Tuesday, 29 May 2007


The day that Aithne appeared on screen in sky blue coloured personal message, was the day I got hooked on DaoC. Up to now I was just getting going and making a right pigs ear of the whole thing. With a friend there it became easy to ask questions and I knew if he took the piss it was all good natured banter. It was more than that though. Aithne and I had been mates in Belfast when I was studying for my PhD. He was always around and ready to mess about at something.

When we lived in Belfast all we ever seemed to do was smoke and drink. Aithne was there when I finished my PhD. He was there when I went through a messed up relationship and he was there after I left Belfast to go work in London. We did a lot of cool stuff together and got into more than a few scrapes usually as a result of having a bit too much to drink and my big mouth (two rucksacks full of beer and a few hundred angry Orange men is not a good combination). Most of all it was just cool messing around. You know how you live as a student or in your first real job? That kind of couldn't care less communal living where you would drink all night and end up watching Teletubbies because you spent too long playing Ice Hockey on the Sega? Did you ever get the jokes they were telling each other? Sometimes the old games are the best.

To see him again night after night after 5 years of living in London was just so cool. Initially he was not sure about GOA the company and asked me why I hadn't started the account in the US. As usual I had no clue there were servers in the US. I am an optimistic sort and said it seemed decent enough. He started his ranger Aithne and was level 7 pretty quickly. I was around level 16 and had to move house from the rented accommodation to where I am living now. Moving house sucks but this is a pattern I have got used to. I have a very busy real life and it frequently takes me away from the game. This break was productive though because when I got back online Aithne was almost the same level.

The next time we met online we got Skype setup so we could smoke and get pissed together and mess about just like the old days. If you look cloesly in DaoC they have something akin to Orange men they are called Curmudgeons . The only difference is that the Curmudgeons are slightly brighter and a bit less predictible. I had just got my computer set up in the new house and between moving crap around and settling in we managed to squeeze a few sessions together. I was almost level 19 when Aithne and I were messing around with the Curmudgeons and suddenly he disappeared.

Sharkith "Fuck, where did you go?"

Aithne "Thats stealth."

Sharkith "No way! How do you do that?"

Aithne flashes in and out of stealth for a bit.

Sharkith "Seriously how do you do that?"

Aithne flashes in and out of stealth for a bit.

Sharkith "Stop it you fucker how do you do it?"

Aithne laughing. "You mean to tell me your a nightshade and you don't know how to stealth?"

Sharkith "I suppose your going to tell me this is important right?"

We start to laugh and it takes him 5 minutes to explain how I can stealth.

Sharkith "You do realise I spent days trying to creep past the Mummy Hags in Muire tomb and kept getting cained right? I thought this stealth skill is pretty useless..."

More sniggering down Skype.

If you know anything about Nightshades you will know that all their high damage combinations start when they attack from being stealthed. No wonder Sharkith was a right gimp! This doesn't mean of course that he was much better attacking from his newly discovered stealth skill. You had to have the right specification for that. I didn't 'ave a scooby' as they say in South London.

So finally the pixels had some meaning behind them. Don't get me wrong the Marsh Horde were brilliant. But having someone you know and know so well messing around with you really brings the game into its own. We largely ignored the content of the game unless we really needed an item then we would grind out the mission to get it. Otherwise we behaved very much like we had done in Belfast. Getting pissed and getting chased by huge mobs of well 'mobs'. It was through this friendship that I really grew to like the game and what it could do. A game that can bring people together who would otherwise never see each other has to be a good thing.

The problem with this of course was the fact that the game is nevertheless a flawed medium. We will come to that in time.

No comments: