A Thought I Just Had

Bear Druid

Druid was the one class in WoW that I could never get into, no matter how many times I tried. And the first character I ever made was a Druid.

I always choose wrong the first time.

Anyone else have a similar experience?

Links I Liked

How Not to Game's Links I Liked This Week

Because my anxiety often gets the best of me, I’m not great at letting bloggers know that I’ve read and appreciated something they’ve written. As a solution to my inability to comment, I’ve started a weekly* list praising WordPress blog posts that I’ve Liked.

Here are this week’s Links I Liked, according to WordPress.com’s Likes page:

None? There were no posts this week? Well, crud.

Actually, there were a couple posts I’d like to mention, but they all lacked a Like button.

My +4 Trebuchet of Rabbit Slaying: Age of Empires Online. This is an odd choice because I’ve never actually played AoEO. But I really want to now, so I think that counts for something. I kind of can’t get over how cute those screenshots are.

A tasteless make over. That Kingsguard looks nearly as good as that High Elf. And what a pretty armor color!

I feel like my reader was really quiet this week. So, write stuff, everybody. Give me things to link to!

*I’m sort of wary about putting myself to a weekly schedule like this, but maybe we’ll just call it Not My Fault if something goes awry and I forget about this whole idea. Like, if I’ve forgotten by this upcoming Saturday, it was obviously a Confundus Charm, right?

Stepping Back In

Solrachnus

It’s so nice having a game that you can easily step back into after a number of days off.

When we last logged out of Tera, we were one BAM away from completing a quest for a ring upgrade we both needed, but we were just too drained to finish it that night. Because there is so much to be aware of in Tera, it’s a bit more physically tiring than some of the other MMOs we’ve played.

We generally limit ourselves to a certain amount of BAMs per play session. If we don’t, we both find ourselves starting to make mistakes, like missed blocks or just loss of concentration and awareness.

So when we logged back in yesterday after more than half a week off, we were delighted to find that we still knew what we were doing. And surprised by that fact.

That sounds a little silly, doesn’t it? Like, why should we be so excited over still being competent after being out of game for only a few days? But, you know, in some other games we’ve played it can be hard to re-orient ourselves, especially with underused spells — long cooldowns or less-used specs. Things get forgotten or we’re slow to hit things.

One of our big concerns with Tera was, as I’ve mentioned before, whether I, the anti-WASD poster girl could even play it. But, it turned out that it felt natural.

We would swap between the Tera beta weekends and SWTOR, which we were still occasionally logging into at the time, and I would have trouble remembering how to move around, try to aim spells with the mouse in SWTOR, and forget what spells were for when. Never once did the control confusion fall the other way.

To feel so in tune with Tera is empowering. On the Lancer, I feel like I could tank most anything. And, you know what? It’s still fun.

I hear people say that Tera doesn’t offer anything once the novelty of the combat wears off. But, for me, I’m only playing MMOs for the combat. Quests are just an excuse for me to go kill more things.

I’m already looking forward to our future alts.

And, I sound like a broken record. I just can’t stop singing the praises of this game. It’s been a long time since I’ve felt this much joy while playing something. It’s been a long time since Trav and I have been able to be this successful in an MMO.

When’s the last time you were surprised by something you were able to accomplish in an MMO, even if it wasn’t something tons of people would consider a big deal?

How Not to Make Friends

Tera human love

Sometimes I don’t really know how to be human. I guess I fake it somewhat okay; no one seems to suspect me yet, at least not that they’ve said to my face. But it’s kind of like someone ripped out the social interactions section of my manual before they shoved me off into the world.

Back when we played WoW, I would ride around places like Dalaran, or whatever city was in vogue at the time, showing Trav my closest friends: strangers that I’d never had any contact with ever but that I’d seen in town on more than one occasion. These weren’t people I’d grouped with or even spoken to. They weren’t guildies or even friends of friends. They were barely more than NPCs.

And I would actually get excited to see them.

I no longer play WoW, but now I have Twitter and a blog. Sometimes people even respond to me when I say things through those mediums. And then I fret over what I should say in response. I fret for hours sometimes. Then I fret over how long it’s been and wonder if it’s too late to respond at all. I draft and re-draft even simple thoughts. I have to read them to Trav to verify that they’re good enough before they can be officially submitted to the world of the Internet.

And then I bombard him with questions about the overall competence and accuracy of my words. I mean, what if I said something that was wrong? Jeez, I actually got a little panicked just considering that scenario while I wrote this. And it was a fictitious scenario! There was nothing to even be wrong about.

The only person I know how to communicate with is Trav, and we’ve developed a virtual hive mind, so it’s not that great of an accomplishment. Still though, even after ten years with him, I preface my thoughts with disclaimers. If I am careful enough, maybe I won’t be judged or chastised. This is something I consciously know that he would never do to me, but sometimes that subconscious just gets in the way.

Even conversations with family are stilted; they don’t flow. I laugh in response to pretty much anything said. Oh, someone died? Nervous laughter. You’re totally excited about your new cat? More nervous laughter. I never realize quickly enough when it’s my turn to speak, and I never have anything to add to the conversation. How could I when I rarely leave the house and no one I know in real life cares about gaming?

My only real life friends are the ones I made in middle or high school — the ones that live, at minimum, over an hour away, thought most live across the country now. And, to clarify, by friends I mean “I stalk them on Facebook.”

I don’t know how to make friends or even to talk to people. It’s hard to overcome the uncomfortableness of interaction with the want for friends.

It would be neat to have a group of bloggy buddies like all the Cool Kids on Twitter seem to have, but I don’t know how to extend myself that far. I suppose it also doesn’t help that I’m not exactly blogging about any of the big names in gaming blogs right now.

Trying to be a Tera blogger basically puts me smack dab in the high ranks of the Chess Club or AV club, or whatever is deemed unpopular at schools with clubs these days. Unfortunately, I don’t know since we no longer have new episodes of Saved by the Bell airing regularly to guide me in all things high school culture.

Don’t get me wrong. I love playing Tera, and I love blogging about it. There’s just a lot of Tera hate out there. From the risqué gear, accusations of sexism, and the Elins to the assessment that its weak frame is riding precariously on its combat just waiting to go free-to-play, it gets a ton of criticism. That makes it harder to find a niche with which I fit in as a blogger.

But I’m getting off track.

I mentioned earlier about my faux friends in WoW, which makes me wonder about the people I’m fond of on Twitter. How do they see me? Am I more than an NPC to them? Am I just some pest that they’ll make fun of with the other popular kids as soon as I turn my back? Are they just more people that I’ve built into friends in my head?

Maybe these are things that everyone worries about with regard to people they don’t know all that well. Or maybe my social anxiety creates mountains out of molehills.

The worst part of it all is that, regardless of how much I want to have friends, I’m terrified of the possibility of being “friends” with someone and communicating with them on a regular basis.

It would be so hard to try to explain all these quirks and idiosyncrasies to a stranger.

Except, that’s exactly what I’m doing right now: telling it all to some stranger. Well, stranger, feel free to respond. I really would like to get to know you. It just might take me a while to design the perfect response.

Just, you know, please don’t ask me to go out and get food or some sort of beverage. There is no way I can eat in front of people. That’s just too big a step.