Introverts and MMORPGS

3 07 2009
Introversion

Introversion

RL4 had more than our share of high pressure social interaction and stimulation recently.  On RL4 our stock and trade is normally web development and site management. Lots of solo technical work at our workstation in our corner of the office landscape mixed with a dash of mostly one on one interaction with various content providers and database publishers.  Occasionally, the focus shifts to bursts of high stakes management meetings with high level managers representing different layers of our organization and others.  When this occurs and the time comes to get back to Rimor and Rubi-Ka, our introvert bursts forth and demands that we use this time alone while our inner subconscious sorts out the layers and meaning of our recent important social interactions.

Introverts need time alone to recharge and process. In the social MMORPG setting of Anarchy Online, this is often perceived as snobbishness, stand-offishness, and suspect.  We recently came across an article that describes very succinctly how introverts function, and how this is unfortunately wrongly interpreted by extroverts.  The article can be found here: ‘Top 5 Things Every Extrovert Should Know About Introverts.’

In addition to putting a damper on overall social interaction sometimes, soloing, either in missions, dungeons, or exploring, means slower leveling.  Slower leveling means that the few social contacts made when teaming bear less fruit since many of the former team mates will have progressed further and eventually beyond the level at which Baba is a potential team mate.  Add to that the fact the Baba is not the worlds greatest Fr00b tank or Enforcer and lets just say his dance card has an abundance of free time.

Baba is not complaining or asking for indulgence or pity, he just wants to be accepted for who he is.  His level of progress is his business and his enjoyment of Ruby-Ka is why he is here.  He is quite happy to see everyone level at their own pace and admires all that are above him in level and hopes to encourage those who are below.

So when a long 4th of July holiday came around and Baba came out of suspended animation, he did not seek out his guild chat channel, the Fr00b chat channel, or go to the looking for a team panel.  Instead he hopped in his Yalmaha and headed out from Newland City to do some solo exploring, one of his favorite Rubi-Ka activities.  You would think that after a year or so in this place, he would know every nook and crannie, but there is still vast stretches that remain unexplored to him.

Following the previous weeks AO 8th anniversary party, where a gaggle of Hecklers showed up to boogie, and when discussing in the AO Fr00bs forum, he learned that there actually were some Hecklers on Rubi-Ka, just waiting for any Fr00b to come and try their mettle.  Baba heard that in Deep Artery Valley, on Golem Island, there were Hecklers to be seen and challenged.

The mysterious Netrom, approach at your risk.

The mysterious Netrom, approach at your risk.

Baba took the grid from Newland City to 2HO, and from there he headed east in his Yalmaha.  First he had to cross the region of Southern Artery Valley and came across a spot he had always been curious about due to the name Netrom on the map.  It is a very large compound of the type of buildings seen in Bliss and the abandon cities at the far western edge of Longest Road.  It is surrounded by dense wooded areas, with lots of 100+ level mobs.  When Baba was tabbing through a large number of forest mobs just to get a feel for the types of mobs, his heartbeat increased when he saw the dreaded Desert Eremite show up.  He flew off to another corner of the exterior of the compound and hovered low to the ground to continue to visually ID some of the mobs when a huge Eremite appeared directly below him and made it clear if he got any closer there would be trouble.  The compound is laid out like a military castle, with several walled areas within each other.

Assault Commander Pax, view from a distance if you are a lowbie.

Assault Commander Pax, view from a distance if you are a lowbie.

In the central compound there appeared to be a number of high level Omnis including one Assault Commander Pax whose health bar took a good portion of the screen.  Baba kept his distance at a very high altitude, and resumed heading north east.  He eventually came to Deep Artery Valley where he first passed Drill Island.

Shrouded in rain and mist, the dangerous Drill Island

Shrouded in rain and mist, the dangerous Drill Island

This is a very curious island where the only entrance is via a narrow tunnel on one side.  Baba had heard from others that this place was quite exotic with high level mobs capable of warping and other nasty habits, so as a solo he declined to enter.

Next he came to Enigma Island.  Again, this island can only be entered via a single entry point, however this one allows you to do so at high altitude.

Enigma Treehouse, and some trees with red health bars

Enigma Treehouse, and some trees with red health bars

Once inside but still from high altitude he spotted a number of strange forms of and the even stranger tree house.  This was not his destination, so Baba again kept his distance, and passed on.

Eventually after heading further north east he came to Golem Island.  It again is a island with only one entry point.  The whole island is one big spiral, so the entry point is a canyon that spirals inward and up.

While he paused briefly at the entrance, Baba spotted several giant sand worms bobbing around in the water, something he had never observed before. All the giant sand worms he had seen to date had been in mostly desert settings.

Drill guards carbon rich rocks on Golem Island

Drill guards carbon rich rocks on Golem Island

Just past a arch of rock at the islands entrance Baba started to see large carbon rich rocks strewn about the ground. He was thinking of dropping down and picking up a few when he spotted his first Golem island mob not too far away.

It was a Drill, and it was quite a few levels higher than Baba.

Baba used altitude to get past this obstacle and soon came to an odd looking pile of boulders in the canyon.  When he targeted it, it was identified as a Golem.  It was the same distinctive pile of boulders that he recognized as the inert version of the Hecklers he had seen at the party.

Baba spots his first native Golems (Heckler look alike) at Golem Island

Baba spots his first native Golems (Heckler look alike) at Golem Island

This one was a few levels below him, and he might have had a shot at him, but there was an another Drill close buy that was very much over Baba’s level, so Baba, stayed in his Yalm at a safe distance.

Baba was able to navigate to the center of the Island where he observed several more Golem/Hecklers that were also much higher than him.

After snapping a few screen captures, Baba headed back west to the nearest player city in Southern Artery Valley.  Just before getting there he stopped to inspect a strange looking mine site found in a unusually green canyon with large green rocks in it.  Not too far away, he also observed a level 165 Dyna keeping watch over a campfire.

The player city that was his destination in order to whompa back to Newland City, was not your typical cookie cutter layout, but some of it had been placed smack dab in the middle of a river.  The creators (actually two guilds building side by side, Genisis and First Element) had also made some interesting use of the z dimension (height) while providing numerous Whompa stations.

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AO 8th Anniversary Party on RK2

28 06 2009

Party smile

AO 8th Anniversary Party put a big smile on Babas mug

AO 8th Anniversary Party put a big smile on Baba's mug

There’s only one thing that will put a smile like the one on Baba’s face in this picture of him outside the 8th Anniversary Party for Anarchy Online, held on RK2 this past Sunday at the Reets Retreat in the glass floored disco.  Baba got into the swing of things by downloading and installing the GridStream player, which allowed him to dance along with the others to various metalhead tunes played live by the in house GridStream DJs.

The party was just getting started when Baba showed up.

The party was just getting started when Baba showed up.

When Baba arrived just a bit past 10 AM Central time, the party was in full swing.  The DJ’s in addition to cranking out tunes, held contests and gave away some serious loot.  During the 2 hours Baba was there, RK2 toons won tin foil hats, 8 million credits, and a sweet 30 million credits.

/LIST only showed 16, mini map shows soo many more...

/LIST only showed 16, mini map shows soo many more...

It got so crowded that Baba had to turn off the option to display names and titles above toons heads.  This helped a great deal keep the frame rate from getting too low to enjoy the scene.  One of the DJs had mentioned that this step would help deal with crowd induced lag.  Baba was a bit puzzled when he tried to use his list command to get a count of those present when it only showed 16.  The crowd must have been in the hundreds.  He was wondering if this was some new limitation introduced with the recent patch so the list command only lists no more than 16 at a time.  He is sure he has seen it list up to 60 players before.

Go Go Mr. DJ

Go Go Mr. DJ

Baba did his best to get into the spirit and after a while was able to remember and dust off his dance macros.  He quickly lost track of which one was playing and how many times he had activated each.  The huge crowd may have also contributed to his dance macros seeming to hang at times.  He saw some pretty impressive dance macros out on the floor that went far beyond stringing a few pulps and a few discos together.  RK2 coped very well with the huge crowd.  Baba is thinking the 18.1 patch may have contributed to how smoothly things went considering how large room was packed with gryrating toons of all sizes and shapes.

Hecks and Fr00b, together at last!

Hecks and Fr00b, together at last!

The highlight of the party, for Baba was getting up close and personal with a bunch of Hecklers that showed up to party instead of fighting.  The group ranged in size and alternated between dancing and running around like crazy to sitting in an orderly row.  Up till now, Fr00b Baba had thought he would never see a Heckler, much less dance with one.  Even though we have picked up an Anniversary 30 day all expansions key, Baba will have to learn second hand from a new Fr00b account toon about what Hecklers are like in their true environment. See our pool below.

Heck, lets dance!

Heck, lets dance!

It turns out the Hecklers really were NOT into dancing.  The were more into sliding around like they were on skates, gliding around and through the crowd.  It was quite fascinating to watch them morph from being just a pile of rocks, to jump up and start running around.  Baba wonders if they can do the ‘Rocky’ emote.

The big K made the scene

The big K made the scene

Baba has no idea if some of the guests were toons sporting morphs or ARK’s having fun.  A look alike to Kahlum from the Temple of the Three Winds showed up to lend the party his distinctive flair.  K was rather subdued, barely moving, so it was no suprise that no one got very close to him.  All the while, below the glass dance floor, a giant yellow rubber ducky commanded the lower floor area surrounded by a circle of birthday cakes and mini-rubber duckys.

Mini Brontos made it there as well

Mini Brontos made it there as well

Not to be outdone, a mini-Bronto or two could also be seen on the dance floor getting their boogy on.  They did look a little nervous though, with all those big troxes around dancing in a way that is sure to work up a big appetite.  Can you say ‘Bronto Burger’.  Even though there was some pretty strong no fighting gas, everytime someone mentioned eating, they flinched.  Just seeing them reminded Baba to run upstairs briefly to the wierd flesh walled room to hit the fry cook up there for a fresh burger.

Abbey aced the dance floor

Abbey aced the dance floor

Just when Baba was running out of steam and thinking of taking his leave, Abmouth Supremous, the boss from the Subway made an appearance  It was quite an opportunity to admire his ‘qualities’ up close at leisure without having to fight for life.  Baba wonders how Abbys dentist copes.