When tech gets in the way

I was reminded on Monday of how much my gaming relies on technology these-days and how that technology can, at times, be quite the hindrance. I ran another session of Dungeons & Dragons 5E for family members via Fantasy Grounds as the group is spread across three different households in two different cities.

For most of the time all worked well, but as we neared the end of the session the random disconnects/reconnects that often seem to be a thing with FG became notably worse and also some sync issues where the map and counters weren’t updating properly on two of the clients did stop play for a bit. It wasn’t an excessive delay, we had a lot of fun and the party made good progress through the current dungeon. Still, were we all in the same room playing with pen and paper only such issues wouldn’t occur at all. One client PC connects on the same LAN to my computer as host, my husband’s, and his client never disconnects so it looks to me like an Internet issue more than something specifically wrong with my install of FG or my computer’s configuration.

Equally when my husband is raiding he will sometimes get disconnected from World of Warcraft, though Discord his stays up and my PC running Everquest 2 doesn’t blink a virtual eyelid – so it’s not necessarily the connection failing completely, but more network-sensitive programs timing out or losing their connection, perhaps? Battle.Net is a probable culprit in this case as we’ve both had the odd disconnection issue when playing Destiny 2 as a trio and that uses Battle.Net just like WoW does.

I’m not intending this blog post to be a detailed dissection of specific IT problems, but rather a reflection on just how much both these hobbies are technology dependent. I would like to say that MMORPGs for the most part are more reliable nowadays than they were when I first started playing in the genre. Certainly World of Warcraft is pretty solid, so is EQ2. Naturally I might not be typing this if I were currently playing Lord of the Rings Online or Dungeons & Dragons Online given recent downtime, but I have clear memories of games being down for longish periods (usually at a weekend when a fix was less likely to be immediately forthcoming) in the past too.

In general times I believe the Internet connection at home is more reliable and much, much faster than it was back in 2007. So online gaming or virtual tabletop role-play as my main past times are certainly viable, but every so often there’ll be a hiccup somewhere to remind me that it’s still technology: technology that has a habit of playing up just when you want it to work.

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