The Spirit Is Willing
So far this year, the weather has been up and down like the world’s most vomit-inducing roller coaster. On some days you get snow, and a few days later, you get temperate weather in the 70’s (degrees Fahrenheit).
Sunday was one of those “up” days, so I had to make the ceremonial switchover from snowblower to lawnmower. The snowblower was still in pristine condition, having been used a whole three times, two of which were merely academic because we had just paid for the damn thing and you bet I was going to use it. The lawnmower, on the other hand…I had to evict at least one mouse from behind the fuel tank and give it a few kicks to dislodge any other animals before I started it up.
I also got really crazy and broke out the old mountain bike. My wife and I had bought two bikes back not long after our daughter was born (complete with read baby-seat) because we were young and thought that we’d actually use them HAHAHAHA. Anyway, I thought that sure, now — a good 12-14 years after purchase — would be a good time to give them a try. I managed to get around the block (and BTW the adage about “never forgetting how to ride a bike” is total bullshit), but today my legs are killing me. This is what I get for flying a desk 90% of the time.
A Sad Return To Rift
Although I’ve made a Big Deal recently about my lack of interest in gaming, I’m apparently not content to let it go without a fight. I recently finished reading my latest book, and haven’t had the urge to watch TV or, you know, clean the house, so my natural reaction is to shuffle to my desk.
So I went about as far into left field as I could without jumping on the Overwatch bandwagon, and reinstalled Rift. When Rift came out I had taken the day off of work and played it for 12 hours straight, which is still a record for me. I continued to play for weeks-and-or-months after that, which shows that the amount of a game I play doesn’t determine my interest, although I can’t actually pinpoint the instant I stopped being interested in this particular game beyond “the usual span of progress which usually bogs me down, somewhere around level 35 or so”. Rift is the game that made me love healing, although I had returned about two years ago and was sad to find that my awesome tanky Cleric build had been nuclear-nerfed, reducing her to JASH (Just Another Squishy Healer).
Last time I’d played I’d purchased the Riding Tide expansion and had boosted my Cleric to the level cap with the intent of using my new found status to clear the quest backlog and take care of the intervening content I’d otherwise never get to. Playing last night, though, I was reminded why I quit last time (no, the time after last). Rift is a solid game to be certain, but it’s a little too much on the upswell side of the MMO mechanic curve (whatever that might be comprised of). Most of the MMOs on that side of the mountain were still trying really hard to replicate WoW‘s success by aping its systems, and Rift was no exception. Quests are just throwaway panels which really don’t have any bearing on getting anything done, the distance to target is just far enough to take more time than you wish you’d have to devote to getting there, and along the way there’s all kinds of targets of opportunity to take out just for the sake of having something different to do. And while I saw other players, mostly around the social hubs, the lack of visible population (a la Black Desert Online, currently) made the game feel very, very cavernous and devoid of life.
It was nice playing a little Rift, like visiting with a friend who’s in town after not having seen them for many years. You’ve been apart for so long that all you really have in common went out of style the last time you parted company, and rather than sacrifice those old memories, you can’t bring yourself to reacquaint yourself with one another as if you’re meeting for the first time. So you make small talk to be polite, but you both know you’re just being polite, but you’re both too polite to flat out admit that this experience isn’t what you’d hoped it would be. All you know is that you both made the effort, which is nothing to sneeze at, but you probably won’t be doing it again since it’s uncomfortable to realize you’ve just lost whatever it was you both had in common.