You know, we gamers are a fortunate few…
We get to sit in the (sometimes) plush comfort of our homes, and travel the world with our fingertips. Often we will immerse ourselves so deeply that the journeys we undertake become embedded as tangible memories, with the associated emotional connections. This is especially true for those of us who consider ourselves “explorer types” in game! Think about how much joy you get finding a new place the devs have carefully laid out, seeing that awesome vista that a few artists worked hard to sculpt from their minds, and yes, finding that rare shiny on the mountain top that only someone brave/foolish enough to climb could ever claim. (The author raises his hand tentatively)
Yes, it is wonderful to travel… Even better when we do not need to leave our seats.
But what about our home away from home? What about the place we virtually hang our hats? Where does it rate in the grand scheme of things, in this world we have chosen to spend an undetermined amount of time per day or week exploring?
I know you all hate to be pigeonholed, but I am gonna do it anyway. I have come to see MMO gamers in certain “classes” as it pertains to their love of home, and I will try to elaborate (somewhat) eloquently on why I think each of these categories are just as valid as the other. I also intend on asking you where you fit; whether in one of these made up niches, or in a world all your own… so here goes:
The Domestic God/Goddess–
These are the people who log into their game of choice (in our example we will use Guild Wars 2) for the express purpose of hanging out in their actual house, home instance, or city. The domestic god(dess) may be those who in real life also reflect this ideal- “My home is my castle”. To heck with saving Shaemoor, my knicknacks need reorganizing. It can be true that these folks are indeed well travelled people who thrive on collecting the trophies of their journeys, or may even be those dedicated to their craft; be it leatherworking, cooking, smithing, etc. You will find them spending inordinate amounts of time making a name for themselves by crafting things everyone wants to buy, with stats that would please even the hardiest of min – maxers. Depending on how sociable the domestic god(dess) is, you may even see them out and about, in “town wear” to make the most discerning mesmer turn their heads, if not ask them who their tailor is. You can rest assured that the domestic god(dess) will have a home worth visiting, and while the hospital (or orphanage) may still be a burned out husk, their houses will be an immaculate example of better Krytan homes and gardens. Just don’t ask them to help you with that nasty drake by the river… unless they can hang the head on the wall… next to the antique Canthan vase on the mantlepiece. Heck, they’d rather pay YOU to get the drake head for them… along with some tanned hides.
The Restless Adventurer–
You remember movies like Indiana Jones, and The Mummy, I am sure. The adventurers fit squarely into this category. They may not have the time to work on crafts, and may even hire an NPC or PC to ensure their houses are in order, but one thing I can guarantee you about the restless adventurer is this: home is a place to sleep in between adventures. If you happen to see the adventurer in Divinity’s Reach, chances are (s)he is on their way either to the main gate, or to some deep, dark catacombs under the city (hint hint ArenaNet) because, well who KNOWS what they will find there… It could be adventure, it could be epic loot, it could even be death! Either way the odds are in their favor, and they are going to milk it for all it is worth. Though the adventurer does indeed have a home, and is often very proud of it (even amassing more wall goodies than the domestic god(dess)), the adventurer could not tell you what color scheme they used in their master bedroom, or what color the towels in the bathroom are without going home to look. They can, however, tell you how many hit points that undead monster had, and they will be happy to relate the adventure to you over a nice spot of tea in their great room… provided you can catch them at home. Come to think of it, you had better call ahead first. What? No telephones in Divinity’s Reach? Hmmmm… I’ll get back to you on that then. Oh, and if they happen to be asleep, please do not wake them… They might stab you out of reflex.
The Wayward Gypsy–
Unlike the tethered domestic god(dess), or the “catch me at home on Tuesday” restless adventurer, the wayward gypsy was given a home and a home instance at character creation, but they will be damned if they can tell you what city it was even in. To the gypsy, all of Tyria is home! They would be just as happy sleeping under a welcoming willow tree, as they would the cot in their master bedroom… since they never bothered to upgrade to the king sized bed. As a matter of fact, calling the gypsy’s house a home might be a misnomer in and of itself. It is more a storage space for the things that cannot be physically carried on their journeys. To the envy of the other two classes, the gypsy may even have homes (read- storage spaces) in ALL the major cities… why not, it’s not like they are going to be there any length of time anyway. The inn has been a staple in MMOs since the dawn of graphics cards; it was good enough for our characters’ ancestors then, it is good enough for them now. Granted there may actually come a time when the gypsy might…. wait for it…. want to SETTLE DOWN! This rather rare occurrence does happen from time to time, and usually comes with it the desire to open those loot boxes that have been piling up in the great room for ages. Of course the downside to this is that once those boxes have been opened, and the house is a mess with all the things that need formal homes, this just may drive the gypsy to strap their boots on, walk out the door, and break the key off in the lock… And no… you cannot have their “stuffs”.
The beautiful part of these various niches is that they all work for whomever is playing them. Whether one roots oneself firmly into one of the above, or is a hybrid of two or all three, there is no WRONG way to view home in any game. It can be more than a place to hang your hat, or simply that place you go to before logging out for the night.
Dorothy was right… but you know what, sometimes it is actually good to get out of the house… And not just in Tyria, if you catch my drift.
This of course begs the question… where do YOU see yourself, when Guild Wars 2 comes out? How much will you love your home? Leave me a comment below with your thoughts, I cannot wait to see where we all fit… if at all!
About the author: Belenos, or Bel as he prefers, has been into gaming since Pong was in beta, and into MMORPGs since Star Wars Galaxies opened. Now officially “divorced” from SWG, Bel has recently started dating Guild Wars, and hopes the relationship will be long lasting. When not writing for TalkTyria, or on his personal blog- “Drewciferianisms“, Bel can be found in Elona, spearhunting Fanged Iboga… Or outside in the real world grilling Jerk Chicken. Follow him on Twitter if you’d like!