I’m still spending most of my waking hours in the online game called Syrnia and it has been interesting in more ways than just playing it.
One of the first things I noticed is how many children come in from other games, ninety percent of them from Runescape, and are totally lost without the 3D graphics they are used to.
The first thing all of them do is say the game is like Runescape and then ask why they can’t see their character or move. They follow up by asking if anyone plays Runescape. Syrnia players are really tired of Runescape rudeness so the new players quickly get asked not to talk about Runescape.
Some obey but many take offence and start trying to prove how tough they are by saying how high a level they are in Runescape and then they start insulting Syrnia and the people playing it. The words “gay” and “faggot” seem to be popular amongst Runescape players and they can get quite disgustingly graphic in their sexual insults.
They are finding their way to Syrnia for a range of reasons that include their parents banning them from playing Runescape, their school banning them from accessing the Runescape site, having died or reached such a high level they are now bored and quite often it is because their Runescape account has been taken over by someone who hacked into it.
What I find interesting, however, is their reaction to discipline.
Syrnia has moderators who do their job so most of the new players, with their Runescape rudeness, are quickly muted (prevented from speaking in the game) for bad language or spamming within the first half hour of entering the game.
A few are never heard from again, another few come back as soon as the mute is lifted to express their anger and have their say before being muted again but most drop the bad behaviour and play nice from then on.
I have even heard them say they prefer Syrnia to Runescape because the Syrnian moderators ensure they do not get bullied the way they were bullied in Runescape.
It’s really quite interesting to see someone log in and call you the “c” word because you spelt their login name wrong one day then see how polite that same person is the next time they come into chat.
That particular player is now busy creating good relationships with the people he wants to trade with in the game and is too busy with his efforts to keep his shop stocked to worry about killing things.
He has been completely sidetracked from his original “kill, hack, slash, dominate, intimidate” mentality. Now he is trying to cut the best possible deal for the stock he wants to buy for his shop – a skill he will find useful in real life many times I am sure!
When Runescape players enter the Syrnian game it’s like they are all ADD sufferers or have been given a dose of steroids or speed. They are aggressive, touchy, rude, abusive, keen to kill, quick to start verbal fights and impatient. They hate sitting there watching the game timer count down and they feel nothing is happening because of the lack of movement in the game screen.
Once they get into the game and see all the chat channels they tend to start calming down as they get involved in the human interactions going on.
The first thing they want to do is become the best thief in the land but then they find themselves cooling their heels in the game jail over and over again which puts them off that a bit.
The next thing they want to do is kill something so they ask where to go for that. If they ignore player warnings and go straight to the arena to kill game generated monsters they die very fast. If they choose to go to the area set aside for players to fight each other they die even faster.
Their solution to that is to go after the best armour and weapons that are available in the game so they can beat the game monsters and other players. Up goes the cry for money – lots of it and as fast as possible. To get it they have to clean the jail, run some errands for game generated brothers, fish, mine, or chop wood and sell the fish, ore or wood.
It doesn’t take long for them to realise their money is being stolen and they are told the only way to stop that is to build a house and keep their money there. Once again they are diverted from their quest to kill as they chop 250 logs of wood to build a small house.
During the time it takes to collect enough money to buy the best armour and weapons they find out even if they get them they will not be able to use them until they are higher in their combat levels.
Everywhere they turn the game demands patience to succeed and they have to develop it or stop playing.
I’m having considerably mixed feelings about it all.
If my children were of an age for me to have to make decisions about their computer usage I would much prefer them to play this game than Runescape based purely on the difference in attitude and behaviour of the children I see coming into the game.
On the other hand, of course, too much time on the computer is not good and this game is all about time. It takes time to do anything in the game – lots of time!
As you get higher levels it takes longer and longer to advance and I have reached a point where my obsession can no longer continue.
Everything I want to do will take days now instead of hours and my ability to sit and wait is wearing thin. I’m starting to look around for things I can do that will only take 10 to 20 minutes as I don’t have to be at the computer during tedious stretches of the game except to enter the numbers for the bot-checks.
This entry is one of the things I found to do while I am waiting for my crop of virtual carrots to be ready to harvest.
The thing that amazes me is this game was created, and is being run by, a 17 year old! I would love to find out more about him and how he came to create Syrnia.
I’m not sure how long I will stay obsessed with the game or what will come next but, for now, Syrnia is keeping me away from the slot machines and that’s a very good thing indeed!