Skip to main content

Freedom From Grandeur: Journey = Destination

Blog post #100, coincidentally, coincides with a momentous gaming event for me:

I... who have been played every popular MMORPG (and several unpopular ones) since EverQuest.
I... who has been subscribed on and off to City of Heroes since its release and have a Zealous Badge to prove that I've been subscribed for at least 15 months.
I... who has said that the grind of all MMORPGs is merely a thing of evil that detracts us from a fun.
I... have finally reached the maximum level in an MMORPG.

Now what?

It was Psi-Caster, my Illusion/Storm Controller, who had the honor of becoming my level 50 hero. It took me about 200 hours, the last 30ish being spent during double experience weekend. I frittered away several times as much time playing other characters. If MMORPGs can be seen as a personality test then I wonder what all that alting would say about me. That, and how I ended up with such an oddball hero as my 50.

As excited as I am to finally have slogged my way to the end of a MMORPG's grind (just because it shows I can) this new experience has altered my perspective on City of Heroes and the genre in general.

We, those who have burned out from MMORPGs, like to tell ourselves, "It's about the journey, not the destination." We say that in order to get ourselves to pay attention and enjoy these games because watching the experience bar is a surefire way to make yourself miserable. However, once you actually get to the destination in a MMORPG, you realize that there's another side to that saying: the destination was only a figment of our imagination.

I think that a small part of me, the part that has not grown up, had hoped that there would be something significant waiting at the finishing line. Despite my logical mind telling myself otherwise, I had believed that glory and fame could be found there. The inner adolescent, power egotist that it is, figured that level 50 is something you could lord over others.

However, at least in the case of City of Heroes, the truth really is that the journey is the only true destination. The same essential truth probably applies to many other MMORPGs - even the ones that made delusions of grandeur and lording your power over others a major marketing point. You play games to have fun. If you're playing for any other reason then you've cheated yourself out of enjoying the game. This is because you took your eyes off the path, your stopped savoring life to grasp for the foozle, and thus you stopped playing the game you were there to play. Perhaps this is a lesson that should also be applied to life itself.

Level 50 is not really the end of achievement in City of Heroes because, like many MMORPGs, alternate achievement mechanics kick in. In City of Heroes these include performing raids for Hamidon-origin Enhancements, collecting badges, or completing content you missed while leveling up.

However, I don't particularly care about playing my level 50 hero anymore. I'm ready now to move on to the epic archetypes I unlocked, the Kheldian, and see if they're any more entertaining. What's more, I can also play a Villain, something I hesitated to do before since maxing out the level of those would not have unlocked anything. The most important thing is that it doesn't matter if I get level 50 anymore. As a result of this conviction, I'm essentially free.

Perhaps it is this freedom, the freedom from whatever lingering notions of grandeur I thought could be a found in a MMORPG, that is the greatest reward for beating the game. Yet, if that is true, one could achieve the same result by simply never caring about achievement in an MMORPG at all.


Popular posts from this blog

Empyrion Vrs Space Engineers: A Different Kind Of Space Race

In my quest for more compelling virtual worlds, I have been watching Empyrion: Galactic Survival a lot this bizarro weekend, mostly via the Angry Joe Show twitch stream.  What I have concluded from my observations is Empyrion is following in Space Engineers' shadow, but it is nevertheless threatening the elder game due to a greater feature set (the modding scene notwithstanding).

Empyrion is made in Unity, whereas Space Engineers is built on a custom engine.  While this does put Empyrion at a disadvantage when it comes to conceptual flexibility, its developers nevertheless have a substantial advantage when it comes to adding features due to a savings of time spent that would have gone into developing their own engine.  Examples include:
Planets.  Empyrion already has planets and space to explore between them, whereas in Space Engineers planets are in the works but still awhile away (so you just have asteroid fields to scavenge).Enemies.  Space Engineers' survival mode boasts onl…

Resonant Induction Really Grinds My Gears... In A Good Way

From about 2pm yesterday until 8pm today, I've been dabbling with my latest custom mod mix for Minecraft 1.6.4, which is this time very much Universal Electricity focused.
Aside from the usual GUI enhancers and Somnia, the primary contenders in this mix were:
Calclavia Core - Of course: this is the base of the Universal Electricity system.Resonant Induction - This seems to be largely focused on increasingly more advanced methods of refining ores divided across 4 ages of technological progression.  It also includes some really cool things such as assembly lines.  I'll primarily be talking about just a few blocks out of this mod today.Atomic Science - A mod dedicated to generating more of those lovely universal electricity volts via the power of splitting the atom.  Build your own nuclear reactor!  Deal with nuclear meltdowns!  You maniac!ICBM - A mod dedicated to generating more destruction using those lovely universal electricity volts (and more than a little gunpowder), it cer…

Sometimes, The Cat Skins You

The formula for cat girls is simple enough: young girls are cute, cats are cute, so young girls who are also cats are cute times two, right?  ... Cat Planet Cuties (a.k.a Asobi ni Iku yo) does not stop there, it includes girls with guns, nudifying weaponry, and even failed romantic comedy that shows lots of skin.  Cat's out of the bag: Cat Planet Cuties is basically straight up wish fulfillment.

The overall plot is pretty simple.  The Catians are a race so advanced that they have not changed in over 70,000 years.  They discover Earth, a planet whose people have uncanny resemblances, right down to speaking the same language!  Desiring an escape from their cultural stagnation, they rename their own planet from Earth to Catia and dispatch a scout to assess the viability of first contact with this new Earth inhabited by humans.  High jinks ensue.

Other than an excuse to see some fun sci-fi devices, the plot sucks. Let me count the ways:
Kio Kakazu - The male center of our harem, a 1…