Tuesday, January 19, 2016

A Belated Happy New Year

I'm back.

Not being the most prolific blogger at the best of times, I made a resolution last year to post twice a month as an exercise in self-discipline. When I hit that magic "24" post mark in October last year I abruptly stopped posting, thinking to myself, "Well, mission accomplished" for the year. Actually, in truth I also burned myself out writing reams and reams of fan fiction for no good reason at all, other than a vague recollection that it seemed like a good idea at the time. I found out to my horror that an average Long War game in X-Com can take over 200 missions to complete, and I was chugging out one post per mission in a naïve and quixotic quest to chronicle my games. Going at my current run rate it would have taken me another eight years to finish documenting the games, assuming that I won the campaign, of course.

Hell, no.

Being the person I am, of course, I refused to acknowledge that I had bitten off much, much more than I could chew. Rather than being rational and saying "bollocks to this" I deluded myself into thinking that I was taking time off to mull over plot points and somehow fit existing current events into the preposterous framework of an alien invasion, and as a result my blogging came to a fizzing, sputtering halt. I gave myself until February 2016 - the release date of the X-Com sequel - to finish my foray into fan fiction. Another delusion, and one that would have been easily identified by anyone other than myself. It's amazing the myopia that descends upon us when it comes to self-reflection. Our perception can be razor sharp when it comes to others, but turn that mirror onto ourselves and the reflection becomes deformed and diffused, kind of like those fun house mirrors from the carnivals of old. Or perhaps it's just me?

I've freed myself of the temporary madness of my incursion into fan fiction, hence this post. I like writing for the sake of writing, and like most skills I know that it is a perishable one which will deteriorate and atrophy from lack of use. I'm going to finish the X-Com yarn I'm spinning because I like it, derivative and hackneyed as it is. It's almost as fun to write about my virtual soldiers as it is to play with them in the game, and so I will keep chugging on. But it won't be at the expense of other writings and other topics. I'm shooting for 36 posts this year, at an average run rate of three posts per month. My output has steadily grown over the years - 10 posts in 2013, 18 in 2014 and 24 in 2015. I don't ever want to get to Blaugust levels of output, where people are churning out stuff just for the sake of making a daily quota. I suspect a number between 24 and 36 will be the happy medium for me, but I won't find out until I try, however, so hence the experiment.
 
2016 is now here, and with it comes the promise of new and exciting worlds to experience. The games I'm looking forward to this year are X-Com 2, the new Deus Ex and the new Mass Effect. On the MMO front I'm looking forward to Camelot Unchained and Crowfall.  I'm being pressured to purchase a PS4 and play Destiny with some mates back in Oz, so I guess that could technically qualify as an MMO. I suspect I will spend a lot of time in Crowfall however, and I'm thinking of joining Scree's guild Obsidian when the game approaches launch date. That's of course if Scree is willing to have me, given that we've had spats over TESO in the past. I don't play WoW or TESO anymore, because the people I played both games with have moved on from MMOs. Irony of ironies, I'm not a Killer under the Bartle typology of gamer types despite all my posturing and huffing and puffing in posts long past. It turns out I'm a Socializer after all, and if I can't PvP with my friends and family then I simply won't play. There are better things to do. Ironically in the absence of MMOs I have returned to judo after an absence of almost a decade, and am re-discovering the simple joy in being thrown around and being lain on by fat, overweight Japanese men with bad breath. I've also started aikido out of curiosity and am juggling the two martial arts in my schedule, which leaves precious little time for gaming. I'm still an avid reader of gaming blogs, always finding time in my day to go to my favourite sites, skim the titles, and click on the ones that seem interesting. I'll always be a gamer, and even though my activity in this field is at an all time low it will always be an enduring love of mine. One spark is all that it'll take to rekindle it, and then I can see myself hunching over the keyboard until the wee hours of the morning playing some title whose combination of gameplay, story and audio visual elements have entrapped in me in that familiar, comfortable and sometimes self-destructive embrace.

4 comments:

  1. I'm in Obsidian too. I also pulled in another gamer/blogger. It's been a great guild and we haven't even gotten to play together in Crowfall yet. But we do have a bunch of other games that people are playing together and as a community goes, it's one of the best I've been a part of. You can get into the slack by heading over to the guild's site theobsidian.co and I think the only other requirement was that you were a backer, but if nothing else you can hang out in the lobby if you weren't.

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  2. Welcome back. One thing that the insanity of Blaugust taught me about writing was that I could write ten sentences a day and end up with a meaty first draft after a while.

    It's very engrossing stuff when you get into it, just like a good game. I threw off the shackles of GW2's "Living Story" after two missions and started writing whatever. Reshape yours as you please and you'll probably find it's no longer hackneyed. Make the derivative parts really interesting and nobody will care.

    I'm very much looking forward to Crowfall as well. I've learned that I'm more of a killer than I thought. Maybe a red-haired Templar running high defense in the Dregs with fellow bloggers would be fun.

    I'll bet that stuff could keep lots of people up until 3am. Can't wait.

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    1. Thanks for the advice! I haven't given up on the beast yet, and hopefully can wrangle it into something more manageable over the course of the year. I haven't finished my source campaign either - I'm at mission 40-something. I had to stop because my ability to write the story was being far outstripped by the speed I was playing the game.

      I'm looking forward to playing Crowfall with fellow bloggers too, although I fear that's still a year or more away from becoming a reality. Scree's Obsidian concept looks really nice, though - I could definitely get into that when the time comes.

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