A Fog is Lifting

Apologies for the quiet around here in recent weeks. I was in the grip of a very strong introvert phase where I just wanted to hide from the world, and just as that started to abate I had to travel for work and was without any (non-mobile) video games for a while. Woe. My isolationist fog has mostly lifted now, though, and I’ve been bouncing around between multiple games to try to carve out a new direction for myself.

Taking a break from a MMO usually means spending way too much time figuring out wtf happened to your inventory and quest log when you return and this time was no different. I wrestled with my very large number of alts in WoW for a few days and mostly got everyone back into usable shape. I’m just not sure what exactly they will be usable for. I’ve made some plans to level on a new server to join a casual raid group with friends, but my main activity in WoW right now seems to be logging on to 1000 alts and making gold from their garrisons. I have a horrible compulsion to do this even though I am actively thinking “this is boring and awful and I want to be doing literally anything else right now” the whole time. The problem is that I know this cash cow is almost certainly going away soon, so I feel like I need to take advantage of it while I can. At this stage I’m sitting on 5 or 6 months worth of WoW token game time, far more than I had planned for. Somehow I need to let go of the notion that I have to maximize profits every day and just play for fun or I’m going to need to step away from WoW for a few months to recharge. As maddening as it will be to lose this revenue stream, I will honestly be thankful when these missions finally get nerfed and I don’t feel like I have to compulsively deal with 12 garrisons twice a day every day.

While my WoW interest is fading, my WildStar fervor has been renewed. My bag space was far worse after my short hiatus, but easier to fix since I only have 3 max level toons. I’ve decided to take advantage of the new PvP changes and flag myself while doing my dailies and it has been pretty rewarding. The few times I’ve run across a flagged Dommie we peacefully went our own ways without getting into any trouble. I’m sure once the PvP servers merge with us there will be more peril but for now it has been really great. I never imagined that I’d play a MMO and happily flag myself for PvP out in the world. Major kudos to Carbine for giving useful rewards and making the threat of imminent doom worth it! Now I just need to decide if I’m going to try to chase a few pieces of the PvP seasonal cosmetic gear, or if I’m going to focus on PvE goals for a while instead.

Finally I stopped briefly back into D3 for a few hours. Again, my inventory is a giant mess. I think at some point I was running with friends and just throwing every legendary into a stash tab to sort out later…but then never sorted it or got rid of anything. At some point I need to go through everything and try to return it to some semblance of order, but for now I just want to get back into the swing of things. I’ve officially completed all of my goals for the season! My add-on goal is to try to unlock the extra stash tab, but that requires a lot of extra effort and will definitely need some help from friends. I did manage to complete solo GR61 which is a personal best, so this season is a success whether I get that extra bank space or not. Maybe it is better if I don’t get it, that just means even more junk to sort through the next time I take a break…

Solo Mode

I’ve had a bit of self-imposed isolation over the last couple weeks. Work/school has been stressful and my brain tends to make me shy away from human contact when I get like this. Coincidentally, I’ve been reading Wolfy‘s great posts in response to Syl‘s comments about solo players asking for solo content in MMOs. For me personally, I like MMOs to have compelling and rewarding solo content so that I can get through these mental down times. Sure, I might be hiding from my friends list and avoiding group content like the plague right now, but solo content lets me still make some sort of progress on my characters. It also helps me stay connected to the world, and feel a little less alone just by seeing random strangers going about their business in-game. Without solo activities, I’d be more likely to completely take a break from the game when I feel like this. Instead, I’m still around and still invested, and ready to slide back in fully once I get over my mental funk. So I’ll happily “demand” (ok maybe politely request) that devs keep providing solo content for me and folks like me, who might waffle from time to time about how much they want to engage socially.

In any case, I can feel the isolationist fog starting to lift. I’ve started getting the urge to run dungeons again. Over the next few days I want to get back into the swing of things in WildStar. I also suspect it is only a matter of time before I fire FFXIV back up so I can heal butts. The cycle of introvert life marches onward.



D3: The Benefits of Friends

Time for an update on my D3 Season 5 progress. I feel like I’ve been flying though things this season.
1.    Hit level 70 on Friday night. Done!
2.    Complete the Seasonal Journey for the pet by the end of the weekend. Done!
3.    Reach solo greater rift 50. (My best last season was 45). At 46 now.
4.    Reach paragon level 400. (Last season I hit around 350). Done!
5.    Complete greater rift 30 with 2, 3, and 4 players. Done!
6.    Bonus goals: Reach level 70 on a hardcore wizard or complete at least one set dungeon on a witchdoctor. Still waiting on this one. I should really level a gem of ease I guess.

As you can see, I’m quite close to being finished with my goals, and we’re only a couple weeks into the season. How did this happen? I have been playing about the same amount I did last season. The big difference this time around is that I’ve spent a lot more time grouped up with friends. Even though grouping up can be a bit more stressful for me, the benefits are pretty obvious. The drops are better, everything goes much faster, and I can tackle higher difficulties than I could on my own.

This isn’t really new information. I’ve always known that grouping up in this game is way more lucrative. This is the first time I’ve had enough experience with it to really appreciate it though. As someone who still prefers playing solo it is a little overwhelming. And now we get to my next issue: the seasonal journey. Last season I got through the Champion rank, and last night I achieved this again for season 5. There are some parts that expressly have to be done solo, but I found that many of the goals were met easily during passive group play. I’m not sure whether to feel happy that I didn’t have to worry about them, or to feel robbed of any feeling of accomplishment. For now I think I’ll err on the side of being happy, because some of the upcoming goals are still going to be a real struggle for me.

You see I’ve decided to try to go for the extra stash tab you can unlock this season. It is locked up near the end of the season’s journey, behind things like “complete 2 conquests” and “solo greater rift level 60”, the kind of stuff I never even wanted to attempt in previous seasons. To be honest, I don’t really want to attempt it now. Trying to meet these goals feels way beyond my normal relaxed playstyle for D3. I’m afraid I might never be able to complete this, certainly not without help. I am nervous that I might not have a chance to knock out some goals that would be easier in a group before my friends lose interest in the game and move on. Mostly I feel resentful that something as desirable and useful as an extra stash tab is locked so high up the seasonal ladder.

I understand that a lot of people who play this game are more hardcore than me, but I always liked that in previous seasons the rewards for completing the higher levels of the journey were all cosmetic. You could push yourself as far as you wanted to but also feel comfortable stopping when you’ve had enough without feeling like you were missing out on something important. I’ve been playing Diablo 3 semi-regularly since it launched and have never even come close to achieving most of the things that are required to unlock the stash tab this season. Maybe that means I’m a terrible player and I’m ok with that because I’ve enjoyed the hell out of all the time I’ve spent with this game. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that pushing myself past my comfort zone to try to get some more room to throw my excess legendaries doesn’t end up souring this season for me. Hopefully I’ll still have good friends around for a while to help me along the way.