"All sorts of entertaining" - Elizabeth Seckman

"Michael and his pals make me wish I lived in Adelaide" - Cherdo

"If I had a daughter, I'd send her to Australia to meet him (and marry him)" - Robyn Alana Engel

"An Australian version of me. Only younger. And Talented. And better looking. Okay, nothing like me." - Al Penwasser

"Whom must I fuck or pay to get a quotation at the top of your blog post?" - Janie Junebug

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

New Experience Challenge Week 21: MMORPG

For those who don't know (and I didn't before I tried it), MMORPG stands for Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game. It's one of those games you play on the internet where you create a character and travel through villages completing quests and battling things. World of Warcraft is the biggest one. It's also the only one I could think of. So on Monday, when I decided to play one of these as my new thing for the week, I first had to look up a list of games that were available.

Trusty Wikipedia came in handy here. It had a lists of all the MMORPGs online. When I got to World of Warcraft, it had a note next to it that said it required a subscription of $14.99 a month.

What??!! No thank you. I'll keep looking. Surely some of these medieval sounding words is a game I recognise. Ah, here we go. Runescape. Free to sign up, with an option to become a member. I don't think I'll be taking that option, but it's nice to know it's there.

I downloaded the game and opened it up to find a welcome page set out like a castle courtyard. I did the usual sign-up stuff - Name, email, username, password... When I clicked enter, an error message came on on the screen. "The password you've selected is one commonly used by scammers."

Really? A few things happened in my mind at that point. Who are these scammers? Are they people who make accounts and then try to convince other players to hand over real money? Are they hackers that break into your account and steal all your stuff? The last thing I'd want is to lose my Sword of Truth and my Magic Armour of Gargaroth after I've worked so hard to get it. Are they accusing me of being a scammer? If so, why would they warn me of it so I could just pick another password and get in anyway? And most importantly - How come all these so-called scammers make their password "Pokemon"?

I changed my password and continued. Now was the time to create a character. I don't know if you've had to create a video game character from scratch, but it's bloody hard. The only easy decision in the whole process was whether to make it a boy or a girl, and even then I hesitated. I had to pick between all types of hair, facial hair, skin colour, tops, pants, shoes and hats. It got easier as I went along and got more of an idea of what my character would look like. Finally I gave him a name. Kyle seemed appropriate. Nope, that was taken... How about Steve? Nope. I was going to have to get creative. I eventually came up with Diego Jones.

I wasn't expecting to become one of those guys that gets hooked and spends all day and night on it. I couldn't see how that could actually happen. But when it took me to the first world, where my adventure would begin, I was blown away by how pretty it looked. It was bright and sunny. The roads and buildings were made of white cobblestone with splashes of cloth and wood around the place. There were ships docked at wharfs, but rather than water, the whole place seemed to be floating in the sky.

A short plump man named Gudrick greeted me and told me I would be the next great adventurer. I needed to come with him to investigate some strange goings-on in the town. As he led me off, we were confronted by some zombies that appeared out of the cobblestone. It was my first experience with combat. Turned out it wasn't too hard. I just clicked on them repeatedly to hit them with my tin stick of a sword. It was later that things got more difficult, as the creature that had been raising these zombies - some kind of floating zombie sorceress - revealed herself. I beat her with some difficulty. I had to keep readjusting the camera as she moved around and then I'd move it too far and one of the walls of the building I was in would appear and block my view. But I got her in the end.

Gudrick then took me to another town where I met a guy that put me onto another quest. I had to go into a dungeon to perform three tasks in order to attain the Sword of Silverlight, which was the only thing that could kill the demon Delrith, who was being summoned from the demonic plane by Denash, the Zamorakian extremist. "Gee," I thought. "Why do people who play this game get called weirdos? There was nothing weird about that."

It was then that I looked at the clock. Holy... I'd been playing this for three hours? I felt like I'd barely accomplished anything. I have to get up at four in the morning on Tuesdays to produce a radio show. It was getting too late to keep playing. But hang on... Gudrick was back. He said there was a problem at the town where I started. Supply ships were returning with their cargo still on board and the sailors were saying there was a dark aura around the place. Well, I guess I had to check that out.

When I turned up at the dock, the sunshine had gone. The place was dark with fog hovering all over the place. I looked around for some clue of what was going on, but all the people had disappeared. I eventually found a girl cowering in her house. She told me about how these monsters had started to attack the town and drag people away. I had to go into the town sewers to find them.

When I went down there I found the monsters. They were these ugly blue-green man-sized hermit crabs that shot spit at me. I tore through them with my Sword of Silverlight. They were like "Woah, what's happening?!" Then I arrived at some underground caves and looked around at a small settlement of people who were all dead. I found a journal which described how these people were smugglers who turned up and found these lifeless little pods sitting in holes in the wall. As the smugglers settled in, they noticed the pods were growing. Then they started to move. A few days later, the camp was overrun and slaughtered. This was getting deep.

Further on, I had to sneak around to avoid detection by these bigger hermit crabs with big, thick armour. Finally I arrived at a big ship that was parked at the moor. I climbed on board, wondering what was going to be up there. Then two enormous tentacles slithered out through the portholes on the side and started attacking me. I started ramming the attack button repeatedly and trying in absolute vain to avoid getting hit. I finally beat the two tentacles into submission and the slithered back into the boat. But then two tentacles appeared on the other side of the boat and I had to take them out too. When I did... That's when things really went to shit. What was essentially a kraken burst up through the deck of the ship and tried to take me out. In hindsight, I should have seen that coming.

It took me a few goes to take it out. I died a few times in the process. The first time it happened, I turned up in the office of the Grim Reaper. He told me it wasn't my time to go yet, I'd have to step through a portal to get back to life. But I came back and eventually beat it. I'd like to know how it reacted to being in Death's office.

Ok, so by this stage it was past midnight. I had to be up in under four hours. I reluctantly shut the lid and went to bed. Tuesday morning I was off my game.I couldn't wait to get home and play some more Runescape. It was hardly the same as yesterday. I was at a point where I just had to wander around looking for more  quests. The one I found required me to find ingredients for a pie and feed it to a fat slob. It took me six hours. I couldn't stop. I was addicted. I was meant to head back to the station to read the news report for the afternoon. I called up the other news guy and asked him to cover me because I was pretty sick. I kept playing for another four hours. Then my mum walked in and said 'Are you ready?'
'For what?'
'The viewing. My uncle died, remember?'
"Oh, I can't, I-'

That's when I snapped out of it. I shook my head and shut the laptop lid. I don't think I should open it up again.

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