Wednesday, May 20

A thin line between two virtual worlds

One of the many pleasures of travelling is that you have a lot of times nothing else to do but sit in a chair. And one of the most pleasant things to do is reading a book. Although I love reading a good book, I often don't seem to be able to find the time to do so. There are always rats that need killing, or armor that needs to be finished. But that is not really the point of this post.

I had carried the fourth book in the Malazan Book of the Fallen series by Steven Erikson. The book starts off in a small secluded land isolated by the rest of the world. The people living there, known as Teblor, have a very savage way of living. Their status in their tribe is based on how many trophies they can collect from raiding nearby opposing tribes. The main character, Karsa Orlong, is a young man foolishly pride and ready to take on the world to prove his tribe is the best. He sets of on a quest with a few fellow tribes men to find and kill as many lowlanders as possible, and anything along the way as well. His plan is to rule all.

As I read through the proceedings couldn't stop myself from thinking that this is not Karsa Orlong, the Teblor, but Syncaine, the Darkfall player. Although I am not living my life nor playing my game like either of these two persons, I get pulled in by their enthousiasm about what they do. And it makes me think how I would do living in their worlds. As I am reading on Karsa Orlong goes on his quest with two fellow tribesmen. Soon they find their first opponents, a hunting party that just return from the woods carrying a huge deer. It is a fight of ten against three, but thanks to clever strategy and skill they kill all 10 without problem. It was like reading this blog entry, only with a lot more details and lovely better prose.

When I was reading Syncaine's ramblings I was sort of intrigued by a world where you will really have to rely on your friends. It is a wonderful feeling to accomplish something together. And really weaving your own virtual stories. But the more brutal and realistic way Erikson depicts it made me realize I will never be able to do it. Even in a virtual world I can't get myself to attack or kill somebody for the simple reason because he is in front of me. Even helping out others so they can kill whoever is in front of them doesn't sit right. I guess I am too much a roleplayer to not be able to distinguish the difference between a competitive game and actual killing a virtual person.

Just as that I love reading how the Karsa Orlong's quest is progressing (he is already at Raraku) I like reading about the drama around Darkfall. But I know I will never enjoy playing a game where I am supposed to kill other players. It might even go further than that. I am actually troubled when I realized how many people really loved killing others. Maybe I should go play Animal Crossing.

1 comment:

  1. Glad to hear you're enjoying #4: House of Chains. I had some trouble with the sudden shift of focus, especially after #3:Memories of Ice which is one of the highlights of the series. It gets better with #5: Midnight Tides, but it seems you're not having the same issues as I had. I didn't warm to Karsa Oblong until I reread the book.

    I fully concur with your feelings on Darkfall and PvP in general. I enjoyed RvR Scenario's in WAR for a while as it's a "team sport" kind of thing. Killing anonymous players is no fun. If you know them it can be fun to do the occasional FPS death match though :-)