**Disclaimer** The following blog is a parody. For avoidance of doubt, Otto von Quarzis is NOT a prophet and his former Rules Firm is NOT a law firm, does not provide legal advice, and, you know... isn't real. Carry on.

Monday, June 23, 2014

In Defense of Grinding

Grinding... camping... farming... whatever you want to call it, it seems to be a staple in many computer role-playing games.  I recently read an article about a World of Warcraft player that achieved level 90 by picking herbs and mining.  Now THAT is some serious grinding right there.

There are entire industries created around farming - for you.  You pay them a small fee, they give you a level [x] character.  People complain (I have no link for that... that is just my experience admining a MUD for 10+ years), people write articles about how it leads to wide spread societal abuse... yet, game designers keep grinding in the game mechanics.  Why?

I believe the answer is simple - and something I would have fought tooth and nail against as a "creator" until I stepped back and became a "player."  The answer is... it is fun!!

It never occurred to me before I loaded up Darksiders and began to grind away at zombie after zombie after zombie.  It was fun.  It was exhilarating.  It really didn't matter the score - I gathered my 500 souls to progress... I didn't care.  I wanted to go smash cars on more zombies. Yeah... they are easy as heck to beat. Made it even more fun.

So, I thought back to my days actually playing MUDs (as opposed to creating them), and I realized I loved grinding.  I would camp out at the easy level and grind away.  Did I raise myself up much... no.  But, there was something extremely satisfying with racking up the vampiric butterfly body count.

Am I saying just create a game where you grind and nothing more? No.  But, I do want to put in a defense for senseless violence.  Sometimes, a game... needs to be just a game. Wacking things on the head - repeatedly, is just plain fun.  Don't take that out of your game.  You can drive yourself mad trying to figure out the perfect progression algorithm.  Instead, go camp-out and slay some level one zombies.  Your blood pressure (and your fans) will thank you.

Friday, June 20, 2014

So it begins... again

I feel like I have written this blog post a thousand times.  For all I know, I'm living in a "Matrix" world and I have written this blog post a thousand times.  Regardless, here it goes... my foray into blogging... again.

I had a number of fascinating topics for this post (no really... I did), but I settled on this one.  Why do I game?

This is a question that is both deeply personal to me, and, more importantly to my readers, a larger question in the geek-a-verse.  I follow my fair share of "geek" related blogs, main-ish stream news sites, etc. (i.e., I subscribe to Geek and Sundry and check out Think Geek every once and a while).  However, I was listening to a classic, but still a goody, the "Geeks shall inherit the Earth," by Electronic Funstuff when it got me thinking of this post.

Now for those not familiar with Electronic Fundstuff - they had an AWESOME album back in 2003 - 2004-ish.  It was phenomenal!  Instant classics, such as "Death Match Mama," "Civilization," and of course... the aforementioned, "Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth."  Sadly, I haven't been able to find them since then.  Don't know what they are doing, but if the fates allow - I want them to know - they inspired me.

Recently, I listened to them anew.  It got me thinking.  Table-top role-playing is a very unique aspect of "geekdome." Many "geek habits" are sort of mainstream now - comic books, video games, Star Wars (will save for another day), Star Trek, etc.  "Big Bang Theory" pays lips service to classic table-top role-playing, but frankly it isn't a huge feature.  Heck, even the "King of Geeks" Sir Wesley Wheatonton (please, Mr. Wheaton, if you happen upon this in a drunken stupor - that WootStout is strong stuff! - I have nothing but the most respect for your... +1 to TableTop... love your show, love everything you do... not a dick... I swear...) came out with a "board game" show before venturing to do an RPG show. (oh, full disclosure... I am a backer of Mr. Wheaton's season 3 Tabletop... and was estatic when it was announced he'd be doing the RPG show... shamelessly plugged donating to all of my friends... the one RPG episode he did [well, part 1 and 2] was awesome... so reminded me of my old RPG group!)

I remember back in junior high school branching out.  I met a couple guys that played Star Trek RPG (of all things). My parents were a little freaked out that I was going to another town to meet people I only "sort of knew" - but you know what? They were awesome, and a great game ensured. (and btw... we took plenty of precautions ahead of time... even back when I was growing up... you took precautions)

So, why do I play?  A question I often ask myself.  For years (as I will go into in more detail in future posts) I was the head admin (oh, who the hell am I kidding... I was a tyrannical, megalomaniac god-complex know-it-all) of a MUD (text based MMO... ask your dad) and sort of lost touch with table-top RPGs.  CRPGs have been a main-stay since high school - looong before decent CRPGs and well before MMOs.  Long after I had last thrown the dice on a table, I happened to be in the Bay Area (California... SF town) - during 3E launch.  It hooked me again.

Since then - I have dabbled in 4E, Numenera, Pathfinder, and many a home-brew game.  Why do I still love table-top RPGS... because they are awesome and I can play with a group of friends that are some of the nicest, most awesome people I have ever met.  Only one of my current group is from the "old days," but each and everyone of the folks I play with is a great person that I am proud to call a friend.  When I was in California, I played a bit of 3E - while I have been a shit-head in keeping touch... those guys were great.  Table-top RPGs bring REAL people together.  Yeah, we may fuck with each other occasionally... but you know what - these people have your back.

So why do I play the "grandfather of all role-playing games" ? Simple - the people.  In no community, anywhere, have I encountered a better, more accepting, nice group of people.  Happy free rpg game day everyone!! I hope you go out there and meet some of the great people that make our hobby one of the best out there.

And so it begins...