I had one day to enjoy my whole extra core in Age of Conan before my subscription expired. When I first decided to unsubscribe, it was, with uncanny timing, the day after a month’s subscription had been paid, which seemed rather a waste. Still, seeing as the subscription was going, I popped over to a new server to wear a hat and Learn More about Xotli (from a distance, and most assuredly via observation rather than first hand empirical experience), and if it hadn’t been for that I might not have poked around and got that second core working, which has saved a few hundred quid (for a while) from not buying a new PC, so it wasn’t such a waste of a tenner after all.
The really staggering difference after being able to move some of the graphics sliders up from the “no, just… no, don’t bother” setting is with view distances. Previously my character was horrendously short-sighted, and anything more than a few feet away was a hazy gray shape. After the laser eye surgery of extra CPU power, I can stand on a hilltop in Khopshef overlooking the bay and just drink in the view, marvelling at the ripple of the water and the sway of distant palm trees, which is marvellous for me, possibly not quite so great for anyone else in the party I’m supposed to be healing. It’s also been great to play with other people again (IYKWIM); after Melmoth became otherwise engaged, I had a bit of a hunt around the old server forums for a likely looking guild, and it’s a tricky business. Starting with the blurb, some are nice and easy to discount; anything looking for the “best of the best”, “server firsts”, seeking to “dominate the server”, “become feared”, “achieve a THOUSAND YEAR REICH SUBJUGATING ALL HUMAN EXISTENCE TO OUR WILL”, yada yada, is unlikely to be my kind of place. That tends to leave a goodly percentage of guilds advertising themselves as some combination of friendly, mature, fun, casual, help-each-other out, easy going types; there aren’t many whose stated aim is to constantly bicker in guild chat then disband in a blizzard of acrimony and disputes over the contents of the guild bank, or to start off incredibly enthusiastic but become progressively more disenchanted with everything yet somehow unable to leave, ending up as bitter, twisted husks. Funny that. I hooked up with a decent enough bunch on the old server, guild chat ticked over quite pleasantly, but there was almost never anyone around of the same level, in the same zones, so grouping up to denude Kopshef of wildlife was most enjoyable.
Class-wise I’d picked a Tempest of Set almost at random, not really intending it to be a permanent thing; I’m not quite sure if it’s for me, I had a bit of a tendency to fall back to my “nuke first, heal later” technique (where “later” is “after we’re dead and running back from the spawn point” in some cases). The interface also seems rather fiddly for healers with squashed up little party health bars and very unclear targeting, especially in a mass brawl with a necromancer in the party and their posse of zombies (and if you’re fighting zombies, forget it… “Is it one of ours or one of theirs?”). Still, there’s plenty of lightning-based nuking to enjoy, it’s not as if I’m a proper healer or anything just because I happen to have a spell or two that might possibly restore some health or something. It’s baby steps on the DPS to healer path, like moving from accountancy to lion taming via banking.
I still let the subscription lapse, as I’m off on holiday for a fair chunk of August, and there’s the free reactivation of Star Wars Galaxies to make the most of for the rest of July, and City of Heroes, and I slightly picked up Mass Effect at the same time as some holiday stuff… Come September, though, it’ll be back to Hyboria (depending on Wrath of the Lich King, and Warhammer Age of Reckoning, and anything else coming around that time…)