Ode on a Server

Today’s Wikipedia article of the day is “Ode on a Grecian Urn,” and Keats is a relevant figure for MMOs. He was a candle that burned brightly and quickly. His odes constituted a new form of poem, although those not immersed in poesy are unlikely to see them as much different from other forms. His works are known more for an effusion of passion and imagery than technical perfection; some say his best works are marred by unbecoming lines, and others debate whether controversial lines “work.”

If you’re not getting the connection, your link on that last one is “bug or feature?” “Ode on a Grecian Urn” is an old favorite that exhibits this well. There are several points when you might pause and ask whether a line really works, either in its content or its form. To my mind, some of them work just because of that — “More happy love! more happy, happy love!” succeeds only to the extent that you accept a narrator effusively overcome by the moment. On content, do we really want to celebrate eternally unfulfilled desire? If Epicurus had a hell, that would be it, but there is a Romantic ideal in teetering on the verge of satisfaction. There many ways to take (or not) the last two lines.

As an MMO player, if you have not read “Ode on a Grecian Urn,” you really ought. Someone pick a tune, and it could be our national anthem. That eternally unfulfilled desire? That’s what you are paying for. Those frozen lovers are your treadmill, always on the verge of ecstacy, never quite reaching it, where joy is found in the endless almost-attaining. The world is static, unchanging, with events clearly happening but never actually resolving. There is an eternal spring, and the silent pipes play on.

: Zubon

For anyone who does not believe in poetry-based “controversy,” (1) this was bleeding-edge stuff in 1819, and (2) like you have never seen a forum explode about whether changing Rogue positional damage by 2% will completely ruin the game.

2 thoughts on “Ode on a Server”

  1. I’m not sure I agree. As an Explorer, I get satisfaction all the time, even if it’s just climbing a hill and having the knowledge that there’s nothing interesting there, because that’s the goal, and the reward I’m looking for.

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