My Favorite Zones

Today I’m feeling super uninspired, so I am gladly poaching a writing prompt from the pile that Belghast has gathered together on Anook!

  • What is your favorite game biome? Games often have the same kinds of generic climates spread through the zones and levels. What is your favorite type of climate and why?

Growing up in Tennessee (for the most part) meant I was more outdoorsy than I am now. My dad used to take me on hikes all the time, our family would go camping, I spent a lot of time in the mountains and forests. Even now living in New York (state) I like to try to get to some kind of hiking trail at  least once a year. It’s fun for me, and challenging, plus some of the scenery is breathtaking. That being said I think my favorite zones in-game follow a similar theme.

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In WoW, Grizzly Hills has always been a favorite zone of mine. It is lush, with the tall slender pine trees, the ground almost looks mossy and then gives way to snowy hills. The music too, gives a lot to the atmosphere. Ironically, the questing in the zone is average for me, not my favorite one to be an errand girl in. This is one of those zones where I have my little quest hubs that I go to, I know the drill, and once I do all the quests I want to, I move on.

I love this river
I love this river

Another zone in WoW is the starting area for the Pandaren. I mean, it’s on the back of a huge ancient turtle, so if that in itself isn’t cool enough… It gave a great insight lore wise to their culture, as well as the cutesy humor that was a nice break from the gloom and doom of Wrath and Cataclysm. That and playing a Pandaren always makes me smile, they are cute and I can’t help it, kay?

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I haven’t explored enough of FFXIV to call a certain zone my favorite, but I do like the city of Ul’Dah. It looks gorgeous, and it is fairly easy to get around in!

Other games follow a similar theme, in Skyrim I like prowling around the mountains near Solitude, and that climb up to the Greybeards is always fun, even though it takes an hour and a half. There is something about not knowing what’s around that blind hill, climbing up a slope that you’re not sure if you can traverse without slipping all the way down. It adds mystery and challenge to the game, as well as filling that “I have to explore!” want that a lot of us gamers have.

In real life, I live in suburbia and work in the city, so for me, exploring the untamed wilderness, seeing what’s on that hill, looking out and down across the land from atop a mountain, that’s fun for me. Being of (not so recent) import to the area, snow is still enough of a novelty to me that I enjoy seeing how different games incorporate it. Skyrim in particular does very well with the atmosphere, enough that when I’m exploring a particularly snowy, windy area, I do actually feel cold!

It’s really nice to see the immersion that comes with how a climate or zone is laid out in a game. How it may influence how you feel about the game, how you feel about the questing zone, dungeon, or raid.

That’s kind of all I’ve got in my little brain for today, off to real life things now…I’m noticing my posts are short, less than 1000 words. Personal challenge, accepted!

HAPPY FRIDAY

 

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Hello There, Old Friend

Today’s Throwback Thursday post features Skyrim! I’m going to try to make this a regular installment. I had meant to do this last week, but I got ranty on everyone and postponed my topic to a different day, which wasn’t Thursday, so I couldn’t use the appropriate phrase. This is going to be a day where I post about games I don’t play on the regular, but that when I revisit them it’s a pretty easygoing process.

This game is pretty.
This game is pretty.

Skyrim is one of ‘those’ games for me. It can be set aside for days, weeks, even months at a time, and when picked back up, it is so easy for me to immerse myself in the story and quests once again. This is definitely one of those games where the muscle memory kicks in after a very short period, making it comfortable and easy to play the game after a break. I love that feeling. It’s like putting on an old sweatshirt, or curling up on the couch after a long day. The comfort, familiarity, is an amazing feeling to have in anything, especially in a video game. The music, the sights, the sounds, the glitches, it’s a very easy game to come back to.

When I first started playing Skyrim was when it was released. I made a Khajit, and she evolved into an archer/thief/assassin. I had to do some major surgery on my computer, and that save file was lost, which made me upset obviously. All that time and she was just gone.  I tried and eventually stuck with it, and leveled as similar a character as I could, but it never really felt the same. So I switched tacks. I created a warrior, heavy armor, sword and shield, more of a charge in and bowl everyone over character, and it was fun, but I missed archery. I really love the archery system in Skyrim. It’s challenging, but once you get it down, it’s fantastic. Plus the bows look very cool IMO.

One moment please, Mister Cave Bear.
One moment please, Sir. 

I of course have mods installed, nothing crazy (ie the ‘sexy’ mods or the mod where you turn all the dragons into My Little Pony’s) but instead ones that embellish and aid in questing, I have all the DLC’s, which further enhance the story. I am very much so taking my time again playing through, I ended up making a wood elf that I was going to have as a stealthy dual wielding thief, but then I ended up making her kind of a copy of my Khajit. Whoops.

Have I mentioned I’m an altoholic? Because I totally am. In every game ever.

Can you spot the follower...?
Can you spot the housecarl…?

I think in the main storyline I’m only at the first time you talk to Parthurnax, who by the way, is a very cool dragon dude. I’m leveling up my archery, one handed weapons, light armor, and speech skills. Much like real life. I am contemplating changing gears and pimping her out in mage gear to do the Winterhold quest line, I’ve kind of always wanted to play a mage all the way through in Skyrim, but I’m wondering how I can do that without dying. Probably a mix of conjuration and restoration magic hm? Or getting a very sturdy housecarl or companion.

Here, have some more pictures because this game is so pretty:

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This game will always have a special place in my tiny cold little heart. Even revisiting the same old quests over and over again is fun, the potential for roleplay and developing a backstory and an actual character is astounding. Sometimes I even just play to cruise around on one of the adorable fat horses and listen to the music, admire the mountains, and get dive bombed by dragons.

In other news, this morning I’m going to spend some time messing with the blog, categorizing things correctly, adding a blogroll, figuring out how to make my blog look the way I want it to. You know, normal stuff! I do like my current theme a lot though, so probably won’t change the actual look. I don’t want to do anything crazy!

I hope everyone has a good day =)

Are You There, Player? It’s Me, (Game)

I have to start this post off by saying that I’ve been quite remiss in participating in the NBI- I’ve of course been on the forums, have been reading and have been happy about my fellow NBI Initiates’ blogs, and their progress in general. I’ve been neglecting the writing prompts, the contests, etc. Not out of any particular one reason, just due to being busy (life) and uhh procrastination. So this is my first foray into writing with a  prompt given to me by that organization!

 The topic being: Why don’t we finish our games anymore? Below are my first three thoughts on why:

  • don’t have the time
  • don’t have the attention span
  • fear of ‘The End.’

I’m going to be working my way backwards through this list, because reasons.

For me, the last point is the most relatable.  If I’m really enjoying a game, a story, a particular character, I don’t want it to end. I actually have a couple games in progress, because of this reason. I know you can always replay a game, can see it from even a different perspective, IE play the character differently if it’s a Mass Effect/Dragon Age type game, can play with a different build, or try a different strategy. Change is scary, too. Whether it be real life, or in a video game, or any other scenario. The familiarity of the game, that added routine, the sound, the feel of it, gone.  The next game you pick up, you might not enjoy it as much. It might not be the same level of awesome. I tend to play games that are similar to each other, usually an RPG of some shape or fashion. Each one is good, is unique to some degree, but once I play and finish a game I absolutely love, I miss it. I think this is part of why I have So Many Games, because they can only hold my attention so long.

Second point! Missymojo  touched on this in her post, that we all want instant gratification. We all want to love the game, right off the bat, and if we don’t, it’s left in the dust. It’s so easy to obtain games nowadays, you don’t have to go to the store and actually hand over money, can do everything at home in your pj’s. I’ve guiltily played through a lot of games I haven’t necessarily enjoyed, just because I want to feel like I’m getting my money’s worth. Something drew me to the game, which turned out to be the only thing I liked about it.

I also pick up games due to what friends suggest, maybe we’ll start playing a game together, or we will find out we each have been playing/enjoying the same game, and we’ll group up. Then begins the intricate dance of I can only play at certain times, they can only play at certain times, do we wait for each other and take forever to finish the game together, or split off and do our own thing, totally negating our original idea of playing through it as a team. Usually, one or the other is left behind, which for me, kind of leaves a sour taste in my mouth. My friend has beaten it, has the cool achievements, etc, and I’m still derping around at the beginning or middle. There’s the other side of the coin too, where I either feel like I’m getting power leveled or rushed through the content, then when I try to play solo I have no idea what’s going on, haha.

As to the first bullet point, time; like most of us, I work full time and try to have a social life. This limits my time that I can play games, which also limits the games I want to play. If I’m not enjoying it, if it’s frustrating or I can’t get past a certain part, I’ll essentially give up on it. This isn’t necessarily the game’s fault, but more of my own. I think as a culture, we tend to embrace the New and Shiny. I know there are plenty of games sitting in my Steam library that I have uninstalled, or that are just sitting there collecting dust because of my reluctance to play them.

I wanted to use a certain game as an example for this, it’s kind of a blend of the first and last point, so I’ll just put it here at the end! Skyrim. The game has been out forever, I know this, you know this, we all know this. I got the game as a gift right when it came out, and I played through and beat the whole thing. Now you’re sitting there looking at the title, wondering where I’m going with this. There is a method to the madness, don’t worry! I had computer issues, very long story, had to reinstall everything, ended up losing my save file. So I had to start from scratch. If any of you have ever played Skyrim, you feel my pain. I made the character as similar as I could, but it has never been the same. She’s still a Khajit, still a stealthy archer, Boss Lady of the Thieves’ Guild, assassin person, bounties in various cities for absolutely no reason, I promise. I have purchased most of the houses again, but it still doesn’t feel the same. I feel like I rerolled. I am still enjoying the game, don’t get me wrong. But I’m miffed that my save file somehow vanished (I blame Garrosh) and that I have had to start over. This has given me a new grasp on the game though, when I play through some parts of it again, I understand the story more, or get an extra chuckle out of the dialogue, and I’m seeing things in a new way. It still just doesn’t feel the same though.  This has made me leery of finishing the game entirely, as I feel like even if I play through, complete everything as I did the first time around, it’s still not going to feel the same when I finish it. I won’t have that rush of excitement, of accomplishment. I’m also afraid that if I do finish it, I’ll be done with it, as in I won’t want to touch it ever again.

After all these words from me, what do you think? Is our culture to blame? Our want of things right NAO? Or are we as players too needy, too flighty, to really sit and enjoy a game for all it has to offer? 

Have a great day!

-C