One of those small updates

I was very busy this week with school starting again, so I did not game at all. Well, I gamed a very small amount and mostly in Disgaea! Thank goodness Olriech sent in some screenshots.

That is a lot of Yagudo.
They also went on some more Expeditionary Force missions. They are a very fun part of the game.
For some reason us Phankers like to try them with only a group of people, when you can have up to 18 or something. We usually have only 1 or 2 people standing at the end. It's great!

So since we don't have many pictures I will rant a bit.

This is a great game. It has all the elements of a solid MMOG. Part of that is a long ladder to the top. Well this is the first game since EQ with that. Shadow Bane was very fast to the top, and to play with friends. But it only lasted 3 months. Star Wars Galaxies was also very fast to the top and didn't have a real level difference problem. But it too lasted only 3 months.

In Everquest we made friends as we leveled, but most of Phank came together at the high end. I remember when Jumpp helped me and Epiphany get started in EQ and told us of his friends, then called "Biggnose Inc" but better known now as "Texas." They were all at the high end along with Jumpp's high level character Aanadien. So as a team Epiphany, Jumpp, Tylia and I all met on Tuesday and Thursday nights to level together. We met new friends, some who have long since stopped gaming, some who continue today. It took probably a year for that climb. But we did it together, and not in a hard core fashion.

When we finally made it to the top, and got to meet Texas we all started hanging out. Then the guilds sucked and we made our own, and met a whole lot of other cool folk and became what we are now.

When you all are the same high level play times don't matter. Phank is formed of many play times. This only becomes a problem when we start a new game with a long ladder. It takes lower play timers longer to meet up with the top, and sometimes their whole climb can be very lonely, just as the other extreme high play timers can be lonely too. Lonely is the main reason for people to stop playing. And people with established guild friends don't want to start over making new gaming friends, because they already have them.

So what can we do about it? What is a solution for this? Great games thus far need a long ladder, so how do you balance it? FFXI has done a great job with the "jobs" but lacks in what level ranges can group. They only allow a 2 level difference to be truly productive. So what is the answer?

FFXI offers another option, which are de-leveling encounters. That way you can all do a level 20 encounter no matter who is what level since everyone gets de-leveled for the event... problem is getting those first 20 levels, and most people don't hang onto level 20 gear. But it's a thought....

Until then, it's up to the players.

Here's one idea Gracor mentioned to me. You guys may have others. And yeah, I am still on my rant since we have no photos! See, you post this on the forums for example:

Caps:

40-43 Olriech, Naydien, Celeste, lalala

35-37 Gracor, Jumpp, lalalalala

28-30 lalalalaa

20-23 lalallalala

Then once you fill a level range with a few friends, you move the bar up a notch for your crew. It takes some time and care, but you all love that kinda teamwork.

I am going to force a "Poker" mentality on my friends for the next game. Just like in EQ there will have to be gaming nights, and not just for the red headed step alt. For now, in FFXI I will continue to log on and remember that Tylia may become my level one day, that Kinthalas is almost my level now, and while they are in their 22-23 range (brief though it may be) I shall have a great time online.

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