There’s one part of playing an MMORPG that I’ve left out of my musings over the last month with Runescape, and it’s a a big part of what draws people to them - the second M.
I’ve spent most of my life playing games almost exclusively single player. Being essentially an only child and not really hanging with that kind of friend group growing up, I drifted more toward experiences I could enjoy alone; as such, single player story focused games became my jam. Runescape is a bit of an anomaly, both for me and for MMO’s - the world is shared, yet so much of the content is single player focused. You can chat with the people around you of course - something I did often, to keep engaged while grinding - but once that session was done, they were gone. Fast friendships were made, yet, always fleeting.
This time around, I spent most of the time playing the same way. I hit a milestone in game that I’d wanted since I started 12 years ago - 99 magic - in the middle of a bank surrounded by random people who were mostly too busy with their own work to take notice of this event that felt monumental to me. It made my heart beat in a way that few games have, yet I had no one who mattered to share it with. A few days later, I was standing in that very same bank, doing nothing, thinking, “yep, I think I’m about done with this game for now.” What happened next sounds cliche as f***, but I swear, it’s the truth.
Someone else standing around was doing their own thing, then they leveled up a skill. Some fireworks flew off with a ping, signifying the occasion. I typed “Congrats (person’s name)!” to which I got a “oh hey, thanks!” back. Then, we just started chatting. Mostly random stuff - I mentioned I’d only been back a few weeks, they talked about how they probably should stop playing and get back to studying Japanese for school as the exam is real soon. It ended with them heading off for dinner, but not before a message - “hey, you should come join our clan!”
Fast forward a bit over a 2 weeks and I’ve ended up spending much more time with the game than I’d meant, downloaded and joined discord, listened to some pretty great music queued up with a bot, listened to a couple of people drink wine and talk s*** over voice chat and spent time in game helping build up the clan’s home base. As an added bonus the clan is Australia / New Zealand focused, so everyone is online around the same time.
I’ll admit, as much as I know I need to let the membership to this game expire this coming Thursday so I can continue on this road I’ve begun walking, that chance meeting is going to leave it bittersweet. I feel like I could actually stick around in this game for much longer - potentially be the only game I play for years, again, given the amount of content - simply because it’s cool to hang out with a pretty rad group of people.
But alas, it’s nearly time to depart. I’ve been slowly weening myself off with Far Cry Primal (I’m halfway through - more on that next week) so the longing to go back hopefully won’t be too overwhelming. What I will do is savour the last few days I have, continuing to watch the numbers get higher as I click click click, while reminiscing on the fact that this game is more a part of my past, present, and likely future than I could’ve imagined even a month ago.
Games left to play: 115
Current game: Far Cry Primal, Runescape