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A Creative Curse?

I'm once again dispossessed: Between characters in City of Heroes. The problem, like many life's problems, can partly be found within. I know the fastest way to do get level 50 would be to simply play a /Regen Scrapper - zero downtime and extremely solo-able. However, that just wouldn't be satisfying, and it's this lack of satisfaction that bears further investigation. In this Blog entry, I examine that my own creativity may be at fault.

One of the fundamental curses of being a creative person comes down to difficulty to finish one's work. No matter how excellent the product is that you have created, there's a desire for improvement. I'm afraid this applies to me when I consider the following:
  1. I often will edit a single piece of my writing, even after it has already been published to the net. I stop only when I feel it is a solid reflection of what I had to say, and this can take hours.
  2. Denied the ability to edit back on the F13 forums, I initially accepted it as fair treatment considering I do indeed edit my messages a lot. However, it eventually drove me over the edge.
  3. I simply can't seem to stay with the same hero on City of Heroes for very long, and this tendency extends to many other games as well.
I realize now that for me to have done otherwise in any of these situations would be to fundamentally deny who I am. It would be better to go with the flow; I should embrace that this is who I am, rather than consider it a personal failing. In realizing this, I also realize that whenever my creative tendencies have annoyed some people to take action against me, they were fundamentally denying who I was. I cannot be something else, and so that is not an accommodation I can or should do for them, therefore I can hold myself blameless for these situations.

(I'm not stroking my ego over here. It's an enviable thing to discover your destiny in this life is that of exceptional cognitive dissonance. Whether or not I'm more creative than average as I have been lead to believe, I'm sure everybody has this same drive to some extent. I'm just trying to make the best of this situation.)

So, what does this have to do with City of Heroes? It's a relatively creative game, possessing more unique effects in its "powers" than most other games developers have even bothered to code. However, the rate in which these powers are granted slows with each level gained. In time I'm driven me to start a new character, an "alt," for much the same reason I bailed on F13 when my edit button was taken away: my capacity to creatively enjoy the experience is reduced by the resulting lack of access. I have some patience for this, but it's not unlimited.

What's with this drive to get to level 50, anyway? Starting alts is fun! Well, as I mentioned a few times before, level 50 rewards me with access to two interesting archetypes: the Warshade and Peacebringer. These "Kheldian" are also capable of shifting shapes (much like my creative whims) to be a supporter, nuker, or tank as needed by the team. Yes, I would very much like to reach level 50, and so my tendency to alt is a problem.

So it is that I've come to need some solutions that do not involve starting a new characters.

First, I can try to demonstrate creativity through play. This demands that I constantly search for new and interesting ways to play with the same character. Not a bad way to play, as it can open up new avenues of understanding. However, the temptation to alt continues because, in order for this to work, the existing character does need to possess some level of flexibility. This was a large chunk of appeal in my previous, longer-lasting characters, and so suggests that this is indeed a major contributing factor. If I feel I've exhausted that resource, it's time for an alt.

Second, I can alternate, but within a limited pool of pre-existing characters. Assuming that no hero can truly satisfy my creative whims for as long as it takes to reach level 50, this technique has me take little vacations form each. I can also try playing entirely different games - a little vacation from City of Heroes doesn't hurt.

I know, it seems like I should be doing something else with my time, but this is how I decided I would spend this particular vacation. So I will continue to play with City of Heroes and see if I can find this ultimate hero for me. If nothing else, it'll give my creativity some exorcise.


When I did get level 50, some 20-something days later, it turned out to be a combination of the solutions that made it happen.

I did alternate a bit between characters, when I was really bored of Psi-Caster I played other ones for awhile.

Psi-Caster himself is a character who very much is built around the idea of creativity during play. This might have been why I kept coming back.

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