I have to admit, while it's not life, as I've known it, on the grid, I'm very definitely growing partial to Runes of Magic as an alternate wandering space. But there are some very puzzling cultural things occurring there, that I just don't have the comprehension for, that I perhaps should.
Confused? So am I. For example...this may be just a me thing, or maybe more than me, a general guy thing, but--why does it matter what gender anyone is? I mean, really? The whole betting game that my guild in Runes has, with who is, who isn't, and who might be female just baffles the hell out of me. I'm currently rated in that guild as "likely female"; but they just can't be sure until I talk with them on voice, apparently.
Gentlemen, I am ruinously sorry to inform you of this, but voices, they can be distorted, lowered, raised, or converted; more to the point, there are men who have high voices and women who have low ones. I consider myself an alto when singing, but I'm very nearly in tenor range most of the time; I have been "sir"-ed on other occasions because of it.
And beyond all that, what does it matter? I see a woman walking the grid, my first thought when I see someone is not I bet she's a guy. It literally never occurs to me.
On the other hand, maybe it's just something more prevalent about life in MMOs; because I have found myself thinking of the female avatar named "Sexybeast" who is well-known for running around with a sword the size of a Buick and white panties/white cotton bra (the enforced limit of the game for 'de-layering') that she's likely male behind the screen. Most women will not name themselves "Steve", either--and again, the one wandering around known as Steve? Was another underwear warrior.
And, by and large, women in Runes? They'll be worried about how to properly protect themselves; they want armor that feels like armor, not chainmail bikinis. They'll rotate their cam around themselves, and wonder why the leather thong with the gartered boots is more protective than the trousers that cover everything. They'll plead in open chat for a pair of actual pants, damn it, that don't end at the waist.
Whereas most men-playing-women? Will go for the most revealing outfits they can find, and start off playing women that are insanely well-built in the first place.
Now, I'm not saying this is a bad thing, per se; as one fellow told me, he'd rather have something pretty to stare at than look at some big hulking guy's ass all day.
Which is amusing on so many levels, but that's neither here nor there.
More to the point, there are fully-covering pants one can find; there are also the steel-and-sorcery outfits, which are basically armored boots, gloves, and the "chainmail bikini" styles. It's a big world, there's more than just one way to dress. And while there are more than a few insane names--Spicytakoyaki, Toasterstrudel, Splenda and Sugarplum among them--and an extraordinarily and quite profound lack of anything resembling fantasy roleplay, the quests, the world, and the monsters are usually more than involving, currently, to make up for it.
Still and all, I'd like some attempt at actual pretend on the part of my fellow gamers. It's like gaming...without any sense of game.
In the meantime, Aion looks very entertaining. They say "visually stunning", and they're so right. If the videos found at their main page are any indication, this is a sumptuously gorgeous playspace. Considering the game itself seems to be based around celestial forces--and their demonic counterparts--battling in heaven and earth for the fate of the universe, maybe it justly deserves to be this sweeping and majestic.
I haven't decided if I want to download the client for it yet; for one, I can't download the client, apparently, until yI sign up for an account; and I can't sign up for an account until I verify payment information. And I'm not sure, right now, I want to verify payment information. Until I have more information on the game.
But I'm reading through the lore, and checking out the known issues, at least what little I can find out in advance. It does look impressive as hell. Or heaven.