I am a casual gamer. A super casual gamer. In fact, I hardly play any games at all. I can list all the games I play, it’s so few. But the games I do play, I really enjoy. While it’s not a daily part of my life, it is something I indulge in maybe once or twice a week, depending on what’s going on.
For the uninitiated, MMOs are Massively Multiplayer Online games. These games have millions of players from all over the world. There are chat rooms, and ways to form groups with other people looking to complete the same objective. There are quests and general exploration. There are groups of people who do nothing but fight other groups of people. There’s hunting and gathering of resources in the game so that you can make things. There are even auction houses where people spend and earn real money doing in-game shit. It has something for anyone willing to sit at their computer for hours at a time…even romance. We tend to play the MMORPGs, the Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games.
My entrance into MMOs is so cliché, it’s embarrassing. My significant other (S.O.) got me into it. Back in 2009, he bought me World of Warcraft (WOW) as a gift to introduce me to the concept. And while it was kind of a sweet gift, WOW also has a $15 monthly subscription fee to play. Basically, he gave me a monthly bill as a gift, something I tease him about to this day.
Our first gaming experience was a disaster. He’d played WOW from its beginning, so he was familiar with the gameplay, the movement of the characters, the fighting style, the storyline, etc. I was coming in learning that I had to use my keyboard and mouse to actually move my character. Because there’s no joystick. There’s no controller. You play with a mouse and keyboard. Kiss your W A S D keys goodbye because you will burn the fuck out of them.
Also, get prepared to upgrade your system because any new shit will destroy your gameplay experience if your system isn't close to being up-to-date. But I digress. The first time we played, he tried to run me through the beginner’s area, where they teach you how to move and use your weapons. He just ran me around, talking to non-playable characters (these are programmed characters whose only role is to give you story information and quests) and I had no idea what was going on. And he didn’t really explain it. He just said “go talk to this person. Come over here. Kill this thing. Pick this up. Put this on.”
It was horrible. After about 30 minutes of this I cursed him out and told him I was making a new character that I was going to play by myself and I’d get back to him in a week when I had a better idea of what the fuck I was doing.
I’m amazed that I ever started playing with him again. Must have been that $15. But I did. I made my new character - a Draenei if anyone cares, and I learned how to play. It was ugly, but as I got more powers, I loved it. I was a paladin, which is this super strong, armor wearing character that usually fights with swords and shields, can get hurt a lot, and heals pretty fast. My play style is to run up and hit shit until it dies. I know there’s some strategy to it, but that is just annoying to me. I just want to have cool fight effects and hack shit to death.
We spent a year on WOW and then moved to Star Wars: The Old Republic. That game was AWESOME! I was a Sith warrior, and I kicked ass! I LOVED it. I could Force Leap, Force Choke, had this cool ass lightsaber, and just really enjoyed it. The storyline was so cool, up till the end. Then I got sad. We tried to do the Jedi storyline, but those folks are boring. I LOVED being a Sith. Also, we could duel in the game, so every time my S.O. pissed me off, I’d just challenge him to a fight. He’s a better in-game fighter than I am, but it was still fun.
Since then we’ve tried Guild Wars 2, Tera, WildStar, Aion, ArcheAge, Blade and Soul, and Elder Scrolls Online (ESO) . There have been a few others, here and there but I’m not an adventurous player. My S.O. is the one constantly looking for new things to try. Some I like, some he likes so he’s on the seemingly never-ending quest to find games we both like playing together. He gets bored quickly, though and it takes about 40 hours of gameplay for me to even begin to care about the story aspect of the game. I just want to have fun killing stuff and earn enough money to buy the shit I need.
I get really attached to my characters, too. I actually miss my paladin. Not enough to download the game and pay to play again, but, you know, I miss her. Same with Alestrykar, my Sith. I actually kept that name for my Guild Wars 2 character, who I also love. The problem is that you don’t know if you’ll love them when you choose their names. In retrospect, I won’t carry names over anymore because I find that I do bond with my characters if I play for a few months.
These days we are playing Blade and Soul, of which I’m not a huge fan. I’m still adjusting to the fight mechanics, but after 3 very bad starts, I did realize that I like the Blade Master class. It has become apparent that I only like sword wielding classes. Everything else I try, I hate. I named this character HandlinTheD. I think this is my favorite character name ever. I was going to name her OnFleek, but I think HandlinTheD is a much better fit.
While I’d love to call myself a hard core gamer, it’s not true. I can safely say that if I wasn’t playing with my S.O. or other friends occasionally, I probably wouldn’t play MMOs at all. I think it’s the amount of time needed to do it well, time I’m not willing to put into it. That makes me a casual gamer. Super casual. And that’s fine with me.
FYI – If you are interested, I occasionally stream our gameplay. It’s a horror show, but whatever. You can check us out at https://www.twitch.tv/talynnkel/.
I have just started posting my gameplay recordings on YouTube, too. Feel free to let the horror continue.