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Betwixt: A Mindbending Contimplation Of Boredom

On days like today, I have a hard time figuring out what game I want to play. Lets face it: if I haven't played anything, there's nothing to write about. Instead, I might spend quite a bit of time like this: betwixt.

Wiser men than me understand the idea that contentment is self-generated. It's an aspiration of mine to one day have the sheer force of will required to find contentment in any situation. However, for now, I just want a good game to play and am coming up lacking.

EverQuest 2, the game I'm currently subscribed to, definitely has its merits. It always gives you something to do. You can really develop your character, their appearance, even the place they live. There's even an ample population of players to get involved with.

So, considering it seems to have all its bases covered, why is it I just can't seem to get meaningfully involved with EverQuest 2? The simple answer, the one that many rational beings on this planet would probably accept so they can move on with their lives, is that I'm bored of it. However, I'm not content with this blanket assumption. Why am I bored of it?

Personal introspection of this nature is an ever-perilous course because, for a creative mind, it's quite easy to come up with valid reasons that did not exist before they were thought of. The apparent validity makes the difference between a fabricated reason and a good point mentally invisible. Awareness of this helps to prevent flaws in reasoning but, due to the limitations of the involved biology, does not prevent them from happening.

As far as I can gather, I'm bored of EverQuest 2 because I spend too much time soloing. Soloing focuses heavily on the implicit value of activities the game has to offer. Were I in a group, the interplay between me and other individuals takes the focus off of the activities and onto socialization, which is an entertaining activity in itself. Also, there are advanced activities in the game that can only be done in a group.

The immediate goal becomes finding a group, but this is not so easily resolved. Players in EverQuest 2 are skittish, often occupied with their own solo tasks, or otherwise worried about dealing with strangers. It's a rather detestable state of MMORPGs that people play these games to play with others but end up so traumatized with potential negative reactions that they would rather keep to themselves. I blame poorly thought out player to player interactions, possibly resulting in this negative learned behavior from other games.

There is a nice tool in EverQuest 2

I figure the reason why I'm bored with it is because I solo too much. I solo too much because I can't figure out how to get into groups in that game. There's also a nice new group-finding tool, but a simple omission has rendered it functionally moot.

Guilds, loose confederations of players who play the game, are a potential solution. I even joined one. However, this guild (like many I've tried joining) is effectively useless for the purpose of getting me into a team consistantly. Finding a single good guild in the space of my entire lifetime is more difficult than finding a pick up group every time I log into a game. Thus, this is not the path of least resistance.

In the meanwhile, I find myself wandering back in the direction of playing City of Heroes, a MMORPG I already gained level 50 in. The lead advantage of this game to me is that the players seem a lot less skittish and so it's fairly easy to get a group at all levels. A secondary advantage in City of Heroes is that the gameplay mechanics are excellent in that, compared to EverQuest 2, there's a great deal more player influence behind each and every power at their disposal.

While I can find security in the familiar aspects of City of Heroes, I'm afraid there's also the threat of stagnation. It's probably actually killing brain cells to play the same game, day in, day out. I should be trying to learn something new or interesting. For this reason, I find myself considering if there may be some way I can conquer the difficulties I'm encountering in EverQuest 2.

Of course, an even more effective learning strategy would be to turn my brain onto something else entirely. Unfortunately, in this gaming field spawned from the dealings of investors who want their money back, it's extremely hard to find a game that innovates in a new direction. I end up with EverQuest 2 and City of Heroes, not because they're radically new concepts, but rather because they're the most satisfying takes I've found on the concepts already on the market.

Hellgate: London, a game that should have the impact of an instant classic like Diablo, comes out soon (October 31st). I should be in the beta soon, but time will tell how long that will take.

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