I’ve never really considered gaming a particular sociable affair. Sure you indulge in rare social gatherings where friends participate in virtual altercations, pursuing personal satisfaction from vanquishing you, further alienating themselves from any future invitations. But I’ve always believed it to be an activity pursued independent of friends, family or any living organism that isn’t forming on the discarded remains of the chicken korma that’s resting on you’re Call of duty t-shirt that you’ve been wearing for 4 days. I realise that this is an often exaggerated perception but one that’s still an accurate portrayal of modern gamers, even if we don’t care to admit it. Of course now at the behest of corporate oppression where complete games have been compartmentalised into episodic formats or DLC and dispensed into individual subsidise’s like toys in cereal box’s, we’re encouraged to partake in communicative activities where being “on-line” and “interaction” with other people is a necessity. Having a required router to play a game is such a nuisance to begin with. Sure most gamers have access to on-line functionality, but it isn’t always reliable. It only takes one error to completely eradicate 45 mins worth of progress. For games not to produce dedicated areas for social abstinence such as myself creates undue limitations when you’d think games would function more efficiently when offline? An absurd notion I’m sure you’ll agree, but even with uninterrupted broadband connection you’re still be left to deal with real people.
Let’s be honest, valour, chivalry and honour are reserved for the brazen and foolish when it comes to on-line allegiances, which are all scheduled around other people’s agendas. These interim comrades, most likely some irritating twerp that sleeps in a bunk bed shaped like a car will sever all association with you if it means there own self-centred hide is safe and thereby rewarded with money, experience, dancing in you’re blood or other resources. And it’s these disreputable ingrates I’m supposed to be sharing the simple pleasures of gaming with? I receive enough abuse from a moderately difficult single player game let alone a system populated by hate filled teens that apparently enjoy fornication with my mother! No, no the essence of gaming is the purity of solitary interaction. To immerse yourself in fantasy realms deprived of reality, not real people discussing what they want for dinner before they settle down to watch the Voice! Ugh, how can you pretend to imitate the role of a daring space commander if some whiny little snot nosed, mucus swigging numb-nut, is being chastised by his mother for not studying for his arithmetic exam tomorrow?! With single player campaigns you don’t necessarily have to be good, talented or even remotely competent to progress and enjoy yourself. Being on-line requires a concerted effort to master the controls, study the environments, acquire a persistent resolve to perfect every facet of your abilities, to become a functional utility in a team and ensure a fragment of success. If you have the required time to dedicate the requisite hours to succeed in on-line campaigns then I applaud you’re tenacity and misanthropic segregation. Seriously I commend you! Me, I barely have time to sneeze without my girlfriend wondering where I am.
I’m sorry, I’m a little more emotionally unsettled than I normally am. I haven’t slept very well and I’m fairly sure I’ve already written a tirade identical to this one before? I guess when it all comes down to it, when you really put things into perspective, people are annoying. Simply……annoying. That is all.
Do you prefer the pleasures of single player or the more sociable form of interaction? Let me know in the comments below. Cheers.
I’m the worst kind of online gamer, mutually abhorred by even my own allies that has only been exacerbated by my ventures into Bioshock 2, with only attritional contributions and subsequently only marginal impact. I’m that transient interloper that impedes progression, standing idle in the most centralised area for optimal exposure. The guy that generates mutual contempt, receiving verbal degradations that only encourages further nonchalance. Interlacing intertwined innocuity, interspersed with interlocking inactivity. Yes I am as convoluted as this sentence and invariably the archetypal fly in your ointment. But I don’t know why? There’s no cognitive functionality, no premeditated resentment for my interim confederates and no deliberately concerted effort to sabotage their endeavours. There are singular occurrences that entreat me to disrupt the rhythmic congenitally of the team and would be assailants, such as players with more skill than that feel inclined to do everything themselves. The pragmatic solidarity demonstrated by my provisional confederates, inclined to achieve the best result possible never motivates me the way it should beyond extraneous cajoling. When I’m in an environment that encourages active hostility I shy away from it as if indulging my own obscure protestations against the bureaucratic conformity of competitive online gaming. It doesn’t make sense, I realise that. Yet somehow I derive some sickathantic gratification from my reluctances. I do deploy adept ingenuity into my elusions however, devising ever clever yet aggravating methods of evasion, such as concealing myself behind partial walls and partitions with obscuring visibility. Standing idly appeared to trick some potential enemies into thinking that my inactivity was somehow dangerous. Even shadowing the opposition is surprisingly effective in deterring would be aggressors into thinking I was part of their team?!
This preferential and much more sporadic participation, contributing when inclination motivates me has become an indelible pursuit. Sometimes I’m encouraged by others prodigious progressions, someone that elevates my admittedly modest skills to a proportionate rigour that I employ into my endeavours, slowly gaining momentum. Often-times it just takes me time to find a rhythm. I’m like a metallic implement that steadily generates heat from the absorption of a hot substance, like a spoon in a coffee cup. But more often than not the robust dominance of a collaborator just aggravates me further with the simple and customary objective of any online game: winning! I could be sparring with the best of them one minute, then concealing myself behind crates the next. The expectant fervour of killing anonymous individual’s I’ll never meet is blighted by my frivolity as well as the enervating fatigue of doing the same thing over and over again, so I derive more enjoyment routed and diverted by other prosaic means. For instance protracted games of hide and seek that not everyone is consciously privy too. Leap frog is a recreational activity regularly occurring during my Bioshock 2 playthrough’s, which is essentially me jumping around opponents like Tigger in heat. I can’t express how much fun I had crouching through levels, particularly amusing to receive barbed verbal scalding from teenagers professing how they have all satisfied their carnal desires by banging my mother (she does get around it seems?). Yet again, I have to ask why?! Why do I continue to torture my team mates with monotonous pageantries? Why does this desire endure despite its clearly regressive sentiment? Boredom I suppose is a negligible influence and my moderate skills could be contributing factor, yet it could also be something much more innate. Or perhaps I’m just a selfish git with nothing better to do with my time. Tomato tomato (that really doesn’t translate that we’ll).
Phew, that fight with that a huge fog boss was tough, and very unexpected. The Elder Scrolls Online? More like The Elder Scrolls Offline, am I right?! Remember your dramatic escape from incarceration, from an Imperial prison courtesy of the intervention of Scepter Patrick Stewart in Oblivion? Remember navigating a series of obscure, labyrinthine crypts replete with rats gnawing at your exposed feet on your way to freedom? How about the perpetual cadaver Sean Bean doing what he does best? Remember being free to explore of your own accord without external impedance? Remember when adversary’s retained physical rigidity to there exterior frames, not merely apparitions that you can walk through? Where strategic variation equates to little more than spinning around your enemy anti clockwise rather than clockwise? Remember when a khajiit vagrant began admonishing her son for not eating his dinner? Well the latter is a new addition to the franchise, so prepare to endure all the majesty of Online MMO. Including; registration, terms and conditions, server locating, queuing and saving Tamriel from literal Oblivion. Having been well apprised of its encompassing fragility, Tamriel unlimited, the very relaxed interpretation of the word, really represents the culmination of every combined incentive of the elder scrolls, just under the socialized appellation of an MMO. Yet this Elder Scrolls has a very measured approach to the genre, apprehensive to expand on the very singular glossary of the series. It’s like a dog that encounters snow for the first time, very bewildered by the extravagances, cautious to venture beyond the comforts its own doorstep.
There is an inherited penchant to play as if it were a single player game, which is because it acts like a single player game, under the guise of monetized exploration and interspersed with some multi-player camaraderie. There are fawning references to past events, as you expedite the retinue of historical lineage through the exploration of caves and mines. But Immersion is somewhat nullified by the anonymity of yammering gamers all communicating in unison or disturbing you with the static distributed through someone’s headset. The frivolous vacuity is punctuated by exponent lands replete with more activity than any wilderness should be. There’s deliberate obscurity associated with your conduct as you lose heroic exclusivity, because now there are thousands of potential saviours! Someone could conceivably swoop in and pilfer iron ore you were about to harvest or pluck a crucial ingredient for alchemy. The narrative gives you little coordinated empathy with a misleading emphasis on just how important you are. But you’re not! The municipal districts are glutted with a sundry of exotic warriors skirting across pavements in overly elaborate mirth, as one individual reprimands their energetic kids and another begins denoting a recipe for an omelette our distractions that take you straight back to reality. The commerce and life of Tamriel endures in spite of civil unrest egg protein connoisseurs though, with warring infantry’s vying for colonial sovereignty. Not that esoteric propagation and resplendence of Tamriel is ever discouraged by the onset of circumnavigating vagrants, and its the games mass that is one of its biggest advantages. You can’t truly grasp the sense of proportion or the cathartic sprawl until you’ve run for half an hour and our still uninhibited by invisible walls. The sneering antipathy for this overpopulated realm is almost placated by the sheer expanse, taught with a wreath of plants, sharp cleft on a mountains exterior and the decimated ruin inhabited by the necrotic harbingers of the crypts. Yet even despite the gleaming proficiency of its environments, the distended activity, the voices lilting through the encampment and throng of warriors skirting through their respective adventures, it all feels artificial. Like a vibrant hub. Whereas the world created in “The Witcher 3” felt crafted, nourished, Tamriel feels assembled, like a gestalt collection of architectures. The Witcher was less environmentally reductive, almost nurtured by the expanse of time whereas Tamriel has been rectified by the pruning nuances of Allen Titchmarsh!
The very circular nature means that The Elder Scrolls is structurally repetitive. Quests are merely arbitrary tutorials disguised as localised jaunts, such as crafting armour or other suppositories, though regulating your provisions is tedious affair, as your be forever monitoring every material you pick up just to avoid encumbrance, extracting only the most necessary commodities for trading. Combat is adequate if not proficient. It’s more a case of swinging sword until it connects with something, with that something often being nothing, which still counts?! Enemies, of which there are sundry of varying distinctions, lack combative variation with skill sets so telegraphed that they may as well come with their own narration. Perhaps Attenborough or the combined radiance of Morgan Freeman or Stephen Fry? They expend so much time Warning you by bracing their sword and turning red that you can block with ease. “Warning, I’m informing you that I’m going to attack you. Brace yourself. Seriously, I mean it. I’m bringing the hurt! Okay…… Yarr! Damn, you blocked it!” You can distribute skill points to specialist attributes dependant on your style. There’s also Comfort in utilities and weapons that retain a level of efficient durability, rather than disintegrating after one use. And despite purported server complacency I found the game to run smoothly and efficiently, for the most part anyway. I was discouraged by passive aggressive hindrances that determine when screenshots can be taken though. For instance several attempts to capture visual evidence of its latent loadings and failed server connectivity, presented me with notifications of inability to do that? It’s like the game doesn’t want me to document it’s frailties? Is it self-aware? Is this the hypothesised singularity we’ve been warned about?! I don’t know. Loading times have however been fluid, with instances of frame rate lapses though frequent are hardly game breaking.
So there we are: The Elder Scrolls Online, except for when it’s not! It’s difficult to judge amicably. It bears all the hallmarks of the elder scrolls. It’s dense with steep documented lineage, chronicled in historical tomes and anecdotal musings from inhabitants that gives Tamriel a unique sense of actuality. It retains all the placid equanimity that makes the elder scrolls both endearing and ubiquitous, just corralling many of the games themes in a more detailed social environment. Your explore as much of Tamriel as you can, but level caps will limit your ability to veer too far off the set cause unless you’re at least actively engaging in the main plot. Your be braced by the fleeting appearance of insubordinate companions that would much rather chastise and steal supplies from your cadaveric body than revive you. You’re resent your austere countenance, your penitent and exhaustive means of transportation every time your overtaken by someone garbed with beautifully embroiled armour that glistens every time the sabre-toothed tiger they’ve riding trots off. You’ll hate the penurious grasping denizens that cloister every coin they can and granting you a feeble share for returning a book from Daedric madmen! But your keep playing. Perhaps because you’re hoping it’ll get better. Maybe because you resent paying so much money for a game and not playing it. Or maybe, just maybe, mediocrity can be this compulsive.
Let me know what you have made of The Elder Scrolls Online? Cheers.
“In 2014, a crap commando unit was sent to prison by a military court for a crime they don’t remember commiting. These men promptly escaped from a minimum security stockade to the Los Santos underground. Today, still wanted by the government they survive as soldiers of fortune and narcissism. If you have a problem, if no one else is stupid enough to help and if you can find them……maybe you can hire The Ahh!-Team.”
“This is a little random, but go with it……”
We entered the publican with haste, bristled by our clear visibility as two strangers entering a town replete with citizens that wretched at the defamation of their culture and sneered at the advent of mysticism and conjurers. I had to conceal my identity as well as hers to avert any idle speculation adapting into aggressive subjugation. Ordinarily we would have camped out on the heath, distance from prying speculation but we needed accommodation sheltered from the harsh elements, sustenance and various supplies as our own suppositories had been depleted by our fierce encounters by our perusers. The establishment was gloomy, bereft of life and vibrancy. The ambient light receded behind the curtains that draped over the small partitions that barred the windows from the external luminance, granting a modest riposte from recognition. I barely had time to acclimate to the comprehensive dim before the proprietor glared at us with incredulity, conveying evident gestural dubiety as I guided my companion to maintain temporary residence at the table closets to the fire, and proceeded to enquire into the availability of temporary tenancy. Still appraising my obscure garbs and studded sheath that made it discernible that I rarely frequented such reproached abodes, his hesitancy to comply to my humble inquisition was becoming a deterrent. After a curiously aphonic evaluation, a short nod of his head indicated that accommodation was available.
We bartered momentarily before purchasing necessary provisions that had been vacant necessities on our erroneous travels. After our brief negotiation, generous reparation was settled for our restitution and I cantered back to the surreptitious confines of our table, carrying 2 bowel’s of mutton soup, a small wine and a flagon of mead. Her head was declined with her distinctive features canopied by the enveloping hood of her robe. With her hands stretched out clasped in one another’s embrace, seeking the warmth emitted from the fiery hearth her nose began to rankle at the aroma of the mutton. As we began to devour the miscellany of vegetables and meat swimming in a glazed stew, the previously vacant establishment was now clamorous with local activity. We promptly devoured our respective beverages, cleansed our bowel’s of there saline contents, endeavouring to retire to the agreed residence without attracting the passive curiosity of the provincial patrons. With the room filled with a cacophony of musical joviality with our discretion now omitted, wary of our arrested safety we jostled through the mingling throng of intoning natives, until I felt firm restraint grip my shoulder. As I prepared to relinquish his compliant constraint, with my hand gripped tightly around the hilt of my sword, carefully extracting its acute prowess for slaying, my eyes darted to meet his and gasped a the visage that confronted me……
His features had inverted, exposing the un-rendered sinews of his face. His eyes bulging, teeth sneering with derision, penetrating my very soul! I stepped back startled by the sudden necromancy that had afflicted the recipients in the vicinity, with some demonstrating odd muscle elasticity in their extremities. Legs began to splay upwards, necks elongated, protruding like the body of a serpent. Stationary individuals became mobile without the use of their apparitional appendages, appearing to buoyantly navigate the tavern like spectres. But before I could confront these devilish apparitions, the ground beneath dissipated, to which I plummeted into the depths of oblivion before being frozen in time, forever!
I’ve never been inherently proficient at gaming. I’ve never really asserted dominance over a game without at least a sturdy resolve or resilience. It normally transpires that I’m in such a rush to reach the end that my provisions are rarely ameliorated to full effect, as in the case of The Last Of Us. I’m consciously aware of my limitations, discerning many culpable weak points that are ruthlessly exploited in an on-line capacity, but I still adamantly advocate these verifiable admissions with a presumed ignorance to the contrary. This dearth of narrowed credulity is an evident tuition of convenience and intuition, as I gain a periodic feel for the game. I dismiss any other stratagem with brazen flippancy, methodically accessing situations with granulated approach, competent in the respect that I posses a firm grasp of the basic fundamentals; I can’t access this door so I’ll find an alternate route, I can’t bypass this highly elaborate lock with my own simple brain capacity, so I’ll throw my controller across the room in a blind fury, dislodge the accursed disc from my console and shout expletives at my own image that is reflected in its circumference form, rather than resolve the applicable statures with composed deliberation (stupid WatchDogs!). So imagine my surprise when my renounced mediocrity amounted to, well success in a competitive Killzone match.
The Match began in much the same way I have become acquainted with; my predictable capitulation and death. After succumbing to an additional expiration I began to settle, atoning for my previous demeanour’s by landing precision head shots with a couple of clandestine manoeuvres. My covert insertion into enemy territory provided sufficient indentations for reconnaissance and cover from any pursuers wayward assaults. Our opponents were seemingly content to merely delay conflict, congregating in a little formation at the foot of their base. Me, in a rare moment of decisive clarity threw a subversive device with such encroaching velocity that it decimated half of their team! The dispersion range was limited to around 10 feet, leaving the smaller pockets of resistance so disorientated by the blast that I could defeat them with cursive pace. Suitably poised and falsely asserting an accursed swagger, polarised in this instance by my sudden need to pop, lock and drop, I absolved, curiously awaiting for the typical declination that was strangely festooned on my competitors as they continued to yield to my desultory enmity. After multiple kills and a brief recovery period to replenish my dwindling artillery, I resumed my inexplicable dominance by dispatching two distracted aggressors by quickly converging in their vicinity and swiftly alleviating his/her lingering mortality. Verging on the faint resemblance of proficiency, I continued to utilise my feral aggression and dispel another heavily secreted enemy before ascending a steep gradient and succumbing to the same affliction. The match was over.
Judging by the numerical affluence adorning their pseudonyms that indicate the number of challenges each competitor has completed, the match was frequented by visibly accomplished veterans more accustomed to success and dominance; but not this round. Though many were verbally disgruntled by my usurping sovereignty, as I continually warded off a barrage of looming hate and japes often exerted as “noob”, confirmation of my authority was affirmed when the leader-board clarified my position as the bee’s actual knees, where I found it prudent to mark this miraculous occasion with a provocative robot dance (which I couldn’t possibly demonstrate here). I never could have conceived that I would have ascended to such opulent heights. I’m by nature the back up, the supportive pinion in a greater apparatus, the superfluous associate that rears up with interspersed penetration when warranted, the acoustic guitar in a metal band, the lettuce in a burger king whopper, the bra on ample bosomed lady, the…..well you get the idea. This was a domain reserved for the exhibitionists that, for a brief period was accosted by a player of modest ability, a player regularly relegated to the fringes of the statistical relevance, a participant who on many occasions throws grenades when I had actually intended to aim, and a gamer that wasted 10 mins attempting to figure out where the discs are inserted into a PS4 back in November. Yeah. That’s right guys. Me!
What was your favourite on-line accomplishment?