Monday, May 18, 2009

Nerdery and such...

I am, at heart, a gamer. I really really less than three video and computer games. And board games. And all (1) pen and paper tabletop games I've played. And card games, and puzzles, and drinking games (especially drinking games!) and other game-type activities that don't involve much physical activity. As a result, I spend a great deal of time, energy, and sometimes even money devoted to the pursuit and enjoyment of such games.

I haven't played a lot of games, certainly not in comparison with other gamers I've known. For instance (and time and terminology are not currently conducive to clarity and brevity), before we were married the man who is currently my ex-husband and I rented a home that was frequented by his gamer friends. They eventually spent so much time there that one by one, they moved their computers into our living room, and we set up a LAN, and there was perhaps never a time in that house in which it was either empty or quiet because everyone was asleep. Extra televisions were moved in, and multiple game consoles to accommodate them. The width and breadth of games readily at my fingertips thanks to these guys even now boggles the mind. And they never stopped gaming. Everquest and Halo, Diablo 2 and Soul Caliber 2, Settlers of Catan and Neverwinter Nights, Lord of the Five Rings (the card game and the pen-and-paper rpg) and even, once or twice, some Dungeons and Dragons.

This house was Nerd Central, and I participated in only a small portion of all that went on; I occassionally had to force myself to focus on my college classes (and yes, my grades did suffer more than a bit at this time).

I forgot where I was going with all that, but the point is this: I like teh campooter gamez. I spend more time than I care to admit just browsing games on Yahoo Games, Whirled,, and other game-type websites. I've only recently broken my WoW addiction (strangely enough, through extended disinterest... O.o), but I still often turn to Neverwinter Nights, Age of Empires II and the good-old standby: Solitaire (especially Spider Solitaire).

But the game I'm loving the hell out of right now? Puzzle Pirates!

I've been playing PP on and off for about three years now (and I have the Third Order of the Jolly Roger to prove it!) and I think it just keeps getting better and better. And I just came to the conclusion that I think I like it more than World of Warcraft. Ultimately, the fact is that PP's simplicity makes it much easier to enjoy than WoW.

Bullet Points!

  • PP is cheaper than WoW. One doesn't necessarily need to pay to play, as most games are aviailable to non-subscribers at different times through the week (and some games are always available) but even the monthly subscription is cheaper.
  • PP is less demanding than WoW in the technical sense. I haven't uninstalled WoW from my hard drive, and it takes up a good chunk of space between the three expansions. Patches, too, are hefty. The pie graph below illustrates the four major games I have on my computer, and their comparative size in megabytes. (ignore the title, please, I've just realized it's not quite accurate to the data).

  • PP is challenging, but not frustrating. At least, it isn't so much for me. WoW can be, I think, universally frustrating due to its nature. For someone like me, a PvP server on WoW is utter hell, but there are other factors as well. Mob adds, for instance. Level or gold grinding, dungeon wipes, certain quests (fuck you in your fucking face Betrayal! /angryfayse) ; all these have made me utter words that only the child of two sailors should know in the first place. Puzzle Pirates is so much simpler! I play at a puzzle, and I get Pieces of Eight! If I struggle with the puzzle, I can move on to something else, which will also give me PoE! I could go on, but suffice to say that PP does not make me want to tear my hair out - EVER.
  • PP is a world of pirates. And, unless you're a ninja fan, that's pretty awesome (perhaps PP's parent company should create a Ninja Pirates parallel... that would take a lot of development, though... but it's a fun thought. I'd probably play that too.) WoW is a great fantasy world, full of rich and complex history; I've heard that Blizzard has on staff a person with a PhD in history whose sole job is to ensure that subsequent WoW updates maintain continuity with already established lore. That's just heavy.
  • I can wear many different "hats" in PP. I can be an alchemist, or a blacksmith, or a sailor; none of these are dependent on a choice one at character creation, but are freely available at any time (unless one is not a subscriber, of course). WoW is a little more restrictive. If you roll a priest, you're not going to be able to tank; if you want to try tanking, you've got to roll another character with a different class and level it. The hybrid classes give you a little more wiggle room, but you've still got to respec (I admit, I dropped the game before Dual-spec came out; I'm sure this feature has improved things A LOT!) and will probably even need to keep extra pieces of gear on hand to make the most of the new spec.
  • I love puzzles! I feel like I'm actually working my mind with every different puzzle I play, and whenever the puzzle gets monotonous, I can change gears pretty easily. On WoW, there are challenges, certainly, but it can be pretty much the same. Whichever toon I was on, I had a rotation of spells or actions that I used for nearly every mob I came across. How I was able to spend hours at a time doing this boggles my mind right now.
This is, by and large, about all I've got right now. This blog is long enough, and I fear it's reading like a commercial endorsement when it is closer to a love letter. To be fair, my main complaint with Puzzle Pirates is the use of labor hours; this is more of a whinge than anything - I tend to use up all my 24 of my advance labor hours whenever I forage, and it's no fun to just practice at puzzles! Luckily, the Terra Island Navy pays me well for the fine work I do rigging, sailing, and carpenting (and the poor work I do navigating... but I've just started!)

Yo ho ho!

1 comment:

  1. I'm glad you wrote about this. I've read many people's joy about playing Puzzle Pirates, but this is the first explanation as to why someone enjoys it. This sounds like a game my wife would enjoy, as she has a great love of puzzles.