Where has the community gone?

28 05 2007

I thought I would give the raid runs one final stand; run through the ML gauntlet and artifact maze one last time. We shall see how to turnout is, but feedback thus far at the scheduling is as expected; the typical ‘I can do that with 3 people’ and ‘it only takes 30 minutes’ insipid responses one would expect from the world of the VN posters.

Nonetheless, it dampened my spirits, just yet one more nail in the coffin to what once was.

I think I am so disheartened by the people I know as realm mates because they aren’t who they were, but mostly because they murder with their own hands the community and then bitch that it is dead. I read the peevish responses they offered to the idea of keeping the RP cluster, how they would finally find groups, find raids and activities, find items on CMs if clustered. Yet, when events are ran here, their type run the leaders into the ground for daring to host such an event.

I have watched it countless times occur, not only to myself, but a good many others as well. Granted, there are small pockets of supportive allies who appreciate the intent both verbally and tangibly, and while their brand of encouragement is certainly helpful, it can be compared to rushing against the blaze of a fire as your friends stand by dousing you with cups of water…their intentions are well meaning, but they do not drown the fire that you are foolish enough to walk into.

So how does one independently drive desire to play when there is none? The miracle band-aid is the clustering of our server with that of the non-role play servers.

Yes, because clustering solved the issues previously when they clustered Percival and Nimue, and then Guinevere. I think a simple acceptance of the fact that without a need by the masses at large to move together towards a common goal, there will not be a community.

When we needed to band together to unlock the mauler class, we did as such. When we needed to band together to complete Co5, we did as such. When we needed to band together to complete MLs, we did as such. There is a common theme here if you haven’t noticed; most expansions create unity amongst the players who might not ordinarily find themselves adjoined. But there is no hint of a fall expansion for the first time in five years. There is no hint of bringing the community resources together to complete a goal, excepting the dragons that attack our lands. And even I, for all my interest in quests and lore, found the dragon quests lacking.

I smile fondly, thinking back on years past, of how we needed one another, depended really, on the whole of our realm. It was the odd one out who solo’d the mobs and made no friends. I remember a young caster, theurgist I believe, perhaps cabalist. His name was Henri or some variant, but he was talked about in circles because he would level alone, not a friend about; how strange a person, and how amazing his skill, that alone he could concur mobs and with determination, gain levels.

I remember how curious it was to find a person without a guild and what a great ordeal it was to obtain a ‘good’ guild. There was an initiation process, not just anyone would be accepted into the elite guilds of the era. Fyre and Steel required members to be level fifty and to have an orientation officer assigned to them to determine if they were a fine match. Mark of Kings required potential members to register on a forums and make friends outside of the game through the forums to win over the hearts of the members so that they might be invited in. I could carry on, but they were all fairly much the same and such a great honour it was when you were invited into the likes of guilds such as these and Twilight Society, and Kindred of Valiance and so forth. Now though, it is not uncommon to find one man guilds or guilds with only two members. And it isn’t that the guild has diminished to such a state, but that it was created as such to begin with.

Camelot was a haven for the crafters back then, you merely zoned in and asked aloud for someone who could craft you a fine set of gear and you would beat the crafters off with a stick when they responded; often times left to choose between three or four who had similar offers. Now, we resort to crafter accounts or friends of friends or begging on the VNs for someone to answer our cries for player-made gear.

Do you remember what it was like to log in five years ago? Four years ago? Three years ago? Even two years ago?

It was exciting, at least for me. I remember the drudging task of leveling, spending three hours outside Prydwen Keep with buffs from a kindly passer-by, only to attain a few coppers and level enough to select a class. My daughters now take turns logging on to create new characters and after running through the prescribed feats for less than an hour, they are rewarded with gear and levels and gold. Gold by golly! I didn’t earn my first gold piece until I was in Keltoi at level 23.

Three years ago, master levels were such a pain in the ass, but you ‘had’ to have them to compete. First obtain the right to complete the master levels, and then run through them each with thirty or more folks to obtain credit. Many you could not even obtain credit unless you sought it out alone or with a small group. And do them in order mind you; you needed 1.1 through 1.9 to obtain credit for 1.10 and thus. And the credit alone would not pacify your needs, you must now obtain experience. And that experience required the murdering of very specific creatures, again, not a solo task. If you strafed away or even were near to the leader, you may miss the credit and once more have to repeat the entire dastardly mess to obtain that credit. Now, simply RvR and your needs will be fulfilled through the transfer of bounty points to an NPC. Not enough bounty points say you? Then grab a necromancer and a friendly wall-flower cleric and the credit is bequeathed to you promptly as most of the encounters are easily duo’d.

Now we sit, perplexed, as to how we have arrived at a state where the band of realm mates working together is the oddity, where we struggle to find groups to fulfill the rare needs that cannot be done alone, and damn the developers for ruining the game and chasing away subscribers. And while they are an easy target for our condemning fingers to call out; I am reminded of the childhood retort that three fingers point back at me when I point my finger to another. And it is so true.

We clamoured against the difficulties of leveling and were silenced by the gift of /level, instanced task dungeons, duel logging abilities, free levels, and % to experience gained bonuses.

We bitched about the trials of Atlantis and the intricacies involved to attain rewards and were muted by the implementation of lessening mob levels, the ability to grant credit, and the removal of requirements in regards to order completion.

We lamented over the mile wall bottlenecks and golf course grounds of Hibernia and we were provided a vast new layout to squawk about.

We threw up our hands in disgust at not being able to better see the threat to our lands when a guild owning a keep had no members logged on to alert the defenders and we were given a real time war map to keep us abreast of all situations warranting alert.

We rallied against Mythic about the galling prerequisites to snatch up a relic, and they listened to our pleas and made it so that a keep capture could grant us the relics of our lands a safe return.

What we have demanded, we have received. The bounty we gained is our own demise and now we stand together damning the givers for ruining what we had.

I may be angry at the lack of a community, but I, just as the people who anger me for their petty disregard to planned events, have myself to blame as well for the irritation. And now I look back at the times I did not give this game and its quests an honest fair chance, and instead ranted with the rest of the masses about why I would need others to complete tasks, and how unfair it was to expect me, and others like myself, to find the numbers of people needed to aide in completion. While the nails have been provided by Mythic, I held the hammer and drummed them soundly into the coffin alongside my realm mates.

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