Syl at Raging Monkeys had a timely post last week.
The timing of this post is eerie. I’ve been struggling with SWTOR because I enjoy playing with my wife and buddy, but really have no desire to level an alt. To fill the time, I’ve played Skyrim, Civ, and so forth, but it’s been a month of that and those games are feeling dusty. Lo and behold, I started thinking about WoW. I’ve still got two toons to try to get leveled.
However, there’s some weirdness surrounding WoW for me. I went on vacation to SC for Christmas and couldn’t play WoW for a week, and then I never went back. I feel like some people may be “looking” for me, since I basically took an unannounced, extended afk.
Fine. My toons are on different servers, so it’s not a problem. I’ll work on leveling that toon. Except… I forgot I’d given my real ID to my guild leader – very hesitantly – and she was on when I logged on. I logged off immediately.
Then I read Syl’s post. I know I’m an adult and shouldn’t have to feel bad about stepping away from the game, but I also know I’ve been critical of vanishers in the past, too. I shouldn’t have been, clearly, since now I’m guilty of the same thing. My past vacations have all been announced or irrelevant because I was between guilds at the time. I don’t have any plans to leave this guild, but I still feel the stigma of having vanished.
I know it has a lot to do with perceived disappointment, which really is a sign of arrogance on my part, I suspect. The guild must be disappointed with my absence because I’m so important of an element. Ugh.
One benefit of having RL friends in the guild is that I know that the guild’s actually prospered during my absence (though I hope not because of it). A few of the more troublesome other members also vanished around the same time, a new-ish raid leader stepped up, some older members came back, and things “took off,” for a given value of taking and off. They were able to down at least one of the bosses we’d been stuck on, and perhaps more because that was several weeks ago. So by that logic, there’s really no reason for me to feel guilty.
Yet, I do, and nothing other than the eventual cold plunge back into the game when – probably – nothing will happen anyway will change that.
On that note, I’ve been playing Star Trek Online during my free time. I’ve played on and off since release, when I was either foolish or genius enough to buy a lifetime membership, depending on your point of view. Because I have that, I’ve accumulated some pretty rare honors, including being a 700 day member of a game that’s only about 710 days old and that I’ve probably played for 20 hours, maybe 30.
I’m really enjoying some of the changes they’ve made, including crew tasks, which work like companion tasks in SWtoR, except you have literally 100s of crewmen and nearly unlimited missions you can send them on. On top of that, there’s a faux-puzzle element where each mission can require a particular type of crewman, such as a doctor, a botanist, or warp theorist, and each mission can be benefited or threatened by the various personality characteristics of the crewmen, such a tactful, stubborn, or telepathic. It makes for a lot of fun trying to maximize output for as many missions at once while also maximizing bonus match-ups of characteristics.
That’s been so fun, in fact, that in the 6 or so hours I played over the past weekend I only actually did two quests. The quests aren’t changed much, but that’s all right because the design was already pretty good. There is usually at least a two- and often three-tiered structure to quests with a space element, usually combat, then a ground element, which is reminiscent of DDO, and then sometimes another space element, like escaping or protecting whatever gains you made on the ground.
There’s one negative aspect though, and that’s that STO has gone free to play (hence the potential foolish choice to become a lifetime member). I get several benefits to being a paid member, but I haven’t really felt much from them yet. While I don’t consider the F2P aspect intrusive (like it often is in DDO), I do get annoyed when I see that something I want – I – a lifetime member – is going to cost me Cryptic Points (the F2P paid currency). Also, the game was purchased by Perfect Worlds, who I’ve not been impressed by in the past. However, they did buy Torchlight, so I have to hold out some hope since I thought that game was excellent for the price.
Stubborn (Captain Stubborn, now)