Daily Archives: May 10, 2007

Well, the captain, he might prove true

I experienced a class epiphany in Lord of the Rings Online last night. In the last exciting (for small values of “exciting”) installment of “What Character Should I Play?”, I was vacillating between a Captain and a Hunter, with a nagging feeling that a Guardian might be more useful, and a Burglar could be fun. I thought I should get it out of my system, so I created a Burglar and a Guardian, flipped a coin, entered the world as the Guardian, ran up to the first NPC and… couldn’t be bothered with it. Logged out of the Guardian, logged in to the Captain, finished the Prologue, visited Strider in Bree, and I’m now ready to embark on the epic quest proper.

I can’t say with absolute certainty I won’t pick up another character, but I’m fairly sure I’ll stick with the Captain now. Even though it only takes a couple of hours, at most, to work through the starting areas, having done it once, I really don’t want to do it again.

It’s a sort of psychological inertia, the aversion to repeating content; some people can re-read books or re-watch films, but I seldom do (not that it stopped me buying DVDs, until I twigged that I hardly ever played them… one still being in its shrink wrap after a year or so was a bit of a giveaway). If stuck in on a rainy afternoon with the login servers down, I might glance down the DVD pile and, even though I enjoyed the cinematic masterpieces the first time through, think “oh yeah, bloke heads down the river, mad Colonel, the horror, the horror, know what happens, no point watching that again… three blokes go after gold, Mexican standoff, hilarity ensues, know what happens, no point watching that again…”. The funny thing is, if I get past that initial inertia (like if a few people get together, when Heisenberg’s Law of Film Selection states you can’t find something which nobody has yet seen *and* that everybody wants to see, or a film comes on television and the remote control is all the way over on the other sofa) and start watching something again, I’ll usually enjoy it as much the second time around, sometimes more so, picking up things I missed the first time.

It’s a similar thing in games; I never really progressed with alts in World of Warcraft, as after running through different starting areas, you wind up in pretty much the same parts of the world on the same quests. Even though playing a different class can change your approach significantly, I’d log in, look at the quest log, see the Defias Messenger staring back at me, and then extrapolate from that through Darkshire, on to Stranglethorn, running up and down to Booty Bay, grinding Furbolgs, over to Winterspring, the whiteness, the endless-ness stretching on beyond the human imagination, desolation of the soul… and I’d log out again. If I got past that, I’d probably enjoy playing through it again, but I don’t have that push of the “log out” button being over on the other sofa.

Anyway, I think I’ve reached the decision just in time, as every time I change my mind Melmoth is forced to roll new characters according to some square-cube law which, by my calculations, would mean that had I gone on the play the Guardian and then Burglar, every other character on the server would be Melmoth. Twice.

Wh… who are you?!

I’m Batman.

Wait, sorry, Superman. No, no, no, the Hulk… I mean the Thing! That’s it, yes. I’m definitely Wolverine… ‘s fellow X-Man: Cyclops.

Spiderman! And that’s my final offer.

Daredevil! Damn it!

Ok, I’ll stick with Batman. I’m Batman, yes, that’s who I am. Batman. That’s me.

Hello? Oh the bugger ran off! Well, no matter; I can catch him again easily enough, for I am the Flash.

Flame on!

As you can see, Tim Burton’s Batman movie would have been ever so slightly more surreal had I been cast in the lead role, mainly due to my suffering from a severe MMORPG affliction: Multiple Entity Alternation Disorder.

We’ll take the surrealism of ‘lanky English nerd’ portraying ‘all-American super hero’ as read.

It’s quite difficult for me to put my finger on exactly why I flick around characters faster than the Roadrunner on methamphetamines, but seeing as I’m suffering a relatively strong bout with my characters in Lord of the Rings Online at the moment, I thought I’d try to document my, mostly irrational, reasoning as to why.

As I stated previously I had decided to initially try a hobbit burglar. Hence, once the log-in servers had deigned to let me in (do I detect the piquant tang of bitterness in air?), I rolled-up my character and entered in to that hellish den of iniquity and depravity that common folk call the Shire. Oh yes, don’t be fooled, it’s all butterflies, water voles and fragrant flowers on the surface, but dig a little deeper and you can find the sinister underworld of Michel Delving. For example, the mafia-controlled so called ‘pie delivery service’; did any of you people actually look inside these so-called ‘pies’ to see what you were actually carrying? Underneath that fake pie crust were bags of Class A pipe weed. Didn’t you ever wonder why you had to avoid certain hobbits? A ‘hungry’ is the hobbit mafia nickname for an undercover Bounder. So now you know.

Where in the Inferno was I? Oh yes, a hobbit burglar. Have you noticed that the majority of burglars are hobbits? Criminal underworld, I’m telling you.

Anyway! I reached level eight with my hobbit and everything was going well, but it was then that I made my first mistake. In wanting to not rush off in levels whilst I waited for others to find a character they were happy with, I decided to create a dwarf character to play around with; I do love my dwarves, but not in the way you’re thinking you filthy minded sinners! So I followed my own advice and rolled a guardian and I got him up to around level six or so, but I found the reactionary/tanky/hit-me-baby-one-more-timey method of combat not really to my liking, certainly not for a quick side-character for a bit of fun. I therefore, instead, rolled a champion for a brief taste of hot dwarf on goblin DPS action.

It was at around about level twelve that I realised that I was enjoying this class an awful lot more than the burglar and thus I decided to stick with it as my main character. Again though, I’d slightly leapt off into the distance in level compared to others, so I once more thought to try a different class while I waited for them to catch up, a class that I didn’t intend to play at all.

I imagine you can see where this is going.

It was around level fifteen that I decided I really liked my elven minstrel, and that I would instead make her my main character, I just couldn’t get away from the fact that although I’ve played healing classes to death in Word of Warcraft, the main reason for this is… that I really enjoy playing healing classes. I berated myself for being so silly, and then told myself that I can’t speak to me like that, which was followed by me telling me that I’ll speak to me how I like because I’m in charge here, which in turn prompted me to say that I hate me, and so I told me to go to my room, at which point I stormed out, slamming the door in my face.

Um. With the minstrel sitting at level fifteen and waiting for others, I thought I’d pop back to the dwarf champion for a bit of a blast around, maybe skill-up some professions. Yeah, bad idea, I know. My love for dwarves – not like that – bubbled up to the surface once more. And the dwarf minstrel was born.

Oh dear.

And this is where we leave it, dear reader, with the dwarf minstrel being a level ahead of the others, but with the others now finally decided on what characters they will play, I find him lagging behind in the epic quest line, as he still has a couple of fellowship-required prologue quests to complete whilst the others are waiting patiently at the next stage: book one, chapter one.

The others don’t know about the dwarf minstrel yet. Melmoth hopes the others don’t hit him with sticks; they probably won’t, they’re getting used to the idea of seeing a different character turn up every day and introducing itself as the New and Improved Melmoth.

Flame on!