Monday, November 3, 2008

Got a New Camera

Not much going on recently. But since this is now officially a BLOG, I can post whatever I want and just say it falls under the "whatever..." section listed above :)

I bought a new highish end digital SLR this weekend (Canon Kiss X2, also known as a Rebel XSi or EOS 450D in other countries), after being really impressed by my big brother's flickr page. I knew he was getting into photography back in the states, but didn't know the actual extent of how far he'd come until I actually sunk my teeth in and dug around on his page. My wife loves taking photos as well, but was pretty limited with what she could do with the Canon IXY point and shoot I got her for her birthday last year. Plus we got a 2 month old in the house now, so taking pictures in low light and having them look good was a good excuse to drop six bills on a fancy new gadget ;)

At this point, I'm feeling pretty overwhelmed by all the options available, and loving every second of it. If there's one thing I love sinking my teeth into it's a complicated piece of electronics, and figuring out what all the switches and dials do. The fact that it's 'half mechanical' as well, and actually does things in the real world, only adds to the cool factor. By that I mean that you don't just run around in cyberspace using it, but actually get out of your chair and go look at the world outside. That's actually one of the features I think I'm going to enjoy the most, as I'm finding myself with less and less to do in the house, and tiring of just staring at a monitor during my leisure time. Logging into the usual suspects is feeling forced recently, and while maybe Wrath will bring a bit of fresh air, I'm seriously thinking that it won't. My one level 70 is an affliction Warlock all the way down to Haunt, and PvPing in WoW, while a refreshing break from Warhammer, is just being one or two shotted by anything that walks by. Ret pallies, Titan grip Warriors, and Dagger Rogues are just retarded right now. I'm not really complaining, because I don't really care, but if i did care, I imagine I'd be pretty pissed. I seriously got ambushed for 4300+, followed by a 2.5k mutilate the other day. Rogues don't even need to bother kidney shotting, I die before cheapshot wears off 95% of the time. PvE is pointless right now with voidwalkers tanking Illidan, and gear being replaced soon anyway, and PvP is... yeah... Battlegrounds. On the other hand, going out of the house usually involves just spending money (case in point: buying a camera), but now it'll be cool to go outside and just look for cool things to shoot.

Gaming, and more specifically WoW, has been my 'hobby' for quite a while. While I still find the concept of gaming to be interesting (and likely always will), it just seems like I've hit a dead spot. MMOs have destroyed the enjoyment of single player games for me (it all feels pointless), and the current MMO market is just stagnant. A lot of my recent articles have been concerned with what I think could make some pretty sweeping changes to the genre, but will we ever see anything like 'my ideal MMO'? A game where combat is a slow, inventory space is limited, crafting takes time, and there are no 'gear requirements' would fall flat on its face in the public's eye, even if there was a vocal minority who applauded its bold new direction. Are we doomed to play increasingly watered down versions of the same game until the MMO market pulls an Atari 2600 on itself and collapses? Where is the NES of MMOs to rescue the genre? Do I really care at this point? Why am I complaining about MMOs at the end of my 'Hooray, I bought a new cool camera' post?



Anonymous said...

i agree with your last thought :D
good job :P

Tom Phoenix said...

Isobelle, explain to me this. Why did MMO`s destroy your enjoyment of singleplayer games? Despite being a WoW player myself (although currently not very active due to lack of time), I still enjoy playing singleplayer games.

Just beacuse there is noone around to applaud your achievements does not mean that playing singleplayer games is less satisfying. They may lack the social aspect, but can be quite superior in other areas (such as immersion and storyline)since MMO`s have constraints attached to them.

Rich said...

When I think about it, I'm not sure I can quantify the 'why' in simple terms, but here goes:

It's almost a certain jadedness, or grind associated with playing MMOs. Playing Fallout 3 (don't worry, I'll be vague to avoid spoliers), I became distinctly aware of an internal desire to 'hurry up and finish the intro section, and get on with the game part'. Then, after having finished that part, I was presented with a map that allowed me to basically just start marching off in any direction. It was vague, and I was aware that I didn't know what I was supposed to be doing. I eventually worked it out, but it's almost like I've been conditioned (in these two examples) to 'rush to endgame', and 'look for the exclamation point that will tell me what to do'.

It's silly when I spell it out in a post here, but it's definitely there. Open ended games like Fallout, Oblivion, or Mass Effect are just... too... I dunno. Vague is the only word that comes to mind. You know you're marching towards an end, because only MMOs don't end, and maybe that in and of itself is what's depressing about it. Why become too invested in it if it's just going to end? The same could be said for reading books or living life at all, I suppose. I guess I should just go kill myself now?


Jeremy said...

I've been lurking you over at NA for neigh-on a year or two and decided to post today.

See, I get what you're saying about open-endedness; I hated Oblivion because of that--I felt like "what was the point of doing anything"? Same for Morrowind.

Fallout 3 however I haven't encountered that feeling, until I got to the southeast corner of the map and you come across more and more new points. Argh! So much to cover! You get this feeling of too-much-content overload because unlike MMOs where middling content is trivial since endgame content is all that matters, all the content presented to you in this situation is equally important.

That's my take on it, anyway.

Tesh said...

Interesting that the trouble with single player games would be content overload, since an MMO is ostensibly built around neverending content... but in reality, they wind up being very constrained by the endgame raiding mentality, quest nose-leading and exceedingly static worlds.

To me, that suggests that we really do like some limits to our gaming, but that somehow, we've gone all Orwellian inverse on which games offer the better framed experiences.

I'll be going back to my tightly structured Valkyrie Profile 2, just as soon as I grind up a few more levels in Atlantica Online.

...I'm idly wondering if the desire for structure is also a desire for strong stories, which cannot be told in static MMO worlds.

Khatib said...

"it's almost like I've been conditioned (in these two examples) to 'rush to endgame', and 'look for the exclamation point that will tell me what to do'."

So you're saying playing MASS MARKET mmo's have ruined you? :P

Yeah, I played WoW for 3+ years too, and I'm playing WAR. But I still prefer a more open game like SWG or EVE to both of those. And that's exactly the reason. When everyone around you is making the game happen, you get actual community, and more importantly community driven gameplay. In WoW and WAR and the like, the gameplay is just too scripted, too grindy, and too... stupid -- for my tastes.

But alas, SWG got screwed over by SOE, and EVE has a curve you can never ever catch up to, making it less attractive to new players so I'm not huge on it and I definitely can't get all my friends interested.

Hatch said...

Though until City of Heroes and WoW, I was a single-player console gamer through and through (excepting my love of multiplayer Starcraft), after 4 years of MMO's I've found myself in the same boat, being unable to enjoy single-player games in general. It feels very strange, like something is wrong.

The problem for me is that nowadays, when I grind, I need my grinding to mean something. In WoW, I know that anything I earn now, I will always have a use for in the future (at least for a few years until I quit the game or it shuts down).

I used to be a massive fan of JRPGs, like Final Fantasy. I would spend hours playing them, becoming the king of Blitzball or breeding a solid gold chocobo that could walk on the surface of the sun while shitting diamonds.

I quit FF12 halfway through because after WoW, I could no longer stand a grind when I knew that the levels I had earned would cease to have any value as soon as I finished the story. Instead, I could spend that time earning something that I'd get a lot more out of in WoW. There was no comparison anymore, time spent in wow was unequivocally more worthwhile.

But I did come up with a stopgap solution: I dropped the vast majority of the console games from my schedule, and just selectively picked things that offered experiences very different from WoW, and were fun to play moment to moment, and had a story element that WoW lacked with as little grind as possible.

For example, when I can pull myself away from WoW, I still enjoy playing games like Half Life 2, Penny Arcade Adventures, and action JRPGS like Crisis Core and The World Ends With You. Basically, any game that works like a playable movie or book where the gameplay is actually fun and there's no need to grind in the same area for hours for xp or a rare drop.

Games without story, but where the actual act of playing is just a pure joy, are also good. Try some Guitar Hero, Mario Kart, Patapon, Smash Brothers, and Super Mario Galaxy for that.

Wes said...


I've followed you since I stumbled upon NA and read "Now hated with the Argent Dawn."

However, I stumbled upon this posting and I want you to know that you "Ideal MMO" is currently out there and very successful.

"A lot of my recent articles have been concerned with what I think could make some pretty sweeping changes to the genre, but will we ever see anything like 'my ideal MMO'? A game where combat is a slow, inventory space is limited, crafting takes time, and there are no 'gear requirements' would fall flat on its face in the public's eye, even if there was a vocal minority who applauded its bold new direction."

What you have just described is the Java based MMO "RuneScape". If you've heard of it, you may laugh but it is exactly as you described. Now sure, you don't need a high end gaming rig to play it as it is a web based MMO but it is quite addictive. It was the only game I was ever addicted to. I spent COUNTLESS hours. I would be horrified if the game had a /played command. I then went to WoW and have crossed back and forth numerous times.

RuneScape does many things right, that I enjoy and many things, from your postings that it seems you would enjoy. The combat system is slow, almost to the point of being turned based. Inventory space is limited. You can only carry 28 items on you at one time. You do have a bank which is much larger then anything wow delivers however. The true fun I find in RuneScape are "skills". With a broad range of 30 skills you always fine yourself with something to do.

However, there are draw backs. A lot of the people who play the game are very young and immaturity will oft run rampant. But, it seems to be tolerable. Also, the game is currently fighting a raging war against "Real world trading". If you can get past those few things you may enjoy it.

Be warned, it's a HUGE time sink. But, it may at least it may be something you are looking for.

Cap'n John said...

I was such a Fallout 3 noob. It took my 8 y/old son watching me play to discover I had a compass.

"You're heading West," he told me, with absolute confidence.

"Huh? What? How do you know that?" I asked him.

He pointed to the lower left of the screen, at the digital compass, with a W in the middle.


I'd been wandering around Springvale, then over to Grayditch, and, sort of, enjoying the open-endedness of the game. But in the back of my mind I was wondering just where the hell my father and Megaton was, and how was I supposed to find anything in this the nuclear war-torn landscape other than...OMG!!! FIRE ANTS!!! FIRE-BREATHING FIRE ANTS!!! AAAHHH!!!

Later I found my Map, in the PIPBoy, under Data of course :P I know I know. RTFM! And here was a dotted line leading to...MEGATON!! To the south-west!! I'd found it!! I went back to the First Person view, rotated until my compass showed I was pointing south-west and...right at the SW mark on my compass...was a little blinking arrow.

/facepalm x 2

I'm not ready to go back to WoW & Wrath just yet. I still have lots to do in F3, Wizard101, Wii's Zelda, Mario Galaxy, etc.

And I'm enjoying the extra spare time I seem to have now. I go shopping with my wife, or to the movies with my son, and it's more enjoyable because it's no longer time that I'm "not playing WoW."