<Authors note- Sorry for potentially low quality photos. All shots taken from off screen>
Normally, I'm not one to make a blog related to a musing like this. I feel that they either come out too forced from me, or that I don't have anything to say that couldn't be said better by someone else. The story I'm about to tell though... it's very close to me... not just as a very personal to me and my online relationships, but also, as a factor of time. It mainly focuses around a friend of mine, who I shall refer to as "Mia" for this article, as well as myself... a rift that formed between us, and how we rekindled through the power of game.
The story actually starts before the beginning of the month. Mia and I have known each other for a while. We played a few games together, like Monster Hunter Tri, Shin Megami Tensei Online, and Starcraft 2. Mostly, we'd spend time talking with each other over Google talk. Our talk consisted a little about just, us in our real lives, but mostly revolved around games: the stuff we were playing, that we had played, and that we were looking forward to.
Left: Mia. Right: Aiayla.
Portal 2 was released officially to the public in North America on April the 19th of 2011. It was one of the games we were both looking forward to. We were both fans of the original, and the addition of co-op was something we were eager to dive into(many a joke was made about myself becoming her giant shield for turret fire <.<). She pre-ordered on steam. I... was broke...
The game released, and she was able to dive in on day 1. Unfortunately it would be roughly another month before I would snag the game on sale from amazon.com. In that time, Mia would have already started Co-op with another friend of ours. I was ok with that, or at least... I think I am, but this event is about the closest I can really say is "the beginning of the rift".
Not Pictured: Me...
Conversations slowed down, we played less games together, seemingly, we'd become slightly annoyed at each other when we did talk... I ono if it was just that time of year, college finals, and the stress that it entails, or what. We seemingly went off on our own tangents. The beginning of May rolls around though. I manage to snag a copy of Portal 2, only to realize that I may never be able to properly enjoy the co-op the same way as if I had gotten it on the first day... if we would have played it together the way we said that we were going to leading up to it's release. I had a set expectation, and that was shattered for me now. She would know how to get through all the chambers, and I wouldn't be much more than a weighted ball and chain tied around her ankle.
Of course, the bigger issue still remained... patching up our relationship. Luckilly, we started talking again. I apologized, and so did she. She told me something also... something that would lead us to a stronger bond than we had before... something that is perhaps even stronger than if we were to both be able to dive into Portal 2's co-op together.
"Let the lagia embody the distance that grew and beat it up."
She was referencing the monster "Lagiacrus" from Monster Hunter Tri. It was an annoying monster, but by far, one of our favorites due to it's electrical prowess. School had ended though, and my dad was in town visiting, so we thought that this would hinder us from well... enacting this metaphorical plan until he left(since he like monopolizing my time, as well as the TV the Wii is on). We ended up finding a work around though. After my dad would head to bed, roughly 1 or 2 AM est, we'd hop on, and start the hunting.
We picked up where we left off online from the previous year. We weren't in very far, only in the low rank quests, and not yet up to the point where we could fight Lagia. That night we did a few quests, stayed up until 3:30-4. I picked up my Lance, and she her Sword and Shield. We repeated this over the next week, not necessarily every night, but enough that within the time frame, we had unlocked the quest to finally take down the Lagiacrus.
Pictured: Friends, chilling.
We still spent time talking outside of the game though. We'd talk about the monsters, strategizing efficient ways to take them down, planning out the best armor sets we could make at the time. I would take an armor with guard buffing skills, as the lance had a bigger/better shield on it. She would take armors with skills to enhance the elemental or status effects of her weapons(depending on what weapon she needed).
Our foes stood little chance. My armor skills allowed me to withstand any attack with my shield, and remain in the face of the monster as I continued to shrug off attacks and stab it in all the weakpoints. Mia would move quick, leaping in, unleashing a flurry of attacks, before leaping back out to safety before the monster could react, only to repeat again and again with most haste.
So then the night came. The only thing left to do was to kill Lagiacrus. Sure, the game has a little story of why you wanna kill that monster. On the third page of the quest info, it talks about killing the Lagiacrus to prevent it from killing all the fish and ruining the economy of a town. Hell, if you wanna be literal, you could even say you do it "cause your a hunter, and that's what's required of you". But no, we were doing it for our own personal reasons.
Prepared to depart.
We took the quest, and dove into the water, I the shield, her the sword.
We came out with zero deaths, and the body of a massively battered body of a Lagiacrus.
Things seems to be shaping up since then. It wasn't too long ago, and like all types of relationships, nothing is smooth. I can't decide if things are better off now than they were. I do know that the alternative was a much worse option. Now, we still talk, and still game with each other, though it's not been long enough to say if this will develop into a regular habit or not. I like to keep looking forward though, and hope for the best. At least I can hold solace in the fact that we can always go and "beat up the Lagia".