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Friday, September 28, 2012

A Game's "Golden Days"


Considering skipping over or not reading this post? Don't. This here marks 250 for me - an occasion that I'll be celebrating with a special post. "Nature's first green is gold, Her hardest hue to hold. Her early leaf's a flower; But only so an hour. Then leaf subsides to leaf. So Eden sank to grief, So dawn goes down to day. Nothing gold can stay." - Robert Frost

There are many users, and I'll admit to being one of them, who looks back at Wizard101 and says that their first time running through Wizard City, those first quests, and a lack of people begging for items just made Wizard101 seem perfect. And now, it's been corrupted by people who want crowns among a number of other things. Let me tell you now, "corruption" is a term used correctly in this problem, but it isn't the "noobs" who are the problem.

Truthfully, the "Golden Days" you speak of are an "issue" in every game. If that isn't a wake-up call, I'm not sure what is. And it's telling us that today isn't different from yesterday, the day before, or those days when we first started. In fact, I'm going to build on the idea that it was really just the fact that we were so enveloped in the content that we ignored the problems completely.

The Golden Days were the times that Wizard101 seemed perfect. Here's the first problem with these - everyone's Golden Days were at a slightly different time. While there are some universal agreements that they occurred before things like hoard packs, sit down and ask a few people about their Golden Days in Wizard101. It's the mystery of the game - not knowing what to expect around the next corner, trying to adjust to a boss's cheats, and attempting to finish a dungeon like the Waterworks blindly, not knowing what to expect or when to expect it.

People begging for crowns, cards, mounts, or whatever else aren't new. I saw the same people trying to scam cards off of others the first time I ran through Wizard City - and that was first generation crown gear, and pre-Dragonspyre!

Soon after, I discovered the Wizard101 community - a place beyond the game to enjoy myself. I made an account on Wizard101 Central, and I liked that.

Slowly, though, the excitement began to fade, and I wasn't sure why. I still liked new content and updates, they just weren't the same as before. I find that particularly strange, because they were much more well done than Wizard City, and that'd been the roots of these Golden Days. This suggested some outside influence, not necessarily my own loss of interest. 

Let's swap topics for a minute to help you better understand. Pirate101 is in what will be its Golden Days for many players. And that'll last for quite some time. However, once everyone has tried the game, burned through the content, completed all the quests, and are left waiting for the next update, it'll finally sink in that something just isn't right.

We enjoy Pirate101 beta so much right now, because it's a fantastic mystery. And the creators did a stellar job making it one. Only through every possible side quest and exploring every inch of every world will be able to finally exhaust the endless hidden houses, surprise dungeons, and unused locations across the Pirate101 Spiral. You see, there's so much space and content, and we hardly experience it all in the main storyline, or even in side quests. Unlike Wizard101, we don't fight one of every type of creature on a street.

Our view is further hazed by damage ranges, and not set amounts. Then, critical chance, block, and accuracy, and they'll all based on ratings, too, not percents. Then there's companions - one of the greatest things in Pirate101, and we can't be sure we have them all, or where to get ones we don't have. Now where did that Cat Ninja come from? How about that Fire Oni? Is that for my class only?

This makes the excitement, or Golden Days, of Pirate101 last longer - are you seeing a general pattern yet?

Before long, I was seeing it, and so I started mapping out my Wizard101 game and community timeline. Can you guess what my slowed enthusiasm matched up with? I'll be straightforward here - it was the discovery of extensive guides. You see, for the first time, I had everything I'd ever need all within a variety of sites. I'd be able to grab exact information and complete anything in-game without trouble.

Was I going to give all that up to restore that sense of mystery to the game? No way! And neither was anyone else. But, what if... What if there had been no guide for a few of the difficult quests? What if I didn't know the exact talents my pet would receive?

Here's where things get tricky. Tips, tricks, and guides - they're all seen as good things. And who's to say they're not? I certainly won't. The thing is, with them, we create a sense of laziness. It's that feeling that says "Cheating boss? Where's a guide for him?" Lets be honest - those of you who were aware of Zeke Quest guides, did you even try to do them on your own?

Of course, I'm not suggesting eliminating anything completely. You just have to be careful. Draw a line. Because if we foster the lack of work, people start to take it to extremes. They'll try to justify, even in their own minds, that hoard packs are gambling, simply because they don't like the fact that they have to go to the trouble to get a specific item.

The funny part of that is that the people who want hoard items independently sold in the Crown Shop are the ones I would think to be most content with not having every special item in-game. And so the point still stands.

While I may have made some "recommendations" here, the real lesson is that you've got to find your "happy place" in the Spiral, and stick to it. If you like gardening, keep at it. If you're a Blogger, don't quit! Enjoy the new age of Pirate101. Take the next Wizard101 world slowly. Breathe in. Now out.

Next time you go knocking at a boss's door, or skipping down ol' Waterworks Lane, think about trying something new - doing it on your own. New interface? Play with it...

That's my advice for now! Thanks for reading, and see you in the Spiral. Carpe Diem! Seize the day!

8 comments:

  1. This post is GOLDEN! :) It seriously feels like my "Golden Days" of your blog. I know exactly what you mean, and can relate to it. (I think that was the purpose.)
    Good job!

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  2. This sounds more like the END of W101--a commemoration of sorts.

    Mark StormRider

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    1. It wasn't intended to be an end at all! In fact, many players will experience their "Golden Days" this week and for years to come.

      It's simply a look back at those of many of the members of the community, and how to maximize that time.

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  3. Try going to Mooshu, the place is deserted and I go on the Ambrose realm during the week.That place seems like golden days to me and not just because some stuff looks beautifully old.

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    1. I'll have to check MooShu out, but for me, I just don't think that a change in location would do it. :P

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  4. Yesterday one of the first testers of W101 asked me a question and after I gave up the answer was just how she and all old dogs in here DO feel.
    Ask yourself How do a tear falling from the end of the world feels like? Think a while, lot a while! Bet you would see the picture in your head and will be so surprised of that you actually feel just like that.

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  5. A truly golden post Swordroll. Whenever I play Wizard101, I feel the exact same way. I remember the days in 2008 when there was no such thing as Dragonspyre, or Hoard Packs, or mounts..

    With Pirate101, it is nice to try out the new interface and the new game and it takes me back to those old Wizard101 days.

    An excellent post.

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