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At one point, I planned to talk about review lots of games here. It devolved (or evolved, depending on stance and preference) into a journal about my one and only foray into the world of online gaming. That game is Mabinogi, and it’s almost all that’s talked about on this page. And it’s not even, as far as I can tell, very much like other MMOs. Hopefully someday this page will be updated and filled with other games, but for now, if you’re interested in Mabinogi, that’s what’s here.

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I’ve always considered myself a gamer. After watching the anime Sword Art Online, though, I realized I was missing out on a huge chunk of the world’s gaming‐ online games. And I was falling behind. I don’t want to fall behind‐ when the Nerve Gear comes out, and we can have a full body virtual reality experience, I want to be ready. So, although I’ve only ever played console games, and although I’ve only ever played (except for some very exciting two‐person play on Pikmin) as a solo player, and although I actually had to look up the definition for MMO, and I had absolutely no idea what I was doing, and although I am basically anti‐social, I decided to look for an MMO, or massively multi‐player online game, and play it.

The first MMO I ever played was Mabinogi. At the time, a Sword Art Online tie‐in was just starting, and the game was free and supposedly laptop‐friendly, so it seemed perfect. (And I have to say, I do really enjoy the game.)

After I’d been playing the game for a few weeks, though, I started to notice a lot more difference than simple controls and multi‐player… play. Gaming as a whole is, I’ve always believed, a culture. But multi‐player gaming is like a country of its own. The culture of it, the social aspects, are sincerely interesting. Interacting with people in a fantasy world has so much in common with the real world, but is also extremely different.

I started writing a journal after a few weeks of play, and at the time, it was kind of meant to be a guide of sorts, since, when I first started playing, I was so lost. But the more I wrote, the more I realized I was even more fascinated by observing life in the game’s very real, albeit virtual, society. So that’s what this became‐ a journal about gamer culture and life while entangled in a virtual world.

At one point, I was playing this everyday and updating it nearly as often. Now, I play a bit sporadically. I can’t promise regular updates here, but I will do my best to make them as frequent as possible.

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Mabinogi Moon
Lone Wolf’s Gamer Journal-ish Thing

June 28

FL2 FL3 What a crazy thing‐ I actually have gamer‐related things to talk about today. Although, it’s not about an MMO, so again, it probably doesn’t really count as part of ’Lone Wolf Plays MMOs.’ But it’s kind of multi‐player like… although I haven’t explored that aspect yet.

So. I never did get back on Mabinogi. I’m not saying I’m done with it. I just… I have enough stress, you know? I was totally ready to devote my gamer life to playing Zen Koi while listening to the radio. And Zen Koi is kind of the best thing ever. (Dragons. I mean, c’mon.) But then I heard about a free online game called Fallen London.

FL I think if I’d come across Fallen London myself, I probably would have passed it by, because it’s not 3D and it’s not an MMO and it’s just… not my thing. But it was recommended in really glowing terms by a person I respect (coughAlexisHallcough) so I figured I’d give it a try. The thing that really swayed me, though, to be honest, is that it’s browser based, so I didn’t need to download anything and go through all those shenanigans again.

Anyway. I’ve just started the game and, as usual when you start any game, I’m a bit lost. What happens is that you wake up in a jail cell and escape into a London that is kind of… err, steampunk‐ish, I guess? Just… not the London we know and love, kind of Victorian‐era but definitely… not. And you progress through the game by reading short snippets and stories and making choices.

It’s fun. It’s definitely addicting, and I’m not really sure why, because it seems to me to mostly be a lot of waiting around for things to happen so that other things can happen, and for the most part, I feel a bit like I’m wandering around in circles. I hate to admit this, but at least in the gamer world, I guess I’m more of a hack people apart and ask questions later type‐ I’m a voracious reader but reading within a game has honestly never interested me. I’d rather be swinging a sword or something. I find myself skimming and I’m having a hard time immersing myself in any kind of story. And yet, I can’t seem to stop playing.

So, I don’t know. I think I’ll give it some time and see if I get into it. At the very least, it’s fun and entertaining and it’s easy and not stressful, which is… just what I need right now.


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June 9

I decided to go on Mabinogi today. It’d been a long time, and I really just wanted to hop on and kind of do some housekeeping. The last time I was on, I was in the middle of several tasks, and they seemed to all be stupidly easy or so hard I couldn’t figure out how to do them. Which…was annoying. But if you can just run on and, you know, harvest some herbs and maybe do a simple dungeon or run into friends, it’s fun. It takes your mind off things. Generally. And there’s usually a new event coming along every couple of weeks, so I figured there’d probably be something new to occupy me for a while.

And honestly, it just sounded so nice to be able to play in a fantasy world for a while, and pretend I was there. Just for a little bit.

So I’ve got my headphones on with my music of choice, and I clear every other open program I have on my laptop, and I open up the Mabinogi launcher. Which, I guess, is the Device of Pure Evil. Because it crashed.

A quiet kind of crash. The kind of crash that just…won’t work. It says it’s downloading a patch, it does it lightning fast, and then…nothing. The frustrating thing, the really frustrating thing, is that this has happened before. That time, I did it to myself, although, really, that’s kind of a stretch. But this time I didn’t. This time it failed all on its own. And the last time this happened, I had to strip the game off the laptop and re‐download it. Which took hours.

And I just… I was just so frustrated today. I just wanted to go on for an hour, maybe. Probably not even. And there I was, searching for a solution, getting angrier and angrier at this launcher, which is ridiculous. And when it says, in its cheery computer font, if I want to download the game, I just said yes, even though I hadn’t stripped the previous game off. So…it downloaded. Fast. And now the launcher says its patching. But I kind of doubt it really is, or that it’ll open when it’s done. And I’m not sure whether I have two Mabinogis taking up space on my hard drive or not, now. Which I realize is my fault. But…

And while I’m sitting there, watching the little slider download and wondering what I’ve just done to my computer, I thought to myself, ‘Should I bother?’ Should I even download this again? Should I bother trying to fix it? Because this launcher problem is a pain in my ass, even when I don’t play very often. And the last few times I went on the game, the quests I was given‐ solo quests‐ were just so ridiculously difficult. And gaming is supposed to be challenging, I want it to be challenging, but I don’t think it’s supposed to make me want to rip the game out by its roots and throw it’s imaginary body across the room. And I don’t think it’s supposed to take up huge chunks of time that I don’t have to give, that I don’t want to give. I mean, there’s a big difference between getting caught up in a game and playing for longer than intended, and being forced to spend too much time with a game because it’s not working the way it’s supposed to.

The thing is, I like gaming. I really, really like it, and when Mabinogi is fun, when it works right, it’s the best. It’s like a place, just for me, where I can escape my own head for a while. Where I can focus on something else, and pretend that it’s just as important. I want to be able to game. And I can’t afford a new gaming console, so my options are computer based games, or Pikmin and Animal Crossing. And Zelda.

So I started looking for a new game. I didn’t look too far, because the Mabinogi launcher opened and pretended like it might work. Then it…kinda froze, so I closed it and opened the new one that had popped up after my re‐download. And that says it’s patching. Although, since I closed the previous one, this probably means that, even if it opens this time, I interrupted the patch, and it won’t open next time. And I’ll be back to square one.

Frankly, if that’s how it goes… I really like Mabinogi. But I don’t need added frustration that comes from a game launcher, you know? So I’m going to continue my search for a new game. And maybe next time I write here, I’ll have something totally new and more interesting to write about. Maybe I’ll even update more frequently.

Uh, updates‐ Mabinogi patched for FOREVER and then, actually, surprisingly, did open. I picked my herbs. Because, you know, housekeeping. And then I went on a…mission, thing. During which there was an…active cut scene, I guess? Where you’re in a different place, but it’s still kind of a cut scene… Anyway, died. In a cut scene. Which was probably entirely my fault. But then it would not let me escape the cut scene. And it wouldn’t let me escape the game. And I became very, very angry. Finally, I got ctrl alt dlt to work (it didn’t the first several times) and shut off the game. And then I just stared at the little icon. I briefly thought about opening it back up and having another go, but then I just thought, you know, idgaf.

I grabbed my tablet with ideas about a frog game I’d seen at one point, because I figured I could just about handle frogs. Instead I found Zen Koi.

Zen Koi is wonderful. It’s not an MMO, and it’s not, err, really computer based, so it probably shouldn’t even be mentioned on this blog‐ish thing. But it was just what I needed. Fish. Swimming about. Growing. In a pond. With pretty plants. Did it take me away from everything the way an RPG does? No. Did it getting really close, and also have the distinction of not pissing me off? Yup.

So I have no idea if I’ll go back to Mabinogi. But I will be playing Zen Koi, for now. You bet.

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March 24

I’ve been playing Mabinogi pretty regularly, lately. They have a lot of fun events going on. And I have to say, it’s been way too easy to slip back into that mindset of, ‘You have to go to get such‐and‐such done.’ Last night I didn’t even really want to play, but I kept telling myself I had to go on so I could get the coins for this one event, so I could use them to… blah blah blah. I didn’t end up going on then, because I just don’t like to feel like I (or the game) am bullying myself into playing.

But it actually has been a great time for me to play. I’ve been working on… err… something rather stressful, which I don’t want to say too much about in case it doesn’t work out for a while. But it’s just been really, really draining and every day I feel incredibly stressed. And worn. And like my mind is a total mess. So to be able to go on the game and immerse myself for a little while…

Well, it’s honestly really helpful. As wide open as the play opportunities are in Mabinogi, it’s still a structured game. And when I can go on and do a list of tasks I’ve set for myself, and get some rewards, it’s gratifying. True, I’m not getting anything done in the real world for that hour. But I feel like the… simplicity isn’t the word. The structure, the pacing, the way you can just fall into the game and let your mind think you’re there for that period of time, helps straighten my mind out. It lets me separate myself from everything else I’m worried about. It gives me a space where I can worry about in‐game stuff only, where I can just… take a break.

It’s almost better than reading (oh my god, blasphemy!) because I can still distract myself when I’m reading, can still find myself pulling away from the book and staring into space and just stressing. But there’s so much going on in Mabinogi that it takes an awful lot to pull your mind out of that space, when you’re in it.

Not that the game doesn’t have its own challenges. There are a ton of events running right now, but one I’ve found kind of funny is an event where you have to greet a bunch of people, based on what year they started playing the game. We’ve all got year titles, and you pick someone with a title you haven’t greeted yet, and you go up and say hello. Kind of. It sounds pretty simple. But me, the lone wolf, had to stress about it. I wasn’t sure whether I should greet them and then just shove off, or if they’d want to make conversation… I wasn’t sure about what the polite thing would be to do.

The first time I greeted someone, I ran up, said hello, and then waited for a few seconds to see if he’d do anything. I didn’t give him a ton of time, but he didn’t do anything back, so off I went. Since then, I’ve been running up to people, greeting them, and pretty much hightailing it before they can say anything. It’s such a weird thing. The game’s making us greet each other. It’s not like a conversation that sometimes starts naturally in the game. So what’s the in‐game etiquette for this?

Of course, since I spent so much time freaking out about how to greet people, most everyone in the game has switched to a different title, and I can’t find anyone else to greet.

But it’s still kind of relief to escape into a stress that simple and easily brushed aside.

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February 19

Today I did a funny thing. I logged on to Mabinogi. Now, if you were paying attention to dates, you’ll see that this entry is two months after my last entry. And this is because, aside from going on maybe once for a few minutes, I actually haven’t played in two months. In fact, except for becoming the Freecell‐as‐procrastination‐device All Time Champion, I haven’t played any games during those months.

It wasn’t that I didn’t want to play, but the longer I stayed away, the harder it got to go back on. With any game, when you leave it for a while, you start to forget what tasks and missions you were focusing on, where you put all your stuff, what’s what in each town or place… and you know, after a few days, that it’s gonna be a little rough when you finally do log on. And then it’s Saturday and you figure you’ll wait until the weekend’s over to avoid the crowds. But those few extra days just make it harder and then, before you know it, two months have gone by. Trees

And when I logged in, it was rough. It was almost like starting over again. And it was swamped. There are a couple nifty events going on, and there were a ton of people around, and I just felt really lost. I was dropping myself into the middle of things, instead of letting changes happen one at a time like they would have if I’d been playing the whole time.

But I went to my Homestead and I gathered some herbs and did some chores, and then I went around and talked to NPCs to complete some quests and start events, and it was… good. It felt good. It felt kind of like slipping back into a comfortable place that I hadn’t really realized I’d been missing. I was on for maybe half an hour, but while I was there, I was in the game. That’s the best thing about a game like Mabinogi‐ it’s immersive. I tend to forget about where I’m sitting and what I’ll have to do when I get off the game, and what I’ll eat for dinner… All those little things that seem to take up so much thought are allowed to slip away for a few minutes, and my mind can unravel. Not that the game’s not stressful. It is, but I think it’s a controlled kind of stress, something I can feel on top of. It’s great, honestly.

Of course, these events are bound to start driving me up the wall, and there will probably be complaints here, but I’m glad I remembered what I like about playing the game.

Now, for some words about maintenance‐ things have been changing a bit here on the HfC games page. Obviously, I’m not on the game as much. I hope to keep doing regular updates, but they probably won’t be as frequent as they were before. I’m also considering adding new games into the blog, but I haven’t yet. And I’m switching from a guide/entertainment/gamer commentary blog to a more social gaming commentary blog, so hopefully it’ll be a little less boring for any readers who aren’t playing Mabinogi. I did a lot of editing. So if the older entries seem a bit disjointed, it’s probably because I took stuff out.

And, from now on, for the foreseeable future, newer entries will be at the top of the page, with the oldest entries at the bottom.

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December 18

Sunset I know I haven’t written in a long time, and the reason is the same as the last– nothing has happened.

Over the past month, I actually spent a TON of time on Mabinogi. I was doing the Harvest Festival and also the Mutation Outbreak Event. The Mutation Outbreak Event was definitely the more interesting of the two, simply because it involved other players. For a while, in the middle of the event, when there were a lot of people on and we were all running together, it got pretty interesting…

One night, I was running by myself after a Crystal Bear. There were quite a few other players around, but I was by myself with this bear, when a ‘real’ bear, a brown bear or something, came up from behind me and attacked me. Before I could even get back up, some other player had shot it. I thought that was so cool. This guy must have actually turned away from what he was doing, looked over and saw me in trouble, and taken the time to help me out. There was no reason for him to do this, in a virtual game. No reason. But he did, and I just thought that was so awesome. He could have been a dick and done nothing, and no one, me included, would have thought twice about it. But he wasn’t. He chose to be a nice person, even though he didn’t have to.

After that, I was rescued a couple more times by people, and like I said before, we always kind of had each other’s backs as we hunted, even if the rescues were never as dramatic as what that guy had done. It really made me think about gamer culture, about how gamers so often get such a bad rap as being secluded, weird people who can’t function in ‘real life’… but here were people making the right choices when they didn’t have to.

But. That’s about as interesting as the event got. Every night, I went on. I collected the stones, or samples, or whatever. I got some nifty prizes, although eventually, they just started to pile up, and they almost all expire, so I probably won’t get around to using most of them because I don’t need them right now. And I collected the notes. By the end, I had maybe 25 more notes to collect, and I just couldn’t do it. Each evening, I was on for hours. Hours. And sometimes I’d only get one or two notes. It was… ridiculous. I also did the Harvest Festival, which was not hard but, after the fifth or sixth time, not very interesting. Advent Calendar Prizes

And here’s the thing. I didn’t get the rings from the Mutation Outbreak Event, so I’m probably screwed for whatever comes next. And I didn’t get the outfit I wanted from the Harvest Festival. The only clothes I got were, in fact, boy clothes. So I spent aaaaallllll this time doing these things, and got basically… nothing. I mean, yeah, I got a few cool things, but they weren’t what I wanted or needed. Advent Calendar Scroll

When we did the Doki Doki Island event, you had to do some menial tasks, but in return, if you worked hard enough, you could choose what you wanted. I loved that event. I loved doing those tasks because I was working towards something definite. When did Mabinogi decide that we needed to simply be pushed into staying online for long periods of time, for little reward?

I don’t mean to say I didn’t have fun. I did have some fun, sometimes. But by the end, it was a huge chore. I didn’t actually want to play anymore, but that voice in the back of my head would say ‘The game. The game. Maybe tonight you’ll get what you want…’ and I’d be back on. It was like a nightmare.

So now we have a new event. It’s called the Advent Calendar Event. Basically, you log on each day (real life), stay on for one Mabinogi day (about 36 minutes) and you get a prize. If you do this for enough days, you get a bigger prize‐ an outfit. The prizes are nice, nothing special. It’s not hard work. But… this is not an event. You don’t need to do anything but log on a million times, and honestly, I don’t have 36 minutes for 28 days during this month. This time, I’m trying not to think about it. I’ll just do my best and if it doesn’t work out, I won’t be bummed. But whenever I decide not to play on any given day, I feel almost guilty, because I’m supposed to log on and get the prize. Which is nuts. You should never feel guilty about not playing a game. Never. It’s supposed to be fun. You know?

Ok, so that’s my rant of updates. Cheers.

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November 27

Trees at Sunset I haven’t written in a few days, not because the game has been boring, but because, despite all the excitement, it hasn’t really added up to anything worth mentioning. I’ve been on everyday? or, for me, every night, usually somewhere between 10 PM and 2 AM. This time has always worked nicely for me because there’s never a ton of people on? sometimes it seems like only two or three people are hanging out in Dunbarton? and that means that game runs faster and more efficiently without a ton of lag.

There are a lot of people on these days, though! Even in the wee hours, people are on, getting stuff done. I’m doing that, too. Each night, I run through the Harvest Festival Quest (still haven’t gotten the clothes I’m looking for) and the Crystal Bear sample quest. I’ve gotten some nifty prizes from that, both for completing the quest and from the treasure boxes you sometimes get while going after the bears.

Quartz Sample The bear sample quests are still fun and exciting for me, although the other day I did have some real frustration when a lot of people were on and Mabinogi kept shutting down. I’ve been reading on the forums about how some people aren’t super enthused with this quest, and, admittedly, it does take some time, and it lags, and it can be frustrating. But I think most people are liking it. When we gather, there actually is a kind of sense of camaraderie (maybe it’s only me who feels this, but I think it’s hard not to when you’re meeting up to achieve a common goal.) There’s some chatter and some energy, people letting off steam, running around, brushing up on skills. Sometimes someone lights a campfire while we wait. And then we hunt together. Honestly, aside from how fun I find it, I also think it’s a really interesting social experiment in working together (although you don’t need to really work together, just run together, kind of watch each other’s backs) and being together. Bear Location

So, as for the actual quest, I did find the 10 scraps of the Diary Page 1. Now I’m supposed to bring back 10 scraps of Diary Page 2. The first ten were pretty easy to get. The second, not so much. I’ve been stuck with six for a while now.

I also put a self?imposed end to the Demonic Weapon Rental. The sword I picked is a bit cumbersome, but I was having fun with it. Then I went to get it repaired. I don’t know if we’ve really talked about weapon repair before? as you use or wear clothing or weapons or cooking gear or whatever, the item loses its durability. When the durability becomes zero, you can’t use it anymore. Each item has a different durability, but if you use it a lot, that durability will definitely drop. I think my rented sword had a durability of 20, and it dropped to 14. So, yeah, I took mine, and… 46,000 gold. That’s how much it was going to cost me to repair this thing. That amount is almost a third of what I’m worth. I mean, if the thing was actually mine, ok, but that much for a rented sword? Nuh‐uh. No way. I dropped that puppy in the bank and didn’t look back. Maybe at the end of the event I’ll pull it out and lower that durability all the way to zero, but for now, it’s staying where it is. Onyx Sample

And, speaking of events, I closed out the Roulette Event. This was so frustrating. There are 25 spots on the bingo card, and I estimate I got between 55 and 60 coins, but I only got bingo three times. I did get a pair of boots I really, really wanted, but I was really pissed. The event ended the other day and I left the game on all day to collect coins, and I also did a ton of shadow missions to get more from killing baddies, but it didn’t matter. The last, I don’t know, six times I spun the wheel, it landed on the same number. I was so sick of the game after that day, the whole game, and so frustrated. What a stupid event. Event Scroll

So that’s really all I’ve been up to‐ making turkeys, hunting bears, playing bingo. I haven’t seen anyone I know on in ages, which makes me wonder if they’re not playing anymore, or if they’re just never on when I am. I feel vaguely bad about it‐ I started avoiding people pretty hard during the Cursed Labyrinth event‐ but on the other hand, I’m not dying for people to chat with. The other day, when I was on all day, you could tell that a lot of other people were doing the same thing and getting stir crazy, because a ton of random party messages kept coming up. Some were funny or cute, but a lot were just asinine, and I just don’t want to hang out with those types of people. I felt pretty lucky about the relative politeness and intelligence of the friends I did make, so I really want to stick to people like that, and leave out anyone who’s going to be a pain.

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November 21

Crystal Bear Crystal Bear Last night, I had to (I was forced, I tell you) go back on Mabinogi, because my Harvest Festival quest hadn’t renewed earlier in the day. I got the quest done. For doing it, I got a pair of shoes, which would have been sooo awesome, except they were male only. So… I was a little bummed, but I was actually just happy that I received any clothing at all.

I also settled down to working on the Mutation Outbreak Event, which actually requires absolutely no settling down whatsoever. I was a little hesitant to talk about this quest because it’s part of the storyline, and I don’t know if it will ever show up again after this, and I want this blog thing to be useable for a while to come. But it ended up making me think about gamer culture, or at least why playing a multi‐player game is different than a solo, and I think that it pretty relevant, so I get to write about it! Crystal Bear

As for giving you a plausible reason for why this event exists… I can’t. I haven’t been following the storyline, so I have no idea why suddenly everyone is running around waving demonic swords and bows at mutated bears. But that’s what it boils down to: bring back Crystal Bear samples.

The bears spawn randomly, much like the Roaming Roosters. However, from what I’ve seen, they always spawn at the same spot. The first time I decided to go, I just ran to close to where I thought the bears would be, came up over the hill, and entered total chaos.

Book Shop It was nuts. The bears are huge and glowing and ferocious, and there were a dozen players chasing them, with me joining in right away. You whack at them or whatever and sometimes a ‘sample’ falls and it automatically enters your inventory, so there’s no stopping, no pausing in the chase. You run with the other players, and the bears teleport, so sometimes everything changes direction in an instant, all of us turning together on the hunt. Sometimes a real bear or a fox or something already in the area attacks, and whoever’s closest takes it out. No one speaks because there’s no time to type. And then after fifteen minutes, maybe less, it never feels like very long, the bears disappear and everyone disbands and goes back to what they were doing before.

Crystal Bear It was intense. Walking into it that first time was like nothing I’d ever done before. It was really exciting. I wanted to be there for real, running headlong, that rush of adrenaline. For a minute while I was playing, my back didn’t hurt from sitting at the laptop anymore, and I forgot I was holding a mouse, I forgot where I was.

I did take a few pictures, as you can see– I’m sorry they’re so nuts. These were actually the best of the bunch. Everything just moves so fast.

You have to collect ten samples from five different colored bears, so I ended up working through spawns twice more. Sometimes, as you’re collecting the samples, you also get a treasure chest or, supposedly, a letter or note for a different quest.

Then I went back to Dunbarton and went for some more Crystal Bears. This time, I got a diary scrap– that’s what it was, a diary scrap, not a letter. I went to Aeira and she asked me to bring back nine more. Nine. Okey–dokey. I’ll see what I can do.

Then I completed the Harvest Fest quest. I got a lovely, feathered, pink hat– male only. What the hell. Don’t I look like a girl? I’m pretty sure I do. I don’t know… I just don’t understand. Give me the women’s clothes!

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November 20

Demon Sword
I was on Mabinogi this morning, but there were four billion people on, and the game was so slow and laggy that I only spent maybe 20 minutes playing (mostly waiting for the movements I made to catch up with me) before I logged off. And then it took my laptop another twenty minutes to recover.

I have no idea why so many people would be on on a Thursday morning, but I suspect it may have something to do with all the events going on. I told you about the Roulette and Harvest, but yesterday, several new events came on. These events were the Mutation Outbreak Event, the Demonic Weapons event, and several other… err… interlocking) events, which don’t seem like events so much as stuff you can get.

I’ll be honest‐ I don’t know anything about most of these. What I did take advantage of, though, was the Mutation Outbreak Event and the Demonic Weapons. So, the Mutation Outbreak Event… I was given a quest to get samples from some bears which‐ joy‐ randomly spawn North… north something… from Dunbarton. I haven’t done it yet.

As for the Demonic Weapons, this is simply an event where you can rent a demonic weapon for a few weeks. You get to pick what you want, and there are several for whatever talent you’re most proficient in. You can really choose any, but my best options were between a shield, a sword, and a two‐handed sword. I probably should have gone for the regular sword. It was probably a faster weapon‐ although it had a lower damage rate‐ and had a higher balance, which I think means that it will inflict a relatively similar amount of damage each time it’s swung. The other sword, the Demonic Death Penalty Blade, was a two‐handed sword, had a lower balance and was much slower, but had a higher damage rate. And it looked cooler.

You can probably guess which I went with. The Demonic Death Penalty Blade makes me look like a crazy, amazing swordsman, so I went with it. I also wanted to try something different. I bought a claymore a few weeks ago, but the thing is so long it looks absolutely ridiculous and just seems unwieldy, so I haven’t really used it. I figured picking this new two‐handed sword would force me to at least try it out.

By the way, once you choose for this event, you can’t choose again, so pick wisely.

Last night while the game wasn’t being super slow, I also did the Harvest Festival quest again. The day before, after I completed the quest the first time, I went back and gathered up the eggs, the potatoes, made the table, and also cooked another two turkeys. Unfortunately, it appears that if you do this while you don’t have a quest, all of the stuff you’ve gathered and made disappears when the new quest appears. So everything was gone except one turkey I hadn’t yet cooked. I had to do it all over again. For my efforts, I was rewarded with Strawberry Seeds for the homestead. Strawberry Seeds… you can get these from completing easy jobs at the grocery stores/ restaurants in Dunbarton and Tir Chonaill. Then you plant them, like any other seed, on your homestead and harvest them for Kon, which raises the level of your homestead so you can do more cool stuff with it. Strawberry Seeds, though, give you the least amount of Kon. So for all the work I did, this was pretty disappointing.

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November 18

Roasted Festival Turkey
I found the turkeys!

Mountains I spent AN HOUR on the game last night, between one and two in the morning, and I could not find those freaking turkeys. The message kept popping up, and I would dash to where it said. The first time, I was at the bank, and I took off like crazy… in the wrong direction. That was totally me. But after that, I started waiting in the fields and just dashing back and forth when the message appeared. Once, I was in the south part of just outside Dunbarton, and it said ‘Roaming Roosters have appeared south of Dunbarton,’ or something to that affect, and I thought, ‘Yes! I’m here!’ But there were no turkeys.

On the forums, people kept kind of implying that the roosters were spawning near the potato fields, where all the chickens are, so that’s where I kept looking. And at the end of the night, I was so freaking frustrated. Not to mention tired. It wasn’t like fishing‐ I had to pretty much keep my eyes on the screen to catch the message. There weren’t that many people on, but I was still afraid someone else would get there before me. But it never mattered, because I saw almost no one hunting, and I never saw a turkey.

This morning, I had work to do and showers to take and fish to feed, but my only goal in life became hunting those stupid turkeys. I logged on and dashed around again, my sole intent to murder me some birds and cook them. But again, I Could. Not. Find them. I was at the end of my rope, had been playing for almost 45 minutes, and I was getting ready to quit and hop on the forums to try to figure out what the hell I was doing wrong.

And then I saw them. Roaming Rooster

They were in the south again, and I was running around like a turkey myself, looking for them. I ran out past the potato patches, to a field of wheat. I hadn’t gone so far before, because I thought they were supposed to appear closer to town. (I’d gone kind of far, but not quite this far.) And there were a dozen of the things and no one else in sight. I whipped out my swords and started gathering.

The turkeys are brown and white and look nothing like the regular roosters. They do appear as red blips on your map (and the wheat field where I collected them appears as a slightly darker splotch on the map.) Festival Table

I killed maybe seven or eight turkeys, and got four Roasted Festival Turkeys out of it. Also, in the middle, I was randomly attacked by a bear. So I had to take a moment to get rid of that annoyance. I ended up dropping some stuff (potions, a weeding hoe I’d just bought) so I could gather more turkeys. I was freaking ecstatic.

Then I got down to the business of cooking them (after I’d had some HP potion so I wouldn’t be walking into Dunbarton wearing a sign that basically said ‘Turkeys kicked my ass.’ It was the bear‐ I swear!)

Then I delivered the eggs, potatoes, turkey and table, and was duly rewarded. You get EXP and a seedling, which if you collect 20 of, you get a hat, and you also get a box, which has goodies inside. I got a violet mochi, which does little and expires before the end of the event, so… whatever. I’m hoping for clothes. They’re giving away a ‘Traditional Korean Outfit (Type 1)’ and a ‘Traditional Plateau Tribal Hat’ and they are soooo cute. So I’m just keeping my fingers crossed that those items come my way.

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November 17

Friendly Shark Hat Double Yolk Eggs Ready to kill someone. I fished for another THREE HOURS the other night. I caught potion after potion, another Sea Bream Robe, not one, not two, but FOUR more Friendly Shark Hats, and… no Penguin Robe. So, I think I quit.

I didn’t even know what to do with all the shark hats. I wanted to give them away, but by the time I was done fishing, no one was around. I dropped them in Dunbarton and hoped someone would come get them.

Anyway, a new event, the Harvest Festival, has started. I was sent out to collect three petite potatoes, four double yolk eggs, and also asked to make a meal and a table.

The potatoes were no problem. Same with the eggs.

The meal was… impossible. First, you need to get a particular turkey to make the meal with, and you do this by hunting Roaming Roosters, which spawn outside of Dunbarton every so often. A white message appears on screen when the roosters are spawning, and, I assume, you rush there and whack some and gather their little bodies to cook. And I’m sure the cooking is pretty simple. The problem was, I waited for two hours, real time, the roosters spawned twice (that I saw, I did walk away for about a half hour) and when I rushed to the area, they were all gone, taken by other players. Scarecrow

I was pretty frustrated by it, and when I went on the Mabinogi forums to commiserate, I found that a lot of other players were also frustrated. Some people even said that they’d hunted many of the roosters, but no meat had dropped. So… I’m going to switch to the least occupied channel and go back on late tonight when there are fewer people on and try again. I’m trying to stay positive, but after my Penguin Robe fiasco, I’m not really enthused. Petite Potatoes

However! As for the Penguin Robe, I got one! Yes! Finally! You’ll be shocked and awed to know that I didn’t even have to waste any more time fishing for it. Instead, I bought it. I was in Dunbarton, a player had a shop up, they were selling a Penguin Robe… It was brown, not exactly the color I wanted, and it was going for 50,000 gold, but who cares!! I wasn’t using that gold anyway. And now I don’t ever have to fish (for this event, at least) again.

I also decided that, now that I’m in possession of more healthy potions than can comfortably fit in my inventory, I’d go and try that stupid, hour long task in Iria, at Cor Village, again. You know, the one with the waves of different monsters. And I died! Five times. I didn’t even get past the first monster, a boar, four of those times. I have no idea why not. It used to be pretty easy to take out. Now, my skills are better, so it should be even easier, but… death! I was so frustrated by this that I actually wanted to give up on the quest and never look back, but you can’t. There’s no option for that.

So I don’t know. One of the people on the Mabi forum remarked that playing this latest event was like having a second job, and it kind of is. Games have been behaving this way for a long time. I remember when Pok?mon Silver and Gold came out for the Gameboy Color, and different Pok?mon appeared at night. It was revolutionary! It was exciting, to think that you had a task waiting for you, an adventure to go on in real time. It made the game so much more realistic, and Mabinogi is similar. It asks you to be on all the time, or at least as much as you can‐ of course it does, it wants you to become addicted. Why we, as players, actually think this is a good idea is beyond me. It takes up so much time. It takes so much planning. But we keep coming back. We actually demand that our games demand more from us. It’s insane!

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November 15

It’s been a few days, I know. I actually was on Mabinogi, but I wasn’t doing very much? I’m still trying to catch the Penguin Robe in the fishing event. I fished for freaking hours the other night, and I caught the Friendly Shark Hat, which is… bizarre, but no Penguin Robe. I was especially hoping for the robe because that one you can actually store in the Dressing Room, so it would be great.

At one point, while I was fishing, a guy came up on his horse and rode over me. This isn’t usual‐ since you can basically go through people, you don’t need to swerve to avoid hitting them. But I was standing way off to the side, and the guy really had to aim for me. And then, he turned around and came back and stood on top me some more, walking back and forth. I wasn’t sure if I should say something, or if he would. I held my breath (figuratively) and pretended nothing strange was happening at all, and he rode off. Did he want something from me? I just don’t know.

I also continued working on a quest I started a few days back, when I rebirthed. I decided to go for puppetry this time. After I finally got my puppet, it really sank in why people choose one talent at a time. I have no room to carry this little buddy. I have no room, period. Two character banks, two pet inventories, my inventory and three bags, and I have NO SPACE. I couldn’t even equip the puppet for some reason. And I’m still wearing my Sea Bream Robe because I don’t have anywhere else to put it. It’s cute but not really a fashion statement I want to be making 24/7.

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November 8

The Cursed Labyrinth is gone, finally. I still kind of feel like I need to hide away from people when I’m on, so that I don’t get asked to do the labyrinth with them. But that’s no longer necessary! I even went on today, in the middle of the day, a Saturday! I almost never go on during the day on Saturday and Sunday simply because there’s usually a ton of people on and it makes the game run with a bit of a lag. But it was actually pretty chill today. Roulette

Instead of the labyrinth, there are two new events going on. The first is Manus’s Potion Fishing Event. You get some special bait. Then, you fish. Anywhere. Tir Chonaill was packed yesterday, with people fishing over bridges and such, and I didn’t even want to know what Lake Neagh, where the SAO fishing event was held, looked like. Instead, I went to Emain Macha. That town is always dead, and it was the same this time. I saw only two other people fishing. And I saw one huge giant, all covered in armor, run past with his teeny tiny cat. But that was it.

Roulette Counter I was pretty eager to fish because you can get some cool prizes. The potions you can fish up are really good. However, I really wanted to get some robes. There are two robes you can get, the Sea Bream and the Penguin. Aside from the fact that they’re really cute, I’m also on the last leg of the Dressing Room quest, in which you need to collect 10 robes. Turns out robes are kind of hard to come by, so I was hoping to add these to my collection.

Today I caught two Sea Bream Robes, and they are so cute. I love them. However, I was seriously disappointed to find that you can’t add the Sea Bream Robe to the Dressing Room. So now I’m stuck wearing this robe because I don’t have enough space in my inventory/pet inventory/bank to put it. Argh.

The other new event is the Roulette Bingo Event. You get a bingo board and a roulette coin. You use the coin to spin the wheel, and then your bingo board gets marked. If you get a bingo, you get a prize. If you fill up the board, you get a prize. You don’t really need to do anything more than that. The only challenging part of this is getting the roulette coins. You can get them from fighting monsters (I did two dungeons and came out with one coin.) Or, you get one for every real‐time hour you stay logged into the game.

For some people, staying logged in and just going afk (away from keyboard) is probably no problem. For me… No. I play on a laptop, and she is seriously displeased with playing for a long time. Not only that, but even if I did want to leave the game open, there’s pretty much no way I could work online or anything while it was open. My laptop would have a meltdown.

So far, I collected and used five roulette coins. I haven’t gotten a bingo yet.

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November 6

I almost messed up and forgot to get on the game before midnight on the fourth. At eleven, I remembered, though.

I did the Cursed Labyrinth as normal, and at the end, after defeating the Belisha, the Trickster appeared.

The Trickster is an evil teddy bear. When he appeared, I only had three minutes left on the clock, so I was pretty nervous about being able to defeat him in time. He ran around a bit, but for the most part he stayed still and let me attack him, with almost no retaliation. He was almost disappointingly easy.

After, I was able to complete the quest, and I got a nice price box… filled with candy‐ whoopee.

So the prizes were definitely meh, but I got a lot of gold, and I also got 100,000 experience points, so the quest was worth it… I think. After, another new quest popped up, but in order to complete it, I would have had to collect all seven clues again. I only had two labyrinth invitations left, which meant that even if I cleared all three rooms and got clues in each, I would only have six clues. So I went through the labyrinth once more just for fun, and then I logged off.

So, in the end, I was only able to do part of the event.

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November 3


nov3 Today, after being away from the game for almost a week, I gave in and did the Cursed Labyrinth again. The first time, I was that stupid archer again, and got through one room‐ enough to get the sixth clue. The second time, I was a Ghostly Eastern Vampire. I had a great time doing this‐ the vampire hops, she’s really cute as she moves along.

After clearing three rooms, I had five minutes to spare and was able to grab the treasure from the last room. Then I went in to fight Belisha.

This is where everything fell apart. I’d heard that the Ghostly Eastern Vampires had a glitch but, being naive, assumed that Mabinogi would have fixed this. No. My vampire wouldn’t fight Belisha. At all. No matter what I did.

So I ‘failed’ the mission and didn’t get my prize. It was probably just another cookie, but I was really frustrated. I can’t believe that a glitch that big exists and Mabinogi hasn’t figured out how to fix it.

Anyway, I wanted to get the last clue, so I went back in and was able to snag it. Then I went and had them ‘deciphered.’ So next time I go into the Labyrinth, I will fight the Trickster. It should be interesting. There’s only one more day left of this event, so I’ll have to get the job done by tomorrow.

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October 31

Happy Halloween!

So I haven’t been on Mabinogi in about three days. I just haven’t had time, and honestly, it’s just a game, but I get that weird feeling when I don’t go on for a while, as if I’m neglecting something. I kind of am. Any gamer knows that when you’re in the middle of a game, and you stop playing for a few days, it gets a little harder to get back into it and remember where you were and what you were doing and what items you had on you. 2oct31

But I haven’t really been away long enough for that to happen.

I did, however, have something very exciting happen the last time I was on? I got through the three rooms in the Cursed Labyrinth!

The first room was the books in piles. I snuck around and got it done. Belisha was there with a note. Next room? the eating. I jabbered away at that space bar like it was no one’s business. I checked out the forums the other day, and apparently I’m not the only person who found that last string of spaces nearly impossible to do. I felt better about that. After that room, another note. The last room was a new one. It was filled with ogres and trolls, I think? They kind of hung out on opposite sides of the table and you just had to get rid of them all. It took me almost ten minutes, so I was getting really nervous near the end. But I got it done with about a minute to spare. Another note followed. They must have realized they were giving those things out too slowly.

Finally, I was able to grab the treasure chest before going in to defeat Belisha. I grabbed it, not knowing what was inside yet, and walloped Belisha. I got back outside, to Dunbarton, and eagerly ripped into the treasure box (figuratively speaking.) And it was … a cookie. Now, as a solo player, the prizes are, I guess, not quite as good as what you can get when you go as a group. But there are some that I would have been totally happy with receiving, after a near month of trying to get through that freaking labyrinth. A cookie, even a very cute, star‐shaped cookie, was not one. I was so disappointed, I can’t even tell you. I know I should have turned around and done the labyrinth again as many times as possible, now that I knew I could do it, but I didn’t. Instead, I logged out, and I haven’t been back on since.

oct31 Not long after the cookie disappointment, I went back on the Mabinogi forums. While I was there, I came across a contest that was celebrating LGBT month. I clicked on, and I wasn’t interested in the contest. (You needed to use flashing clothes and stuff, and I am always so baffled by players who want to wear flashing clothes. I mean, maybe a touch here or there, but a whole outfit? It would give me a headache. But whatever floats your boat, I guess.) But as I read through the comments, I was appalled by how many people were against a contest celebrating LGBT people. I had just gotten done writing about how cool the Mabinogi forum people are, but now I was being disabused of this notion. People were going as far as to say that doing this kind of contest was ‘pushing someone else’s beliefs.’


Ok. I don’t want to get into a big rant about equality and rights, because this isn’t the place for it… Who am I kidding. Anywhere is a good place for that kind of rant. Anyway, LGBT rights are something I’m kind of passionate about. (I’m straight, by the way. I just don’t, can’t, understand how people feel it’s ok to degrade and dehumanize people, and worse, because of who they love or who they want to be. It’s baffling.) But I will say here that I was pretty appalled by people’s thoughts. If it was a Christmas celebration, no one would put up a fight, even though that’s a holiday belonging only to a specific religion, thus ‘pushing’ beliefs. (Unless you’re like me and consider Christmas to be a holiday with its roots firmly in pagan beliefs, and celebrate it as a way to end the year, celebrate winter and the coming of spring, and get together to show family and friends how much you appreciate them with gift giving.) If it was a celebration of Black History Month, no one would protest. It would be considered right. Racists would know enough to keep their mouths shut and carry on their antique, terrible ideas in more private ways. But people felt perfectly comfortable voicing how incredibly homophobic they were. It just wasn’t a problem. And I’m sorry, but saying, ‘I’m ok with gay people, I just don’t want to make a big deal out of them/acknowledge them,’ is homophobic.

So I’m slightly revising my stance on the Mabinogi forums. And at the same time, I’m applauding Mabinogi for its acceptance. In fact, you can get married in the game, and, if you want, you can marry a player of the same gender. Which I think is a pretty awesome stance for a game to take.

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October 20

After yesterday’s screw‐up with the Cursed Labyrinth, I decided I better do it again and get my AP. I hate the Labyrinth. I realize that I shouldn’t do it alone, but I’m so bad at it I would be horrified to inflict my terrible skills on someone else. And though I realize I probably won’t get through the three rooms by myself, you would think I’d be able to get through at least ONE. But no. The last dozen times I did it, it feels like, I couldn’t get through even one room.

This time, I didn’t get through the room. And when it got to the end and I had to fight Belisha… god, I was just done. I filed my nails. Unfortunately, it turns out that if you don’t beat Belisha, the quest doesn’t complete. So my nails look great now, but I’m going to have to do the stupid Labyrinth again. Uh. Mabinogi_October

After, I went to look into some info about Mana Training Bullets I found online. Apparently, some towns have a person who stands at the trading post and sells items. And it’s true! This NPC sold me a ton of bullets, so I won’t have to do all the crazy things you need to do to get the materials to make them. At least, not yet. After, I went on a pretty much useless run through Barri Dungeon and experimented with the guns, which was fun. Really fun. They’re so easy to use.

Then, I gathered corn. I know, it was a seriously exciting day. It was a Daily Quest (corn‐ fifty pieces.) After, I used the corn to make Grilled Corn and Steamed Corn. Gotta level that cooking skill up.

So, if you’re not playing this game, or if you haven’t yet had the joy of standing around and harvesting 50 ears of corn, you might think this sounds hideously boring. It should be boring. But the really interesting thing is, it’s not. Now, look‐ I’m not one of those people who plays games all day and uses them as an excuse not to live my real life (do those kinds of people exist, or is it a stereotype?) I go out, I do things, I work, and I have others hobbies, but I like playing games because they’re fun. And I like playing because when you accomplish something in the game, you feel like you actually got something right. Like you were in control. Again, I need to point out that I don’t feel out of control in my real life, and I often feel like I get things done, or do things correctly. I think it’s important to say that because maybe, without it being said, people could believe that gamers play to get a feeling of satisfaction that they don’t find in their real lives, and I don’t think that’s always true.

So why am I pointing this out? I don’t know. Maybe just to say, hey, games like Mabinogi are fun, even in what should be boring moments. They can relieve stress. But maybe they can add to it, too. I guess that’s the real point‐ not the stress, but the idea that games and the gaming experience are both more and less than we believe. It isn’t real life. My accomplishments on the game mean nothing, but it does give me a little burst of satisfaction or happiness or both, and maybe I’ll carry that feeling over into what I do in the real world. And when I talk to someone, when they make me laugh or we share something, that’s a real person. We’re not face to face, but we’ve still affected each other. Whether I have a level 8 or 9 sword skill in the game makes no difference in the real world. But how I got that skill, achieving that skill, talking to people‐ that does carry over to real life.

It’s interesting.

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October 19

Mabinogi_October Yesterday, I did not play any Mabinogi, because I was very busy doing real‐world work, and then my nose ran so hard it actually dripped on the floor sometimes if I didn’t catch it fast enough, and my head was made of puffed rice, so I just said, ‘No way.’ But, I did have to go on the forum.

If you go on the Mabinogi website, there is a forum, and it has tons of useful stuff, players helping each other, people selling stuff in‐game, contests where you can win nifty prizes, etc. I haven’t really delved into it because I don’t forum. I don’t like them, I don’t want to be involved… Usually when you go on a particular forum there are two or six or twelve or fifty‐three ‘regulars,’ and they get all pissy when you break in with any new info they might not have heard, or even a question. Even when people are ‘helpful’ on forums, these regulars tend to be snotty in their helpfulness because they feel the need to let everyone know that they are far superior. I’ve seen people argue or belittle absolutely tiny points, just because it was something they didn’t know about. It’s so ridiculous.

However, forums are a kind of necessary evil, and yesterday I had cause to use the Mabinogi one. Mabinogi_October

I started scrolling through the forums, and it was amazing. People were… nice. I mean, there were a couple people who seemed to want to be snotty/stupid/whiny or all three, but for the most part, people were really polite and gentle with each other. I honestly don’t think I’ve ever seen another forum like it. Maybe I just didn’t delve far enough to see the venom people fling, I don’t know. But it was really refreshing. I’ve noticed this so much, playing Mabinogi‐ yes, there are a few assholes who say terrible things or come across as snots who want you to know how much better than you they are, but mostly, people are far, far more polite than they are in real life. They’re generous, they’re conscientious, they make funny small talk, they stay out of your way, they’re helpful, they type with mostly correct grammar… It’s bizarre, but I like it.

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October 14

I haven’t written in a few days, although I have been playing. It’s just that I’ve been doing pretty mundane stuff‐ it doesn’t make for great reading. For example, I’ve been making a pair of gloves. And I’ve been playing the Cursed Labyrinth and getting nowhere. So I didn’t have a lot to say.

Tonight, I had a terrible headache. So, of course, this is the time to stare at a computer screen and frustrate myself with the game. First, I decided to work on the gloves. For these gloves, you need Common Silk. Now, Common Silk is made just like almost any other silk‐ you gather cobwebs, you click on a spinning wheel and spin Thin Thread (5 cobwebs equal 1 piece of thin thread) and then you click on the weaving loom, and it weaves it into silk (5 thin threads for one piece of silk.) Of course, sometimes you spin 30 cobwebs and end up with two pieces of thin thread, which is frustrating. And sometimes you weave and it doesn’t work. Or, it does work, but it doesn’t produce the type of silk you need. That’s how it went for me. I kept weaving Cheap Silk and Fine Silk, and I even made Finest Silk, but only once (once!) did I get Common Silk. Spider

That’s how it went tonight. I gathered 100 cobwebs, which does take a bit of time, and spun them, and wove them, and I got Fine Silk and Cheap Silk. I’ve tried using different types of silk weaving gloves… I don’t know what the problem is. I almost want to give up, but I have the gloves more than 70% complete.

So I decided to abate my frustration and start a new pattern‐ this time for silk weaving gloves. So handy‐ just make your own. These gloves require Fine Fabric. Now, you can buy Cheap Fabric and Common Fabric, but you cannot, as far as I know, buy Fine Fabric. But since I kept churning out Fine Silk, I figured this would be simple. Ha Ha Ha. No. I sheared all the sheep I could find, spun the wool into Thick Thread, and wove fabric. But it came out Cheap Fabric. Common Fabric.

Ok. I get it. Today was not my day for the tailoring.

So I spent a while picking herbs, and then I decided to do one more thing before I logged off. (As I gathered various herbs and cobwebs, my headache dissipated. It could have been the Excedrin I took, or the fact that it was quiet, but I’m gonna go with game therapy.) I went back to Dunbarton and spoke to the coachman in the square and went into the Cursed Labyrinth.

Like I said, I’ve been trying to do this at least once a day because once you go through once, no matter how poorly you do, as long as you ‘complete’ the experience, you get 5 AP. AP is awesome because it lets you advance your skills, and if you’re like me and, I suspect everyone else playing, you want as much of it as you can.

Aside from collecting AP, though, I’ve been failing miserably at the Labyrinth. I still go by myself, which I suspect isn’t wise, but I’m loathe to force my terrible skills on some unsuspecting party, and none of my friends have been on this week, so I don’t have a lot of options. Sometimes I get through one room. Usually I don’t. And I never ran into the girl so she could give me a clue. Pumpkin Campfire

Today, though, I did better! I completed the first room pretty easily, because it was very much like dancing. You just hit the right sequence of keys. The only problem was the last sequence. It was all spaces, so it should have been simple, but they didn’t give enough time to hit them all. And you can’t leave the room until you do. I had to go lightning fast and make tiny little movements and actually concentrate hard on hitting the space bar, and I finally just made it. And as I went to leave, there was Belisha! So happy! So I have one clue, with six more to go.

I still want to get through the Labyrinth by myself, but I’m almost hoping a friend will come on and do it with me. I got another note from my friend the other day. I wrote back‐ ‘Hey, how are you, hope we can see each other, etc.’ He did not write back. This kid’s character is a guy, and I suspect he’s a guy in real life, too. Boys never write back. Dear boys‐ if we write you a note, please acknowledge that you got it. Even a ‘K’ will do. You don’t even have to capitalize it.

It’d be nice, though.

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October 9


I suck at everything today. Game wise, at least. In the real world, I actually got stuff done and felt like I was a functioning human being, to an extent. Which is cool and weird, because usually, when you’re playing a game, you feel like you’re way more in control than you are in the real world. You feel like you’re accomplishing things‐ it gives a kind of instant gratification that rarely happens IRL. But for me, today was the opposite.

I lost who knows how many hours this morning playing (I think it was close to two). I logged on and decided to work on some other quests that had been hanging over my head. The night before, I’d gone into the Cursed Labyrinth again. I cleared two rooms, and no creepy girl showed up with goodies. I moved onto the next room. It had rats. I just don’t know what’s wrong with my technique right now, but I couldn’t kill enough rats in the time limit. This was the start of my sucky game play.

Mabinogi Eagle So, this morning, I decided to complete two quests in Iria. The first was to find and get through Karu Forest Dungeon in Iria. Ok. So I spent another interminable time wandering around Karu Forest wondering where the hell the dungeon was. The forest was cool. It was very… green. And there were a lot of hazelnut mushrooms, so I took the opportunity to bump my mushroom gathering skill up. Yes, that is a real skill. One I value. But there was no dungeon.

Turns out you need to find the dungeon entrance with your L‐Rod. (You have no idea how long I just took trying to spell entrance. Not as many e’s as I thought in that word. Don’t mind me. I just write for a living.) So anyway, I didn’t find the entrance. And I was kind of bummed.

After failing to find the dungeon, I decided to complete the… uh, jaguar thing. With the NPC Shamala. The one where I died before. Now, last time, I’d had a really hard time, but this time, I hadn’t rebirthed, so I was level 46, and I figured I was good to go.

Not so much. Admittedly, while I was doing a different quest I was, once again, killed by a giant lizard, and I foolishly used one of my three Nao stones. So when I got into the quest, I only had two. And I died twice long before where I even got last time. It was so stupid. I left and I’m kind of hoping to never look back because it just doesn’t seem worth it.

After my second failure of the day, I decided to complete the trifecta and go through Barri Dungeon. I’ve been through Barri Dungeon a couple times, and it’s never a big deal (although, today, I did kick it once. ‘Cause it was that kind of day.) But this time, I was supposed to end up in ‘another world’ and do some thing… Yeah, not so much. I got through the dungeon, I hit the end… and it dropped me right back into Bangor, the town outside. I must have missed a door or something at the end. I landed right in the middle of two players having a very serious discussion about a robe.

I high‐tailed it out of there. Someone had left a pumpkin campfire burning near the entrance (entrance, entrance) and it was very creepy looking, but I sat at it and nursed my wounds and when it went out I stood up and wondered what to do. But I was failing at game life. So I logged off.

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October 8

I wrapped up Doki Doki Island the other day. I must have been the last person on, well past midnight on the 5th, which was supposed to be the last day. I wanted to finish my last quest, which was to catch seven salmon. I didn’t really want to get anything with the cat eyes but I figured that, if the island had already happened twice, it was bound to happen again, and I could save the eyes for later. I fished for hours, but only caught six. At 1:30 in the morning, I gave up and dumped four of them on the shore, then left the island.

Mabinogi_October Yesterday, I logged back in and, just as I’d hoped, it’s Halloween in Mabinogi. There are pumpkins and little ghost decorations everywhere. I love it. It’s so cute. I was bummed about Doki Doki Island disappearing, but Halloween is my favorite holiday, and the decorations alone make up for it.

So, before I started the game, when I opened the launcher, it had to patch‐ it had to take off Doki Doki and put on the Halloween event. All cool. It seemed to be taking a long time, though, so I closed it, aborting the patch, and then reopened the launcher and had it start patching again. Still slow (ended up taking about a half hour to patch) but whatever. I went on and played for a bit, then logged off.

When I went to go back on again later that evening, I opened the launcher and it said ‘Downloading launcher’ in the space where it usually downloads patches. I didn’t think anything of this (I thought it was updating) but as soon as it hit 100%, the launcher closed. And nothing else happened. I couldn’t launch the game. I opened the launcher over and over, but nada. So, I figured the game was glitchy and I’d try again later.

Fast forward to 10:30 last night, when the launcher still won’t work. I decided to look it up. I came across another person in a forum with what seemed like a similar problem, but no real answer. And I came across an article on the Nexon (company that owns Mabinogi) page. They said that it a patch is interrupted, the launcher can fail. They said to update the launcher by going into Mabinogi on the C Drive…. Blah blah blah. I actually did this, but it only updated the Nexon launcher, which is useless because it doesn’t work right, and never has‐ it always wants you to re‐download the game. I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one with this issue using this launcher, and it’s not even the launcher for Mabinogi anyway.

I spent an hour pulling my hair out and getting more and more frustrated, trying to fix the launcher. Finally, I had to uninstall Mabinogi, and reinstall. How long does installing take? For me, it’s about 2 hours. I gather that that’s average. Then, it had to install other stuff for another twenty minutes, and then it had to do the half hour patch again. Which I was super careful not to disrupt. My screensaver came on once while it was patching and I almost had a heart attack.

Launcher works fine now, but what a pain in the ass. The lesson here: if the game is updating or installing a patch, Don’t Interrupt It. Ever!

Mabinogi_October So, after I finally got on the game, it was close to 3 in the morning, but you can bet I was going to play, after all that.

I decided to go to the Cursed Labyrinth in the haunted mansion, which is the Halloween event that’s running right now. You do it by taking a reaaaally long carriage ride to a mansion, and, once in the mansion, you enter a maze, of sorts. And then you role play, so you don’t get to be yourself or use your weapons, which I seriously dislike.

Now, at this point, I was super tired, but this maze was really confusing. I had no idea what my goal was. So I just started walking. Fast. Because you only have 30 real‐time minutes in the maze.

Within the maze are doorways that lead to rooms you can clear. The first room was a big library, and I missed the sign at the beginning that said what to do, so I had to guess. It turns out you need to collect books from big piles. There are 12 piles, and you need to find books in all of them. No challenge. Yet. The hard part comes when the library ghosts appear. These things pinned me to a wall and attacked me until I died. You revive after 20 seconds… but it seemed like as soon as I revived, they were attacking me all over again. It took me, not even kidding, like 8 minutes to get away from one group. And I could not kill them. So. Frustrating. Finally I got through the room by just avoiding them as best I could (which was not real well.) I found myself in a second room, where you had to knock out some creepy stuffed animals. I went wild and was knocking them out left and right. Later, I found out you have to get 30 of them, which is a lot. But, before I could do that, I only had ten minutes left, and I was automatically transported to the final room, where I met with a creepy girl and fought her, which took forever… and then, it was over, I was back in Dunbarton, and the dude gave me a campfire set and told me to be on my way.


Turns out that you only get real prizes if one of two things happens: first, if the creepy girl shows up near the exit door to a room you’ve completed, you get a clue, which can later help you finish a quest. Second, if you clear three rooms, you get to keep a certain key, which can be used in the last room to open a treasure chest thing which rewards you with a prize box.

Now, you can take up to eight people into the Cursed Labyrinth, but wow, does it sound like people would get lost. But who knows. This might actually be the way to go. You know me, though. Not a people person. So I figure I’ll log back on tonight and see if I can make my way through some rooms myself. I just hope I get to play as a character with a sword.

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October 5

I never did try to get back to Filia. ItR#8217;ll happen at some point, I’m sure, but it hasn’t happened yet. Instead, I rebirthed (Close Combat, this time) and I spent a lot of time on Doki Doki Island. Tomorrow’s the last day. To be honest, I’m kind of bummed. I really liked this island. It was so pretty and there were a lot of things to do, and people were all chill and friendly. Meeting people there didn’t automatically add up to going into some type of battle or quest with them. It was just fun. I know this event happened once before, before I started playing, so I just hope it’ll happen again. In the mean time, I’m hoping for some kind of Halloween inspired event, but I have no idea if Mabinogi does this kind of thing.

I haven’t seen any of my in‐game friends in a little while. I’m a little worried that they’ll be mad that I never hang out. The problem is that I’ve been going on between midnight and two in the morning‐ish (I fish while I work) and no one’s on then. I just don’t know the etiquette for these things. One friend wrote me a note that said pretty much, ‘Hey,’ and I wrote back saying ‘Hey,’ but he never continued it. So I have a feeling he’s pissed. Or, maybe he hasn’t been on. I just don’t know. Cactus lizard

I also went to Iria and tried to complete a quest, but I’d forgotten a thing I needed, so I couldn’t. Instead, I rode my horse. We rode all around. We saw the sights. We ended up in a desert with huge lizards. I thought, wow, I should get a picture of these lizards for my blog. So I stopped and was fiddling with the camera angle, and just as I was snapping the picture, the lizard attacked. It killed my horse (I revived her later, no worries) and proceeded to try and eat me. I could not kill this thing. I ended up having to run away. Wtf!? I was just walking through. But I got the picture! Anything for a fricking screenshot.

Fishing for 42 salmon off Doki Doki is paradise compared to those lizards.

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September 27

The skill I was supposed to be learning today was Transformation, which sounds like a lot of fun. I talked to the NPC, and she kind of explained, and told me I needed to ‘collect’ some green kiwis‐ the birds, not the fruit‐ in this one area, and then transform into one.

Cor village Collecting the kiwis was not so awesome. First of all, to ‘collect,’ they really mean ‘take out.’ Now, if we’re going along with the premise that this is, for the most part, a fantasy game operating in a time frame where things like electricity and mass‐produced foods have not been invented, I’m ok with going out and strangling a chicken to cook a meal. (As far as I know, you can’t actually strangle any chickens in the game.) I mean, if it tells me I need fish to cook with, I’ll catch a fish. If it tells me I need to hunt a boar for its leather, I’ll do it. Twisting my mind into this time period allows me to believe that these things are necessary for survival, and then they don’t bother me. But killing five or six or seven little green birds… Well, that did bother me.

But I killed the first kiwi‐ and let me tell you, this sucker was not easy to kill. It ran away when I had my swords out, and it regenerated HP whenever I wasn’t attacking. Eventually I took my guns out and shot it, but now I’m out of ammo, and that’s a whole other adventure. I figured I was done ‘collecting,’ but I wasn’t. I needed to down five of these things. And for some reason, two didn’t count, so I ended up killing seven. It was kind of a nightmare. At the end, I was able to transform into the kiwi, but it seemed quite pointless. And I didn’t know how to un‐transform. Eventually, I talked to the NPC again, and she turned me back into myself, but that doesn’t answer any questions for what I’m supposed to do when she’s not around. Mana tunnel

After I was done with that, I went and talked to another person I was supposed to meet. He sent me on a mission to hunt these evil panthers, as well as a shit‐ton of other bad guys… The first few missions (there was more than one, in a row) were pretty short and neat and they offered a LOT of EXP‐ I started out level 1 and by the time I was done with the second mission, I think, I was something like level 26. So I was really into it. But then I came to what I assume was the last mission. Oh my god, this thing went on FOREVER. It seemed like all of the baddies I was up against were difficult.

I ended up dying twice, which I found really funny, because I almost never die in dungeons, where you can take someone with you, but here, where I’m pretty sure I couldn’t take a friend, I needed help. I never did find out how many bad guys there were or what was going on because I died a third time and was out of Nao stones, so I had to exit back to the village. If I want to complete that quest, I’ll probably have to start all over again.

After I totally failed at the mission above, I decided to look into going to Filia. Filia is the home of the elves, and it also apparently has a preserve (hope I used the right word there, and am not talking about jam) where you can get material to make Mana bullets, which I now need since I used mine to shoot a tiny bird. I hopped on my eagle and rode all around the area I was in and all along the border of Filia, but I could not actually get into Filia. Apparently, there are some bridges somewhere, but I must have missed them. I was really frustrated at that point, so I just logged off.

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September 24

Doki 3
Ok kids, I am reallllly tired tonight, so this could get interesting. Or it could be completely incoherent. Like how I just tried to spell completely with an ‘r.’ Which you didn’t see because I have the magic of backspace.

To the game!

I started off the day by trying to bribe my way into a secret shop. Secrets shops are… well, they’re shops that I guess nearly any NPC who sells something could potentially have. And… they’re secret. So you can’t see them until you ‘get the password’ so to speak. I suppose this is supposed to be like some kind of… yeah, honestly, I don’t know. I don’t see the point. It simply seems like an amazing way to test a player’s patience. I’ll explain.

I wanted to raise my Rest skill level. And to do that, you need to read a particular book. Nora, who is located at the inn in Tir Chonaill, sells this book in her secret shop.

To get into a secret shop, you basically need to bribe your way in. I’m not kidding when I say it felt really uncomfortable. I don’t know why. Nora is not real. But this still felt dirty. You walk up to Nora, grab the item she likes from your inventory, and give it to her.

Of course, it doesn’t take just one gift. It took like 20. Really. It was so tedious.

After you give a gift, you need to talk to the NPC. How they greet you will tell you whether you’re getting close. You need to talk about both of these things every time. If it says something like ‘Nora is smiling at you,’ you’re doing good. If it says ‘Nora is looking like she wants to end the conversation,’ you have to bribe them to keep their mouth shut. That’s what it felt like, because you do this by offering money. Then you go back to gift giving and talking.

Anyway, I finally got through and bought, read and dropped the book in maybe five seconds. But my Rest skill was raised.

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September 23

Today, I had my ass kicked by a boy in a shark robe.

He asked me for a Player vs. Player fight. Well, actually, he didn’t ask, he didn’t say anything to me before the match at all. A box popped up that said something like ‘So‐and‐so has asked you for a player vs. player duel.’ And you could accept or deny. I was ready to deny, but he pleaded with me to accept, and I’m trying to try new things, so I did. And in maybe five seconds, he was handing my head to me on a platter.

After, he tried to say ‘Good fight,’ and so forth, but I was kind of ticked because it hadn’t been a good fight. It wasn’t really his fault‐ I don’t think there’s any way to tell someone’s level before you request a duel‐ but I thought maybe he should have asked? Or we could have set some ground rules? I told him it was my first time, but he didn’t offer any suggestions. And, this is just me whining, but he was much faster than me, running, and whenever I came at him, he ran away so I could never get close. Then he’d turn and slam me with something I couldn’t see at all. It was ridiculous‐ again, not really his fault, but still. And I just thought, what is the point? I didn’t get any EXP or anything.

He went away for a bit and I attempted to lick my wounds. But then he came back and offered me what I think was supposed to be a peace offering. And it was extremely generous. And he friended me and told me to ask him if I needed any help. So he turned out to be nice. But maybe he felt a little guilty for kicking my ass so publicly?

In the end, it turned out fine, but it was weird and uncomfortable and I don’t think I’ll do it again.

In other news‐ trying to grab another pet box before the Doki Doki event is over. 48 cat’s eyes to go.

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September 22

Mabinogi Scottish Fold Cat
Got my pet! I was so excited when I finally got enough cat eyes. The box you get is totally random, but I really wanted a cat. So when I got a Scottish Fold, I was thrilled.

My cat has an inventory, which, aside from how amazingly cute she is, I was really the most thrilled about. Because I’m doing tailoring and cooking and all kinds of other crazy things, space is always a struggle, with all my stuff. I’d filled two bank accounts, my inventory, two bags (one the biggest you can buy without paying real money) and I wear two sets of clothes, one over the other, plus I have a special bag for my guns and their repair kit. So having a few extra squares to put stuff was GREAT.

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September 21

So much to talk about, as Conan O’Brien would say. Mabinogi Soul Mate

This morning, I was sitting at a campfire (which oddly didn’t show up on the screen but still worked…?) when a boy came up to me and asked if I was looking for a soul mate for the Doki Doki event. I, being the idiot I am, said sure, and we became soul mates. Mabinogi Flying

Now, the only perk to being a soul mate is that if you stay with them long enough and do activities together, you get points, and eventually, if you get to 100%, you can fly. Anywhere. Forever. (20% allows you to fly on the island.) Personally, since I have an eagle, I wasn’t that thrilled about this, but my new soul mate took me flying (his last mate left him after 20%‐ imagine this? He was left. In a game. ) And the flying was so awesome. So awesome.

So my new soul mate is super nice but a little bit… umm. He seems to have way too much energy and wants to jump into every conversation around him. It’s all a little unnerving. Also, I think he spends way too much time playing. But that’s ok. Whatever floats your boat. Except when you expect me to be on all the time, too. But anyway, he suggested we dance to raise our level faster, and whipped out his boom box. And we danced.

And danced.

And danced.

Occasionally we took a soul mate test and got a prize. And then we went right back to dancing.

So much dancing went on, and it was fine, because we talked, and I was trying to get the hang of it, and it was all good. But it went on for SO. LONG. I felt like I just couldn’t get away.

Eventually I did, but we planned to meet up later. I got back on, a little trepidatious. (Word tells me trepidatious is not a word, but the OED tells me otherwise.) But it was fine‐ we even had some really nice conversation, although it delved into slightly weird territory a couple times.

Then, towards the middle of our dancing, things got interesting for me.

Let me give some background, first‐ to dance, one person has to have a boom box, and set it playing. How this works, I don’t know, because it wasn’t me with the boom box.

Once the boom box is going, I believe you start dancing automatically. I always started automatically. However, to keep dancing and get a good dancing score, you need to type a string of letters. The string appears in the middle of your screen‐ you can’t miss it. Sometimes the letters and spaces appear in patterns you get to know, but there are a lot of patterns, and they seem pretty random. And you have to type them kind of quickly. Each time you type one a letter correctly, you get a point, and you get more points, and get to keep dancing, if you type the whole thing right. (If you mess up the string, you fall down with your head in your hands. You get back up, after a bit. But it’s weird. When I first saw people falling repeatedly all over the island, looking like they were in total despair, I was like, ‘What the hell?’) And you and your soul mate need to get a certain number of points each round to boost your ‘love.’

Of course, my soul mate and I were chatting while we did this. It makes things more interesting, but also more challenging. To chat, you need to hit enter to call up the speaking box, type what you want to say, and hit enter to say it. Then, you need to hit enter again to close the chat box. If it’s still open, what you type for the dance sequence will be considered chatter and won’t work. And you need to time your chatter so that it fits (mostly) between the pauses between each new dance sequence.

It’s not too bad. It takes a little getting used to, but…

Doki Doki Moon

Doki 3 Now, I’m switching back and forth between chatting with my soul mate, messaging my friend, and typing in the dance sequences, and reading, all as fast as I can, because I want to get my points, I don’t want my friend to think I’m ignoring him, and I don’t want my soul mate to know I’m carrying on a second conversation while I’m supposed to be talking to him. I mean, we were entertaining each other. I didn’t want to say, ‘Sorry, talking to someone more important who isn’t even in the room.’ That’s like taking a call and drawing it out while you’re talking to someone face to face. My friend ended up getting the brunt of being ignored because I figured he knew I was busy with something else, but I felt bad. And I felt like a total two‐timer. And I felt like I was losing my mind, trying not to type the wrong sentence to the wrong person, trying not to say a dance sequence instead of applying it… it was nuts.

Eventually, after an ungodly amount of time, I could fly. Flying is… really awesome. It’s so gorgeous on Doki Doki, and flying is fun and you can see everything… But after we got the flight, we found out that ‘you can fly anywhere’ actually means ‘you can fly anywhere with a partner.’ Which sucks. I just don’t always plan to have a person around. Flying solo‐ no‐go anywhere except Doki Doki. So I felt like I really wasted my time.

58 cat eyes. Two to go.

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September 20

Today, I went through Fiordh Dungeon by myself.

I’m pretty sure you’re supposed to take parties into dungeons. Once it even encouraged me to take two friends. But I’ve soloed my way through all of them (I believe this was my fourth) and I only had a problem once, in the second dungeon, where the boss killed me a million times but I eventually prevailed! Parties would probably be fun, but I just don’t see the point. Maybe it’s because I take so much time between dungeons, so my level is a little higher than it should be? Or maybe it’s because after you defeat the baddies, even if you die, if you go back to the first goddess statue, the dungeon is as you left it, all the critters dead, and you just have to walk back through. Even that boss’s HP will be the same‐ if you inflicted some damage before dying, the damage stays. It’s not like Zelda or any other game I’ve ever played.

This is why I didn’t really want any help through the dungeons. And it’s really nice of people to offer, but why? I don’t need any‐ I’m totally handling it fine. Why bother sharing the EXP? That sounds so greedy, but it’s true. This way I don’t get in anyone’s way but my own, I don’t embarrass myself, I go as fast or slow as I want, I get the EXP (or, they can get the EXP for themselves), and, for the most part, it kind of seems designed to work this way.

I sound like a terrible person. I like people! I like chatting! I just want to fight by myself. I want to do things for myself. I can see an inexperienced player tagging along with an experienced group in a higher level dungeon and really raking in the EXP, where they wouldn’t be able to otherwise. That would be generous and would make sense. But not in the lower level dungeons.

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September 19

Peoplefishing So, as I’m writing this, it’s one in the morning, which technically makes it the 19th. It’s been six days since I last wrote because, stuff. So I have a lot to tell you. Mabinogi Fishing

When I wrote last and said I had 51 cat eye stones to go, I was wondering if I was going to make it. There are several tasks you can do that give you 3 cat eyes at a time, but I only really want to spend my time on two‐ fruit picking and potato digging. There’s also fishing, which I tried, I really did, and I caught a lot of interesting things, but not the seven salmon I needed, and fishing is so damn boring. You stand there, rod equipped, and wait. Sometimes you catch clothes. Sometimes you catch what you actually want. Sometimes you click on the water to fish and your character decides that she’d like to seriously invade the personal space of a player fifty feet away, instead of fishing where you asked. Unless you have someone to talk to, I can’t imagine wasting your time doing this. (You can auto fish‐ if your level is high enough, you can walk away from the computer and let your character do the work. The only problem is, auto fishing doesn’t catch everything, especially if your skill level is lower. And, if you’re like me, your laptop will overheat while you’re doing it.) After two days of this, I seriously considered hurling my fishing rod into the sea.

But the other, easier tasks have been bearing fruit, so to speak, and I think I might even be able to get two boxes (if that’s allowed.) I feel bad for the people who want the higher priced items, though. Good luck to you.

Another thing I’ve been doing on Doki Doki is sitting at the town square with a campfire. If you sit at a campfire and use rest, it helps to raise your HP, under normal circumstances. But at the town square on Doki Doki, it raises your EXP, and if you sit for ten minutes, you get a prize. I got a daily quest to chop firewood, anyway, so I figured I’d give it a try. I grabbed some firewood and sat in the square and made myself a fire.

Right away, someone came over and sat, because everyone wants EXP and the prizes, and gathering firewood all the time for only yourself is a pain in the ass. (This is understandable, but it’s really weird for me when someone just comes and sits. I’d have to ask. And even then, I probably wouldn’t ask. This is why I make the fire and have people come to me. The only problem is building your campfire when there are a ton of people around. Once I was trying to light one and a guy kept walking into the space. It was like he couldn’t stop. And it kept popping up ‘Something is moving into your campfire.’ No shit.) Anyway, this person, and, later, his friend, started up a very nice conversation with me‐ trivial, but friendly‐ and then we sat together at their fire after mine went out, and it was really nice. I mean, nice because I’m trying to play an MMO, but I’m never really in a position to talk to people. I didn’t come with friends. I am the lone wolf.

Mabinogi Friend Request A couple days later, I had another quick but nice conversation, started randomly, in the fruit trees. People are nice on here! They even write back in complete sentences, sometimes, and one spelled my name right! (Writing is like the worst profession to have in a place where people talk in clipped internet slang. I’m one of those people who can’t stand it when people text ‘C U ther k’ and you’re left wondering what the hell they were thinking and why you know someone so idiotic. But people on Mabinogi… try. Kind of.)

So I kept doing the campfire thing and then, someone else talked to me. A very nice person who used a lot of gaming jargon that I, frankly, didn’t really know what he was talking about. But he was nice. And mostly used capitals in the right places. And he friended me, which was so awesome because, aside from the one person I met and briefly friended on my alt account, this was my first friend. And then he said he’d help me through the story line quests, which was also very nice. Doki Doki 3

It was very nice, but it left me in a panic.

I am lone wolf. I want to solo through the game. I like friends, and I like talking to people, but I want to do the challenging stuff myself because I don’t like the idea of being coddled or needing help to kick ass. But this was a very nice offer and I was just like, Oh, thank you, and tried to be polite but not really agree. Because obviously that wasn’t what I wanted. So now I’ve made a friend, which is partially why I started playing an MMO‐ to experience the interaction between online players‐ but I’m actually pretty nervous and wondering what I’ve gotten myself into.

I think I have 42 cat’s eyes now. I’m close.

Oh, P.S. The woman yelling ‘INV!’? I think this might be some kind of command. I’ve noticed it more and more. I’ve also heard people yelling ‘Bag!’ which I thought was odd. I tried yelling INV to see if my inventory opened (in my homestead, where I wouldn’t embarrass the crap out of myself) but nothing happened. I don’t think I could bring myself to do it in public. Besides, it takes more work to call up the talk box, type INV and send it than to call up your inventory… Mabinogi Campfire

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September 13

Mabinogi Fruit
So the Doki Doki couples thing (soul mates) isn’t really working for me. So far, I’ve been wandering around the island quite a bit, but no one has propositioned me. (That’s seriously what they’re calling it‐ like we’re all hookers.) I registered a matchmaker profile, which made me super nervous‐ what if a bunch of lonely people answer and I don’t want them and have to turn them all down? Well, no fear of that, since no one’s answered at all.

But that’s ok, because the prize you get is to fly, and I don’t really have any desire to do that (I already have an eagle that lets me fly.) I wanted to meet people, but the more people talk, the more intolerant I realize I am of about 99% of the population, so it’s probably better if I don’t try to glue myself to people I’m going to end up not being able to stand.

The nice thing about Doki Doki Island, though, is there are other ways to get prizes. You can complete several daily tasks in return for cat eyes (little gems‐ apparently you can also fish or dig these up.) In return, the cat eyes can be traded for gift boxes. One of the boxes is a pet box, and I really, really want this. So I’ve been digging up potatoes and picking fruit like a nutcase.

There are a lot of people on the Island during the day. It‘s interesting how everyone reacts to everyone else. Sometimes there’s some light chatter, but mostly, everyone stays out of everyone else’s way. If you’re picking fruits, and six other people are picking fruit (and it’s a limited space), everyone tends to be really polite. They leave you to your spot. When you change spots, they change to a different spot, so everyone has a nice chance of getting fruit. It’s almost like we rotate on a timer, although, of course, we really don’t. And this way, there are no arguments. No one says, ‘That’s mine‐ no it’s mine.’ I don’t know if this would happen in real life. Everyone always stands too close IRL, or is rude, or gets in the way, or tries to claim what isn’t theirs. I mean, not everyone, but you see it. Everyone on the game seems to be more or less cordial.

I have 9 cat’s eyes so far. 51 to go.

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September 12

Trees Mabinogi announced today that they’re reopening a section of the game called Doki Doki Island. Doki doki, the Japanese sound effect for a heart thumping. It’s supposedly an island for couples, and you can set up a profile or meet up with someone and become soul mates, and complete tasks together that get you nifty prizes. When I saw this, I was super excited. It sounded like a good way to meet people without randomly walking up to them and saying, “I really like that blue tail.”

I logged on in the evening, when there would be fewer people on. (Evening for me is like, 10 PM.) It was night there, while I was on, but it really does look pretty. I didn’t complete too many tasks. I just wanted to look around. There were more people than I expected there (given the absolute lack of people in Tir Chonail and Dunbarton) and they all looked like they’d been before and knew exactly what they were doing. I started to feel a bit like that kid in school who can’t find a partner‐ very awkward. I’d never walk up to a perfect stranger IRL (in real life) and start a random conversation, and I find it equally as hard to do in the game.

Then I went to the market to see if I could find some new clothes I liked. I’m still wearing the light armor they gave me near the beginning of the game, and I feel like the only person playing who hasn’t customized their wardrobe. The problem is, aside from the switch I made to different shoes, I can’t find anything I like better than what I’m wearing now. I begin to suspect I need more cash and to know the right people to get a different selection.

The market, as far as I could see, was mostly for cooking and eating and game playing. I wandered around for a bit. There was a real player standing in the middle with her glowing reindeer yelling ‘INV!’ She did this over and over. I didn’t think she was yelling it particularly at me, but just at anyone who might hear her. Is this some sort of gaming jargon for, “I’m inviting people!” or “Invite me!”? Is this normal? Because it seems like yelling half a word over and over was the wrong way to go about making new friends. But maybe that’s just me. Maybe in gaming world, that’s totally normal.

And then I logged off.

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Sometime Before September 10


My First Foray Into the Game‐ Mabinogi

When I first started playing Mabinogi, I was totally lost as to what I was supposed to do. They make it as easy as possible to pick your character and gender and name and such, but after that, I felt like it was a bit of a guessing game. Picking a talent was kind of a challenge. There are a bunch to choose from‐ from fighting talents like archery and swordsmanship, to life talents like cooking and magic. There are three that are recommended for beginners: Close Combat, Martial Arts, and Ninja. I picked ninja because it sounded cool.

Ninja is not cool. At least, it wasn’t for me. It was hard. Granted, I’d never played a game with a mouse and keyboard before. So it took me a long time to get a feel for the controls. But this ninja stuff just didn’t work for me‐ ever. Right away, you begin learning how to ‘ninja’ through classes and little tasks: “Use this skill you just learned and go kill these foxes‐ they’re evil.” I didn’t like the idea of killing foxes, but I reminded myself that they were evvvvil, and did it. “Go kill these wolves‐ they’re evil.” Evil, I told myself. Just do it and get past it.

I Publicly Embarrass Myself in an Online World

The wolves were harder than the foxes. This was maybe my first day playing the game, but I really wanted to, like, move on, you know? Games are all about advancing, getting to the next thing, the next level, the next task. So I set out with my shuriken, which was so graciously given to me, and attempted to use the skill I was taught on these wolves. And I don’t know what I did wrong, but it would not work for me. The shuriken was slow and the wolves got angry (who wouldn’t) and then I was lying dead in a field in a popular area, with other players hovering around and watching my utter failure.

It was mortifying. I revived myself ASAP. Then I tried again. And died. On the field. In public.

I hightailed it back to a safe spot (the middle of town‐ Tir Chonaill‐ for me, this is the town I was first introduced to upon starting the game.) And I tried to think. Wasn’t there more to this game than getting killed by wolves I didn’t even particularly want to be fighting? Wasn’t I supposed to get to cook and make clothes and sell stuff and be in Sword Art Online? I was so confused. And I honestly couldn’t figure out what the point of the game was, or how I supposed to do… anything.

As I was standing there, pondering what to do, a real‐life player came up and started going on about how I should be careful using shurikens and basically chastising me. And I wanted to say, ‘Hey, this is what I was told to do. This is what they gave me.’ Or, ‘Hey, don’t scold me. I’m lost and you’re being mean.’ Or, ‘Hey, what’s the point of this game?’ But I was so embarrassed at being first publicly dead, and then publicly chastised and not knowing how to respond, that I hit the End Game button and logged out while the player was still in the middle of his speech.

I Become a Boy Mabinogi

All along, I’d been playing as a girl because, hey, I’m a girl, and I like being one, and why not play as one if I could? I liked my girl character, and I liked the idea that there are proud girl gamers out there. But after I was scolded in the town square, I wondered if I should play as a boy. I thought it more likely that people would be less willing to baby me or scold me or offer unwanted advice or harass me if I wasn’t a girl. (I don’t mind advice, and if anyone had been willing to ask if I needed help, I would have been grateful. But I didn’t want to be scolded. And I wanted to figure things out on my own without someone assuming I was an idiot. Looking back, I probably could have asked for help‐ but on every game forum I encountered, you’re warned not to ask too much stuff you could eventually figure out on your own, because people find it annoying. Maybe they do. And Google certainly became my friend. But afterwards‐ long after, when I wasn’t so confused anymore, people did eventually start saying, ‘Ask me if you need anything!’ and being helpful, so there are a lot of nice, helpful players out there.) Mabinogi Skill Bar

And I wanted to keep playing. I’d spent two hours downloading the thing and wanted to use it. And when it was fun, it was really fun. It seemed like there was a lot to do. I knew there had to be more to the game than what I’d experienced.

So I opened up a new character card and created a boy character. This worked so well, but not for the reasons I was expecting. No, my switch to boy was enlightening because I decided to pick a non‐combat talent, suggestions be damned. I chose Medicine.

The best thing about Medicine, or Apothecary, is, aside from the fun of collecting herbs (which is actually kind of frustrating,) since I had no other weapons, at some point, an NPC (Non‐Player Character) gave me a sword. Swords are so nice. They’re so easy to use. They work so well. Even after I switched back to playing as a girl (which wasn’t very long) I bought a sword and used it. Sometimes I still tried to be a ninja, but it never, never worked. I always had so much more luck with the sword, even though ninja had a lot more attacks. (Now I carry two long swords. Is this better for fights? I have no idea, but it makes me feel like a badass.)

‐As a total side note, the first person who ever talked to me nicely was on this boy account. They were very friendly and really made my day. Looking back, I think they were simply nice‐ I don’t think it had anything to do with my being a boy.

A Quick Word on Rebirth

I don’t know about other games, but Mabinogi was the first time I encountered anything like the Rebirth system. Typically, in a game, you want to level up as much as possible, and stay at a high level. You never fall backwards. In Mabinogi, however, your level isn’t the only thing that’s important. AP Points, for instance, are important. You get them when you complete some different quests, and you get them when you gain a level. These points help you advance your skills, so you can become a better fighter or tailor or become better at gathering potatoes. And it’s much easier to gain AP Points when your level is low and you’re raising your level much more often‐ because, of course, at a higher level, like 40, it takes a lot longer, and a lot more EXP Points, to get to the next level.

So when you rebirth, you can change your age, your gender and your appearance‐ or just one of these things. You get to start over on your levels, if you want, or you can change your talent, both of which can be really helpful. Your quests, your inventory, your skill levels‐ none of these will change. You acquire a cumulative level (all the levels you gained before, added together) which is more accurate about how strong you are.

I rebirth a lot. I have no idea if this is a good idea or not. I just like to try all the talents.


I Play More Seriously

Eventually I realized that things do happen in the game, but they happen a bit slowly sometimes. And I also realized that not everyone was going to verbally attack me if I did something wrong. I switched back to playing as a girl. I got a homestead and made friends‐ although not many, because I am a seriously anti‐social creature, and why I’d want to play an MMO in the first place is beyond me. But I did. And I do.

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