So yes, I managed to fill out about 2600 or more words about my dealings in a computer game that I do not think a whole lot of for various reasons. And now I am going to fill out some more. Do not worry, I am not going to go as much into why I dislike the game or why I bother to play it this time. I am simply going to offer a few reflections concerning what has changed since I last wrote.
During the evening of Saturday, September 25, I spent some time adding to the guild’s experience level. Much conversation had occurred between myself and one of the two people who can be considered contributors to the guild’s present experience. This conversation concerned a number of things, but most of it had to do with how best to get more experience into said guild. Now, whilst I have gone on at length about how the assholes at Blizzard Entertainment have a bias towards Player Versus Player style that is almost as appalling as their bias toward one of the factions involved in that play style, I also found that “grinding” the quests that can be repeated every day contributes significantly to this progression. So, with the same sort of manic intensity I contribute to any immediately-visible goal, I worked my way through enough quests to account for approximately ten percent of the required total for the guild to advance from level one to level two.
The main incentive for a guild and its management or owner(s) to progress from level to level comes in the form of “perks”. Perks, as they are called, are basically benefits granted to all members of the guild that make the game just that little bit easier to play to the “fullest”. I will not bore you with discussion of what all of these perks are. There are a total of two dozen, beginning with level two and ending with the current level cap for guilds, twenty-five. Now, it is sufficient to say that whilst some of these perks are indeed useful, a lot of them make no sense that I can discern from the time I have spent playing the game or its current content. The one that my guild, Tenebris Sabbatum on the role-playing server known as Moon Guard, has just earned is a five percent boost to experience earned from killing enemies and handing in quests. There is another perk a few levels down the line that increases this boost to ten percent. Those are examples of good perks that do not merely seem there to fill space. The one I would most like for Tenebris Sabbatum, however, does not come for another twenty-one levels. Essentially, it randomly adds units every time a resource such as herbs, ore, or leathers is gathered. As an example, say for example one mines a node that would normally drop four units of ore. Every once in a while, this perk will increase the amount of ore from that node to five, six, even seven. And this perk also applies to rich nodes, increasing the amount gained into double-figures territory from time to time.
I have a total of approximately thirty characters. Of them, only two would not benefit from these boosts in gatherings of resources, as they happen to be Tailors and Enchanters. Tailors have their own special little gathering boost that they obtain at a certain level of their profession, but both the profession “perk” and the very need for it is an example of a design flaw in the current implementation of the game that I might talk about later. The current implementation of cloth acquisition happens to be one of the more interesting things I find to complain about with the game, but we will address that at another time.
Every other character that I have either does a combination of mining, skinning, or herb-gathering, or one of those three gathering professions combined with a crafting profession that matches it. For example, the herb-gatherers tend to either be Inscriptionists or Alchemists. The miners tend to either be Blacksmiths or Jewelcrafters. The latter is an especially handy profession to have on any server, but Moon Guard is notorious for the high prices for certain items. There are a number of different aspects concerning the economy of the game that I might talk about at another time. For now, it is sufficient to say that the cost of buying gems on the auction house in itself justifies the cost of levelling up a Jewelcrafter in order to make gems for one’s other characters. Skinners tend to more or less exclusively be Leatherworkers. Leatherworkers are probably the least useful craftsmen in the game, with their only real item of value being attachments to leg armour that confer certain useful boosts to statistics.
So whilst I would dearly love to get Tenebris Sabbatum to level twenty-three, and for a very compelling reason, I am regarding that accomplishment as nothing more than a faraway dream right now. To be perfectly honest, having started with almost nothing and with only two other real participants in the process so far, having increased the guild’s level to two feels like a genuine accomplishment. Especially given that I have been told at one point by one player who has since left the guild for reasons I can only guess at in a very cynical fashion that they have previously seen guilds with thirty active players that are at the “level cap” take a whole month to accomplish the same task. Of course, there are things about the process of increasing the guild’s experience level that I would like to change a little, but that is for another time.
For now, I would like to take this moment to acknowledge the two people who have contributed to this milestone in the guild’s development. I will explain this in certain terms so that people can understand a bit about how I work in certain tasks. The first person I will acknowledge here has, in percentage terms, contributed the lesser amount of the guild’s experience. But by contrast, she has also contributed the most in terms of keeping my morale up and keeping me interested. There have been times when I have asked her if I was stupid, or if I had rocks in my head, for trying to build my own guild. She is the woman behind the character known as Corrigwen, whom I have also made reference to in a couple of my works of fiction. So to Lady Corrigwen, I have to say thank you for believing in me enough to keep working with me up to this point.
The other individual in the equation can be described in the exact opposite terms. She is the one who has brought me into arenas and guided me through trying to make them work for the guild. Unfortunately, this saps my morale to a point where I want to throw my expensive computer out of the window. There are times when I want to say to her hey, please stop, you (or rather, their manner of making decisions that affect me without so much as a word to me) are making the game unpleasant for me. But, paradoxically, her direction and advice have also contributed the most in absolute number terms to the guild’s experience level. The character I work with her the most on goes by the name of Aalesea. I thank her for her contribution, and I hope we can continue to work together for the good of both the guild and its membership.
This brings me to questions about where I want to go from this point with the guild. To be honest, I never even expected to get the thing started in the first place. Collective five distinct players’ signatures, even through bribery, is not an easy thing to do. If I had the expectation of execution at the beginning, I would have thought harder about exactly what I wanted to do with it. But the one idea that I have always had, not just in the game at that, is that I want to provide some form of sanctuary for persons who do not perfectly fit the expected norm. That remains the case now. Tenebris Sabbatum is currently aiming to focus to some extent on all aspects of the game in order to build itself up. But as Moon Guard is a role-playing server, the idea that really guided my decision to form my own guild was to provide a haven for characters whose real-life persons are not perfectly “in” with the expected norm, and their characters in the game reflect that to some degree.
This is based on one of the overwhelming conflicts I have had in the game with guilds on other servers. People will proclaim that the online, everything must be online culture world is somehow more tolerant or accepting of those who differ from the “real” world’s expect norm. This, friends and neighbours, is the biggest load of bullshit you will ever hear. And my problem in the past with getting along with collectives of people in World Of Warcraft is a reflection of that. Whilst I have tried to manage this problem, the truth is that in any group organisation situation, the event inevitably occurs where something said or expressed within the organisation offends me. I remember the first occasion very well. My inability to make perfect sense of the game had not helped, but it also had no part in the conversation. Somehow, the subject of Albert Einstein had occurred in the conversation. Having just been told that I was autistic, and having just heard some interesting things about Einstein, if there was one thing you simply do not say to me, it is that Albert Einstein “look[s] like a pedophile”. When you say things like this, you should take great care to not say them to people who have met actual pedophiles and their victims. Or been asked to help, albeit in some unskilled and below-board way, in cleaning the mess up.
Nor should members of any organisation concerned with leisure-time activity be encouraged to talk down at other members. If one member has a problem with another, well, the game is laden with measures to try and resolve that. One is to simply put the offending player into an ignore list. Or even report them for spamming, as has recently emerged as an option. Obviously, a guild in which one person is allowed to make another feel they have to apologise just for being around is not an environment any truly intelligent person should want to be in.
So based on these and other experiences, I wanted to create a guild where there will be a sort of free haven for people to be themselves, regardless of how ugly they may seem to themselves and others. But that also necessitates a system of regulation and dispute resolution. Presently, there are only two people considered to be “in” the decision-making council system I aspire to build. That is myself and the woman who plays the Corrigwen character spoken of earlier. And whilst I could get my hands dirty and put myself in a dictator position, the truth is that this is really the last thing that I want in context of the game and guild. Whilst there is a certain position of authority conferred upon long-time members, decisions concerning the direction, recruitment, “monetary” organisation, and problem-solving aspects of the guild should be arrived at by the widest possible consensus. This means the solicitation of agreement between myself, the player behind Corrigwen, and to a growing, but thus far lesser, extent the player behind Aalesea.
Anyway, if you are into the game and want to find out where the reputation that the server known as Moon Guard enjoys comes from, then feel free to hop on and drop me a line. Whilst the guild I speak of, Tenebris Sabbatum, is still fairly small, there is usually at least one member online fairly constantly. And we are always on the lookout for new people to join our teams and contribute to the progression.
And I will say it once again: fukk me, I wish I could just go back to the games I played in ~1990.