I want to show you today, although I have not wholly convinced myself of the wisdom of doing so (but I am going to do it anyway – mad, impulsive fool that I am), something that has been a part of my life now for several years. Something to which I have devoted many hours, without regret but with much (it seems to me) personal benefit, enjoyment and satisfaction Experiencing almost every possible emotion. including frustration, consternation, anguish, anger, fear, love, empathy, sympathy, gratitude, and both awe and wonder. I want to show you a little of my world of online gaming.
“Online gaming? A 77 year-old? Pah! You’re crazy,” I may hear some say. “What a waste of time!”
Well, crazy I may well be, but I have spent on just one little corner (actually a major part) of my gaming experience, a full 230 days of my recent life. More than 5,500 hours of pure fun and full brain-power attention necessitating work. And, believe me, it is as much work as it is play. I consider this to be time well spent. What else would I be doing anyway, with an active brain – which still reads extensively (and writes often) – and a body that has seen its best years already pass?
Online gaming. It’s not just for spotty teenagers or social misfits, but women and girls, men and boys of all ages can and do spend playtime in this way. And this game in particular is rather special. There is no other game quite like it.
You may understand more if you read on…
This is likely to be a one-off occasion. I don’t anticipate doing it again. So, take the opportunity to dive into the shallow end of this world, now.
This particular world that I inhabit for at least one hour every day, rain or shine, is a ‘world of pure imagination’. Yes I know that is not an original saying, but it fits. It is also a world of pure beauty and terror; of heroes and beasts (human, animal and ‘other’); of magic, sorcery, devilry, and fairies (+ unicorns); of pet dogs, cats, rabbits, birds, wolves, foxes and marmots etc.; of villagers, townspeople, travellers, farmers, traders, fishers, cooks, mercenaries, soldiers, sailors, nobles and monarchs etc.; of more things and activities than you could possibly imagine etc., etc., etc.. And the game is so complex, but you can play it on many levels – according to your own need for complexity. Even after so many hours, I am still learning new stuff every time I play, and I haven’t even seen or done everything there is to see and do. And go.
This is the world of “Black Desert”. An MMO like no other.
People talk about beating the game, but this is a game that can’t be beaten. There is no winning or losing (except for the times you die, or don’t come first in a horse race). But that’s all part of life, isn’t it? There is no end-point in the game. It is the game of life, and that is what those who try to beat it don’t understand. They’ve simply been trained to think there is always a need to win. Their isn’t. It’s all about the journey you fools.
That’s why the name of the game refers to the world, which is “Black Desert”, and to the characters as ‘Adventurers’, not “Winners and Losers”. The game is all about the game – not the players. Is that too difficult to understand?
It’s a never-ending story – until the ‘big plug’ is pulled – and neither you nor I are in charge of that.
The game is played remotely on upwards of 100 servers (judging by how many are in Europe – which is where I play) situated at unknown locations at three main places – North America, Europe and South East Asia, which since this is a Korean game I suppose would be in South Korea somewhere. All these servers run exactly the same time-coordinated world, running on the same day-night cycle following the northern seasons. So every player, no matter how many there are at any time, or where they are located, can see and interact with any other player online at the time (sort of) and all see the same game activity (depending on where they are situated in the vast game world of many thousands of square kilometre equivalance) at precisely the same time. This time-based cycle has gone on continuously since Dec 2014, broken only (as far as I know, and I didn’t become involved until 2019 I think) by a weekly scheduled outage of usually four hours, wherein all servers are taken down at the same time for maintenance and update. And yes, the annual seasons are mirrored in the game. OK, enough general stuff.
As an example, of the myriad of game activities, you can, if you wish (and you are free to do whatever you like and go wherever you like in this world, any time of the day or night – at your own risk of course) spend your time fishing – in ponds, lakes, mountain streams, great rivers, islands and ocean shores; standing, wading, sitting on fishing chair, from jetties or fishing boats. And there are more than 50 (don’t know the exact number) types of fish, both fresh and seawater varieties and a few larger monster fish, each with their own multi-type locations. So if you want a particular type of fish, for a cooking recipe or to sell at market, you need to know where to find them.
I should mention the ‘Market’. It is a ‘virtual’ market mimicking all real markets in the real world. Real people (through their game characters) put ‘things’ up for sale on the market and other real people can buy them for game currency (called ‘silver’). Nothing appears on the market unless it has been caught, grown, harvested, picked up, processed, manufactured, built, stolen (oh, yes, you can be a thief too), gathered or obtained as a prize or reward by some player. And the prices in silver for any given item depend on market forces (supply and demand) just like in real life. The market can be played just like in real life too. Profits are made. Losses are suffered – if care is not taken. You can spend your whole game time playing the market if that is your idea of a good time. There are many other game aspects which more or less mimick real life.
But there are also many other experiences you can enjoy that are not so intensive as fighting or trying to get rich.
I can, if I wish, and I often do, simply ride my horse (its name and characteristics being personally chosen) for the pleasure of travelling through the most convincing and beautiful countryside of various climatic types, visiting farms, villages, towns and cities in several of which I have a residence (all in keeping with the region and fitted out with all necessary accessories from beds and teacups to cooking appliances and alchemy equipment (all personally chosen and placed by myself). The ‘my’ in the previous sentence being one of the 16 individual characters I have lovingly created (down to the smallest detail) – each taking several hours of painstaking effort to ‘get it right’, including their personal name. And yes, each of them has their own horse.
That is just a small fraction of the information I could provide on the attraction (for me) to the game, there is so much more, but I want you to see this just released video which will provide a taste of that amazing world. What you see here, is just some of what can be experienced in-game. Be amazed.
The video can be streamed in up to 1080p HD and subtitles are available in a range of languages. You will need subtitles in the last 2 minutes if you want to know what a new Korean owners has to say.
Here are images of some of my female characters. Discreet hint: All my characters, except one, are female. And each one is an example of a different class of adventurer. And all are beautiful in their own way. Why? Well, that’s for me to know, but if it isn’t generally obvious, why would an old man want to be running around with another big, burly or effeminate man when he can enjoy the sight and visual pleasure of the company of a fine young woman? It’s a no-brainer, isn’t it? Of course, young men – not necessarily boys or nerds – filled with untested and unproven ego and other chemicals, may not have the same point of view. That’s their loss.
I suspect, though I have no data to prove or disprove any of this, that there are more men of mature age who play with female characters than either women or girls do. I would love to know if the average female player does the same the other way around. But I guess I will have to keep on wondering. It is none of my business anyway.