Ever had that dream where you’re standing alone in a school corridor which stretches off to infinity, your back to the main door, when the silence that saturates the air around you like a fog is blasted away by the sudden clanging crescendo of the home-time bell. You stand in front of those closed doors, their imposing nature warped and exaggerated through the magnifying lens of the dream, so that they seem to arch overhead like cloaked villains, threatening to swoop down on you, a tidal crest of terror ready to break.
Smaller doors to classrooms, which line that corridor unfathomable, burst open in unison and unleash a savage swarm of students, chittering and clamouring, rolling and washing, down the hall towards you. You search about in desperation for sanctuary from the approaching horde, but the main doors remain resolutely closed, and the corridor is a blank and featureless barren box, save for the uniform doors which pour forth a churning torrent of children.
In an instant of dream-time the stampede is upon you, the doors which restrained you now burst open under the weight of the stomping masses, and you are carried tumbling along at the head of the lowing herd. Glimpses of the world break through the cloud of dust that envelops you, and spin around in nauseating fashion as desperately you claw and grasp and clamber to stay afloat on a flooded river of backpacks and blazers. All too soon you sink and are trampled by this uncaring oblivious force, battered and broken by a surging sea of self-interest.
Finally the deluge dwindles, and as the last trickle of students makes its way erratically down the entrance steps where your broken body lies, a few of them stop to make sure that you don’t have anything of value on or around you, before peeling off in various directions and disappearing into the streets surrounding the school.
It’s funny how I always seem to have that dream when I start playing a new MMO or expansion.
In other unrelated news, I’ve decided to hold off on playing any more of Lord of the Rings Online’s Rise of Isengard expansion for the time being, due to a combination of general MMO weariness, and the fact that the first few weeks of any new MMO seems to be the breeding season for screaming wild-eyed zealous boy-band fans, and locusts. Together. They form some sort of ungodly hybrid pig-tailed insect swarm, and it seems best to simply stay out of their way, especially if you like your MMO with some of its content intact, and your soul with some of its hope for humanity intact.
Release: that magical time in an MMO when a large portion of the player base spends a week or so stamping one another into the mud in order to be first to be bored at the end-game.