Have you ever…?

There’s another questionnaire making the rounds in blognation, and I found the results to be very interesting. While the idea is pretty simple on first glance I’ve been enjoying reading those posts a lot, not least due to the fact that, as it turns out, the answer to some of those questions depends a great deal on which corner of the world you come from. What’s a no-brainer to you might be a totally outlandish idea to me, or vice versa.

So let’s see in which ways having been born and raised in Germany has screwed me up, shall we?

Have you ever…

…driven or been driven at 100 mph / 160 kmh?

Oh boy, we’re starting off with a slam dunk. You see, many highways in Germany don’t have speed limits whatsoever for huge stretches. I think it’s stupid and high time for a change, but our politicians know all too well that we have a significant amount of speeders who love nothing more than to burn their money on the street, almost literally. Since more than half of that cash flows directly into state coffers it’s also a very serious source of governmental income, so…yeah.

It’s no big wonder, then, that I absolutely have driven at such speeds too when I was young. I think my all-time top speed was just over 200 kmh (124 mph). That being said, I don’t have to drive out of town much anymore, and I’ve also become older, calmer and wiser (I hope), so the needle rarely crosses 140 kmh when I drive nowadays.

…learned a possibly deadly skill?

Does tackling an opposing Football player as hard as I possibly can count? No? Then no.

…ridden in a helicopter?

Yes, in 2008 over the Grand Canyon. Pretty great, although I wouldn’t call it a life-changing experience.

That being said, flying (riding?) a helicopter myself is one of my lifelong dreams – most likely ever since I saw my first episode of Airwolf when I was about ten years old. I’ve done a bit of research though, and unsurprisingly this is something that takes a lot of time, effort and money. Unless you’re really wealthy I don’t think it can be realistically done just as a hobby, at least not in these here parts, so it probably won’t happen.

…gone zip lining?

Yes, in an adventure park on Koh Samui, Thailand. Quite fun. Lakisa even dared to ride upside down, which I politely refused.

My personal highlight in that park was all-terrain quad driving though. Hell, I want one of those things! And the terrain to match, which is the bigger hurdle.

…been Bungie jumping?

No. I would really like to, but I think someone would have to literally push me over the edge, as my fear of hights would prevent me from doing so myself, and I don’t think that’s allowed.

It may sound contradictory that I wouldn’t dare to jump yet still want to, but it’s that same fear of hights which lets me enjoy roller coasters, freefall towers and stuff like that all the more. Without a moderate amount of fear a ‘thrill ride’ is just a ‘ride’, I feel.

…been to an NFL game or Ice Hockey?

Yes and yes.

Being huge Football fans we’d wanted to watch a game live for quite some time. In 2017 the schedules finally aligned and we watched the Giants host the Lions in Metlife Stadium, New Jersey. The game was pretty crap, but it was still a great experience. We’d like to watch the Seahawks play at home in Seattle next.

We live in Cologne and thus have a first league ice hockey team playing right at our doorstep. We’ve watched the Kölner Haie, which translates to Cologne Sharks, playing at home three or four times. We’re not the biggest fans of the sport though, so we don’t go regularly.

…watched Dr. Who?

No, not even a single episode.

I don’t know why, exactly. I might be mistaken, but I think the show was never a big thing in Germany. At least I can’t remember anyone at school or anywhere else I used to hang out talk about it. It’s one of those glaring gaps in my entertainment-education, it seems.

…been to Canada?

No, but I’d like to see it. We’ve already talked about the possibility to make the above-mentioned trip to Seattle, watch the Seahawks play and head north afterwards one of these years.

…visited Disney?

No. We love amusement parks, but mostly those that focus on thrill rides. Also, the nearest one is in Paris, which isn’t that far but not around the corner either, and it’s said to be outrageously expensive.

…visited an actual castle?

Yes, several. Mostly in England and Scotland. I’ve been to Doune Castle, for example, which is where most castle-related scenes of Monty Python and the Holy Grail were filmed.

We even have quite a lot of them here in Germany, and, well…as Eddie Izzard once said, we (Europeans) are up to here in fucking castles. They still fascinate me though, and I love visiting them.

…visited Vegas?

Yes, twice. We’ll probably go again. It’s fun for a couple of days at a time.

…eaten alone at a restaurant?

It depends on how you define restaurant. If only ‘real’ restaurants count, so no canteen, no pub, no fast food place, then no. I think. Never thought about it, really. If you loosen up the rules a bit the answer changes to ‘pretty regularly’ though.

…played an instrument?

Yes. I’ve actively played the guitar for about six years, the drums for about twelve years and a wee bit of piano in between. I can still strum a couple of songs when I pick up a guitar and play the drums fairly well, but not counting small fun-gigs at birthday or christmas parties I haven’t done so in quite a while.

…ridden a motorcycle?


…ridden a horse?

Yes, but I didn’t like it.

Lakisa rides a lot, and I reluctantly agreed to go on a ride with her when we were on vacation in Corsica. What can I say, I really don’t like being at the mercy of an animal that doesn’t appreciate me sitting on it. Also, I totally understand the horse’s mindset on the matter, and I’d rather leave it be so we’re both happy.

…been skiing/snowboarding?

Skiing, yes. Once when I was about six, hated it. A second time 25 years later, just to see whether my opinion on it had changed. It had not.

I guess I really like to stand on firm ground, so I’ll gladly pass on having huge, unwieldy planks nailed to my feet, thank you very much.

As you might have guessed it’s a No on snowboarding.

…gone to a festival?

Only single-day ones. The idea to live in a tent for a couple of days, without bed, shower, toilet or dignity…no thanks.

…driven a stick shift?

Again, this is a somewhat weird question for most Europeans as manual transmissions are still the norm over here rather than the exception. In Germany there are most likely a lot of people who have actually never driven an automatic, whereas most everyone has driven a manual. So have I, and our current car is a manual too.

…ridden in a police car?


…driven a boat?

Yes, again in Corsica. We rented a small boat just for the two of us and cruised around for two hours (I think). Unfortunately it wasn’t nearly as fast as I’d hoped – turns out you need a driver’s license for any kind of bigger motor – but it was still quite nice.

…eaten escargot?

I had to google what that even is. Ew, no.

…been on a cruise?

I’m not proud of it, but yes, we’ve been on a couple. It does very much go against my desire to go on vacations that feel at least a little bit like an adventure, on the other hand it’s an extremely stress-free and relaxing way to see a whole lot of stuff in a short amount of time. A couple of years ago we’ve been to Athens, Rome, Crete, Mykonos, Barcelona, Palma de Mallorca and a few other places all within twelve days, for example.

…been on TV?

Yes, once or twice. It doesn’t really count though as some colleagues and I were just filmed doing our regular jobs, which in my case is handling the technical stuff of radio broadcasting.

…been in a paper/book/magazine?

Not that I know of.

…eaten Sushi?

Yes, quite often. My tastes in regard to fish are rather limited though, and I pretty much only eat tuna.

…seen a U.F.O.?


…rescued an animal?

My ex-wife took in a very small and weak hedgehog once and nursed it for a couple of days until it seemed strong enough to go back out again. I helped her a bit with that, but since I don’t know whether the little fella actually made it after that I can’t be sure if it really was a rescue or only delaying the inevitable.

…met someone rather famous?

My aforementioned job brings meeting more or less famous people with it every now and then, yes. If we play someone’s music chances are they’ll swing by sooner or later and record acoustic or at least scaled down versions of some of their songs in our studio. I think the most famous artist I personally recorded was (don’t you dare laughing!) Chris de Burgh, because of course I had a day off when Mark Knopfler or two guys from Metallica came by. Chris de Burgh’s autograph made my mom happy though, so there’s that.

That’s a lot of stuff, I gather


The other day Bhagpuss talked about the different gathering systems of various MMORPGs. Like him I’ve always enjoyed gathering a lot, and I’ve spent a huge amount of time digging, chopping and picking up stuff in pretty much every game I’ve played that has something like it.

I’ve actually had to force myself to stop doing it in single player games because I spent so much time with these ‘side-activities’ that I completely lost track of the main plot and associated gameplay, ultimately resulting in never having finished some of those titles because I ran out of steam halfway through – the first Witcher and a couple GTAs come to mind.

Fortunately MMOs are different in that they don’t have (nor want) to be finished, hence I still happily indulge in my gathering habits when I play that kind of game.

So let’s have a look at ArcheAge’s take on resource acquisition today, which is – as far as I’m aware – pretty unique in MMORPG-space, and definitely one of my favourites.

You’d be surprised by how much stuff is needed to brew potions

Of course the biggest difference to most other titles in the genre is that the majority of plants and crops that players gather in ArcheAge don’t actually grow out in the wild by themselves. For the most part you actively ‘plant’ animals, seeds or saplings, depending on what you need, which then grow into gatherables in real time. ‘Real time’ as in stuff grows, once planted, whether you’re online or not; it doesn’t take years until a tree is fully matured for obvious reasons.

The bigger trees and animals do take a day or two to arrive at drinking age though, while stuff like crops, vegetables or flowers only need a couple of hours at most. Fortunately there’s no real urgency to harvest as soon as something’s ready. It takes at least two days for a grown plant to wilt or an animal to starve, so there’s no need to set an alarm in the middle of the night.

All done and waiting to be picked up

Unless, that is, you chose to let your stuff grow out in the wild instead of on your own property. Yep, except for roads and villages you can plop down the goods pretty much anywhere. The catch is that anyone’s free to pick them up then, whereas only you – or everyone in your family or guild, depending on your chosen settings – can do so when you use your own land. Something you’ve planted is flagged as belonging to you though, and when anyone else picks it up they leave a trail of footprints. You can interact with those to report the theft, adding crime points to the culprit’s tally which might get them into jail sooner or later.

Due to this it’s rather unlikely that someone will steal, say, your handful of mushrooms, but more valuable goods like trees might be a tempting offer. Nevertheless it’s not that uncommon to come across wild tree farms, especially if you leave the beaten paths and explore the maps a lot. They can even be used to generate content. I’ve once seen a huge such farm, hundreds and hundreds of trees, planted deliberately (I believe) in a contested region and pretty easy to spot. As growing trees have a chance to get struck by lightning every couple of hours whole raids of all factions showed up for every growth cycle to try and claim any thunderstruck trees for themselves, resulting in big PvP battles.

But I digress, back to gathering. Some trees and most animals don’t just serve the purpose to be chopped down or butchered when matured. Apple, lemon, olive trees and the like yield fruit, leaves can be picked from bay and ginkgo trees, cows produce milk, sheep are shorn for their wool, you get the picture. After a while that stuff regrows and you can collect again.

The fun doesn’t end there. Seeds can be watered to accelerate growth. They can also be bound into bundles which occupy more space and yield less produce overall, but save lots and lots of time and clicking. Animals give more resources when fed and can be held in pens instead of placing them individually, again reducing the micro-management.

The ambient noise…takes getting used to though

Unless you own an obscenely huge amount of farmland it’s also quite important to use your real estate as efficiently as possible, which is a science in its own right. Seeds, saplings, animals, they all come in various different sizes. What they have in common is that the space they occupy is always circular, so you can’t utilize your land to the last inch no matter what you do. It’s a lot of trial and error at first; if that’s not your thing you can consult helpful sketches made by community members like this one for planting trees on a 16×16 farm:

Green: medium trees; red: small trees; orange: bushes

Again, if your intent is to make a decent amount of gold with any kind of gathering and/or crafting you pretty much have to grow your own materials.

This doesn’t mean that ArcheAge doesn’t have resources that appear in the wild at all though. Actually I like this game’s implementation of those quite a lot. Most MMORPG’s resource nodes feel a bit out of place to me. Tacked on, if you will. Instead of more or less generic nodes that contain certain crops or plants it’s the crops and plants themselves that grow here, just like they would on your farm, only that they blend in with the environment quite well and don’t look like a foreign object someone placed there by hand (with some exceptions).

Would you’ve been able to spot all the gatherable ones?

I rarely go out and roam the world specifically to gather, but I do stop and pick up stuff whenever I come across something that I need. It’s a lot of fun to me that way because it always gives me a little moment of joy when I find something that’s worth picking up, whereas while gathering on purpose I only get that kind of satisfaction when I find a particularly rare specimen or some such.

Gathering under water? Why, yes, of course!

So is ArcheAge a gathering freak’s dream? It depends, I guess. If you also like to plant your own seeds and things like that you’ll definitely love it. If roaming the wilds and picking stuff up is the only kind of gathering you enjoy it’s a ‘maybe’ at best, and you’ll not get rich with it either. I do like it a lot though, and…now you’ll have to excuse me, my lemons are ripe for the picking.

Wrapping up Blapril 2020


Today’s officially the last day of Blapril, so it’s time to look back upon this out-of-season festival of blogging intended to make us all feel a bit better during these trying times.

I’ve posted more and also read more than usual, so from my point of view the event absolutely succeeded – as usual.

I didn’t come even close to publish 31 posts, but then I knew from the start that I wouldn’t, and that’s ok. This isn’t a competition after all. A competition makes only a select few people feel better whereas, again, this thing is for all of us.

Just like during the last two rounds of Blaugust I’ve also learned something new and did a couple of things I’d never done before.

I had, for example, never thought a lot about tagging my posts properly. When I wrote a piece about EVE I tagged it EVE Online and MMORPGs, and that was it. While there probably isn’t an inherently wrong or right way to do it I guess this was a bit too general and not really helping all that much – unless you specifically wanted to only read stuff about EVE of course.

So I went back to many of my posts and added some new tags. Luckily I don’t have a backlog of thousands of posts yet like some fellow bloggers do. As a result there’s now an Opinion tag that’s got you covered should you for some reason ever feel the urge to only read my highly subjective rants about various topics, and an About me tag for posts where I don’t just talk about the games I’ve played, but also, well, about myself in one way or another.

That there even is a need for the latter is also due to Blapril, as I’d never done the various personality tests that made the rounds before, and probably still wouldn’t have if not for the event.

Lastly I published my first real guide on this blog. I was big into writing guides and generally helping folks out back when being active on forums still was a thing, but I hadn’t done so in quite a while. So there’s a Guides tag now, too. Maybe it’ll even lead to more than one post someday.

So this was Blapril 2020. Big shout-out to Belghast who hosted us again in his cool, calm and collected way, and to all participants who made our days a bit brighter with their many posts and comments. Looking forward to the next one!

Blapril 2020 post count: 15

The Handy Guide to Instruments in ArcheAge Unchained


So how does one acquire a variety of instruments to play those (hopefully) sublime songs with?

That’s a science in its own right, let me tell you. I don’t know whether this is a problem with Korean games in general due to the language barrier, or because ArcheAge is just too niche, but this is definitely one of the MMORPGs with by far the least amount of reliable information available in English, while being one of the more complex titles at the same time.

What’s worse, if you do find some info on a topic you’re interested in you can never be sure whether it’s still relevant or long outdated, nor if something that’s currently available in the legacy game is also present in Unchained. It’s quite frustrating at times, really.

So I thought, since I was going to talk about instruments today anyway, I’ll just try and put together a guide about what instruments there are and how to get them. Only to the best of my knowledge, of course, at the time of this writing (May 2020).

Ready, steady, go!


The Basics

ArcheAge has many portable instruments that you can play anywhere and anytime, and also stationary ones which you need to place in your house before you can use them. Some of the latter only serve as props and cannot play sheet music though, so beware.

Read each item’s description carefully. When an instrument is able to play sheet music it always has a line of white/grey text that either says

“Sounds like xxx when playing sheet music.”


“Plays music when used with sheet music.”

If it doesn’t specifically mention sheet music at all chances are it can’t play any. Except for the three pianos (because of course there are exceptions), which don’t mention it but can play sheet music.

To actually perform a song just right click on a music sheet when you have an instrument equipped – or, if it’s a stationary one, it has equipped you, if you will. A Play- and a Stop-button will appear. Press Play, and you’ll start to perform the song.

Now, on to the different instruments and how to actually get them.


Portable Instruments

In addition to main-hand, off-hand and bow each character can equip either a lute or a flute that can be used as a skill to restore health or mana, respectively. They play music when doing so, but it’s always the same tune and rather boring. All lutes and flutes can also play sheet music though, and these make up the bulk of ArcheAge’s selection of instruments.

There are many different sounds available, and different ways to acquire them. Always take note of the first phrase mentioned above (if it’s there), as it will give you an idea of what the instrument in question might sound like. A Hiram flute, for example, says “Sounds like a clarinet when playing sheet music.”

Without further ado, here’s an overview of all instruments I know of. The format is:

Where to get it (needed currency, if applicable) [tradeable or non-tradeable]

    • Name of the instrument (what it sounds like)

Starter gear [tradeable]

    • Civilian Lute (Guitar)
    • Civilian Flute (Flute)

Arena Shop (1k Kyrios Badges each) [non-tradeable]

    • Anthem of Battlerage (Powerful Guitar)
    • Aria of Archery (Impressive Guitar)
    • Ballad of Auramancy (Clear Guitar)
    • Croon of Shadowplay (Cheerful Guitar)
    • March of Defense (Soothing Guitar)
    • Dance of Songcraft (Whistles)
    • Dirge of Occultism (Trombone)
    • Echoes of Malediction (Trombone)
    • Fantasio of Sorcery (Clarinet)
    • Nocturne of Witchcraft (Bagpipes)
    • Ode of Vitalism (Ocarina)
    • Protective Fantasia Shield (Clarinet)

Gilda Shop [tradeable] / Credits Shop [non-tradeable] (80 Gilda Stars / 1k Credits each)

    • Cherry Blossom Shamisen (Shamisen)
    • Evensong Lute (‘a guitar that produces a heavy sound’)
    • Ironsong Lute (‘a guitar that produces sharp, metallic sounds’)
    • Meadowlark Banjo (Banjo)
    • Autumn Wind Horn (Horn)
    • Catspaw Recorder (Recorder – whatever the hell that is)
    • Reedwhisper Piccolo (Piccolo)
    • Stormwail Sax (Saxophone)

Crafted [tradeable]

    • Epherium Cloud Lute (Soothing Guitar)
    • Epherium Gale Lute (Soothing Guitar)
    • Epherium Life Lute (Powerful Guitar)
    • Epherium Meadow Lute (Soothing Guitar)
    • Epherium Mist Lute (Powerful Guitar)
    • Epherium Tidal Lute (Impressive Guitar)
    • Epherium Wave Lute (Impressive Guitar)
    • Epherium Desert Flute (Bassoon)
    • Epherium Earth Flute (Bassoon)
    • Epherium Flame Flute (Clarinet)
    • Epherium Lake Flute (Clarinet)
    • Epherium Quake Flute (Clarinet)
    • Epherium Sunset Flute (Oboe)
    • Epherium Wave Flute (Oboe)
    • Marianople Violin (Violin)
    • Wyrdwind Viola (Viola)

How to craft an Epherium instrument: Buy a Cloaked Illustrious Lute/Flute for 50 gold from a weapons merchant. Uncloak it. Craft a Magnificent Lute/Flute Scroll at a handicraft kiln (no skill requirement). Use that scroll to awaken the instrument to Magnificent (it doesn’t matter which of the four variants you choose at this point). Then craft an Epherium Lute/Flute Scroll at a regal handicraft desk (20k Handicrafts skill required) and repeat the process. Important: when awakening the instrument to Epherium choose which variant (and thus sound) you would like to have. Done.

The violin and viola are crafted at an artistry workbench. No further preparation is needed, but the materials are pretty expensive and a very high Artistry skill is required (150k).

Hiram [non-tradeable]

    • Hiram Guardian Lute (Soothing Guitar)
    • Hiram Guardian Flute (Clarinet)

Vocation Shop (50k Vocation Badges) [tradeable]

    • Wyrdwind Viola (Viola)

Events (currency usually only available during the corresponding event) [tradeable]

    • Fortune Pipe (Pipe) [Lantern Festival]


Stationary Instruments

    • Sovereign’s Piano (‘piano music’)
    • Brown Upright Piano (‘piano music’)
    • Princess’s Piano (‘piano music’)
    • Liberty Drums (doesn’t specify, I assume it’s drums)
    • Triestes Cello (doesn’t specify, but it sounds vaguely like a cello)
    • Noryettes Contrabass (doesn’t specify, but it sounds more like a…well…cello)
    • Brahms’s Harmonious Melody (doesn’t specify, but it sounds like a string ensemble)

These are all crafted at an artistry workbench and tradeable. The pianos aren’t expensive and have no skill requirement, whereas cello and contrabass belong to a set of four (the other two being the aforementioned violin and viola) and are equally costly and difficult to craft.


The Brahms’s is the mother of all instruments. It sounds really great but requires 180k Artistry skill and a full set of the four string instruments to craft, which are consumed in the process. Ouch! A long-term goal, no doubt.

Thankfully some of these stationary instruments are strewn across the game world, waiting to be tried out. The currently running Daru event, for example, has an area with a piano, the cello, contrabass and the Brahms’s (which is where I’m playing them on all screenshots, as I obviously don’t have my own yet).

If you’d like to know how most portable instruments actually sound before deciding which ones to get, there’s a really great video showcasing them (a big Thank You to the person who made it):

And this is all I know about instruments in ArcheAge Unchained at this point. Getting them all is obviously a huge undertaking, but I’ll keep chipping away at it as it’s a lot of fun and really rewarding. As long as I play the game the guide will be updated whenever I learn something new or stuff changes. Good luck and have fun!

Blapril 2020 post count: 14

Sublime songsmith, at your service

I rarely use titles for my MMORPG characters, but this one? Hell yeah!

When ArcheAche Unchained’s launch prompted our return to the world of Erenor last year one of the features that I was looking forward to re-engage with the most was its music system. It was one of the reasons I held on to the RNG- and P2W-riddled legacy game for longer than I should have in 2015. I’d built quite an extensive selection of songs and instruments over time that I had a lot of fun with, and I really missed it all once I’d quit the game for good.

Naturally the first few weeks in Unchained were all about questing, leveling and gearing up, but once that was more or less sorted I started, ever so slowly, to also take care of my Artistry skill again. To become a good musician you need to level that up, as it determines how many notes you can write on a piece of music paper (resulting in longer and/or more complex songs), and enables you to play those longer songs without hitting any wrong notes.


Professions in ArcheAge are leveled up by spending labor points on related activities. You don’t need to spend any just to play a song however – fortunately, of course, but it’s also kind of unfortunate in this context – so pretty much the only way to raise Artistry is to craft music paper and, most importantly, to write down pieces of music, which consumes the paper and creates song sheets that can henceforth no longer be modified.

To craft music paper you need, among other things, regular paper. To make that you need lumber. In the early stages of the game you need huge amounts of lumber for all kinds of stuff though, so to ‘waste’ any on my artistic hobby could have severely hurt my other endeavours.

“Where the hell is he?” “What do you think? In the woods again…”

Fortunately I’d already had the experience of going through this process once, so I had a plan. Song sheets can’t be recycled or sold to NPCs (not for a ‘real’ amount of money anyway), but they are tradeable and can thus be sold to other players. I kept all songs I’d made back then in .mml and .txt formats both, so I chose the ones that I knew had always been the most popular, revised those I weren’t completely happy with yet and started to make and put them on the auction house for just over production costs.

They sold. So I made new ones, which sold too. And on and on it went. For the last four months or so I’ve always had a selection of ten to twelve songs on offer. It wasn’t fast and didn’t make me crazy rich either, but it still paid off nicely in that my skill kept going up consistently while I was free to spend the bulk of my resources on other projects.


I’m even one rank higher now than I’d been back in the day, so I can also craft Master’s Music Paper which can hold even more notes. My current ‘masterpiece’ is a 1,160 notes-, 69 seconds-long recreation of a popular TV-show’s opening theme (that shall not be named due to potential legal issues, slim as the chances may be), and I’m very happy with it.

“Sounds great and all, but do I need to actually be a musician to do this?” I hear you ask. Well, no, but it sure helps.

The notation used is called Music Macro Language, MML for short. I initially thought that it was created for the game Mabinogi, but as the wiki explains it’s been around for much longer and wasn’t specifically made for use in video games either. It’s quite suitable for that purpose though, as it is, unlike MIDI, a purely text-based language.

In-game instructions for using MML and my aforementioned masterpiece

It really isn’t as complicated as it looks. If you can’t read music I still wouldn’t recommend starting a song completely from scratch, but luckily there are other options.

The best tool I’ve found to use in conjunction with ArcheAge is a great little program called 3MLE (I won’t provide a link, but it’s easy to find). It can import either .mml files or text from your clipboard, so you can for example start with a song from the extensive ArcheAge MML Library and go from there. Of course you can also paste those songs directly into the game, but if you’re like me and want each song to be just perfect it’s much easier to modify them in 3MLE than ingame.

What’s even better, 3MLE can also import MIDI files. As MIDI is much more widespread it shouldn’t be difficult to find your favourite song in that format and then convert it to MML. I will say that not every such conversion works perfectly though, so it does help if you’re proficient enough to repair small hiccups that might happen.

As a last resort you can save yourself all that hassle and just buy song sheets from folks like me of course, heh.


Having a terrific selection of song sheets at your disposal is great and all, but what good are those if you don’t have cool sounding intruments to play them on?

More on that tomorrow.

Blapril 2020 post count: 13

Just one more personality test

Richard Bartle isn’t the only one who concerned himself with finding out what makes people tick when playing games, and what different types of players there are.

Several fellow bloggers (too many by now to name them all) have recently done Quantic Foundry’s Gamer Motivation Profile survey, most of them not for the first time. Reading their results was really interesting, and I definitely prefer this test over the other, mainly because it doesn’t feel quite as restrictive to me, and it doesn’t paint me as a psychopath just because I like PvP either.

Unlike my keyboard pals (we are kind of a modern version of pen pals, aren’t we?) I’d never done this one myself yet, just like Bartle’s survey until two days ago. Well, now I have.

These are defined as our ‘Primary Motivations’

Without context the graph itself is somewhat baffling because I feel the Social and Creativity percentages should be much lower, while I’d expected to score higher at Mastery and Immersion. Only Action and Achievement seem pretty spot on. So what’s the deal here?

Each of these scores is an aggregate of two ‘Secondary Motivations’. The Social category, for example, is made up of your results in Competition and Community. The idea is that you’re being social whenever you interact with other players, be it cooperatively, competitively or just chatting. My Competition-score is 60%, Community sits at 52%. The former still seems a tad low to me, but as it also includes wanting to be the best at everything, which I don’t care about, it does make sense.

Creativity is made up of Discovery and Design, which include stuff like exploring the game world and customizing one’s character or spaceship, respectively, so my high score here makes sense after all.

What really made me laugh was this description of gamers with a high score in Destruction (part of the Action category):

“If they accidentally find themselves in games like The Sims, they are the ones who figure out innovative ways to get their Sims killed.”

Yep, that’s me!

So knowing what those scores actually mean I’d say that my results are pretty accurate.

All my ‘Secondary Motivations’ in one graph

The questionnaire itself, just like Bartle’s test, is a mixed bag. A couple of questions are really weird, as is the way some of your answers are interpreted. As Bhagpuss puts it:

Constant action and excitement“. Who wants that? It would be unbearable! It’s like asking “Would you like to live on a diet of nothing but donuts forever?” and then interpreting a flat “No, I bloody would not!” as meaning “Well, you obviously don’t like donuts then, do you?

That being said, I picked the second-highest answer for the question he refers to, which is “Enjoy a lot”. Which doesn’t mean that I would want to live on nothing but donuts, so I absolutely second his critique.

I also share UltrViolet’s feeling that the test seems to be more marketing research than scientific study, not least due to the fact that you’re asked which games you’ve played and enjoyed recently, which systems you play on etc., with those answers not affecting your test result in any way as far as I can tell. Oh well, if it somehow convinces people to make more of the kinds of games I like…

My three ‘recent’ games I enjoyed playing (they define recent as ‘released in the past few years’) were Uncharted 4, ArcheAge: Unchained and Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night. Of course I cheated a bit with ArcheAge here, but since the legacy game and Unchained are listed seperately it’s technically correct.

I’m not currently playing any web/mobile/tablet games (and never have and probably never will), so I left all of those boxes blank. I was actually a bit surprised that I wasn’t kicked out of the questionnaire right then and there.

My three ‘any other’ games that I’ve enjoyed recently were EVE Online, Warframe and NieR: Automata. Again a bit of cheating here as I’ve just started to play the latter (I’m like two hours in), so I can’t really give a verdict yet. It started really strong though and I couldn’t think of anything else anyway.

That bullet hell sequence right at the start really caught me by surprise

So have I gained some new, groundbreaking insights about myself doing these two gamer-profile-thingies? Not really, no. But finding out stuff about yourself probably isn’t the main reason for doing them anyway. Sharing your results and talking about them is much more interesting. At least I think it’s kinda cool that I now know a bit more about the gaming preferences of my fellow bloggers, and they about mine.

Blapril 2020 post count: 12

Doing Bartle’s Test of Gamer Psychology

Bartle’s Test of Gamer Psychology has been around for a pretty long time now. Many people have done it, and its merits as well as its flaws have always been subject of much debate.

However my impression is that, despite all criticism, the majority of players are able to identify with their results for the most part.

When Krikket talked about hew own findings the other day I realized that I’d actually never taken the test myself. I guess it was about time to remedy that, wasn’t it?

I nicked Krikket’s much nicer version of the old graph, I hope she doesn’t mind

Before showing off my result I’d like to share some personal thoughts about the test, now that I’ve taken it.

I absolutely agree with the most commonly heard criticisms. My main complaint is that a lot of the questions are rather restrictive and sometimes outright weird.


This is, I think, a good example of a really strange choice I had to make. I mean, sure, I get that this one is meant to assess if you’re more of an explorer or a killer. There’s a whole bunch of assumptions tucked in there that I don’t necessarily like though.

If I was an explorer (spoiler: I am), why would I need to feel ‘safe’ to enjoy doing so? Why would I not dare to explore if other players were also present? The essay linked above claims that explorers say things like “You mean you don’t know the shortest route from [obscure room 1] to [obscure room 2]?”, which absolutely implicates that there can be a sense of competition to it, so this forced link between safe and exploration makes no sense to me.

If I was a killer (spoiler: I am), on the other hand, why would an area be useless to me by default as long as there’s no other player to kill there? Maybe a bunch of lucrative quests that I need to do to advance my gear are located there, and I’m actually glad that I don’t need to compete with others or fight over the quest mobs.

Now, I do realize that I’m probably being too nitpicky here. If I were to conceive a test like this and didn’t want to hassle people with having to answer hundreds of questions I’d be forced to generalize a bit, too. Still, it just rubs me the wrong way when my options feel too black-or-white, and also when choices are presented as mutually exclusive when they really aren’t.

This all being said though, here’s my result:


And what can I say, it represents me pretty well I think.

I love MMORPGs that allow me to feel like an Explorer, and many great adventures I’ve experienced only came about because I dared to venture into regions unknown.

It’s no secret that I also like to fight against other players and that I’m an advocate for open-world PvP, if done right. This is where I’m really quite at odds with Dr. Bartle’s essay because his description of a Killer is, in my opinion, more fitting for players I’d call griefers instead. Some versions of the test even use that term instead of killer. This is problematic though as it paints all fans of PvP with the same brush. Unjustly, I might add, proudly donning my Captain Obvious cape. I’m the perfect example in that I like to PvP a lot, but I hate griefers with a passion and would never behave like that myself.

That 40% Socializer score is probably a bit too high, to be honest. Oh, I do like to do stuff with my close friends of course, and when I’m in a great guild I also like to group up every now and then. More often than not I like to be on my own though, and even when I’m in a group I’m usually not very talkative. Except when you get me going about one of my favourite topics, then you’ll probably wish you hadn’t after a while.

The low Achiever score definitely hits the nail on the head. Being the first, having the biggest numbers, ticking off all the boxes…I couldn’t care less about things like that. Now, I do like to get my hands on nice rewards, so I sometimes engage in achievement-hunting and stuff like that if that’s what it takes. However it’s always about what I can do with those rewards, not about the achievements themselves.

And there you have it. If nothing else I guess this shows that a test like this can be flawed and still yield accurate results somewhat reliably. If you’d like to do it yourself, here it is.

Blapril 2020 post count: 11