Trouble with dungeons

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It’s a back and forth thing for me. I’ve had great experiences with dungeons in MMOs and terrible runs, and they’re all kind of mixed together to build an orbit in my head. At one end, I can’t run enough. I’m hanging out with great people, I’m getting great drops, and I’m enjoying the world. But that never lasts forever. Eventually my cruise control snaps off and I don’t have enough, I run into shitty people, and I get sick of the whole process and hermit my way back into solo play.

I can think of thee factors that really affect my dungeon thoughts at any given moment:

  • Time. Dungeons are a commitment. Depending on the game, we’re talking 30 minutes to 2 hours (4+ if you’re raiding). I don’t always have an open window, or the attention span for that length of time. My gaming habits range across a far field, and I like to switch from one to the next and play a few different games at the same time (not literally simultaneously). If i’s not a smooth run and you start wiping, that hourglass only grows. This is one of the reasons I tend toward lone wolfing in MMOs,
  • People. Dungeons require parties, and parties require other human beings. Online this is a crapshoot, especially in games with a giant player base. You could get lucky and join up with a few fun guildies or you could get stuck with brain dead mouthbreathers from the LFG. It depends on what game you’re playing, when you play, and a roll of the dice.
  • Boredom. I don’t love dungeon design in most MMOs. Mechanically they function as loot pinatas, and too often don’t aspire to anything more than that. The gear treadmill doesn’t do much for me (just a LITTLE), so if a dungeon doesn’t have much flavor it’s REAL hard for me to work up any enthusiasm for it. Especially when endgame consists of beating down the same bland bosses over and over and ov-

It’s tough. Many MMOs have a lot of good, different types of gameplay, but dungeons almost play a large role.

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Thankfully I’ve been spending most of my MMO time lately with The Secret World, and it goes far to address my dungeon complaints.

Concerning time, TSW’s dungeons come in on the low end of commitment, usually around a half-hour. It’s still a chunk of time, and sometimes when I hop online I don’t even have that much, so I’ll just start a quest and run around, but I feel like it’s easier to make room for TSW’s dungeons than it ever was for those in WoW. The game’s community also generates good parties more frequently, I think partly because it’s smaller and attracts a different type of player. You still inevitably run into bad seeds, but I feel like it happens far less often. And in TSW’s dungeons, I rarely find myself bored. They’re story driven, they capture a good range of environments and themes, you don’t have to slog through trash to get to the interesting fights, and the boss mechanics are varied and fresh. Dungeons feel, finally, less like something I HAVE to do to get gear, and more like something exciting.

I just beat the Gatekeeper, so it’s time for me to try tanking Nightmares. I’m excited, but I know it’s a big step up in difficulty and tanking saddles me with certain responsibilities, so I want to make sure I do my research. Wish me luck!

Kickoff

It’s time for me to write again.

I think I’ve been in a funk for a while, and when I funk out most of my time ends up spent with games and television. That drive to create, or at least write about someone else’s creations, doesn’t really grip me. But the LACK is starting to get to me, and I want to get some words out again.

Motivations are twofold:

  • NaNoWriMo – National Novel Writing Month. The quest to produce 50,000 words resembling a novel during the 30(?) days of November. I’ve tried this a few times and never really made it past 5k or so. I’m not sure why I keep trying, but it does give me a new jolt of excitement each year. Maybe in 2013 I can wrestle that jolt into actual productivity.
  • NBI – Newbie Blogger Initiative. A drive by experienced games bloggers to get new people involved and support new blogs. This is pretty cool. Some of these sponsors have been blogging for years about every MMO across the board, and some of them are insightful and really enjoyable to follow. I’ve read a few of their blogs consistently for the last year or so, and I’d like to try to join them. Since I’ve been spending so much time with games lately, they feel like a good subject to rev my writing.

I might end up talking about a lot of different stuff on here, but for now I think I’ll mostly touch on the MMOs I’ve been caught up in lately. The Secret World and Final Fantasy 14 consume blocks of my time in equal parts, and I think it’s an interesting time to be playing both of them. TSW’s in the middle of a crazy, long-term event before a major content patch, and, since FF14 is fresh off a relaunch, a lot of it is still unexplored. I’ve been hopping back in Guild Wars 2 with some regularity, but I’ve never cracked 45 and I have a hard time committing to it. We’ll see what happens!

Also, I’ve always been terrible about taking screenshots, but I’m trying to get better at documenting my time in games so I can break up all these boring words with some color.