Guilty Pleasures of Gaming Geekdom #1: Rediscovering Old Loves

So I guess the computer(/gamer) geek has yet to die completely. Nayru decided to die a couple of weeks ago, which means I am unable to access files etc. stored on her. I seems to have success with booting her up using an old "Ubuntu Desktop 9.10 x86" CD that I came across while going through piles looking for Something Completely Different(tm).

Anyway, in the end, I dug out Tatl (my netbook), plugged in my mouse, my keyboard, my monitor, and the ethernet cable - and hey, I can now surf and communicate as well. With Tatl, I can also now play Demise again, which has, since my last time playing it (and after oh so many years in-the-making), had its expansion-"sequel" Ascension released. Now, whoever you are reading this entry, you will more than likely never have heard of this game. That's okay. It's an indie game, with a rather small but very loyal following. I first played the game waaay back in a demo for "Mordor 2", the sequel of "Mordor: The Depths of Dejenol". Mordor 2 became Infinite Worlds, Infinite Worlds became Demise: Rise of the Ku'tan. Both Mordor and its sequel's various incarnations were originally created by David Allen. Originally they were made under the company of VB Games, then became Artifact Entertainment up to the release of Demise, then switched to Pharaoh Productions (up to the release of Horizons, IIRC). After a lot of ups and downs in the history of the game, a fan of the franchise, Richard "Decklin" Whitwell, made an agreement in which he took over the IP and code to the game. This was in 2005, and it's been since around then, that Ascension has been in the making. So that's some 5-6 years.

"But enough with all that geek lore, Freso, what is it??" I hear you say. Well, it's a dungeon crawler. You create one or more characters, pick their names, gender(s), race(s), alignment(s), guild(s), starting attributes, and then venture into the depths/mines/dungeon, kill monsters and open treasure chests for experience, gold and equipment, go back to the city to level up, sell your loot, bank your money, only to go dungeoneering again. What makes Demise something special is its vastness. You've got 9 races which can be one of three alignments, depending on your race and alignment, you now have 12 guilds ("classes") to choose from - you can't pick any guild as your starter guild though, and most characters will be a member of more than one guild (multi-classing). In single-player mode, you can party with up to four characters, which means that the above considerations have to be taken four times. Once you've set up your party and you're ready to go on adventuring, you'll notice that each guild or combination of guilds have their own game play strategy, as well as the different levels in the dungeon itself lend more or less easily to various strategies (e.g., the starting reaches are easily dealt with in melee combat, but as you venture deeper, spell casting(/"blasting") will become more essential). There are also 32 levels of 45x45 squares in the original Demise. Ascension should have more than 32 levels, each with more than 45x45 squares. All-in-all it should have at least double the amount of dungeon to explore - for old-timers that know the depths of Demise like the backs of their hands, it means that pretty much every level will have to be re-explored. For new-timers, it just means that this vast game is now even more vast!

Needless to say, if this is your kind of game, the sucker can easily drain several (talking 100+!) hours of your life, no matter how powerful your "Resist Draining" becomes. There are so many aspects I haven't even touched on (such as levelling strategies, how to put together a kick-ass party, which guilds to join/not join, etc. - all of which are worthy of blog entries of their own), that even as you "complete" the base game, there is more than likely still areas you haven't fully explored, still items you haven't found, still race/guild(/party) combinations you haven't tried, ...

So yes, this game is taking up too much of my time so far, this otherwise lovely Summer vacation. In installing Ascension, I've decided to start from scratch to begin with, not having imported any of my old Demise characters over (yet). My old characters are all named from characters from Norse Mythology and Danish/Nordic folklore, the new ones are named from characters from the Legend of Zelda, as I'm eagerly awaiting the launch of Skyward Sword (I pre-ordered it months ago already!). (I'm even playing Ascension with Legend of Zelda music playing in the background...) Having moved my Wii to Copenhagen (as I'm moving back "home" for a year, come next week), I've also started to play Minish Cap again (it being the only DS/Gameboy Zelda game I could find around), when I need a break from Ascension. I swear, if it wasn't for my homies in EffectX Crew, I'd probably stay holed up during these lovely Summer months, getting a minimal of training or exercise - so a shout-out and a thanks to you!

Now, I guess I'm going to take Dark Link on just one more pinning run before I go and make something to eat (6pm isn't too late for breakfast, it it?)...


I know how not being able to

I know how not being able to give up gaming feels.

Thomas - tandlæge

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