A Loss of Many Forms

I sit here writing, where waves of salt have flowed from my eyes, finding that is eases such loss.  Where I need personal space and time to collect my emotions, and there are many, I find this forum to be quite fruitful.

This morning I woke as I do, with kids running into the room with smiles on their faces.  After a short time playing in the bed, I brought them down for the morning meal.  It was my wife’s birthday yesterday, so I thought to make some waffles.  It’s a thing in my house, where waffles, for some inside-joke reason, have added significance.  I had barely serves the first before the phone rang.  It was my father, which is an odd sort of thing to occur at that time of day.  I knew immediately it wasn’t good.  My uncle had passed a few minutes earlier. He was younger than my father.  It was more than surreal.  The call ended but I am at a loss to remember how.

My daughters then, in their childlike way, asked some simple questions, to which I found difficulty in answering.  In grief, one’s thoughts are not solid or focused.  I had tried explaining death in a recent passing but at this point, I was simply lost. In fact, lost is the best term for the entire day.  I answered best I could but my wife was there to help.  Given that my aunt was but a few minutes away, I headed over.

Grief is an interesting beast of emotion.  It hits hard, it hits continuously and it hits without end.  I spent the day with my aunt, my cousin, my father and my grand-father.  We men are of same cloth. Grief is but an unceasing tide that wreaks havoc on any defenses or pretense of understanding.  In the middle of thought, of which we seem deeply to be within, a crack is found and a stutter occurs.

When someone close passes away, you have this unending feeling that they are right around the corner.  A door opens and you think it might be them.  A creak in stairs and they are bounding down to meet you.  But in your mind, a split second after your heart has yearned, knows they won’t be around the corner.  When thoughts wander, they go to places where emotion is strongest.  I can see the times I spent with him as a youth, as an adult and as a parent.  I can see the times I won’t have him around.  A hole that exists.  One to match when my grandmother passed at this exact same time 7 years ago.

My uncle was fond of saying that no one can cheat death and that our tickets are already punched.  I am of the same belief.  Certainly there is anger and frustration at losing someone close when they are still young.  My rage was shortlived.  I can think at all the things he did and saw.  I can see that he had no regrets.  He lived a full and rich live and made all of us lucky to know him.

I will miss him dearly and my heart is broken with need of mend.


Consequences and Challenge

Death in Marvel Heroes is an odd thing.  It happens through mostly lag up until you’re done the main missions, so a lot of people will never really see it – and if they do, people around them have 3 minutes to revive them.  That part makes sense to me.  Neverwinter puts a debuff on you once you get revived that way, the timer is shorter too.

If you play alone however, say in the mission terminals at the end, death is a different beast.  Scaling here reminds me a bit of Rift, where the mechanics of the game prevent you from doing content too far above your level.  3+ and you get an experience, damage intake and damage output penalty, starting at 20%.  You will get 1-shot.  Dying does two things.

First, it brings you back to the last checkpoint.  Sometimes this is the door to the zone, sometimes (like in Castle Doom), it’s invisible markings on the map since the map is so darn big.  Second, if leaves every enemy at the state they were when you died.  Boss at 60% hp when you died?  He will be when you get back.

Doctor Doom last night was 4 levels above me, took 5 minutes to kill and he killed me 8 times.  While I was happy to beat him, there was missing that “perfect run” feel that you get in other ARPGs.  Could I have done him in a clean run?  Maybe not last night due to skill lag but it certainly felt possible.  I remember trying to kill Belial in Diablo 3 for a few days in Inferno.  It was extremely frustrating.  Dying here had a repair cost plus a full reset of the boss himself.  Finally I got lucky and he died and I never wanted to see his face again.  The consequences here were such that I never wanted to play that part again.

I will be trying Doctor Doom again, hoping to improve.  It becomes an analog test with varying degrees of success.  I can improve on that.  Belial on the other hand, I was ready to punch through the screen.  When I beat him, it felt more like a digital switch – either I won or I didn’t.  When I did, I never felt an ounce of challenge in him again nor a desire to even attempt it.

I find it a difficult balance to show people “hey, this is tough but when you get through it’ll be worth it” and “hey this is tough, let’s pull out your hair”.