Grinding to Valhalla

Interviewing the gamer with a thousand faces

Zonk (Chapter 3)

Posted by Randolph Carter on April 16, 2009

MMO community connection:

MMOG Nation

Chapter 3: Online

Were you ever exposed to MUDs?

Yes. In the mid-90s, I check out a few MUs on local BBSes in Madison. I honestly don’t recall their names and didn’t spend too much time with them. A friend of mine got a bit involved in one of the larger ones that allowed player programming, and invited me to check it out. That was probably my first social MMO experience. He later told me a story of how he created a hat as a vehicle/room, jumped into his hat, and was able to essentially scoot around in it. His fun ended when someone put on the hat and effectively trapped him in the room.

What was your first MMO experience?

As with a lot of people, my first proper MMO experience was with EverQuest right after launch. Some acquantances were playing it in College and I expressed a lot of interest in the product. They let me jump onto the client and create a character. A Troll, I believe, which would make it my first MMO character. I only occasionally played EQ again on the very rare occasion I was over to their dorm room; otherwise I didn’t really play MMOs until I got out of college.

If possible, list all the MMOs you’ve played extensively.

I’ve played pretty much every AAA MMO released since 2002, so I’m not going to go into detail of EVERY game I’ve played. Here are the ones I’ve spent a lot of time with:

  • A Tale in the Desert – I joined up sometime near the middle of the “First Telling”, and along with my wife made a pretty extensive encampment on a hill somewhere in (I think?) the Sinai valley. My mentor in the game made wine, and we’d go over to have tasting parties and hang out.
  • Star Wars Galaxies – I was in-world on launch day, and actually had my very first character go belly up due to server issues. I played hardcore for about six months and since then have only occasionally drifted back to it. At the end of my six month run I had an uber-powerful Mon Cal Pistoleer/Master Tailor that supplied uniforms to most of the PAs on the Starsider server. In the current game mechanics, he’s a Commando.
  • City of Heroes – I’ve played a Blaster named “Jacob’s Ladder” in the game since launch day. CoH and I have always had a very much on again/off again relationship, with my coming back to it every six months or so, usually just for a month or so. I’m currently playing CoH with the same group I tackled EQ2 with. We’re in our low teens with those characters.
  • Dungeons and Dragons Online – I played a Cleric up to about level 5 or so at launch and then jumped ship. I didn’t go back again until last year, where myself and some friend adopted it as a weekly play target. We, likewise, only made it to about level 5 or so before jumping to Lord of the Rings Online.
  • EverQuest 2 – I played EQ2 for about two minutes at launch before deciding it wasn’t the game for me. With the innumerable changes that have happened to the game, it became well worth revisiting as a target for a group of friends a few years ago. I played a Gnomish Inquisitor once a week for about two years or so, and made it into the high 50s. We’ve since moved on to CoH.
  • Guild Wars – I’ve played GW on and off since launch day. It’s fantastic not having to worry about a subscription fee. I leveled a Monk/Warrior to 20 in the first campaign, dabbled with a Necro in the second, and have a level 20 Dervish/Necro that I’ve played in the third and the expansion.
  • Warhammer Online – I’ve played a Warrior Priest up to about 20 or so, and have a Runepriest in her low teens. I’m not actively playing the game at the moment, though.
  • World of Warcraft – I’ve basically had a live WoW account since launch day. I’ve leveled a Dwarven Paladin to 70, a Human Mage to 60, and my current main (an Undead Rogue) is within spitting distance of 80. I also have a Troll Priest in his 50s, along with a slew of fun alts (all on the Horde side). I basically don’t see myself ever closing my account at this point, though I’m not always actively playing it.
  • Lord of the Rings Online – After playing a Hobbit Minstrel up to about 20 at launch, I set LotRo aside. In the last few months my podcasting buddies and I have been playing the game diligently once a week or so, and we’re having a ton of fun working through the group content. We’re now all about level 40, and really looking forward to Moria! I’m playing a Guardian named Grodomil, and I have a much-loved Warden alt sitting in her low teens.

What is your current MMO of choice, or perhaps, what are your current MMOs of choice?

Right now I’m playing three MMOs regularly. Ever week on Mondays I get together with the Podcasters of Bree to explore Lord of the Rings Online. On Thursdays I get together with the Shortiez, the same folks I played EverQuest 2 with, to play City of Heroes. World of Warcraft is the MMO I play for ‘me’, when I have some time to do so and feel like engaging in that sort of activity.

Which MMO have you spent the most time playing? How long would you say that has been?

In sheer in-game time, that’s probably World of Warcraft. As I mentioned above, I have leveled a number of characters into the ‘higher’ levels, though some of those higher level characters I’ve since deleted to avoid the temptation to play them. In terms of how long I’ve played a game continuously, that’d probably have to be EQ2. The Shortiez and I got together about once a week every week for about two years or so.

Have you reached level cap in any MMO? If so, which ones?

Yes. World of Warcraft, Guild Wars, and Star Wars Galaxies.

Loki taps you on the shoulder one day to inform you that you have fallen victim to one of his elaborate pranks. The world you’ve been inhabiting of countless MMOs to choose from and play has merely been a dream. In reality only one MMO exists. After laughing at you for a bit he decides to take pity on you and allows you to choose which MMO will remain. Which one would you choose and why?

I know it’s trite, but WoW really is the kind of game I like to play. I honestly wish that I’d spent more time playing WoW when the opportunity was available in past years.

Are there any MMOs currently in development that you are particularly interested in? Please explain.

Well, aside from my one-could-say overwhelming interest in DC Universe Online, I’m very keenly looking forward to Star Wars: The Old Republic. I imagine I’m not really alone there, but from everything BioWare is showing us it really feels like SWTOR could become my own personal WoW-killer.

Feel free to share an interesting or amusing anecdote related to your MMO gaming experience.

I have a lot of them, but most of them are really only amusing to me, you know? That’s one of the things I love about MMO gaming, how personal it is. A lot of people have been to the Mos Eisley cantina or IronForge, but we all have our own personal recollections of what those places mean.

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