Still Alive…

No, I haven’t disappeared, I’ve just been busy as fuck these last several weeks. Between the holidays, job hunting, and plenty of other distractions, I just really haven’t had a lot of time for FE. Also, there’s one other thing that’s both slowing me down in the game and really pissing me off.

A mission I got in Chemtown took me to the Toxic Pool to kill a Mutated Monster. The problem is that the damn thing never shows up. Literally, it’s never there. I’ve tried logging in at all times of the day and night, but all I get is a red X on my map but nothing at the location to kill. GM’s were unfortunately pretty unhelpful in this, telling me that it could take as long as an hour for the monster to show up. An HOUR? A fucking hour? Are you shitting me? Who’s got the time or the patience to sit there for an hour waiting for an NPC to show up just so they can kill it and move on? I’m about at the point where I’m ready to dump the mission and move on to something else, but why should I have to? Ridiculous! Clearly this is something that needs to be fixed.

I’ve pretty much played out Batman: Arkham City, at least for the moment. In between FE logins to check and see if the stupid monster has shown up I’ve gotten involved with yet another game, one I never expected to: Aion.

Generally speaking, I don’t go in much for the sword and sorcery genre. I’ve tried a few games like that, including my very first MMO, Everquest. I left that game in part because I got bored with it, but also because I got sick of the childish attacks and the homo/transphobic, racist, and misogynist bullshit thrown around constantly in the chats in that game. Regardless of what I think of the game itself, that kind of thing makes any MMO an unpleasant experience for me, particularly as a lesbian-identified transsexual woman. I play MMO’s to have fun and with that kind of crap being constantly thrown around toward myself and other players, it’s just not fun. I lasted eight months in Everquest before deciding that if I wanted to be verbally abused by school children, I certainly didn’t have to pay fifteen bucks a month for it.

I tried Lord of the Rings Online when it went free-to-play but the restrictions on free accounts are so severe in that game that I only lasted three days before giving up in disgust and annoyance. I never really got a chance to decide of I liked the game itself or not because the free-to-play model was so limited that it quickly became a crushingly boring grind. That’s not what I play MMO’s for either, free or not.

Aion, on the other hand, is different. Graphically, it’s unquestionably the most beautiful game I’ve ever played, and I say that as a former player of Eve-Online, definitely no slouch in the graphics department. I find myself stopping play when I enter a new area just to move the camera around and admire the graphics. Another thing I really like is the detailed storyline and well-drawn characters. I like FE’s graphics too, as well as the storyline, but Aion is graphically just awe-inspiring as well as one of the best and deepest storylines I’ve ever experienced. It feels a lot like playing through a high fantasy movie or novel. I like that in an MMO.

There is one thing about Aion that I really dislike though. Apparently, when you join a legion (Aion’s version of a guild or clan) and accept a leadership role you’re stuck with it permanently unless you can find another legion member who’s in-game at the time to pawn the title off on. I got suckered like this earlier today and now I find myself in charge of a legion with just seven members in it, all of whom apparently speak Korean, with no way to leave. So, what I’ll eventually end up doing if I continue with this game is simply to dump the toon I’ve been using during my 10-day free trial period and start a new one, leaving this “legion” leaderless. It goes against my grain to do that, but I see no other way to get out.  For any MMO to have such a ridiculous rule and insist that leaders continue to lead a group they don’t want to be part of anymore is just stupid.

Frankly, I’ve only got a few days invested in this toon so it’s really not all that big a deal…I was considering starting a new toon if and when I decide I’m into this game enough to actually pay money for it anyway. Now it’s a certainty, and the only ones who really lose out on that deal are those in that legion who won’t have a leader because very soon because I won’t be using that toon or account anymore, no matter if I decide to stick with the game or not. How that helps to make for a better player experience is a mystery to me.

It’s funny…thematically, Aion is almost a polar opposite of FE in a lot of ways, stunning beauty versus detailed decay, wings versus wheels, high fantasy set in the distant past of a shattered planet versus post-apocalyptic disaster set in Earth’s semi-near future. And yet, I really enjoy both games and find myself drawn to both.

As far as FE goes, I’m not leaving for Aion. I still have plenty to do in FE, I’m still enjoying the game (except for this stupid non-existent monster I’m supposed to kill) and I’m paid up until June. By the time that rolls around, I’ll know better what my plans are for the future. Interestingly, Aion just went free-to-play in Europe and the community scuttlebutt indicates a popular expectation among the Aion player base that the game’s North American server won’t be very far behind. If and when that happens, I’ll have to consider which game is the best investment of my time and money for the entertainment value. I haven’t played Aion anywhere near enough yet to be able to make that kind of value judgement, though. All I know is that right now I’m still having a really good time with both games and I’m very glad I won’t be forced to make that decision for at least a few months.

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