Opting out of the Race

Over on Waaaaagh, they’re talking about “The Race.”

The Race is my pet term for the phenomena that happens at the beginning of any MMO launch, where players rush in the gates, then feel the compulsive need to flat-out sprint toward the end game out of fear of getting left behind. Left behind what? This isn’t the rapture, it’s a video game. Some yahoo is going to hit rank 40 in about 110 hours of non-stop, red-eyed gaming and be a minor game celebrity for six seconds. I’m not quite sure what Mr. Yahoo thinks, but I can assure him that women are not going to be throwing ovulated girlie parts at his feet because they want his awesome genetic legacy to live on. He’s just the first of several folk who think that the game “hasn’t really started” until they hit the highest peak.
So obviously nobody’s going to keep up with that, apart from a few insane hardcore guilds and their incredibly angry spouses. But there is this unsaid, palpable fear of getting left behind the main pack in those first few weeks, especially your guildies and friends who you want to team with.

(Emphasis mine.)
Like the original poster, I confess that I do have a certain amount of drive to get to the ‘top’ of the game, if for no other reason than the fact that I hate like hell to be the guy who can’t come along and play with my friends when they all want to run a new event and I’m not tall enough to ride the ride. I’ve experienced that to a small degree on WoW (not a lot, actually, since I wasn’t really IN a guild until after Grezzk hit 70), and a lot more on LotRO (where it seemed that someone was always organizing a group-event centered around a zone I wasn’t high enough level to survive).
((Dutiful props, here, to CoX and it’s Sidekick mechanism.))
With that said, I’m not really sweating this for the release of WAR. As much as I’d like to get into the game and go a little crazy, there are reasons I’m not (even though I did qualify for the early-bird week of play):

  1. Technical difficulties. It took ages to download the 9 gig client, and once I had it, the .zip was corrupt. Consequently, I need to wait for the actual install disks to arrive, and they didn’t ship til Wednesday. No head-start for me.
  2. AFK. The head start was last weekend. I was out of town. The “real” start is tomorrow. I’m going to be out of town (for the same depressing reason). 😛
  3. Other gaming stuff to do. Yes, I want to play WAR, but I also have stuff I want to accomplish in WoW and LotRO before THEIR next releases hit the shelves. I maintain that one of the best ways to balance one’s time in a game is to play more than one game. “Drugs are my antidrug”? Maybe, but it works. Tabletop games would work well here as well, but they simply aren’t as reliable for me at this point.
  4. Other stuff to do in general. Home improvements. TV and movies to watch with Kate. Kaylee-things. Writing. Reading. Just stuff.
  5. One must wait for the giants to grow up before one stands on their shoulders. Frankly, I’m lazy — I don’t like paying fifteen bucks a month to wander around fucking LOST for two hours while I try to find the little widget-thing that I need for a quest. If I wanted to get turned around and travel back and forth over the same area for an hour looking for something I KNOW should be RIGHT THERE, I’d drive downtown. Waiting a few weeks to get started and taking my time once I get in means that when I DO get into the game, there will be a number of lovely guides to tell me how-to and what-to and when-to and why.

So am I looking forward to WAR?
Absolutely. I want to play EVERYTHING.
But it will all still be there in a few days.
((And frankly, I’m going to kick ass no matter when I start. 🙂 ))

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