Though I don’t have a lot of spare time beyond my current hobbies, I’ve been feeling an itch to add in an MMORPG. My previous experience is limited to three games: a brief trial of The Lord of the Rings Online, a few months of 9 Dragons, and then much deeper involvement in Perfect World International, where I had several high level characters and was an officer in a faction (until the drama, oh the drama!, made me ragequit early in 2011). I’ve been reading about ArcheAge, but I don’t have the budget to buy my way into the English-localized alpha test phase. I’m intrigued by the sandbox nature of it (huge range of changeable class choices and no set paths) and it certainly looks pretty in player videos from the current Korean version and in the English trailer:
Since this is a hobby on top of my other hobbies, I’m a free-to-play kind of gal. After a bit of reading, I installed TERA Rising and I’ve spent a little time there, leveling a Lancer (the tank class) on a PvE server (player vs environment, where you can’t be randomly killed by other players, which is PvP). I chose to create a character of the Aman race, which is rather rhino-like, because I didn’t feel like having a tank avatar that looked like a waif, stripper, or kawaii nymphet. I’m there to do quests and beat up monsters, after all. This is my avi Karbyne as she appears at level 24:
I’ve learned a few things so far in my brief MMORPG return, about myself and the MMO world:
- I like playing alone in a social game. Low levels of an MMORPG are my favorite, because I can roam around doing quests, exploring, and killing monsters without having to interact with anyone. I’ve been avoiding a dungeon where I need to form a group because I don’t want to talk to anybody. However, I like having other people around. I read global and area chat and I watch other players; I just don’t want to join them.
- People who participate on the global chat channel are occasionally clever, but usually immature and offensive. I’m not sure what the ToS for TERA says about chat and I’m too lazy to dig it up, but I’ve seen some incredibly vulgar, violent, and sexist exchanges. Usually, it reads like annoying teenagers trying to show off and trash talk. English, Spanish, and Brazilian Portuguese all appear frequently and World Cup chat has pushed off some of the disgusting material, for now.
- I can’t explain why I enjoy MMORPGs, especially since I’m not social. So much about them annoys me, especially the free-to-play games where hassles are built into the system to encourage purchase of items that alleviate tedium or difficulty. The graphics are beautiful but the story lines are silly. TERA has a unique combat system that I find more frustrating than fun. Yet, I’m delighted sometimes by the world or character design. I wander around simply gathering materials, killing monsters for the items they drop, and enjoying the space. It’s not mentally stimulating, in fact it’s almost meditative, and perhaps that’s the appeal.
I’ll probably switch over to ArcheAge as soon as I can, leaving TERA behind, but playing a little now is giving me some things to think about.