My husband is out of town this weekend and I’ve spent too many hours playing ArcheAge. I joined a guild with the character I play most often, hoping that someone could teach me PvP techniques now that I’m almost maximum level and have passable gear. I chose the wrong guild for that, but spending time with some of the players was enlightening.
Though I’m primarily a solo player in MMORPGs, I enjoy doing 50-person raids in AA and I’ve done a couple of dungeon runs with pick-up groups. Those reminded me of the joy of having a good team I can count on, like the days in PWI (Perfect World International) when I could do a run with my friends, comfortable that everyone knew how to play his class as well as the particulars of the dungeon and bosses. Adrenaline, camaraderie, and the satisfaction of doing something well; those were a blast. Since I’m afraid of falling while my leg heals, I’ll probably be indoors a lot this winter and it would be good to have some friends online to play with. Jakob has lost his ability to use a computer or his smartphone now — the cancer in his brain has taken too much — so the person I spent time with in the past is no longer around and I don’t have the heart to go back to Second Life yet. (Yes, it’s awful. Deep breath. … Ok now. )
I joined my AA guild’s TeamSpeak channel on a couple nights, mostly listening to the three to five others who were there. There was another woman who sounded like she might be my age or older, who talked only about the pets and children in her home. The rest were men, though they mentioned that the guild may have more active “girls” than guys right now, and they were happy about that fact. Though most of them play female characters because of their sex appeal and they love the sluttiest costumes, they seem to welcome female gamers as equals and friends.
The guys seem nice, but they’re not going to shatter any gamer stereotypes. At least two of three have jobs in retail. They watch anime, argue about superheroes and board games, and despite spending lots of cash and hours each day in ArcheAge, they also play other games and are intensely watching for new alpha and beta invitations. While I pronounce the game “ark age”, they pronounce it “arch age”, which is damned awkward to say. Then again, they also pronounce “chalet” as “shall it”. Clever, resourceful, friendly guys who are willing to work hard to reach a goal, but not paragons of academic achievement.
However, I find their approach to this game tedious. The leader has the philosophy that all guild members should be farmers and traders to earn money for a few months, until we can afford for everyone to have fantastic gear, and then we can start running dungeons and raids, etc. Ugh. I do plenty of farming, gathering, and mining, but since I’ve never owned land, at least I have the challenge of hiding my “illegal” farms on public land or finding places to acquire resources. I know where pearl oysters spawn in the oceans or where you can feed and milk an NPC’s cows, for example. The guys were talking about how much they make by their farming and fishing methods — not counting that they have to buy land, buy supplies, pay taxes, buy boats, buy vehicles, etc. — and I can easily earn double or triple that with no investment, simply by grinding high level mobs for the materials, gear, and cash they drop. Though the different paths are part of AA’s appeal to me, I didn’t join to play Farmville. I may have to find another guild.
Yesterday I participated in my first naval warfare in AA and it was awfully fun, though very confusing at first. I know some of the daily raids cold and my husband chuckles at my fervent swearing when the raid general doesn’t communicate or participants don’t listen, leading to the boss wiping out half the raid. I like learning the strategies and improving my gameplay. There still are many things to do and yes, this being an MMORPG, I do need to work toward better gear for endgame activities. Maybe I’ll keep playing for a while, maybe I won’t, but I don’t see the point of playing in a style I don’t enjoy.