I’ve finally gotten Guild Wars 2 reinstalled and had that run around I was craving earlier in the week. Tristis is a bit shambolic at the moment. They’ve changed the character builds since I last played, and I’m still finding my way around the skills ring. She’s got half of one outfit on, and half of another outfit. We are badly in need of transmutation, but I don’t have any charges and don’t want to buy any. She looks a bit naff, but I’m just going to live with it for now.
My first impression, once I’d had my pretty run around over hills and through forests, was that I was bored and would rather be playing something else. I logged out and came back a couple of times over the course of this week. But two posts I read this week have convinced me to stick with it for a little while and see what develops. The first was this tempting collection of screenshots of the new Lion’s Arch, which I hadn’t explored yet. The second was MMO Gypsy’s Blaugust post for yesterday: “What makes me happy in MMOs.” Some of the things on that list are things I can relate to: windmills creaking, my cloak fluttering in the wind, getting that mob down against all odds. But a lot of them are things I’ve not played long enough to experience: getting to a place where I feel competent and my gear looks crazy good.
I seem to start MMOs, and be super invested for a while, and then my interest kind of peters out. I keep starting over again because I’m interested in reaching that point of competence and ownership. But then drying up in the middle all over again. There are specific and identifiable reasons for this dry spell I always experience. For one, I don’t like crafting. I have yet to find a game where the crafting interests me, but it’s important for leveling up and optimizing your gear. For another, while I love the physical environments of most of the games I’ve tried, I’ve not been able to get invested in any of the lore or storylines. I enjoy the mechanics, the scenery, the dressing up. I love getting a better weapon and seeing my stats go up. I like the little moments of understated interaction: getting to res another player, or having a total stranger take a moment to demonstrate how to climb a vista just because they can see I’m having trouble. Those moments are really fun. But I struggle with activities that require greater interaction or communication between players, because I’m shy and because I’m not particularly confident in my skills. The first dungeons I ever did as a healer in WoW were the most terrifying thing I’ve done in years. Actual sweating palms and shaking hands and social anxiety. I am shy in person, and an introvert, but I don’t experience social anxiety. In game, though, I am a bundle of social anxiety. This makes it hard for me to team up with other people in a way that’s meaningful and progresses my character. So I just sort of dwindle away and wander off.
These two posts have convinced me to try sticking with Guild Wars 2 for a while, though. Yesterday I explored a new section of map, did a couple of events, and was rewarded with my first exotic gear drop ever. I want to earn the right to wear that at Level 80. Today, I spent a couple of hours in newly rebuilt Lion’s Arch, taking screenshots and rediscovering vistas. The bank is a giant stone octopus, with a fish tank for a head. Who would want to miss that? It was fun to reclaim that territory, figuring out what was different and what remained the same. Standing under the windmill that’s one of my favorite things in the entire Tyrian world, I felt that urge to keep going.
(This is day 16 of the Blaugust initiative.)