Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Self-inflicted pain: online games.

There are times when you hurt yourself intentionally, and you love it. Yeah, some of us have those dayss. There's the time when you bang your head on the wall, idly, wondering why it feels so odd but you still keep doing it, all the same. Then there are times when you stay in a relationship that brings you nothing but pain, thinking that behind the cloud of angst and sorrow belies a sliver of promise.

Then there are times when you just idly sit by and do nothing but click away in an MMORPG that sucks so much...SO MUCH, you don't know why the hell you chose to use precious bandwidth to download the crap that would probably needlessly send you to carpal tunnel hell. You could have just streamed the latest top gay videos from Nico Nico Douga, but nooo. You just love having to mindlessly click away in a crap game that's going to give you physical ailments in the long run (backaches, headaches, heartaches, toothaches, what have you).

I picked up Cabal Online a few weeks ago, enticed by my officemates and the promise of having our own guild where we can have our jolly good time bashing ourselves to death and no one would bat an eyelash when we meet at work the next day.

...I knew that something's very, very wrong when the official site of the online game you're trying out uses Megaupload and Rapidshare to host the game client download file. This game, Cabal Philippines, was going to cause me pain - I knew it, but I went ahead and installed it anyway.

My suspicions were correct. Aside from the usual shitty atmosphere where thirty minutes wouldn't pass without hearing lametarded bot(witch)hunters harassing their quarry through global messages, there's the issue of having to wait for a few minutes, to half an hour, or more just to get into the game.

But I was being a sport about it. Hey, people still go for Cabal, I told myself. It must be good at some point, right?


After several mindless fetch quests and needless indirect harassment, or just plain annoyance, I eventually decided to drop the game.

Then my partner recommended some obscure game called Mabinogi.

My character, currently level 16

I thought that it was an anime series - I couldn't be bothered enough to actually do some research about it when I first saw Mabinogi in a questionable image board - but I was pleasantly surprised to find out that it was actually an online game that employs unorthodox online game mechanics, such as being able to develop your character with your choice of skills (no character classes here), as well as engage in other activities such as weaving, tailoring, and even music composition. Mabinogi sounded like a charm. More like the Sims (which I don't touch, not even with a ten-foot pole), but still a bit of a charm.

After I downloaded the client, though, I almost slammed the keyboard when I found out, too late, that the Global Mabinogi is actually North American Mabinogi. All IPs except Amerikka were blocked. America as the new definition of "global" nao? Whodathunk? Thanks to good Google-fu, I managed to circumvent the block by assigning an American IP to my PC (no, Hotspot Shield does not work), and try out the game for myself.

Granted, the game was fun. Until you get thrown into battles.

Suffice it to say that the character is mainly unresponsive while you ferociously click your way into carpal tunnel syndrome. It could be the lag, or it could be the silly charging time for attacks (both regular and special), or it could just be your utter helplessness of waiting whether or not your character will strike first before it gets raped by a mere puppy.

I don't know.

At least, I get to shear sheep.