Tom Chick on The Firing Line:
Is there a Chef in the house?
Okay, I'd appreciate it if you didn't let this get out. What I'm about to tell you. Because it's kind of embarrassing. I mean, we play games to be more powerful, to make a difference, destroying armies or building cities, becoming mighty warriors, saving planets, all that jazz. You know, escaping the mundane world of day-to-day existence, right? Maybe I'm wrong, but that's how I always thought about it in my typical overanalytical way. But in Star Wars: Galaxies, my role in the galactic struggle is making cakes for overworked doctors.
I hit on this browsing the official Galaxies forums while I was kneeling in the dirt to dig up berries. (A brief aside: When you can run an MMO in a window, downtime is easier to tolerate. You can check your email, skim Blue's News, read a message forum, write a paper you have due tomorrow, that sort of thing. It's this multitasking that made Eve Online, The Sims Online, and Galaxies more bearable by letting me futz in the real world while I play in their online worlds, waiting for non-interactive stuff to run its course. In fact, I'll be the first one in line when someone makes an MMO that incorporates a full suite of productivity apps. You know, like Microsoft Office Online, but where you can go up levels while you're working on a Powerpoint presentation).
So I'm kneeling in the dirt, digging up the berries I need to craft Air Cakes, each of which will nudge me about fifty points closer to those several thousand points of General Crafting experience I need to advance to the next level of Domestic Arts, which is what I need to do to progress from a simple Artisan to a Chef, where I can then advance skills like Desserts, General Entrees, and Cooking, where I can then make stuff much more sophisticated than these Air Cakes. It's a level treadmill, sure, but instead of a mightier spell or a longer sword, I get a bigger recipe box.
Food in Galaxies is like potions in any other RPG. Eat or drink something and it will temporarily raise your stats. So a Chef isn't so much a chef as, say, an alchemist, which makes it sound less like home econ and more like something a wizard would do, so maybe it's okay if my friends do find out about all this. I mean, it's not like I'm wearing an apron while I'm crafting the Air Cakes.