Free Ebooks by Randolph Lalonde

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Free Ebooks by Randolph Lalonde

Friday, September 9, 2011

Yes, It's True: I'm still a gamer.

With summer coming to an end, and a few things calming down around my office, I once again find myself with some free time. Even with my writing schedule, which is finally back on track now that I've figured a few important plot details out, I still need to come up for air.

Since I sat down in front of the Commodore 64 and loaded my first games from tape, I've been a gamer. Since then I'm sure I've played thousands of games, but the ones that really stuck were the massively multiplayer online sort. Starting with Everquest and going on to many others, this is my favourite digital hobby other than creating my own content. I can escape into an immersive world for hours at a time. I come back with a clear head, a bag of new experiences, and sometimes new friends.

Writing takes priority, don't get me wrong. I wake up every morning and my first cohesive thought is about what I'm planning to write that day. I get whatever I can down, and on a good day brain fatigue doesn't set in until about 1pm. Usually there's some office work to do, calls to make, and that takes up the rest of my day. Then I'm left to pursue hobbies, which include guitar, drums, and other things. Gaming has been sorely missing from my list of pursuits, however, since I've been busy, and I haven't been excited about a game in quite some time.

Then Star Wars: The Old Republic comes along. I've known about this game for years (literally), but recently a few people have been asking me if they'd see me around in that gaming world when it launches, and my answer was invariably yes. I even bought a cheapo PC laptop so I would be all ready to play (there's no PC version, and I'm not willing to install BootCamp on my Macs anymore, they're for writing and other creative pursuits). The next question that comes from readers and friends (often they're the same people), is if I'll be starting a guild, or if I'm already a member of one. Until today I've offered a blank expression as a response - which doesn't come across as well over the Internet.

Let's touch on another point before I follow that up though...

Over the years I've made a lot of friends through online gaming. I've learned a lot from them, had some fantastic times, and still speak to many of these long-range buddies. For some people Facebook or Myspace was their big first experience with social networking and having a large network of online friends. For me it was the Massively Multiplayer Online gaming space, mostly Everquest and World of Warcraft. Even though I enjoy going off on my own often in games, I find it's still better if there's a social aspect. The possibility of meeting new people online (in a game), and taking on a challenge with friends adds a whole new dimension of excitement to gaming.

So, when a couple readers asked me if I'd be forming a guild in The Old Republic today, I couldn't help but think of the fantastic folks on the Spinward Fringe Facebook Page, and wonder what that kind of environment would be like in game when it goes online later this year. I enjoy hobnobbing with the Facebook crowd and check in whenever I can. Imagine interacting with like minded people in an online game? Knowing that I'd download a lot of responsibility to officers in the Guild (much as I have with the Facebook Page), I decided that, yes, I'd create a guild. If there's something I've discovered I like doing, it's giving people who enjoy my company or my writing a place to hang out.

So, it is with no shame that I admit: Yes, I'm a huge [nerd] gamer, and I've created a guild called the Freeground Nation. If you're looking to play Star Wars: The Old Republic later this year and don't have a guild yet, go ahead and check it out. I'm sure I'll spend a great deal of my winter playing this game. Whenever I'm not writing, that is.


[Updates on the Expendable Few, Broadcast 7 and other stuff coming early next week. The work goes well.]


Anonymous said...

See... I was going to ask you if there was any chance of a "First light Chronicles" game. That would then garner enough attention for it to be made into a movie. But honestly, I share your opinion about you needing to be the controlling creative voice. Because, well the books are so DARN GOOD!

Tony said...

Awesome! I've been following TOR for years now, but already have a great guild. Maybe I'll see you in-game. :)

Randolph said...

I actually have some ideas for a MMO concept that would work out pretty well I think, but that's one of those horse before the cart situations at the moment.

I'm very interested in the Tabletop RPG based on Spinward Fringe though. Everyone should start seeing something from that sometime in 2012 if things go even reasonably well.

calandryll said...

I would love a RPG. I enjoyed playing the SW RPG, and will be picking up the SWTOR, specially after spending too many hours playing Galaxies.

Ben said...

I'm most excited about guild wars 2. I've played wow, eq, eq2, swg, etc and while I enjoyed them I've also become tired of the forced nature of the games. The grind, the bad stories, the time sink for the sake of a time sink. Guild wars 2 is blasting the status que to bits. The quest system and dynamic events and world are amazing beyond amazing. Check it out, you will be impressed! I'm excited to check out your kindle book I just dled !

cord66 said...

dang, I was thinking of making a guild like "FLT" for First Light / Triton , or some other catchy Spinward related name for 'insiders' to catch. Now i might have to just join the Freeground Nation, being as I'm sure that's where all the "cool" kids will be :)

It's interesting you were sucked in by EQ as well. For me, the first major MMP game was Diablo, though I suppose it was only "massive" in the chat room perspective :) But that was my first exposure to a "clan", the HLF, who, interestingly, were started by a fellow in Canada, Toronto or that area, if I recall.

Those were good times indeed.

and I too would love to eventually see a SF game. Too bad Bioware didn't release modding for the Mass Effect games, modding that could have been something doable if you wanted to focus on the ground/inside type battles. There have been many enjoyable mods to games like NWN and such over the years.

being a sci-fi fan, did you happen to play the WC series RL? Those were great, and I still think Privateer was one of the best games ever, for it's open ended play combined with a good story to uncover.

Randolph said...


I'm looking forward to the release of Star Wars: The Old Republic, I miss having a good online game to kick around on for a couple hours a day. You're welcome to join the guild any time, the page is:

I came late to Wing Commander, but really enjoyed a couple of the games, Wing Commander III and Privateer mostly. For a while I was really into Freespace II, and followed the X-Wing / Tie Fighter series. I haven't seen a space sim that I've really gotten into in several years though.

These days I really only have time for one game at a time anyway, so I'm not wandering the market much. I expect SWTOR will be a hobby for a couple years.