Rowyn (rowyn) wrote,

The Year of Games

Heppy Birthday, elusivetiger! That's a handy birthday, must make it easy for others to remember how old you are. :)

I didn't make any resolutions last year, which gives me the opportunity to do something telnar has encouraged me to do in the past: "Why don't you skip making resolutions, then look back at the year and feel accomplished for whatever you did?"

Mostly what I did in 2007 was play games again.

Not that I ever stopped, of course, but reflecting back on it, I realize that for the last few years before 2007 I hadn't done very much social gaming. I'd been running maybe a couple of logs a month on SinaiMUCK, and playing Puzzle Pirates which, while fun, is a pretty non-social game despite being an MMOG. I'd play by logging in, hopping into a puzzle, playing until I got bored, and then leaving. The "MMO" part was only important insofar as it gave me the feelign of having people to compete against for high score. Other than that it might as well have been single-player (which is Lut's main reason for having quit it, lo those many years ago.)

I still have my subscription to Puzzle Pirates, but I let it lapse for a few months in 2007 because I'd stopped playing it in favor of playing +Terrible Butterflies+, which was both more effort and more fun.

+Terrible Butterflies+ rekindled my enthusiasm for text RPGs in general. Game of October picked up momentum again, regained the one player I'd lost in 2006, and we brought it to a smashing conclusion on Octboer 31, 2007. I'm still happy about that. My track record of completeing the multiplayer games I start remains unbroken since 2000. Boo-yeah!

Lut talked me into giving City of Heroes one more try, and that has turned into my surprise success story for the year. I thought that I'd quit leveling games for good: after three years of serious EQ addiction, I hadn't stuck with a leveling game for more than a few months, and most of the play I'd done in them had been for the sake of keeping Lut company rather than because I enjoyed that. Several factors in City of Heroes/Villains changed that:

  • CoH's "sidekick" feature (which allows a character to "sidekick" any character three or more levels below him, making the latter capable of playing at the same level range as the former), coupled with the ease of acquiring temporary travel powers, makes it SO MUCH EASIER to put groups together with my friends.

  • The "Global friends" list, which lets me see when my friends are playing, regardless of which server they're on or which characters they're playing.

  • Most of my friends have characters scattered across several different level ranges and both hero and villainside, which also helps a lot with the first item on the list

  • I have a small horde of friends who play CoH regularly. My usual group is koogrr, terrycloth, ltwarhound and tahkhleet. But others include boingdragon, minor_architect, kagetsume. octantis and quarrel. Yes, all my CoH friends have LJs. I didn't actually meet any of them via LJ, or even via CoH, though. They're all friends of mine from outside the game, too. In fact, even though only Lut is local to me, these are all people I've met in RL except for Terrycloth.

Sense a theme? I'm playing CoH with my friends. As opposed to "I'm playing CoH". And while we all like leveling our assorted characters, there's much less of an "I gotta get Character X to level Y so I can get thing Z" sense than I'm used to from other MMORPGs. Most of us will shuffle around to play whatever character will fit into a group with the current crop of people online. Also, it takes, like, five or maybe ten minutes if you zone slowly, to get from pretty much anywhere to pretty much anywhere in City of Villains (as long as you've reached level 5 and picked up a temporary travel power). City of Heroes is a little more spread out and it might take you as much as fifteen minutes to get from one end of the city to another. As opposed to EQ's "I'm in Qeynos and you're in Freeport, it'll take an hour for me to get there so maybe I'll catch you another time".

Anyway, CoH is giving me much more of the pleasant sensation of sharing an activity with friends instead of grinding my way up in power so that I can grind my way up in power. I attribute CoH's staying power with me this time to (a) the changes that the developers have made in the game to make it not only possible but easy to play with any friend who's in the game and (b) the fact that I have several friends who play frequently. It's been very nice to have a game to play that's low-effort but still social.

And at the tail end of 2007, I started my first ever attempt to GM a play-by-email game . It's also my most ambitious foray in gaming to date, including extensive world building and creating my own rules system. I vastly underestimated how difficult those last two were going to be and how much time they were going to take, and for a little while I wasn't sure the game was going to make it off the ground. However, I started running some actual play in the setting last Friday and am happy with the way that's going. It may be a little bit yet before the official start (for which I apologize to tuftears and ladyperegrine, who made up their ordinary-human characters weeks ago and are still waiting to get introduced to the setting) but it's gonna get there.

In non-gaming news, I went on a whole bunch of trips this year. Most to see friends: three to Orlando, one to New York, one to Raliegh, one to Las Vegas, and one to see my parents in New Hampshire. Hmm. I seem to have neglected the West Coast in 2007: clearly I should head that way in 2008. While I'm on the subject of trips, beetiger is an awesome hostess. <3 Just thought I'd mention that.

I completed NaNoWriMo, thus salvaging the year from being an utter loss on the non-gaming-fiction front. I didn't finish the NanoNovel I started, however, and promptly neglected working on it further in favor of diving headlong into starting up a PBEM. The story is on hiatus but not forgotten: I will get back to it. Maybe not soon, though.

And that was pretty much my year. I enjoyed it a lot. I'm not sure I'm supposed to be happy about spending my life immersed in fictional worlds and maintaining almost exclusively lond-distance friendships. But I am, actually. Really, very happy about it. Also, against all odds ltwarhound and koogrr both still love and appreciate me, which always amazes me when I think about it.

Oh! And I still exercise regularly. Which I've been doing for, what, three years now? It no longer feels noteworthy. But given how many people resolve to start exercising and don't carry through, and for that matter how often I failed to carry through on exercise plans, I need to remember this. My exercise regimen has varied a lot; sometimes I only manage four sessions a week instead of five or six, and I've missed weeks occassionally (usually when travelling). But I'm still at it. While I'm not losing weight -- I've been holding steady at 140 pounds for years -- I'm not gaining either, which is a sort of victory itself. And I've stopped worrying about what I eat, which is nice in itself.

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