Theme Week - Turnabout Part 7And yet another week of forced gaming comes to a close.
This is like some odd Saw-esque torture we've arranged here. I'm being forced to play my beloved video games, but in perverse and unusual ways.
Are you hoping I'm going to learn something from all of this? Maybe that I'll learn some valuable lesson about being a better person and blah blah blah.
Not f&%@ing likely.
What I have learned is that you are a cruel and unusual people who seem to take a disproportionate amount of pleasure from my suffering.
I have also learned that the deep chasm between WoW and FFXI isn't as deep or... Chasm-y as I thought it was.
Shut up. That's totally a word.
Playing the first 20 levels of WoW was a pain in the ass.
The funny thing is so are the first 20 levels of FFXI.
Maybe it's the price you pay to get to the good stuff. Maybe it's a gauntlet we all have to run before we get to the parts of the game that make it all worthwhile.
Maybe video game developers are just mean, terrible people that wish only pain on the rest of humanity.
I'm kind of leaning towards that one.
The thing is that I never noticed the epic pain in the ass that is was when I was actually doing those 20 levels for the first time. Yes, I acknowledged the inherent annoyances of the system, but that was all lost in the tide of "Holy Shit! This is AWESOME!"
Every bunny slaughtered was a victory. Every path taken was an adventure.
Sure, a lot of those "adventures" involved getting horrendously murdered by goblins, but that just made the successful ones all the better.
The 20 levels were new and, because of that, they weren't as bad as they could have been.
So why did I not enjoy the first 20 levels of WoW? Why did I have to find things to like instead of ignoring the things I didn't?
Why weren't the first 20 levels of WoW like my very first 20 levels in FFXI?
The same reason my recent "first 20 levels" weren't the same.
Because I've seen what they could be.
I've seen a system that works and where a lot of those little annoyances have been corrected either through progresses in the game mechanics or self-correction by the gamers as a whole.
The game itself just gets better in the later levels because there are different challenges placed on the player and the community just gets better at handling those challenges.
I've seen a better game.
I've seen a game that I love playing.
Going back to the very beginning, back to a time before it gets better, poses the same problem as playing WoW for the first time.
They're not my game.
Everyone assumed my obvious bias towards FFXI was going to make this entire week a moot point. Most people figured I'd find no fault whatsoever with the game and go on and on about how awesome the game is.
The weird thing is that it was my bias that made those levels such an epic pain in the ass.
I was playing my game and wanting to love my game, but the problem was that it wasn't my game.
Instead, this is the crap I go through to get to my game. This is the stuff I try and minimize by heaping huge piles of gil and high level friends on top of so I can spend as little time as possible away from the good stuff.
Maybe I hated WoW because it wasn't FFXI.
I'll grant that.
But I hated this past week because it wasn't FFXI either.
Is it worth going through those 20 levels to get to the good stuff beyond it?
Oh Hell Yes.
That's not even a question. I'd level 20 accounts through the Dunes just to get to the good stuff and still feel like it was more than worth it.
Maybe WoW gets better, too. Maybe you hit level 21 and everything changes and it's so epically different it's like playing a completely new game.
Many of the comments suggested that is true.
I really hope it is.
Did I prefer the first 20 levels of FFXI?
That's hard to say.
Both experiences were vastly different. One was designed to be much easier on the player, but I felt that cheated the player out of any real challenge. The other was so challenging that many things felt more like a burden than an accomplishment.
I'll let you figure out which one is which.
I'll give you a hint: the easy one begins with W.
And rhymes with World of Warcraft.
I guess the decision really comes down to what kind of gamer you are. Personally, I need the challenge to keep me going. I need to feel like I beat something that was worth beating.
It's like taking a karate class with a group of children. Can you really feel like you've acheived something by beating the crap out of them?
Now don't get me wrong. I know you'd probably have a lot of fun beating the crap out of them.
Little tiny arms flailing.
I realize I'm greatly exaggerating the situation, but hey, that's kind of what I do.
All I know is that I chose FFXI and, if I had to do it again, I'd choose it again.
Luckily, I don't have to choose again.
Later this evening, I can delete a certain Hume White Mage and pretend this whole thing never, ever happened. I can go back to my main character and my end game activities and never have to do this again if I don't choose to.
Or unless you make me.
You wouldn't do that though, right?
Man... This really seemed like a good idea at the time.