I'm posting this here mostly as a therapeutic sort of thing. I'll get to the real part in just a sec. But first, I'd like to wish my RS-wife seksievilcow a very merry 5-year anniversary! We've managed to keep in touch over time, or else that'd be pretty creepy. And no, I don't call her "cow" anymore.
One of the last things I did before going inactive on Sal's was get married. It was quite an ordeal - took over a year to get from "will you?" to "I do".
And now I'm here, writing this.
I came home from work to an empty house on December 2, 2011. Now, I'm not going to go into all the details of this - we're both human, we both made mistakes. I'm not going to try and tell you I was the perfect husband and I'm not going to rag on her as the wife from hell. That's not what this is about. It's about getting it out there because I feel like it's been bottled up for over a year. That said, it was definitely her that ended the relationship and not me. It came as a total shock at the time (though in ever-clearer hindsight, I can see the signs) and was absolutely devastating.
Since then, I've been emotionally struggling with all kinds of questions. What should I do with my life now that my original plan has been cut off? Where should I live - in our old apartment in the same city she's living in, or should I move back to my hometown? Will I ever feel that way about another girl? Do I even want to feel that way again? Will another girl be able to love me, knowing that I've been through this already at such a young age?
I'm almost done with all the legal things to make everything final (I owe her $0.06 as part of our settlement, but that's a story for another time). It's been really hard and taken longer than our marriage lasted to get it all done. It's also far less fun than planning a wedding.
This is the first time I've talked online about this. I feel like I've been dishonest with many of my friends because when all this happened, I didn't put anything on facebook, nor did I call very many people to let them know. A few have figured it out, of course (removing all your wedding pictures and getting blocked by your wife does tend to raise an eyebrow or two), but the majority of my friends from our old workplace still believe I'm happily married and my wife just didn't want to come along to the last gathering. And for Pete's sake, it's been a freaking YEAR. Any advice on how to break it to the facebook crowd politely would be appreciated. It's not so much that I don't want them to know, it's that I don't know how to tell them.
Anyway, that's what's going on with old wilt. Just in case you'd been wondering. I don't expect much that hasn't already been said from my close irl friends and family - just please respect that it's a sensitive issue if you choose to comment.
I've never bothered to find out what Breeze actually thinks about the world or how he posts, but I think I read some of this post and concluded he's just an idiot so why bother see what he does?
Very traditional Catholics (a specific branch of Christians; NOT Christians as a whole) see contraception as a sin. This law would have forced them and their representative institutions to sin (though following the order of the governing body may or may not be a sin... that's a tricky bit of theology that I doubt would be worth detailing right now). These institutions didn't want to be forced into the moral dilemma of providing sinful goods or disobeying authority. It's not about extramarital sex; that's completely off the table. It's not about "keeping up an image", as you suggest; it's about ACTUALLY being moral.
I've said this before... remind me not to drop by the breaking news or debate room forums. People are stupid.
It surprises me just how much non-runescape talk has outpaced runescape talk on this forum. While there's still a healthily-large chunk of RS players, it would seem that at least 50% of the forum members really don't play beyond the holiday events and maybe some parties or something -- if even that. Even when it is talked about, it's talked about much more as a chore or even just a social platform than a game. I realize a lot of this is on Jagex's shoulders because of the way they've changed Runescape over the past couple years, but how much of this change is the maturation of players?
Also, have you noticed the recent decline in the use of "dem kidz" as an explanation for dickish behavior on RS? Maybe people are starting to realize that the only people on RS anymore are the ones who've been there a while. I see precious few new souls in the RS discussion boards and it's a little depressing, because though I don't particularly like the game anymore, I want it do well and for people to enjoy themselves while playing it. Not to be ragging on those of you who still play, mind you, but it seems to me that RS has become a chore in the minds of almost everyone who plays -- an addiction, for lack of a better term -- and they all accept it and just keep playing.
Now, I don't want to sound harsh or mean-spirited by posting this. I'm just trying to figure out where Jagex went so very wrong as to seemingly kill nearly all the playerbase growth within just a year or so. I don't have access to their numbers, of course, but as a Runescape forum wouldn't it stand to reason that our growth and decline would pretty closely coincide with that of the RS playerbase?
Here are a couple popular hypotheses and my reaction to them, as well as my theory which we'll get to eventually.
1: Removal and subsequent return of free trade. This one makes no sense at first glance. After all, didn't we just change then change back so it shouldn't do anything to the recruitment rate? However, look at what happened a little more closely. When free trading was removed, we were given something like three months' notice. The people with the money (gold sellers and the super-rich, sometimes indistinguishable) had plenty of time to do whatever they wanted with the massive wads of cash that were circulating at the time. After the introduction of the GE, players who previously only focused on skills realized how much money was really changing hands and decided to start dipping into that as-yet-untapped world of profit that is merchanting. The old merchants, of course, were completely off their game now that there were more-or-less agreed-upon prices for everything. That little update set off the most impressive price downturn in RS history, which reached the bottom just about six months later after free trade had been removed but before any of the silly things Jagex thought could fix the economy had been implemented.
These, of course, ranged from the God Wars Dungeon (which siphoned money from uber-rich people to uber-combat skilled people) and PKing drop tables (introducing buttloads of pure cash into the economy) to seemingly little things like personal shops (as opposed to world shops) and the assist system. Jagex's attempts to "fix" the economy also came too closely together, and the playerbase didn't know what to do with them, thus causing incredible swings in the general goods index and making it nearly impossible to just go do something and know it would turn a profit. It was around this point, too, that merchanting clans came into the limelight and really started throwing their weight around, causing unprecedented price increases and subsequent crashes. A memorable (and profitable!) time for me was when they decided to bleed rubies -- I had a huge stock that I'd planned to craft with, and they nearly doubled in a single day. Of course, the majority of players (including myself) had the opposite problem 95% of the time -- we need raw material X and it's gone up to obscene price Y. Either we bite the bullet, curse the clans, and just buy the stuff anyway, or we let the scourge run its course and train in a week or so.
Essentially, new players are now faced with an insane economy in which they have the freedom to offer any price or accept any offered price, but every other player in the game seems to be incredibly wealthy and they'll feel as though they can't make offers in person. Using the GE is intuitive, yes, but it simply funnels more money into the pockets of those who live on price graphs and skim just a couple gold off the top of each transaction. As a new player, of course, they probably don't realize the full impact of the situation, but suffice it to say they DO recognize that they're not getting any richer even while leveling up. This view holds that it's all about the economy and just how incredibly hard it is to gain meaningful ground in RS as a new player, and that changed with the free trade/wilderness update the first time around.
The good news, if this is the case, is that theoretically we've reverted to a proven old system that was making plenty of money and keeping players relatively happy, and thus should return the playerbase to that state eventually. The bad news is that the damage is quite probably already done and now we and Jagex just get to ride it out.
2: Decreased support for free-to-play players. Let's face it. Someone who's just happened across an online game isn't likely to sign up as a paying member right away. This means the opening bit of gameplay is incredibly crucial -- performance, aesthetics, ease of learning, etc. all play a huge part in whether the player will even return the next day, let alone for weeks, months, or even years. It's not a secret that nearly all legitimate players on runescape these days are members, and it makes good sense. The members' game is massive, especially compared with the f2p game. Seven more skills, right? A world map something like 4 times the size? Ten bajillion more monsters to fight? Pretty darn awesome.
Those who know me may remember quite how vocal I was during my playing time about the way freeplay was perceived and talked about by members. While it's still a pet subject of mine, I've started to think about it on a bigger scale. Jagex isn't dumb -- they want money and so they want to make freeplay as appealing as possible. Here's their mistake in that little bit: they try to sell membership too soon. I can't tell you how many times as a level-14ish adventurer I'd be off exploring, hacking zombies, chopping a few trees here and there, and suddenly "You must be a member to open this gate" or "Only members can mine this ore". It kills the continuity of the game and crushes player enjoyment right there. Sure, they've taken a few steps to prevent it but the average player is hit with 5 opportunities to upgrade their account on the main page alone! That reeks of all the terribad asian MMO websites -- nearly any one you go to looks almost indistinguishable from runescape.com now. This is good? Not at all.
Another thing is the relatively recent decision to remove non-member characters from the high score list. The scores were the push to train for a lot of the higher-level freeplayers I know and knew, including myself. It's really nice to see a line of 70+ numbers after typing in your name, or watching your rank increase as you train a skill. With that gone, where's the fun in training, say, smithing? It's not remotely profitable for freeplayers unless you're smelting. Sure, the ability to make a mithril platebody would have been cool when I was level 25; not so much when I'm level 98 and sinking money into something that makes no real-world sense to be less valuable than the ore you pull out of the ground. The removal of the high scores means the only satisfaction I'll get training smithing is watching my little numbers go up, knowing that if I bother bringing attention to it people will either a) boast about THEIR skill in the level or b) simply ignore me. Some of the reduced satisfaction in leveling is the community, of course, but when you're aiming for a particular level and know that everyone in the world could see it (if they wanted to, which they usually don't... but it's nice to think about), it gives you a much bigger sense of accomplishment than posting it in the corner of a runescape board and watching the record of your accomplishment slide off the front page into oblivion.
Basically, this view says that since new members are freeplayers and freeplayers are treated like crud, they don't stick around. The sad part is, it's very often true.
3: Too much social networking. This happens to be my view now. When I joined Sal's Realm, it was to find a quest partner for Shield of Arrav. I tried shouting in Varrock square next to the fountain (before it became that X bridge thingy!). I tried following random people and asking them. I even tried standing in a bank and offering my old shield and an uncut emerald to whoever would help me. No luck whatsoever. Joined up to Sal's and in twentyish minutes someone messaged me on RS and we played through the quest together. I have no idea who it was, nor if he ever became a regular like I did. In fact, I probably wouldn't have returned if I hadn't needed help following the questline to that stupid Prince Ali Rescue one, as I'd gotten sidetracked halfway through and had NO IDEA what I was supposed to do next. The guides along the side caught my eye, I trolled the site for a while and then decided to partake in forum discussions after a couple days.
Thing is, even through all the newby adventures I genuinely enjoyed so much, I was able to walk up to nearly any other character in the game, ask that person a question, and they'd respond. Usually not with "go away noob" (though that happened too), but with helpful advice and sometimes even walking to the next part of whatever I was asking about. Nowadays, we have clan chats. I think they did something weird with it along the lines of friends chats too, right? We have clan support. We have the ability and the apathy to turn off our public chat and just plain talk to friends and clanmates. I know I've been guilty of just chatting in clan chat while training and not bothering to pay attention to anyone around me. Not ignoring, per se, just not paying attention to the other avatars in the room besides myself. Who knows how many newbies have asked me a question and gotten nothing but silent sword-swinging? It's something I'm a bit ashamed of, as part of the role of an experienced and friendly player is to be, well, friendly.
Even then, we like to think ourselves welcoming and open to new clanmates but what's the system for joining our clan in-game? Someone from the clan has to invite the new guy. The new guy has to want to. Neither of those is going to happen if we just kinda go "eh..." and keep chopping with our chats on mute. Or mining. Or fighting. Or whatever else you do that completely ignores the other players in the game. Given enough interactions like this, the newby won't likely want to bother playing anymore. Quite aside from that, do you realize how much you can make someone's day just by saying hi? I remember the first time I tried fishing. I was something like level 25 and embarrassed that I'd gotten SO FAR in the game but never done it, so my fishing level was only about 5 or so. A level-86 was at the fishing hole in Barbarian village, and when I walked up to it with my brand-new pole and 400 bait that some other player had thought it funny to give me, he greeted me. And talked to me. Like a normal person. Now I know it's silly not to think of the other avatars as other people but to me, the world of Runescape was engrossing enough that it was as if a mighty warrior who had no business dealing in the affairs of mere mortals had chosen to take time out of his day to greet little old wiltingschmo, and actually found the conversation enjoyable. I've met a lot of forgettable people on runescape. He wasn't one of them. All because he talked.
Now, the opportunity and ability to just ignore the world and focus on your skills is even greater, and a lot more people do that. Newbies don't want to be around that kind of world. The first 30 or so levels are excellent in-game and you'd probably be able to get by just fine without other people -- but eventually you and your character will realize the MMO part of MMORPG means more than "hey, other people play this too". What's happening is that more and more people are treating it like a single-player game in which they can pretty much screw anyone over because what the heck, it's just a game. When that happens, everyone loses -- even the guy who wins because that's one fewer person who won't ever want to talk to him.
There are a few people, of course who are the exception rather than the rule, and it's wonderful to see them around. Many many many of my friends on runescape were made through either being the exception to help poor wilt or being the newbie who asked wilt for help. The more we approach it as a single-player endeavor, the worse the problem will become.
I'm not really sure quite what this blog entry will do to the approach of older players to the game, but I hope it impresses you all (makes an impression, not impresses like "holy crap that was awesome!") with a sense of responsibility for keeping the game enjoyable. Seriously, if you got all the way down here and didn't get anything else, go find a newbie and talk to him a bit. You don't have to make friends, even. Just say hi. Might take a little while though; I hear they're exceedingly hard to find.
My wife and I went up to my parents' house for Thanksgiving tonight. The drive up was really quite rainy but we survived okay. We made it through the day with only a few minor crises -- "the potatoes! We forgot to do the potatoes!! Here, put this on the deep-fryer burner for a couple minutes then bring it back inside. That should work." followed nearly immediately by "what's that smell? It's like burnt plasti... HOLY CRAP THE YAMS ARE ON FIRE!" (As an aside: the flames were shooting out of the oven a good six inches and had consumed what was intended to be the crispety-chewy marshmallow topping. By then it was just crispety. Not very many people tried the yams.)
Dinner was remarkably uneventful. 12 people and none of us managed to spill anything! It was amazing.
Post-dinner, we played a couple games. 1000 blank white cards is a wonderful game and I suggest picking it up if you're broke and looking for ideas for a family gift this year. I'll let you do the wikipedia'ing.
My wife and sister-in-law decided it would be a good idea to start up a game of yahtzee. One of my younger brothers joined in and they were just to the second round of the game when suddenly a few flakes of dust flutter down from the ceiling. It was like a scene from a horror movie -- everyone at the coffeetable where the game was looked up, then jumped away as fast as we possibly could... except the sister-in-law who was burrowed in to her comfy little spot on the sofa, leaving her no place to run in case of an armed invasion, flash flood, or in this case, a collapsing ceiling. Poor girl got absolutely dumped on by soggy sheetrock and about six inches of bat guano (not even exaggerating the quantity. It was amazing). Fortunately, it was a leak through the roof and not the actual roof giving way... but a 3'x5' section of sheetrook suddenly breaking loose from your ceiling and disintegrating on impact, along with the aforementioned guano, is still fairly disastrous.
At least it wasn't during dinner.
It's life, I guess. Hopefully my wife and I won't have to deal with the same issues my parents are facing right now with home ownership. Sometimes just renting is a pretty attractive option...
Anyway, I've neglected Sal's for a while now and I don't think my browsing habits are going to change anytime soon. If you'd consider me a friend and actually want to keep up a little bit, PM me with contact info. I pretty much only do facebook nowadays, though skype is a rare occurrence as well.
I'll let you know what happens with Christmas.
Overheard in the Wilt household today:
"How did we make it through getting married with two crockpots, three sets of silverware, an orange peeler, and a chocolate fountain, but not a useful spatula or pizza cutter or ice cream scoop or even salt and pepper shakers?"
Came across this news story today while trolling around the interwebz. If you're too lazy to click a link, it's about two guys suing the lady they rescued from a burning car. Apparently they suffered disabling injuries while pulling her out and want some recompense.
Fairly innocuous if rather horrifying story, aye? This is what made me post this blog:
I lol'd. Maybe it makes me a terrible person.
For some inexplicable reason, I had the urge to train 75-80 crafting three days ago. 21.5k hardleather bodies and too much time on runescape later, here's the result:
It's my sixth 80+ skill, purely freeplay. See you all maybe in a few months if I get the urge to train something else! Maybe combat next -- 77/78/77 and 79 hp looks like a project.
Jeez wilt, such a slowpoke.
Just went camping with my family and wife. We had fun -- shot off some fireworks and stuff, you know. Beach time is good for the soul. Probably moving soon, but only about 45 minutes away from where we are now. Nothing remarkable, really. I have awesome root beer.
And I need to clean my desk. And my wife is wonderful.
I play a lot more Magic the Gathering now that I actually have a few friends around who play. It's good fun. Anyone else around play at all?
Actually, we're going on a church campout this weekend which happens to coincide with the M12 set prerelease party at my local game shop. I'd almost consider skipping if I knew I could get away with it and not get hollered at from the lady. Ah well...
Nothing else really of note. Maybe I'll try and post another blog sooner next time, hm?
I'm working in a Catholic church this week. There's a basin of holy water for the parishioners to dip their fingers in and genuflect (cross themselves) with when they enter the sanctuary.
My question: Would it be in bad taste to ask the father if the floaties in said holy water are sacred?
Today marks the birthday of one of my best friends, and certainly my best online-only one. Many of you know him as Elit Druin, or simply Elit. His last blog entry on Sal's, dated last July 16th, is the very last online activity I've seen from him. His facebook shares a similar story -- activity nearly every day, until July 16th. I don't know what happened to him, but whatever it is, it's with a heavy heart that I write this. He cared about others a great deal, and had his share of personal struggles to work through, but in the end he was a wonderful friend who didn't hesitate to chat when you needed it, nor to call you up when he wanted to talk. Our friendship was rather a lot more than endless runecrafting on world 62.
Elit, you are missed -- wherever you are.
Got a call from me wife.
me: "Honey, it's 10:00! You okay?"
her: "yeah yeah, it's past my bedtime... my friend had a computer question on her status and I think you could help her"
me: *dies a little* "Sure, what's going on?"
her: "She's trying to upload a picture as a gif to facebook and it's too big but when she shrunk it it wasn't working right so how do you shrink it?"
me: *recites* "open it in paint, hit save as... and set it as, say, jpg. Not gif."
... a few seconds pass
her: "she says it's not working."
me: "what's not working? that's how you do it..."
her: "no no, like she doesn't have paint"
me: ... "if she's running windows, she has paint. Try having her go to the start menu and clicking 'run...', then typing in"...
her: *interrupting* "that sounds complicated. Can't you just do it for her?"
me: *facepalms* (please note, I am 9 hours away from home at the moment. any "doing it for her" would be over email and since she's ALREADY having trouble with such things as the start menu.... sigh) "Not really. Just have her open the star..."
her: "fine, bye." *hangs up*
I'm sorry your friends aren't quite smart enough to google their problems.
The wife didn't approve for some reason... so I'll just be leaving this here :)
My new wife and I just cleaned out her car. Memorable finds: a trench tool (she says it's for going potty?!), three sets of jumper cables, two sets of tire chains, a skimboard, a windowshade with big red letters saying "CALL THE POLICE!", and a Meritorious Award.
some widdle people got their toeses stepped on. good gravy. in five years are any of you still going to be around? are you going to even care that you used to have a blue pip and then you got a gray (-ey if you're un-american) pip instead? I doubt it. seriously, lighten up.
Life is good. ilu ent. and emanick. and voggy. and a few others. (this is unrelated to the dm issue. just fyi.)
White: "The light of the righteous shall burn thy--"
Black: "I send foul dark pestilen--"
Green: "I summon Nature's Furry Fury destro--"
Blue: "Hush. And 'No'."
All others: "So just what are we going to do?"
Blue: "We're going to sit here. Quietly. Until you run out of cards."
As we all know, free trade has come back to runescape. Quite a wonderful day!
In preparation for this day, I've been stockpiling rune essence, bought at an average price of ~19.5gp. I have nearly 900k of them now, meaning every little adjustment moves my assets a significant amount. Good fun!
Logged in today to check out some of the new features and a random character by the name of Eman254 gave me 5m. Nice of him. :o Then Trey found out I'd just gotten married last weekend and he came over and gave me 5m too. :o :o
I guess the inflation must've been nice to quite a few people! Anyway, made 10m in less than 15 minutes today. How'd you do on day 1 of the new old runescape?
Hypermark1 thinks I'm a liar! He was griping about his sliding puzzle on RS. I said I can solve sliding puzzles pretty easily and mentioned the windows vista default one was pretty quick with the arrow keys, usually less than 45 seconds.
"no vid no proof", so the saying goes, so here you are. The recorder lagged my old laptop a bit, but the timer keeps accurate time.