– Can’t! I’m working! – I shout downstairs to my kids after they ask for something not really that important.
I don’t like lying to them, but at least it was a semi-truth. Frankly, I really, really can’t, but I’m also not really, really working.
I’m on a quest to snag Odin Stones from Sultan’s Harem in city of New Thalos. It’s been quarter of a century since I’ve been there, but I trust it didn’t change one bit.
I remember the guards, the river and the gates rising from one of the corners of The Great Western Desert. I also vaguely remember a nomad camp and an oasis nearby, but what I didn’t remember was a huge lock on the gate and that this was the wrong river.
Time is ticking and Yoda is waiting, so I start to trail my way back.
I barely stop my fingers before rushing into the jaws of a sand worm. I never actually saw the worm, but never had any doubts about its looks – exactly like Shai-Hulud.
Now then, I’m not afraid of being shredded by fang-like rows of teeth, I’m just afraid I’ll lose my equipment.
So, instead of transforming into a food item, I stop to use a recall, once a precious commodity for such a lowbie. Nowadays it is just a common service – simple, free, available. Bland.
– Hand holding us like we are a bunch of millenials! Helicopter mudding this is! It should be hard! There should be consequences! Things should be respected! You should be afraid! – I amaze myself blurting those words inside my head.
Half of me is semi-disgusted of “it being too easy” (it is not, mind you), but the other half is disgusted at myself, as I know I sound like either Statler or Waldorf.
If I was fair, I should’ve slapped my face just a minute later asking myself “how about that handholding now, Mr. Hardcore“, after checking up all the area connections.
Nevertheless, there I was, rushing through tunnels of Moria to get to the familiar ravine that finally led me to where I needed to be.
No slaps, but bunch of easts and souths and it just clicked, like a lot of things do past few days.
What if I told you your fingers could in 25 years remember exact, intricate dance on a keyboard that takes you to an exact spot where you want to be?
Ah, there it was – River Ishtar.
This time I don’t even bother going to the gates, as I know of the lock and of a way around. I cast water walk, push a grate aside, up the docks and lo and behold.
Even though there isn’t really a horizon or a skyline, they both open up in front of my eyes and I just embrace it all – the yellow stone walls, the golden domes, the scorching heat.
New Thalos, just as I left it.
What if I told you that a human being can smell and hear the text on the screen?
Red and yellow and all the colors in between, traders, alley cats and nomads, tangy smell of spice, loud, bustling market, order-in-chaos between the stalls, desert sun burning my cheeks.
Yup, just as I left it.
I consult with a druid friend from the old days. Our ways may have somewhat parted, but here, now we are again close as ever, watching each other’s back.
– To the palace, but I need a key? Was it the banker? – I ask.
A tax collector, he corrects me. The strange feeling of memory bank lighting up as soon as someone says the first letter is there again.
I hunt the old man down, risking with the proximity of the guards.
Those things I really can’t remember. I know of the fear, that is the same, but internal spreadsheet of who will aggro and who will just stand by is still buried deep under the decades of mental cobwebs.
Palace is tricky for quite a bit. Lots of hallways and doors. I am an old man after all it seems, I go in circles and can’t seem to find the right door. Also, I’m not that high of a level to withstand even a round with the Royals. So, I take it step by step, walk, open door, look north/south/west, walk.
Is the Harem below the throne room or is it the southern hallway? Ugh, can’t remember and quest timer is still ticking. But I do remember all the lessons – easy does it. My brain screams “Remember that time in Camelot?”
Few more minutes in and I finally find them. I dispose both of the eunuchs and the ladies. Surprisingly, not too big of a problem. Earthquake DISEMBOWELS and DISMEMBERS and the Stones (no pun intended) drop!
Brain goes haywire just for a sec. I recall, but I have to control myself and not rush (and miss a turn in the Park before the Zoo) to good ol’ Willie. I just go up, “quest comp” and voila.
I get some info on ego items (ok, that’s really a nice addition) and slee (I never type p). I don’t even need it, I just do. Just like 25 years ago.
– Kids don’t always go well with games – (or the other way around), a friendly new player told me.
What if I told you that – oh, yeah, they do – just allow yourself few minutes of “working” here and there.
What if I told you – just go play LoM.
( author’s character in game is Varnava)