Then there’s the other side.

June 24, 2006

Mood: Excellent…sort of.
Music: Sixty-Five Thousand, Erasure
Game: A Tale In The Desert 3, Uno, Marble Blast, Gauntlet
Book: Nothing. Need a new book….
Watching: Nothing yet.
Weather: 75, sunny.

This morning, I was all set to raid in World of Warcraft. Positive attitude, looking forward to getting back into it. The patch came out…seemed like there was some good stuff that got added, was looking forward to trying some new stuff.

Then, about 2 hours into the raid, I basically got fed up with someone who was being a dick, was pretty much playing the “I’m in charge” card, and it caused me to just take a deep breath, and comment on it to some of the ijsmp fellas.

Thorn pretty much hit it on the head: If you’re not enjoying it, leave.

So I did.

It was, in no uncertain terms, the last straw. And so I wrote a letter to our guildmaster, explaining that I was done raiding.

He wrote back a terse letter pretty much saying he’s sorry, I’m good at what I do, and he personally enjoys me at the raids, but it’s my choice. Which, in parlance, means “Yeah, seeya.”

One thing I learned awhile ago, and I never really applied to playing a game, is that you can be really good at something you don’t enjoy doing.

So while I was decompressing, it came to me that while I can be good at raiding, I don’t necessarily enjoy it. I replaced the joy of playing with the joy of acquiring loot. And for a while, that sorta sufficed. I never really liked 40-man raids. I never have. I’m a small-party kinda guy. And I’m certainly not into doing the same thing over and over and over and over again…which is what WoW raiding is fundamentally about.

Because I place pretty high value on loyalty and duty and all that crazy stuff, I almost felt like I SHOULD raid, whether I was enjoying it or not, because folks needed me or wanted me there, or because I thought I could help, and I should make the effort to help.

When I had 60+ hours a week to game, it was no big deal, really. But now that I can only effectively raid on weekends, and I need my weekends to relax and do chores and such, I don’t think I’m still willing to do something that just manages to irk me. I’d rather do things I want to do. Which means gaming, of course…but it doesn’t mean standing around for 5 hours listening to morons in Ventrilo spout gibberish, and occasionally killing something that drops a piece of digital data for someone else.

I suppose, in a way, I should thank that guy for finally making me walk away from something that was more a chore and responsibility than fun.

Now, back to making my beef vegetable soup. It’s gonna be good.


Changing the way of thinking…

June 21, 2006

Mood: Excellent..
Music: About Her, Malcolm McLaren
Game: A Tale In The Desert 3, World of Warcraft (Barely), Uno, Marble Blast, Gauntlet
Book: Nothing. Need a new book….
Watching: Nothing yet.
Weather: 68, a bit grey.

Today is the first day of summer. Was a bit chilly in the morning, grey…got warmer and sunnier. I’m really enjoying my job, still. I really, really like the people I work with.

Tonight, I played some XBox Live! with a bunch of friends. Adam, Pete, Dave, George…or as the world knows them: Giant Octopus, Keg O War, Mr. Silverblood, and BoosterMPS. We started out playing Uno…and frankly, spent about an hour in absolute tears from laughing so hard. When Adam left, George jumped in. When Dave left, we were left with 3 people, and decided to play Gauntlet. We played that for 15 minutes, cursing each other, and decided to bounce to Marble Blast, whereupon the three of us spent another hour laughing and cursing at each other.

The fact that Adam and Dave live in Boston, Keg lives in Philly, and Booster lives in DC didn’t keep us from having a great time. Adam works in Advertising, like me…although he’s ridiculously creative, and I just make schedules. Booster is a former NASA flight controller for the space shuttle. (Yes…THE Space Shuttle.) Adam and I knew each other in real life before we started gaming together…but the rest of the fellas…none of us had met before we started playing online together. At this point, we’ve been gaming for literally years…literally since the day Live! came out. And, in fact, some of us were beta testers for Live! and played together BEFORE Live was launched.

In any case, the five of us spent what effectively amounts to two and a half hours playing online…not unusual. What IS unusual is that, all night, we played only XBox Live Arcade games. Fully downloadable games that cost us about eight bucks apiece for each game.

In a world where games regularly run from forty to sixty bucks apiece, to have played all night for less than half that, and having three games to show for it…well, that’s not such a bad thing.

The truth is that I do play the 360 quite a bit solo…Oblivion and Tomb Raider my games of choice, as well as a few XBox Live Arcade games of the puzzle variety. But when I play Live!…I’m pretty much a Live! Arcade junkie.

The games are simple…yet fully engaging. They let the gameplay and personalities of the players shine. We’re not buried in huge worlds, or overwhelmed by sensory input, or staring at phenomenal graphics. We’re playing games that were fabulous 20 years ago…in the arcades, on the card tables, on old game systems…but the rivalries, the humor, the comradery shines through even better than a top of the line racing game or a state of the art first person shooter.

The simplicity of the vehicle puts the player front and center…and when you like the people you play with as much as I do, there’s nothing more enjoyable.

As more and more Live! Arcade games come out, I find myself immersed more and more into the simple play of casual games. Going back to my roots, I suppose. Yes, I enjoy brand new versions of Tomb Raider, and other new games…but those games are very few and far between. I’ve been enjoying a new game or two every month, for eight bucks a game…and I often get a lot more play from the casual games than I did from, say, Full Auto, which was fun for a few days…but did I get sixty bucks of gameplay out of it? Probably not.

Did I get eight bucks of enjoyment out of Uno? Tonight, I got sixty bucks worth. And that’s just tonight. Ask me again next Wednesday.

Give me a break already.

June 14, 2006

Mood: Good.
Music: About Her, Malcolm McLaren
Game: A Tale In The Desert 3, World of Warcraft (Barely), Uno?
Book: God Emperor of Dune, Frank Herbert
Watching: Nothing yet.
Weather: 68, a bit grey.

I’m not going to talk about the World Cup…but I will say I’m really enjoying it overall.

What I AM going to vent on is this bozo, Dick Pound.

Aside from his obviously sad name, this guy is “the head of the World Anti-Doping agency.”

The same guy who regularly accuses every athlete ever to play a professional sport as a doper.

A few months ago, an independent investigator hired by the World Anti-Doping agency found that there was no evidence that Lance Armstrong was doping in 1999. Pound repeatedly accused Armstrong of doping, taking his cues from a pissed off French sports media. When the independent study came back saying that there was no evidence of doping, but there WAS evidence of tampering and a complete breakdown in chain of evidence, Pound called the study flawed and insisted that Armstrong was doping.

Now, he’s re-emphasizing the fact that a full third of all NHL players are doping.

It’d be stupid to think that -some- professional hockey players aren’t doping in some form or fashion…but let’s be completely clear about this: it’s HIS agency that cleared every player in the Olympics. He should bloody well know that there’s literally hundreds of pro players who don’t even take sinus medicine.

My analysis of this? Dick Pound is a fucking media hog who needs to see himself on television and create controversy just so he can hear himself talk.

The media, fuelled by the obvious travesty that baseball has become, is looking for the next arena to pound into the ground. Of course, people have been ignoring football for decades, but we won’t go there.

I loathe that guy.

No, there’s nothing wrong.

June 5, 2006

Mood: Sleepy…
Music: Sympathy for the Devil, Rolling Stones.
Game: A Tale In The Desert 3, World of Warcraft (Barely)
Book: Children of Dune, Frank Herbert
Watching: Dune…and a bad version of it at that.
Weather: 72, clear.

Quite the contrary.

In fact, I’m pretty happy…very happy, actually.

I like my job a lot. The days don’t drag…I’m always busy. Things to do, prioritize and attack. Lots of variety…and a great bunch of people to work with.

I love the weather here…clear and breezy, about 72. I catch myself smiling when I’m walking to the bus, or when I’m walking through downtown to transfer buses.

I like the relaxed feel of Seattle. I like the office, where people show up a little before 9, and go home at 6. I like the fact that I’m starting to really settle into a routine.

I haven’t been playing many games…I spend more time reading and watching movies than playing games. I DO play ATITD3, which I’m enjoying. VERY rare to find an MMO that has no combat whatsoever. It’s huge PvE…like a huge game of Civ with no combat…and the whole world trying to beat the game as a team…sorta.

I’ll try to update more frequently…but basically, I’m pretty happy, and just kinda settling in to being me.

It’s pretty good.