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.]