In Mare Crisium: Unpleasant Solitude

It's not the kind of place to raise your levels.

It’s not the kind of place to raise your levels.

This post isn’t being linked on the Fansite thread. It doesn’t contain any play updates or game-related news. It’s just about me.


 

Mare Crisium is Latin for “Sea of Crises.” It’s one of the ancient dark spots on the moon where ancient volcanoes poured lava onto the lunar surface.

I bring this up as an analogy to a Log Horizon reference. That’s the wonderful light novel and anime that depicts the lives of ordinary gamers who are sucked into a world that emulates (but isn’t completely) a fantasy game with rules very similar to DDO.

Adventurers in that game/world are immortal, but death is still a strange experience for them. When the series’s hero dies, he eventually finds himself temporarily on a very stylized watery shore of Mare Tranquilitatis, the Sea of Tranquility. As with DDO, the Elder Tale game has numerous servers, and “Moon” was one of them, an experimental one like our Lammania server (now host to Update 26 as of this post).

With the game now a reality, the Moon server has become the Adventurer’s temporary afterlife. The price for going back are small fragments of their memory of their past life in the real world.

But there’s little tranquility where I envision myself. Gaming for me, from a social perspective, resides in the Sea of Crises.

For me, Mare Crisium exists with two worlds. Over the past weeks I have staked an existence on the Cannith server, with Mericletica the Zen Archer and Gadgetetica the Rogue occupying my attention. I’m with a guild there, thanks to Saekee, and it’s airship is well-equipped.

But no more than 1 additional player is active on that 105 level ship on any given day. There might be 40 characters total in the whole guild. I was told that the guild is primarily filled with soloing players.

That’s cool. I’m used to playing alone, but then there is the server’s apparent population. I’m sure there’s plenty of players, however, not nearly as many on Ghallanda. I suspect that many raids and quest runs are internally done, without public grouping. There are a number of guilds, but only several very large ones and many, many low-level guilds. This disparity probably makes it hard for the smaller guilds to grow, certainly causing challenges in completing some quests and most raids.

So, it’s a little lonely on Cannith. I love my new characters there and I’ll certainly see how the Zen Archer works through Epic soon enough with a first-life character. But there are few friends with whom to celebrate there.

So, I log out from Cannith server and log in to the populous Ghallanda server, my first guild home, where Ryncletica, Szyncletica, Kiricletica and many others reside. And I feel alone all the same.

This isn’t a post to rant about player participation in terms of grouping. It’s a bit more personal than that.

As many of you might have learned, a guild can form a personality. Often that’s based on the guild’s purpose or theme. Zerging. Raids. Power leveling. The guild’s personality often generates a mood that determines how players congregate. Some may choose to power level. Others prefer specific quests.

And often you befriend others and make regular quest runs together. Often for my old guild, it was not only for loot and XP but for company.

But right now, I feel as alone on my Ghallanda guild as I do on Cannith.

My initial realization in the lack of guildmates asking me to join them to play, with no responses when I’ve regularly asked if anyone needs help, caused me to remove Syncletica from the guild in a fit of spite, partially also as I had legitimate plans to form a Monk support guild for new players there.

Guilds often form cliques. That’s natural. But the cliques that exist now don’t include me. Player turnover, as gamers come and go or become inactive, is inevitable. So do those friendships that develop. I’m not quite part of any of them now.

Every day for over three weeks now, with a couple of exceptions, I’ll log in, check who’s online, say hello and see if anyone’s near my level of my current character.

Yet I cannot find anyone that’s interested in running with me now almost all the time. I’ve purposefully spread out several characters to accommodate different levels. I’d hate to think that was a waste of time.

The funny thing is that I shouldn’t feel all that irritated about this. As a person, I like my solitude. I play Ninja Spies primarily because they are solo-capable. But joining my first guild so long ago has conditioned me to appreciate parties and voice chat and laughter.

It’s never been about the loot.

And it’s never been about this blog, or the Monk guide. These things grew from my love of the game and wanting other players to grab that foothold as I did and leap off into a new world with a little less fumbling that I experienced.

Getting a handhold on Cannith shows me how expensive it is (time and resources) to play on any server. So I have to make due with what I’m honored to have.

I’m not the most social creature. And gaming is probably the province of the young. I’m not so young. It’s a little difficult sometimes for me to post a group.

Mericletica and her sisters on Cannith may never see a major raid unless they post a group for it themselves. It’s harder on Ghallanda to join them as well, although often now this is because the raid times conflict with family or require flagging I cannot do because it’s a slower process without help.

The elephant in the room is obvious.

You can only solo a gaming world for so long before you need assistance. Sometimes I wonder if doing this blog or the guide is alienating me from the camaraderie found in guild play. If that’s the case I’d happily cease posts here and updates to the guide. But I don’t think that’s it. Nor do I put blame to my guilds. The leaders cannot fully control the behaviors of all members, there’s real-life matters to oversee, and my interests may not coincide with other players. I guess I wish I knew what interests they had.

I guess, as with my many characters, I must somehow seek greater enlightenment to achieve tranquility as my time in the game matures. I’m stuck in the not-so magnificent desolation where player personality, preferences and availability make it harder for me to group up.

I certainly hope that most of the other servers aren’t as stratified as Cannith. It’s all too easy for many of us to become stuck in our gaming ways.

It’s too bad I can’t accept every invitation I get through here so we could log in all together and curb-stomp this game. At least I’m privileged to share my experiences with you. But solo-gaming can turn quickly into vanity blogging, so it’s fitting that I keep trying to “fit in” with my guilds and servers so I can write things of interest to you. I don’t learn anything new completely on my own. This blog and the guide only get by with more than a little help from its friends.

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21 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Shawn Wilson (@shawnvw)
    Jun 01, 2015 @ 16:38:56

    If, as you say, you get so many party invitations through the blog, what’s stopping you from accepting some of the ones on Cannith and Ghallanda?

  2. Saekee
    Jun 01, 2015 @ 16:39:39

    hey Spence, sorry the guild is so quiet. I know what you mean–it can be a bummer when it is just one soloing about. If you want to try a different guild, I totally understand.
    When you get to epics I look forward to teaming up with you–doesn’t matter if you are in a different guild or not! I play so sporadically, though, and often with short sprints of time, but hope to meet up.

    • teachersyn
      Jun 01, 2015 @ 20:09:21

      Don’t feel bad at all; I’m happy to join in and with a stocked airship. I raised the guild level myself over the weekend. 🙂 I’m not leaving, but I’ll be thinking how I can get more participation. Notice that I’m an officer now? 🙂

      • Saekee
        Jun 01, 2015 @ 20:44:25

        I am glad to hear it. I had messaged Anthraks so I am glad you were promoted. Since I do not play regularly, I have never tried to recruit and set up raids etc. But if you are up to it, I will naturally support any new recruits with crafting etc.

  3. James
    Jun 01, 2015 @ 18:13:13

    I stick to Thelanis as I am concentrating on one char. If you ever there drop Hinoiri a message and we go do some runs.

    • teachersyn
      Jun 01, 2015 @ 20:10:19

      Thanks, James. I’m thinking of making one character on select servers, if nothing than to pester other bloggers like GamerGeoff, Evennote and BonnieBew until they get me banned. 🙂

  4. erdrique
    Jun 01, 2015 @ 19:02:46

    Hey Spence I can definitely understand the situation. The Crypt Crawlers are an extremely small guild and we typically only have one or two players on a night, with the weekend giving us a few more. It can easily feel lonely and it sometimeseems makes me nostalgic for the early days of the game. With that said I continue to work on recruiting and to knock out quests as much as I can. Hopefully you will be able to find that balance.

  5. geoffhanna
    Jun 02, 2015 @ 09:06:36

    The best way that I know to find groups is to put up the LFM myself. Don’t wait for others.

    Not guaranteed of course, but still.

    • teachersyn
      Jun 02, 2015 @ 09:18:09

      A simple way to find people. I guess it’s surprising how reticient many of us are in using that feature. Introversion does not help a gamer get out of his shell to interact with others, even other gamers. I know that’s part of my problem. That, and PUGs can be ugly.

      • geoffhanna
        Jun 02, 2015 @ 09:25:40

        Yes PUGs can be ugly. But the fact is that I ran PUGs almost exclusively for years and had a handful of bad experiences. Versus hundreds where nothing bad happened, and dozens were I met delightful people that I liked.

        Starting a PUG is not hard. Don’t worry that you have to be some kind of micro-managing dictator that knows every wrinkle of the quest. You do not.

        Do it. 🙂

  6. Tholgrin
    Jun 02, 2015 @ 11:09:50

    I might hop over to Ghallanda just to say hi and maybe do a few runs.. although I’m pretty heavily invested in my little ragtag bunch on Orien! If you happen to hop on there, toss a note to anyone you see in Full Moon Fury – they’re all my alts 😛

  7. DDOCentral
    Jun 02, 2015 @ 14:16:55

    Reblogged this on DDOCentral.

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