bad. Still, I’m happy enough with SWTOR that I’m not going to worry about it right now which means I probably won’t be ready when the expansion launches. I’ve always been behind in FFXIV though so that’s nothing new, I was just hoping to be caught up and able to stay on top of new content as it released.

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    • Honestly, you’ll be just fine following FFXIV’s story. It’s straight forward and simple enough. The article really made it sound longer and from a quick glance seemed like it was preparing you to go into Heavensward with the BEST gear possible at the moment rather than the required gear.

      Honestly, if you aren’t looking to be a hardcore raider or in the top percentile than most of the article can just be tossed away.

      All you need to know is:
      Class quests > Main quests > Hildibrand > Crystal Tower > Everything else

      That’s all you need to know for the game besides knowing that you need to finish all the main quests to enter.

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      • Thanks, that’s reassuring. I’ll see it when i get there. The article just stated “ilvl” very often as if it was an obstacle/something to grind in between main quests.

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  2. I for one welcome the Sandbocolypse and our Bree-o-tron overlords

    If you’re avidly playing and a couple people to help I’d say you could get through that story in a couple days. Seems to be a big ask but there are a lot of catch up mechanics.

    My one tip, if you hadn’t stopped haha would be to chain run the main scenario in duty finder. Incredibly quick to run and you’re bound to get at least one new player going through which means 100 tokens a go.

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  3. Pingback: Waiting For Rez: 100 Posts | Waiting For Rez

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