He often used to say there was only one Road; that it was like a great river: its springs were at every doorstep and every path was its tributary. “It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out of your door,” he used to say. “You step into the Road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there is no telling where you might be swept off to.” – J.R.R Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring
This passage is how I feel as I begin to write the first entry of this blog. Trepidation, fear, but also excitement. First and foremost, thank you for taking the time to stop by. Let me introduce myself. My name is Mike, and I live in a small suburb of Philadelphia where I live currently with my wife of almost two years and a quite plump cat. To be honest, its a good life we have.
In my spare time, I do a ton of activities, from following sports, to fixing computers, to playing Ultimate Frisbee, to my primary hobby: gaming. I play a variety of every style of game, but I especially like MMOs. For those who do not know what I’m talking about, an MMORPG, or MMO for short, is a Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game. Essentially, its a game where you develop a character in a setting that is filled with hundreds or thousands of other players all doing the same thing. It adds a dynamic to your standard video game. Instead of going into the dungeon alone, you can grab friends or complete strangers and tackle the dungeon together. You can buy and trade items from other players in a shifting game economy. You can lose yourself in conversation and end up doing nothing more in a gaming session than just sitting in the game’s main city.
I first became interested in MMOs with the game that is currently sitting on the top of the MMO hill, World of Warcraft. I played it for about 5 years off and on. The world of Azeroth boasts huge numbers. The latest figures state a gaming population of about 10.2 million players. Relatively, thats comparative to the size of Haiti, or the 82nd largest country in the world. Huge. However, to me the game over time lost its lustre. I fell in love with the genre, but out of love with Warcraft. I started to read MMO blogs and news sites, taking in all that I can and then expanded my horizons with many more games… Guild Wars, Lord of the Rings Online, Star Trek Online, Fallen Earth, and Dungeons and Dragons Online just to name a few. Because I play so many games, I have taken on a very casual, exploratory style of play. I take my time, I like to see what’s in the corners of a zone, I like to climb that hill, I like to go into that forest or cave just to see what’s there. I like to jump from game to game, too. In a sense, I’m a MMO nomad, a wanderer. This blog will not mainly be about MMOs but will also focus on other games or just anything related to gaming in general.
Yet, I feel it’s time to take my relationship with MMOs to the proverbial next level. For years, I’ve been a consumer, reading articles and opinions, listening to MMO podcasts, and taking every quest and event the developers could come up with. It’s now time to take all of that MMO experience and give it back to the MMO community. I’m what is considered a “casual” player. I’m not into the big time consuming endgame raids, I will never give up my life to play, I just fit the MMOs in where I can. This is a universal style, though. To a degree, everyone is “casual” at some level and it is this perspective that I write from.
The last class in composition I took was way back in high school. I am not a writer by trade, as I’m sure you can tell, and do not expect to make a living from this. I write because I feel passionate about the genre and feel that I can make a difference. And if you have the ability to make a difference, then why not do so.
Most of my entries will not be as long as this one. They will mostly be thoughts or ideas or observations I come across in my gaming travels. I plan on periodically releasing a gaming journal, chronicling my explorations, including all the many screenshots I take along the way. Hopefully you’re as big a fan of screenshots as I am.
Again, thank you very much for coming to this site and for taking the time to read my scribbling. If you have any suggestions for entries or feel like getting in touch with me, please do so either through my Twitter account or email me, you’ll find my contact information below.