So my reputation as a gaming crack dealer is intact, as I spent part of yesterday teaching another gamer to play Magic: The Gathering. I guess it is fitting that we taught him at a Math Conference, considering it was invented by a mathematician. In my defense this time, the attendee asked for someone to tutor him in the ways of planeswalking, and considering I was not actually attending sessions but instead just waiting around to be needed, I volunteered. We met yesterday morning at 9:30 in the third floor commons area and I brought my patented “box o’ decks”. @Jay2thaVee was a complete rookie to the concepts of magic and had not purchased any decks. Thankfully I had left a few of the various $14 starters I have picked up in their original states, as those are pretty much the easiest way to learn.
Unfortunately I take “devotion to black” seriously, and every single deck in my box save for one had black somehow mixed into it. He played a white/black nyx prebuilt, and I was playing a black/blue theros prebuilt. Basically for the first game I played with my hand on the table, so he could see what exactly I was doing and when I was doing it. Additionally every so often when he seemed to lack a play I would nudge him a little bit to explain how the cards in his hand might be useful. By the time we got around to the second match he was up and running and ready to kick ass… and in fact he did just that. The second match was excellent in that it showed just how quickly fate can change with the play of the right cards. We both had cards in play that helped us soak back up some health in each upkeep so for a long time we were in a bit of a stalemate as I could only do as little more damage than he could heal up each round.
Thanks to an artifact that gave all of my creatures lifelink I was able to soak up quite a bit of health during this long drawn out stalemate. At this point I was starting to get a creature advantage on him as well as a health advantage. Then with a single play he rocked my world. Granted I had to explain how good the card he held in his hand was, and why he should play it… but when he plunked down Banishing Light. Now I must have been extremely tired or something, but I completely misread the card yesterday when we were playing. It says banish “target” and for some reason I read that as “all” non-land permanents. So I played it as though it was a complete board wipe, which made the game more interesting. He began to make progress on chipping down my extremely high health pool which was like 32 or something similar at that point.
Then I get the big guns onto the board with my Abhorrent Overlord. So I once again start whittling down his health at the same time as he chips away mine. I do 6 health, he regens 2, and so on until we get to a point where he has 11 health and a serious creature advantage on me, and I have my single big guy as he eats everything else I can get on the board and 9 health. He manages to do 10 damage to me in one turn and it is pretty much over. However of all the ways to learn magic this is one of the better matches I have played. It shows just how tentative a lead can be at any point in the game. When we misplayed the banish card, it looked like the game was over… but had i not had several rounds of getting crap to play I could have maybe pushed back to get the victory. In any case I think he is hooked and going to buy a couple of decks for he and his son to play together. Sounds like awesome times.
Last night I got a rather frank question from a friend of mine regarding Wildstar. Some time ago another friend had handed him one of the free trial codes that we got for preordering. He just now got around to trying it a month and a half after launch. While he enjoyed the game, it wasn’t like the most enjoyable thing he had ever played. His question was how many of the Stalwart crew were still playing, and if he should pick it up. He followed us into Elder Scrolls Online, and while he loves that game, he finds it extremely solemn to be playing by himself all the time. The big thing is that he didn’t want to jump into Wildstar and it to be the same experience for him. His question was, should he buy the game. Now I could have put the hard sell on him and lead him down a path that would have ultimately lead to disappointment… but I was honest with him.
For the most part in the circle of friends that he is part of… Wildstar has come and gone. There are a few of us who log in periodically but this game had probably the briefest of “glory days” of any title we have played to date. I only made it to 26 before slowing down and to the best of my knowledge none of us actually made it to the level cap. I enjoyed aspects of the game, namely the dungeons… but for whatever reason as much as I should love this game… the drive to play it was just missing. I am still piddling around, this time on the Exiles side on Evindra but running into the same lack of drive to log in. Everything about this game should be something that I really enjoy, and you could not ask for a better community team or company supporting it. But when I ask myself what I want to play in a given night, this game never seems to come up on its own. To be honest most of the time I was leveling my Chua Engineer it was the boom boxes that kept me logging in every night more than anything else.
So while I think there is a great game here, I had to be honest with him that he probably should give it a pass if he is only interested in playing with the Stalwart/Masks crew. I think one of the things that really hurt this title was the fact that we simply rolled on the wrong faction for the wrong server. Dominion side on Evindra is dead… like when I got to Whitevale I sat around for two hours waiting for someone else to wander by so I could take out one of the world mini-bosses and not so much as another adventurer came by at any point during that time. To be truthful it feels like wandering around Illium you might see a dozen other players at any given point, whereas on the Exiles side you are constantly bumping into people. The problem is with only 6 slots per server, it really negates the concept of playing both factions. Within a few days all of the people who were primarily Exile, had deleted their Dominion alts to free up space for more Exiles.
So once again we are stuck at the problem of having all of my time devoted into what has essentially become a non-starter character. So when confronted with the idea of re-rolling… I just can’t be bothered to put much effort towards it. Ultimately if my immediate circle of friends is not playing… then what exactly am I rushing around to get leveled to be able to do? I am sure I could roll with any number of the guilds on the exiles side, but I just am not sure if I have the social oomph left in me to start from scratch without being able to rely on the folks I hang out nightly with on voice chat. I feel like Wildstar might have run its course through the internet as well. I am seeing a lot of folks who claimed diehard loyalty to the game “taking a break”, which we all know is the beginning salvo in the “quitting the game” conversation. I am not ready to cancel my subscription yet, but I am just struggling to find reason to log in.
Dragooning It Up
Lately I have been back playing quite a bit of Final Fantasy XIV. I feel like I parted with that game on really good terms and it has always been extremely charming. When not working on hunts I have been working on leveling the dragoon. If we can convince a repeat of the other night to happen, when we all logged in to run a dungeon, that place me playing a DPS character. Ashgar unfortunately only has two tanks to 50, and I have a Warrior and a Bard. That said I have never really felt deeply connected with the bard. It does amazing damage and is super useful, and mostly was easy to level through Fates. The class I would far rather play dps wise is the Dragoon, so lately I have been taking advantage of the Duty Roulette option and running some random dungeons. I have to say the groups I am getting randomly are actually extremely friendly and communicative. I feel like maybe this game has crossed the threshold of shedding all of the folks who were caustic and toxic… and now really has devoted fans left.
I guess the real challenge will be what this game feels like trying to tank it with random groups. At some point I will work up the nerve and tank a random as my Gladiator seeing as I would really love to get to Paladin conversion levels. There is still a lot to like in this game, and it is the only Asian inspired title that has managed to create a male character I actually enjoy playing. There are proper beards here, and you have options other than “pretty boy” as far as facial features go. We will see how long it take for me to get this game out of my system this time, but so far I am really enjoying myself. I feel like at some point I need to dig up a list of what all new content is available, as there have been three rather large patches since I last played the game regularly. FFXIV is pretty horrible about advertising what is new from the game interface itself, so I think there are probably some other ways to level that I am just missing.
#MagicTheGathering #FFXIV #Wildstar