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Andrew Kauz avatar 9:44 AM on 07.20.2009  (server time)
Stories from the Past: The One-Balled Man-Bear

[We tend to forget that every person will experience a game in a different way. We’re all unique people with unique pasts, after all. It was this consideration that bred the idea for this series. Like the name suggests, I’m going to use this series as a platform to simply talk about my experiences playing certain games in the hopes that you can share in the experience through my eyes.]

My first true MMO experience was with Final Fantasy XI: a game in which I lasted for perhaps two months before returning to college and losing interest entirely. I suspect that my experience with the game was similar to other first times in MMOs: I screwed around trying to learn the ropes until some nice user decided to take me under his wing and show me the ropes.

In my case, this nice user just happened to be a one-balled man-bear thing named Onenut.

Let’s back up to the beginning. I promise to speak more about the unfortunately named Galka shortly.

I began by making a human (or Hume, if you’re nasty) character with the incredibly original name of Kauza. The Hume, for those who haven’t played the game, is good at absolutely nothing yet has no notable weaknesses. In other words, I committed myself to multiple hours playing as a Michael Bay movie. I embraced the mediocrity, grabbed a crappy sword, and went out to kill things for people.

Looking back, it really wasn’t fun. I stood around. I hit stuff with a sword. I waited for my health to come back. I found loot and whatnot, sold it, and ventured forth once again to hit stuff with a sword. Sure, I completed quests, bid on new equipment in the auction house, and traveled to new areas, but it was all so very dull for someone whose every action basically screamed “meh.” It quickly became apparent that I needed some help.

However, help was in short supply, lost amongst the sea of amateur player-controlled merchants who literally spent hours at a time sitting and screaming about their goods. Yes, sir, I’m well aware that you want to sell your Silver Sword, but you don’t need to yell, and why are your hands in my pants? Needless to say, my initial hours in the game were a strange, awkward experience.

The major shift in my experience came one day while I was standing around whacking stuff with a sword. A strange man-bear appeared behind me and began to more deftly whack stuff with his weapon of choice before inviting me to his group. Sure, I thought. At no point did I stop to consider the name that appeared on the group invite. Onenut. I suppose I was just so happy to have someone to keep me alive that I didn’t even consider the name. So, we traveled throughout the world together.

After a few days, I start to seriously consider this guy and his incredible name. The first thought is, of course “Who names himself “Onenut?” But my curiosity doesn’t stop there. I seriously want to know the motivation for this choice of name. Is this a little bit of the player in here, or did the guy just really like the concept of a man-bear walking around with one ball? Was there an epic back-story in which a thief stole his nut in the night, and he vowed on that day to track the ball thief to the ends of the world in a quest for retribution? Or did he just have absolutely no creativity when it came to character naming? I so, so wish that I had asked these questions, but sadly, the mystery remains to this day.

Anyway, we eventually grew stronger, and my testically deficient tutor led me into new realms of mediocrity. Soon, we were (or, more likely, he was) strong enough to join other groups of people in order to stand around and whack stuff with swords. I vividly remember spending hours upon hours at a seaside area alongside many, many other groups, competing to be the first to draw agro from a crab.

Seriously. These crabs were beefy as fuck and required full groups to kill, and even then you needed to be careful at our levels. So, being the guy who wasn’t really good at anything else, I’d usually be the one racing across the beach, trying to be the first to get to a crab immediately after it spawned so that I could bring it back to my group.

Awesome, right? It gets even better. I’d bring it back to my group as they huddled in some isolated corner, and the battle would begin. I’d do a lot of standing and sword swinging, maybe some people would die, and we’d eventually take the thing down. Time to move on? Shit no! I’d get healed up and set out to race other jackasses to those crabs. This would last for hours. Hours. I seriously did this, all in the pursuit of that next level, and always with the quasi-eunuch bear by my side.

This nonsense really didn’t last long for me. Soon, Señor Pelota Sola rarely appeared online, and I felt that I had met my life quota of crab killing. It was time to hang up my Worn Boots and fade into the dark night. It was cancellation time. This MMO stuff just wasn’t for me.

So I stood around like all of the other merchant cocks, but I had a different intent: a firesale of the most amazing kind. Everything must go, and for the low price of free. People literally could not believe it as I gave away some fairly decent stuff to their low-level characters. Really, the reaction was incredible to me, as if acts of kindness were entirely out of place in this world.

Anyway, it was with a small sense of hesitation that I logged onto the Sony Online website and confirmed my cancellation. Before I did, my mind again wandered to Onenut, wishing that I had the opportunity to see him one last time and ask what, exactly, was up with his missing testicle. But, alas, the lights went down, and I was left alone to wallow in the mystery of it all. Thus, the storybook closed on my first and last MMO.

…or so I thought. A challenger would soon appear, and it was a very, very different experience. But that, kids, is a story for another day.

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