Sunday, November 24, 2013

Lemme go get my alt, and, um... This may take a while...

This post is a little late.  I'd like to be able to say that it was due to my extreme focus on NaNoWriMo this year, but it was due to work suddenly getting busy these past few weeks.  The push for the Holidays has begun, and people are trying to throw projects over the fence before they split for vacation.  So, once again, my attempt at NaNo boils down to whether I can get to at least 15k words or not.  Last year it was definitely a "not", and this year isn't looking so good either.

Anyway, I'd been playing a Commando on SWTOR for months, and I decided to pull my Sith Sorcerer out of stasis and level her for a bit.  When I last went adventuring with her she was on Quesh, or as I like to call it, Hutta Part II.*  It took me a few minutes to get my bearings, then off I went into the polluted swamps.

I'd figured that I'd need some time to settle into the button commands, but what I didn't expect was how long it would take to become comfortable with those commands.  I've been playing her for several hours now, but I still don't have an attack sequence down pat.

This is the first time I've had trouble getting myself to remember what buttons to push for a toon.  This goes beyond the "it'll take a level or so to get used to things" that I've become accustomed to, and into the "OMGWTF is happening here?" realm.  Have I finally crossed that age boundary where things become harder to understand?

I certainly hope not.

When I hear people 10+ years younger than me say "well, back in the day...." in an MMO chat session, you just know that this genre is designed with younger people in mind.  There's no avoiding that of the people who still login to my WoW guild, I'm by at least a half a decade the oldest.  I used to chuckle at Ancient's blog subtitle** because she was poking fun at herself, but now I chuckle because I wonder if I'm joining her in being well outside the demographic too.

I look at LOTRO's keybar graphics and wonder how someone with worse eyes than mine can distinguish between the abilities.  When I first tried LOTRO a few years ago, I thought the keybar graphics were the worst part of the game, and as time has gone on, my eyes --and my opinion-- have only gotten worse.

While I get that computer games are considered the province of the young, there are plenty of us out there who began playing in the Pong era.  Those of us who remember Colossal Cave or Zerk or even Space Invaders would like a seat at the big table, and not pushed off to the Candy Crush/Farmville table.***  Like the grandma who plays Black Ops, we want to challenge ourselves and enjoy a game with a deep storyline. And maybe blow up some stuff, too.

I recognize that I'm not going to be the quickest clicker out there.  Hell, even when I was young I was never one of the best at the old Konami Track and Field arcade game, and the entire game consisted of pounding the buttons to go as fast as you could.  Being the quickest, however, shouldn't automatically translate into being the best.  Strategy and knowing your limitations are both important, as well as finding ways to maximize your strengths.  And those are things that anybody can do, regardless of age.

It may just take some of us a bit longer than usual to get up to speed on a particular toon, that's all.

*Or "Bejing on a sunny day."  I'd have said Los Angeles in the past, but I think Bejing's well documented pollution problems have pushed it way past Los Angeles or Mexico City.

**"No wisdom here, just thoughts about the games from someone seriously outside the demographic."

***The Sid Meier's Civ series, on the other hand, is a fantastic turn-based game, proving that you don't have to be the quickest clicker around to win a strategy game.  Same for the Total War series, where you don't have to fight the battles and instead play the game strictly as a strategy game.  Now, if someone could get around to making an updated Master of Orion without overloading on the fiddly bits....


  1. Welcome to my world, lol. It took me a while to understand that the classes I might like might also not be the best for me. The time between registering what key I need to push and the actual event are ... slow.

    I love leather wearers like Rogues, Monks and of course kitties but when playing with others I feel more confident on my Warlock. She allows for that time lag between knowing what to do and getting around to doing it so I don't feel my bad reflexes are hurting anyone else.

    1. I actually found that a Rogue was easier for me than a lock. It seems that a lock has so many buttons to push and DoTs to keep up that a Rogue is easier by comparison.

      I'm debating what to play next expac, and the two options I have are Druid or Shaman. I figure if I went Hunter or Priest they'd be nerfed in WoD after being on top in Mists, so why not try something else? Besides, Kitties have the advantage of stealth.

  2. Only missing a "Posted by Greybeard" tag... ;)

    My first PC games were Starflight and Pete Rose Baseball (which I'd swear was available on the PC) and I was an experienced "gamer" by then so we're likely in similar demographics.

    One odd thing, I still generally prefer more twitch classes, I find a slower rotation ... slow. Sometimes that's fine but GCD-locked classes are a bit of a frustration for me when I don't play them regularly.

    It is nice that some games have options for a variety of playstyle preferences, though.

    As for your keybar ability issues, do yourself a favour and upgrade to a larger and higher res monitor for gaming and general use... as long as you can get the UI elements to scale appropriately (last thing you want is to make them smaller in the process), should make for an easier time. 27", 2560x1440 is my current recommendation for my demographic. We deserve nice things and if we can use age as an excuse to have them, more power to us!

    (and if you can figure out some age-related justification for 2 of those monitors, lemme know...)

    1. I remember Starflight quite fondly. I sort of know Pete Rose Baseball, but I played Earl Weaver Baseball for the strategy.

      When I play slow rotations, like those in Age of Conan --due to the lag-- it drives me nuts too. I prefer rotations that are 3-4 buttons, with CC's thrown in for good measure, so I can keep an eye on the overall situation. If I spend too much time trying to figure out what button is doing what, I lose that situational awareness that is essential in a BG.

      While I can't justify a 27" screen (yet), when I replaced our PC last year I bumped up the monitor from 19" to 23", and Dear Lord was the difference huge.