Cold hopes swarm like worms within our living clay.

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.

7 thoughts on “Cold hopes swarm like worms within our living clay.

  1. Helistar

    Is the LotRO expansion-effect so bad? With their auto-instancing of new zones to prevent overpopulation it should not be as bad as in WoW.
    Still, expansion day is not a good day to be a mob….

  2. Melmoth Post author

    I imagine it varies from server to server, and what time one plays, but I’ve had the usual fairly unsavoury experience so far.

    There’s probably a sweet spot where the rushers have been and gone, but the more insouciant players are still around and thus there are groups to be found. I imagine it’s a small window of opportunity however, and the more likely scenario is that I’ll be back later to solo my way through a deserted wasteland yet again.

  3. mbp

    I haven’t even bough the expansion yet but I logged in last week with a vague notion of catching up with old kinship friends and was surprised to see that I was the only person logged on from the old guild. Nothing suspicious happily – apparently it was all part of a planned merge with another kinship to keep the numbers up for raiding. There is an open invitation to go and join the new kinship.

  4. Jim

    I hear Isengard is loveliest in the Spring…at least that is when I am planning my exploration of it.

  5. Melmoth Post author

    @mbp: I’d certainly be surprised if they were gone, most people seem to be flooding back for the expansion! Apart from the members of the static group of which I’m a part, who are taking a break for the time being – and that’s looking like a wise decision in the main.

    @Jim: They say Saruman is a spring chicken.

    Which should make him a fairly easy raid boss, I reckon.

  6. Melmoth Post author

    I don’t think I’ll be buying the game any time soon, but I’d pay for a ‘spectator’ livestream of the first few days of launch.

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