Thursday 20 October 2011

O, wind, if winter comes, can spring be far behind?

Like fresh snow falling on the frozen river, there are those of us in the MMO genre who settle but briefly, and are prone to drift when winter comes. Yet we mustn’t forget that this genre is built in layers, and beneath the drift are those whose attentions lay across a single game, their focus forming a frozen foundation, their passion packed solid around its structure; we can find within this silent stable scene reflections and echoes of that once tumultuous mighty river, which carried us along to unseen destinations in a frothing frenzy of chaos and excitement.

Still, the genre does indeed seem frozen to many of us who drift. With the onset of winter, the silence descends. The thunderous gods of the waters stand muted and still, an eerie quiet envelops the thickly blanketed wood through which the river runs: all the harsh blows of sound are deadened by that shield of snowy silence. Exuberance hibernates within her den, curled up in quiet content alongside Clamour and Activism. This winterish discontent causes a melancholy view, all is frozen and still, all is bland and featureless.

The blankness of this cold carpet canvas, which with numbing despotism across the genre lies, yet leaves us with a small fire of faith, carefully kindled, towards which we can hold out the hands of our hope and keep them warm: the great thaw will eventually come, and with it a new world appears, reinvigorated and renewed.

I certainly find it hard to weather these winters in the land of Blog. Inspiration most often comes from playing: interaction and frustration are the foodstuffs upon which my muse feasts, before dumping her digested diatribes upon the page for your consumption. Yes indeed, reading a post equates to eating muse manure. And it is not adversity which prevents me from playing, on the contrary, because adversity is the Beef Wellington of muse foodstuffs: a hearty fare which fills to bursting point the stomach of seething satire. No, it is the bland formulaic mediocrity which starves the muse, rice and curds which neither offend the palette nor delight, but provide the base, the nutrition of entertainment, and nothing more. It is docile entertainment. Without passion. Lobotomised. I found the same when playing through the two DLC modules for Dragon Age 2 recently; having finished them both I could not deny that I had been entertained –entertainment had occurred– but it was the sweaty discomfort of sitting in an entertainment sauna, as opposed to the fiery consuming passion of being burnt at the entertainment stake.

Winter is here, and there’s barely enough fuel to cook the muse a modest meal, let alone build a pyre to ignite the imagination. Here’s hoping that an infusion of vernal freshness into the genre is not far behind.

No comments: