n. the feeling of being swamped by countless innumerable little things to get done and valiantly treading water just to stay in one place… only to look up and realize that you no longer recognize where you are… a shrouded foggy gloom of sombre silhouettes stands in the stead of where you thought you were… and the only thought in your mind is that you are now irrevocably lost.
That was me four weeks ago.
And the above is my little copycat nod to The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows, a fun little word blog I discovered via a TED talk about made up words to describe inarticulable emotions, feelings for which simple English words like happy or sad or bored or angry just don’t encompass the entirety of the experience.
See, I wasn’t -unhappy-, I was just busy.
Busy getting necessary things done, at work, in real life, attending raids, getting the odd Pokemon caught and Pokestops spun here and there, not quite following the weekly priority wishlist of things I’d quite like to get done, but most definitely getting other equally pressing matters done…
… and before you know it, the week’s over and it’s time for a new week.
Eh, maybe it’s a bad week. We have all those at some point or another. Can’t expect every week of the year to be productive, right?
The next week Path of Exile Legacy League launches. It’s a welcome distraction.
I jump straight into the new SSF (solo self-found) legacy softcore league, just to make things official and mostly to add to Grinding Gear Games’ stats, since I’d still be not talking or trading with anybody either way.
I’d previously been idly testing a life leeching axe duelist pre-Legacy League, wondering if I dared to make my own build and see how far it would get.
It seemed like a bad idea to try starting a league with a self-found melee self-created build though, so I went for a very safe previously-tested SSF starter, Pewpewpew’s cheap firestorm build that uses zombie meatshields. You can get away with ludicrously bad gear with this build and still function relatively well up to basic maps.
As RNG luck would have it, a +40% item rarity shield unique dropped very early on for me, and subsequently various rares all got rolled with +10% odd item rarity here and there. I went, “OK, what the heck, I guess we’re going to stack magic find instead of survival and see what happens!”
I end up collecting a stash tab full of uniques on my way to level 70, which is the point where my total disregard for any respectable resistances starts causing the occasional exploding into gory little bits by a single lightning spell hit.
Faced with the prospect of patiently re-gearing with more upgraded stuff and giving up the item rarity… and a bunch of shiny unique axes that are screaming “I would be awesome if you played a melee axe user…”
I decide it’s time to make an alt and try the experimental self-build, now armed with some shiny uniques.
It’s a mix of sunder for long ranged rectancular AoE and lacerate for closer single-target or small AoE cone, a bit of life leech and the plan is to go for as much evasion / life as possible and stretch into acrobatics and spell dodging.
I have no idea if it will work, but the fun is in the trying.
It’s a strange little revelation that hit me in the midst of leveling this fellow, at like literally level 5.
I was thinking, “whoa, two uniques have dropped,” “this melee cleaving is pretty fun” “I’m sure this will be really fun in the level 30-40s, though I have no idea how high I’ll reach before the build starts to not work”
and then it hit me, “So what? Killing things at level 30-40 kinda feels the same as killing things at level 60-70; cool unique stuff will still drop; you don’t trade so you have no standard of comparison as to what’s more profitable or no, everything to you is a potential cool thing that a new alt could use.”
I made it to level 82 or 83 once a long time ago with an ancestral warchief marauder, so the Atlast of Worlds and mapping is not exactly unexplored territory, beyond the bosses that are still beyond one’s knowledge and gear capacity.
So there isn’t any actual need to keep pushing ever so higher and higher. Ladder climbing is not a personal motivator. Until Legacy League ends and the ten acts of Path of Exile drop, one is essentially repeating the same scenery over and over in normal, cruel and merciless difficulty anyway.
The fun is in the random loot drops and the testing and tweaking of one’s knowledge of the game, and if I have to explode a hundred times from mistakes to do it, why not?
The last couple of weeks has also been tiresomely methodical on the GW2 front.
My raid group has developed an obsession with defeating Deimos on challenge mode, going for some 3 hours once or twice a week, not counting the additional normal clear day that is used to get all 13 normal mode bosses/raid encounters out of the way.
The issue with Deimos, and working as intended, is that one single person making a mistake essentially causes a raid wipe.
Since we keep going for three hours with no success, one can indeed conclude that mistakes were made.
It’s not any one person. It’s all understandable mistakes (or bad RNG with insufficiently thought out backup strategy.) People in critical roles like the tank or the flak (ie. nasty looking pink hands) kiters are under high pressure, they slip up once and bang, they die. Whoops. /GG. Restart.
Less adept people who have been carefully placed in less critical roles make the occasional mistake and slip up. Whoops, there goes the oil expanding and wrecking all in its path and the careful positioning and timing needed. /GG. Restart.
A teleport gets put on someone unexpected; people dodge reflexively in a different direction than previously agreed on; people miss a dodge; adds in later phases overwhelm players’ ability to process the encounter, causing panic which leads to a mistake… /GG. Restart.
Well, it is challenge mode, after all.
And I believe the intent is to have some encounters that are difficult to the point of requiring a group to keep practising for days and weeks until they get the execution just perfect, collectively. Some people like that kind of thing, after all.
And I don’t actually hate it, or have a strong opinion about it. I keep showing up, after all. It is interesting, in a way, to keep rehearsing a particular part in a performance and analyze one’s mistakes and try not to keep slipping up in the same way (mea culpa: the moment I panic, I dodge early…enter flying soon-to-be-dead asura).
It is, however, tiring as fuck. Especially to do it for three hours after a long day at work with no dinner.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s not something I want to stop doing. I’m an opportunist and opportunity in my kind of timezone rarely knocks twice.
But it does put me through the wringer. And after two, three days a week, it pretty much drains all energy and desire to do much of anything else. Especially anything else GW2-related. *shudder*
At the same time, accomplishments in any game feel increasingly meaningless.
Today, I’m level whatever in Path of Exile. Or I collected X number of resources leading to Y goal in GW2. Or I caught a Z Pokemon for the collection.
It’s a made-up goal that the developers have designed, that you’ve agreed to suspend disbelief to want, for the purposes of “playing” the game.
I start getting restless and game hop.
I go for a short spin in Trove to revisit things. Still colorful, still pretty amusing, still laggy as anything for my geographical location.
I poke my head into my singleplayer ARK game, die a couple of times to random dinosaurs while trying to remember how to play, wind up with a lucky violent dinosaur-free respawn, build a slightly less pathetic thatch hut that is four squares big, and bully a couple of low level dinosaurs – mostly because they’re stuck in trees.
It takes forever and a few wiki browses before I re-remember how to tame anything.
Huzzah, I have a tame turtle.
It still feels meaningless. Collect thatch. Collect wood. Collect berries.
I briefly consider playing my Minecraft: Terrafirmapunk game, but wuss out at the thought of needing to collect more wood and stone.
I give Shelter a go, it’s been on my Steam list forever and unplayed.
Before long I realize that I’m either emotionally dead to the plight of badgers beyond the metagame of trying to see which badger is the lightest in color to feed before it starves, or conversely too afraid of the eventual lesson of nature that one of the badger pups will wind up lost along the way or that death will inevitably come, for the badger mum if nobody else.
So I stop. The only way to win is not to play, and all that.
The real winner of my restless game wanderings is this delightful little Early Access game that was going on 33% off on Steam – Slime Rancher.
I almost never buy Early Access games.
I pretty much -never- buy a game at only 33% off, preferring to wait for 75% off, or at least 50% off if I want it badly enough.
I impulse bought it, mostly because the reviews were very positive and I -really- needed some cheering up and this seemed colorful enough to do it.
I don’t regret a single cent.
It is really that good.
It is unabashedly happy and cartoony and ridiculous as befits a game that is about collecting and selling slime poop… er, plorts.
It is also a game that works, has interesting content and a decent progression path, which is something quite unexpected for an Early Access game.
The slimes jiggle around and display interesting behaviors. If they’re hungry, they’ll mash themselves right against the walls of their corral, yearning towards the nearest piece of food they can see.
They start stacking atop each other, making little slime stack ladders, so that one or two of them will eventually hop over the walls and get out, the devious little blobs.
There are tabby cat slimes that will grab objects near them and play with them, tossing them willy nilly.
The fun is in the discovery though, and rest assured, there are more interesting slimes and and other things to be found in this game.
There are a few zones and objects still under construction, but by and large, the game is very playable even without them.
Especially when you want a mood lift. *Blorp*