So, I took a class that required me to play Runescape. No, I’m not kidding.
I wasn’t actually as disoriented by this activity as my classmates were. Despite being old, and not having played a video game for over 10 years, I actually have a strong background in Role Playing Games, going back to my Dungeons & Dragons days. Back in college, I started playing games like Icewind Dale, and I already had a cast of virtual identities whose heads I was used to getting into. It had been quite some time, though, so I decided to play through the tutorials as a “generic-made-up-on-the-fly character”, named Finnkillian. Then, I planned to switch to one of my favorite characters if the game was worth my time.
To this point, all of my characters tend to stay near or only a few steps from my real identity “alignment” ( a gaming term for moral, political, ethical, and relational tendencies). I imagine that I project a lot more of my own personal bias and thoughts onto my character than most role players I know.
In games, somewhat like real life, I’m a helper, so I tend to take on everyone’s quests. I also tend toward exploration, so I wandered around and talked to a lot of people. This can get one bogged down quickly, and I had a limited amount of time to complete a specific quest for class. Usually, I can putz around and do whatever I like in these games. As a result, after logging a couple of hours on the tutorial, I decided to expedite my experience. I knew I needed to do one of the quests I had been assigned for class, but every time I tried to go to Lumbridge Castle, where the quests began, the game kicked me back to finish with the trolls.
The last straw came when I was helping feed some refugees. I happened to have several cooked meals in my inventory, including a delicious rabbit sandwich. I handed them over. Sister, I forget her name, was thrilled. She even referred to the rabbit sandwich as a heavenly combination. The quest said I had completed it, but I couldn’t move on until I planted potatoes, caught a bird, etc. I turned off the tutorial and headed for Lumbridge.
The Runescape group quest, or task, was pretty straight forward. I was a little disappointed that we couldn’t truly collaborate as much as I would have thought. I was, for example, surprised that we could all collect some wool, and share it with someone in the group when it was time to present. The wool cannot be dropped or transferred. The black wool actually… You can drop all of the white wool you want to. I did try to share items, such as armor and swords, among my teammates, but we really didn’t need to equip ourselves for battle to shear sheep. Apparently, there was a “thing” about that was eating people, but we never ran into that. My classmate, Bill, took some armor and a scimitar that I offered. I enjoyed watching him test it on a chicken.
Whe the class was over, I kept playing this game off and on until it went to complete crap on my Mac. After a month or so, I was able to troubleshoot the technical issues and opened it back up. It was then that I had discovered an update to the combat system, which caused me to be unable to use any of my equipment. I had essentially been downgraded by the upgrade. I left. I haven’t been back.