Why Do I Game?
K. Cox of Your Critic is in Another Castle asks "Why do you Game?" She wants as many responses as possible, so please, hustle over there and give her your comment. She's a fellow member of the Golden Horde, and good people. Go, then come back here, and read my thoughts.
I like solving puzzles. I can't remember ever not liking this. They might have been jigsaw puzzles as a kid, or wire-loop puzzles, or math problems or whatever. I get a charge from getting the answer. It's what's missing when you do the same instance for the twentieth time-there's no puzzle. So that's one reason.
I like crunch. I like being able to grind through some numbers and gain insight by doing so. This is one of the big appeals of Eve Online to me. I did several posts here about the combat math of EQ2 and how it works. This is related to solving puzzles, but not exactly the same thing. Combat isn't a puzzle, but it generates some interesting questions, such as "Which is better, the +4 plate armor, or the +2 plate armor with 3/- damage resistance?"
[If you don't like crunch, skip this paragraph] It turns out that there's a pretty precise answer available to you for the above question (It's DDO oriented, by the way). Making one's armor class worse by -2 means that you are taking 10% more damage on every swing that an enemy swings at you. For that to be better than 3/- damage resistance, the average damage per hit would have to be over 30 points to be of more benefit, because 10% of 30 is 3. At level 8, that just doesn't seem to be the case.
I like computer gaming because I'm an introvert. I like people, but interacting with them uses up energy. An intellectual challenge, time alone with the computer, actually charges me up. (And wipe that smirk off your face, that's not what I'm talking about!). Gaming brings me serenity, it is often very soothing. Although you might not think so if you were to listen to me curse at Alexander the Great after he declares war on me for the fourth time. But really, that's but a moment's ripple. The problems one encounters in the game world are by and large tractable. You can just start a new game, or a new character, after all. Some might call this "escapist". I invite them to closely examine figure 1. I call it therapeutic.
One of the primary reasons that I like tabletop RP so much is that I'm a frustrated actor. I did drama in high school, and was reasonably good at it. I love projecting a character, and making other people laugh because they know the character, and know how vain he is about his hair. Just as a random example.
Which brings me to another reason I game: It's social. I like doing things in teams. And yes, I'm an introvert. No, that isn't comfortable, but it's true. One of the reasons I loved being an enchanter so much in EQ2 is that it was very group focused, and very tactically focused. So there's the social, and the puzzle aspects of it. Enchanters didn't do so much damage themselves, as much as they enabled a group to achieve far, far more, both via mezzing and via buffs.
Finally, I like creativity. Games like Sim City or Civilization (and Eve) appeal to me because there's a lot of freedom and not just one narrow "right answer". There's definitely things that don't work, but obstacles can be taken as inspiration, rather than deterrents. I've always liked taking a group that doesn't have the "ideal" composition and being successful with it. One time Chuman, Conseca, and Toldain took down a boss named in Lavastorm. That was a Paladin, Wizard, and Illusionist in EQ2. We had no idea if it would work, but it did.
Why do you game?