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Monday, March 11, 2013

Thunderstruck

You want HOW many? ^^

I'm having a number of Real Life Problems currently, which are causing me considerable stress outside the game. One relates, rather appropriately, to the quandary this fella creates in 5.2.

This is Ku'ma. You'll find him hidden in a cave on the Isle of Giants, where he collects bones: Giant Dinosaur ones, to be precise. He will exchange said bones for items of significance, but only if he has enough of them. In my case, as I desire the rather lovely White Raptor Mount he possesses, that means I need 9999. Needless to say, when I can only kill dinosaurs in solo mode and they provide 7-9 bones each, I am presented with a number of decisions to make. How much time am I prepared to spend grinding the bones every day? Should I do this at the expense of other things in game? Just how important is it for me to own the the Mount quickly?

I'm currently trying to explain to a 12 year old the importance of time management, of how there are certain things that you NEED to do before the things you want to do every day: how to organise yourself is one of those lessons that often simply has to be learnt by doing and no number of explanations help make you realise the significance of the decisions you make. I went to the island last night and couldn't find a single thing I could kill alone, because the people with time as their primary resource were already there, making the most of their ability. Of course, I'd made a decision earlier in the day, with the free time I'd had to play a different game altogether: had I come to the dinosaurs instead I could have found a grind spot, but I chose a different path. Suddenly I find myself thinking about this not in gaming terms but as a series of choices and consequences, and suddenly a great deal of the enjoyment I would have gotten out of the experience quietly melts away. It stops being fun, and it starts being a task.

This is, of course, the ever-present spectre: pleasure as a subjective. There will be those (and I can name them all on my server) who consider owning the Mount before anyone else as their raison d'etre, that they gain pleasure simply from being there first. For the rest of us there are a dizzying amount of potential choices to be made: is it Dailies first for gear? Should I do LFR first? Maybe I could go get my pets sorted before the mount... and suddenly the spectre of Too MUCH Choice raises its head again. We are continually assaulted by this in the Real World: everything on demand, a myriad of options, so how do we decide what is the most important thing to be doing first? For me, I realise that however much I'd love this mount, the practicalities of owning it are simple: I can't afford the effort to grind non-stop because of how much time it takes. I resent the fact that I'd be doing nothing else but for some time just for an item that I really don't need, I'd just like to own because it appeals to my sensibilities. Therefore I make the conscious decision to relegate that grind to a lesser level of importance.

It may seem overly simplistic, but these are the options I find myself more and more being forced to make in-game, whereas before this Expansion there appears to have been far clearer and distinct paths. I'm not entirely sure if my viewpoint is correct or not, but it seems to me that the biggest problem with Blizzard giving us more choice is the onus is now on the individual to make far more decisions than were previously required, which could cause far more problems as time goes on and the number of potential options continue to increase. In fact, I suspect that people are already beginning to overload as they grasp that there simply isn't the time available to do everything, and being forced into decisions that they may not have previously had to make is taking out the fun that Blizzard have been trying to introduce. Like I said, I may be over-thinking this because I'm having to rationalise Real Life experiences that are remarkably similar. However, I do find myself wanting to return to a situation where there were less things to choose from, and not more.

Then I find myself thinking 'Oh no, I'm becoming one of THOSE people': you know, the ones that think that the old ways were better and it's easier to moan about the past and wish you were there rather than live in the present. However, what is clear (at least from this position) is that 'before', at least for me, meant less thought and reading and note-taking and rationalisation. I need to make armour, I grind Dragonscale. I want this Epic, I need to run UBRS. Yes, I am probably being over-simplistic, but fun is at a premium in my life and I'd like to take it wherever I can find it, and that will be why I'm waiting to earn enough money to build a University for my Sims first and not planing crops in a farm that has no relevance since my Main's already maxxed out all their reps. As I said I don't find myself wanting to leave the game or give up on anything, I'm just finding the choices I've been given a little hard to swallow when so many of them are based on things beyond my control (RNG, looking at you) and others that require more time than I am prepared to give them currently to complete.

I know people who have left the game because it's become too much of a time sink. I also know those who have left because the RNG has become too big a beast to beat. I can appreciate both of these, and I'd like to think that the choices Blizzard have given players will make for a better gaming experience in the long run. My problem is simple: I'm finding it hard to make decisions objectively in the real world right now. That means, when I come to want to play a game at the end of a hard day, the last thing I want to have to do is be forced with any kind of difficult decision.

2 comments:

Debbie Adams said...

I think your last line hits the nail square on the head. I have had to detach from the in game choices because the overwhelmingness of it all is sucking the fun out of my playtime. I have decided to go back to what I enjoy. Leveling my alts and collecting crafting recipes with killing the occasional rare. I have dipped my toe into the Thunder dailies and had no idea about the Isle of Giants until I read about it here.
Which brings me to a realization that doing what I enjoy, instead of what I think Blizzard is expecting me to do has a price and that's not knowing what's really going on. I feel like a bookworm on a bus going down Rodeo Drive in Hollywood.

Anonymous said...

As well as the bone white raptor, there's 3 other raptor mounts and 5 pets on the island, 4 pets drop from the dinomancers (very good drop rate) and the spectral porcupette....is another 999 bones ;p

The other 3 raptor mounts though are what I'm using to set my bone farming speed. These you get from a Primal Egg, which is like the old Oracles egg, takes 3 days to hatch and is unique, seems to be 100% chance of one of the mounts. I'm just going to go every 3 days for my eggs and get bones while doing that.

Btw, as a hunter I've found I can solo everything. Pet tanking doesn't work, but kiting does! Big dinos can't be slowed, I kite devilsaurs in cheetah and stay max range so the aoe roar doesn't hit me. These have the highest hp (13m) but also the highest drop chance for eggs and drop 37-41 bones each in my experience.

Katzbalger-Arthas (US)