Bhagpuss writes a lovely lyrical paean to the joy of the MMO zerg1:

EverQuest began with no formal raiding structure but players invented one of their own, bringing larger and larger gangs to clear entire zones in a rolling wave of terror. When SOE formalized matters with the Planes of Power expansion the raid size was set at 72, a number that sounds pretty massive even today.

A spontaneous ‘rolling wave of terror’. Lovely. Reminds me of the very occasional WoW groups I’ve joined that would attempt to raid opposing faction capital cities (all of which have fallen apart due to lack of leadership - and the lack of PvP skills in a typical PvE player).

Every time Bhagpuss writes about GW2 I want to go and try it (again). But every time I do I get bogged down in the starting areas and abandon ship. It doesn’t help that the racial selection is so limited, and all the Norn female faces look like supermodels, but there’s something that stops me continuing each time. I’m not sure what exactly it is. Maybe the clunky storytelling (those cut scenes) or the endlessly spawning events (didn’t I already kill the Direwolf?). Maybe it’s the lack of rails, the free form nature of ‘do what you want how you want’ is too imtimidating, especially when trying to get a grasp on a whole new game and UI.

The completionist urge is also a problem - I don’t feel like I can leave the starter area until I have all the vistas, events, hearts, etc. In other words, it’s not the game, it’s me. When GW2 launched a bunch of WoW friends all jumped in arms open, but the only one that stuck around was the PvP fiend. Which, reading Bhagpuss, makes sense. The WvW game seems so strong, when it works, and while I tried it WoW drew me back pretty quickly.

I feel now like it’s too late to begin or catch up, though I still have a lonely browser tab of ‘GW2 tips for beginners’ open, just in case, and for next time the bug bites. And damn if I wouldn’t love to be part of those zergs.

  1. As opposed to the swarming version of SC2. ↩︎