Meeka was born on Final Fantasy XI many years ago and had the dubious distinction of being one of the few truly female mithra in the game. Meeka has been resurrected in many mmo’s since then [see Gaming below] and remains my favourite ‘toon’ [avatar to the rest of you]. But Meeka has always had a dark side – she writes when no-one is looking. The Writer is called acflory and her main claim to fame is that she is opinionated, verbose and has published a strange little sci-fi/fantasy novel about aliens.
I was recently told to write 7 things about myself. For better or worse here they are :
1. I’m opinionated but I think everyone knows that already
2. I’m a pollyanna who always sees the silverlining in every cloud except for hatred, that just makes me mad. [see 3.]
3. I’m fiercely protective of children and animals because they can’t fight back for themselves.
4. I love wild emotional music be it Deep Purple, Puccini’s Turandot or Archangel/Two Steps From Hell, which is what I’m listening to now.
5. I read until my eyes cross over because, well just because there are millions of books and millions of ideas out there and I can’t stand the thought that I may miss some of them
6. I play mmo’s because they give me the freedom to play in the worlds I normally just read about.
7. And I’m a passionate aussie although I’ve only lived in Australia since I was 4. This country is both very old and very young and nothing is impossible.
-thinks- there must be some job out there that I’m suited to… Wait! There is. I can be a writer, or something.
You can also find me on Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus
Tuesday May 21st, 2013
I have a few too many pages and things are getting messy. In an effort to rationalize my blog I’m combining the About, Gaming and Writing pages. Sorry for the confusion.
I’m rather old to be a gamer but I guess addictions can start at any age. Mine started about twenty years ago when I found a funny little platform game at a garage sale. It was called Crystal Caves and I bought it for my daughter who was about four at the time. Naturally I had to get involved so I could show her how to play the game …
Crystal Caves lead to Twinsen’s Odyssey, then to Snake Rattle n Roll on the Nintendo, then the Nintendo gave way to the Playstation One and suddenly we were playing Final Fantasy 8. Up until that moment I can honestly say I was not addicted but after FF 8 I was the one desperately looking for another rpg to play. I found it in Vagrant Story which we have played through at least eight times. FF 7, 9, 10, 12 and 13 followed but by then I had given up pretending I was only playing to keep my daughter company.
The turning point for me was Final Fantasy Tactics. I played it solo on an emulator and from that moment onwards there was no going back. Not only was FF Tactics my second most favourite game after Vagrant Story, it was also the game that lead inexorably to mmorpgs. I loved the freedom of being able to play when I felt like it and I loved the fact that I could indulge myself in the privacy of my own office. When FFXI online came out I just had to try it.
Even now, I love FFXI the best of all the mmorpgs I have played [and I have played a lot] but it became too addictive and after about a year I just had to walk away. Leaving hurt on so many levels. I missed my online friends, I missed the music and I missed the world but I had a life to reclaim so I deleted everything off my pc and began playing this ugly game called World of Warcraft online [hereafter just called WoW].
It has become very fashionable to denigrate WoW but at the time it was a very good game and, like it or not, it set the standard for the mmo’s that came after. For me, WoW was never as addictive as FFXI but I still ended up playing it through two expansions and about three years. I finally left when the never-ending quest to get better gear became too boring. By the end I had three toons at level 70 and all three had flying mounts and nice gear from the crafts I’d also maxed. I could have continued, or rolled another toon but what was the point? Besides, I was starting to see mmo’s with very nice graphics coming along and I have always been a graphics whore.
I tried Guild Wars and moved on. I tried Runes of Magic and moved on. I tried Horizons and almost stayed because the crafting was great but in the end the game just wasn’t balanced enough for me [and the graphics were ho hum]. I tried Ryzom and it folded. I tried Tabula Rasa and hated it. Then I stumbled on Perfect World [International]. That kept me going for a while until I realised I was spending more in the game shop than I would have spent playing a subscription game. Time to move on again. Tried a couple of promising mmo’s that ended up being eminently forgettable and was a bit lost until I bit the bullet and decided to give Aion a go.
For those who have never played Aion it is a beautiful game, quite literally. I have never had such fun customizing a character [or five] as I did with that game. Game play, battling and crafting were pretty good too but eventually I soloed my way to a level where I could not avoid pvp any longer. And that was when I began to fall out of love with Aion.
In WoW and many other games pvp is a choice. On Aion pvp was open world and ugly. I discovered what terms like ganking really mean and I realised that :
a) I did not have the reflexes for pvp,
b) did not have a fast enough connection for pvp and
c) did not enjoy killing other players on the rare occasions when I actually managed to win a fight.
I continued to play, avoiding pvp as much as possible but I was just marking time until Final Fantasy XIV came out.
Prior to September 2010 I’d read every snippet of information I could find about this new mmorpg and I knew I had to try it. Nostalgia did play a big part in that decision but it was the solo content that was the big draw card. If I could quietly solo my way through the game then I could play as a ‘hardcore casual’ and still have a life.
I need not have worried. FFXIV has improved a hell of a lot since its rocky launch but it lacks the magic of FFXI so it is very easy to play for an hour or two and then log. It suits me for the moment because the Writer is in the ascendant but like a faithless lover I’m already reading reviews on up and coming mmo’s.
I sometimes think I should just give up mmo’s altogether but the truth is that I’d rather spend my leisure time gaming than watching the crud that passes for tv. Besides, I used to joke that I would be the first 90 year old gamer in the world and you can’t give up on an ambition like that…
Update 2013 : Since FF XIV, I’ve played a fair bit of Star Wars the Old Republic [SWTOR to its friends]. I also have the dubious distinction of having soloed two characters to lvl 80 in Guild Wars 2. I’m still playing GW2 but I am thinking about playing The Secret World until Wildstar comes out. -sigh- I wonder if this is what a serial monogamy looks like?
I began writing ‘Vokhtah’ about ten years ago. It was meant to be a simple little story that I could finish quickly before I went back to the behemoth I’d started writing the year before. The behemoth is still languishing unfinished while the simple little story has morphed into a rather large trilogy. Book One is published and book 2 is on its way. I have also written some short stories, and the beginning of a more human-centric sci-fi novel tentatively titled Innerscape.
Busy, busy, busy. 🙂
Update : July 2013
Those short stories I mentioned are about to be turned into a short ebook – working title Postcards from Tomorrow.