I’ve been studiously avoiding all things Warhammer for the past couple weeks. A fortuitous burst of overwhelming work activity has kept me off the message boards and the blogs, and I’ve spent my evenings running Eve missions, playing Puzzle Quest on Gametap, and trying to ignore the fact that in 48 hours, I’ll finally be playing WAR.
It’s been a long time since I jumped into an MMO at launch. WoW was the last game that got my full attention. I don’t know what I’m going to find in WAR, but I do know that my gaming life will change over the next few months.
I get excited about single-player games, but few of them affect me as much as a good MMO. It’s the people that make the difference; since I started playing games online, my favorite memories revolve around the communities of people that I grew to know.
When I grew up, games were still in their infancy. I cut my teeth on Asteroids and Defender at the local 7-11, drinking Slurpees and smoking my first cigarettes while I waited for my next turn (omg, video games are a gateway drug). If my mom was going to the mall (which were still a pretty new phenomenon where I grew up), I’d always ask to tag along and scrounge up a couple bucks to disappear into the arcade while she shopped. I played D&D whenever I could, but it was really, really, rare to find fellow gamers.
It wasn’t until I ventured onto the Internet that I found a ton of like-minded people. Inveterate gamers, unabashedly enthusiastic about their hobby, willing to stay up late, to play just one more turn with me, one more game, willing to talk games every time we could get to the keyboard. It’s been a transformative experience. I was a history major in college, graduated in 1988 without ever having used a computer to type a paper (and I typed some long-ass papers). 6 years later, largely because of what I learned while PC gaming, I had a new career in the technology business. 20 years later, I’ve met more people and played more games than I ever could have dreamed possible.
From playing MUD’s and playing Quake, hanging out in early gaming communites like Arcadium or on the Quake newsgroups, moving to Counterstrike and then to EQ, the rise of EZboards like The Druid’s Grove and The Safehouse, joining The Well, and starting a blog, the common thread in my enjoyment of online games is meeting and getting to know new people.
WAR is going to be quite an exciting new chapter. I’m thrilled to be playing with the Casualties of War, alongside the bloggers who I read obsessively. I’ve been holding back on getting too excited too early, but damn, I’m ready to play now. I’m not expecting WAR to be revolutionary. I could care less if it’s a WoW-killer, or if some people hate it while other people love it. I do think that Mythic is making a game that’s going to fit right into my personal history of making great friends within a vibrant gaming community, and that’s what has me so excited.
To WAR! To Cow’s! To gaming! It’s been a long wait. Let’s get busy having some fun!