After spending nearly five full days of vacation immersed in WoW, I actually started feeling like I needed some time away from the game. I had gotten a lot done, made a lot of money, run around with friends, and started a new little alt, and while I could feel the pull to continue all these activities in the evenings this past week, my interests began to wander. Late in the week, I did my usual tour of guild websites (there are a few I visit periodically), thinking maybe a new alt on another server might freshen things up a bit. And then I started thinking about Spore. Hmmm. 🙂 With Spore not coming out until Sunday, I figured I’d mess around with another game on Saturday. I chose Civ IV.
I hardly played Civ IV when I first got it, mainly because my computers were just barely able to run it. My PC at the time (the one I was initially playing WoW on) crashed all the time when I ran the game. I could play it somewhat on the laptop, which was newer, but it made it run pretty hot and I feared a meltdown. (I also used that computer for work, so it seemed a bit of a risk. I’ve never liked gaming on laptops either — I like a bigger screen to enjoy the graphics.) So, I installed Civ IV on my new computer, downloaded the latest patch, plus a .dll file I seemed to be missing, and fired up the game.
It took me a while to get my first civilization really cooking. The Civ game that I played most was Civ II, and I still remember most of the keyboard shortcuts for that one. Some are the same in IV, but it seemed safer to use the mouse for stuff, lest I send my units way off in the wrong direction. I also remember the strategies from Civ II the best, which wonders I should go for first … all that was different by Civ III and certainly would be even more different in IV. Rather than spend time with the built-in civpedia thing, I just dinked around and had fun with it. I restarted a few times before I was happy with my civ’s location and was convinced I hadn’t wasted a bunch of turns because I’d accidentally turned off units or stupid stuff like that. I played through what I thought would be a diplomatic victory and ended up winning the space race instead. Funny, the diplomatic victory in Civ III was SO easy to get, I remember thinking it was pretty disappointing. It requires a bit of diplomacy in Civ IV, evidently.
After my first win, I played through a second time and managed to get the space victory about fifty years earlier. I didn’t do anything with my military (having turned off the annoying barbarian activity, I didn’t need them), didn’t build barracks anywhere, and only put effort toward science and culture. After the win, I turned off production on all buildings and units, and just had my cities pumping out culture to see how many cities of neighboring civilizations I could absorb. I picked up a couple of them, and then just after the year 2000, the smallest, crappiest civ (which was mainly on another continent) declared war on me. The funny part is that I still had warriors guarding my big, booming cities. Hehe… I had plenty of money to quickly upgrade my troops, build tanks and stealth bombers, and beat the crap out of them, though they did actually take over one of my cities briefly. Now I’m wondering if I might actually enjoy trying a military victory.
Anyway, on the whole, it was lots of fun and it gave me a much-needed break from WoW. I tell people all the time that if WoW (or whatever) starts feeling like a job or an obligation, they should set it aside for a while. For me, it hasn’t been feeling like a job, but it has certainly started feeling like another life that requires a certain amount of maintenance. Sure, I could just ignore these tasks waiting for me in the game, but it doesn’t make them go away. Dealing with auctions and keeping my inventories clear is enough to make me want to just log out sometimes. Playing a game where there was essentially no commitment to anyone or anything felt like a vacation! I was also so completely absorbed in creating and expanding my civilizations that I’d no sense of the afternoon fleeting by except when I got up to deal with laundry. Oh, and whenever I needed to go take care of something, there was nothing tying me to the game at that moment. If I didn’t take my turn, nothing moved on without me. I got a this feeling when I played Portal, too. Lovely.
I’m definitely stopping by Best Buy on the way home today. 🙂