Complicated feelings about SMEN, from a non-Seeker

I’m really pleased to see the Seekers finally able to finish the SMEN storyline. I’ve never wanted my character to Seek the Name, but it’s fun to watch other people having fun. A reckoning will not be postponed indefinitely!

I do have to say, though, it’s weird-feeling right now that SMEN has provided the game with its only actual ending. If you’re a stat-capped player, and you want closure or to finish the game or to see all the available content, you have to Seek the Name. And that’s not an ending I’m ever going to enjoy pursuing. I don’t want to destroy the character I’ve been playing for years, and it’s not in-character for them to sacrifice everything to pursue the Name.

I don’t know if there will eventually be other actual endings, or if the Destinies are as close as it’ll be possible for other players to get. I suspect eventually being able to actually finish an Ambition will provide more of a sense of closure, even if it doesn’t stop characters from continuing to play. And I expect there is more new content coming for &quotendgame&quot players (but is there really an endgame?)

But right now, there’s a bit of a melancholy feel to knowing that I’m actively choosing not to finish the game, if finishing it means finishing SMEN. That I am locking myself out of content. And maybe that’s intended. It’s just not entirely comfortable.

I think that for a lot of Seekers, it’s either an excuse to start anew or an excuse to walk away. Some people are simply finished. They’ve done all there is to do. Playing feels like a grind now, or they’ve simply moved on. But there’s a feeling of incompleteness—it feels wrong to walk away and leave an account hanging, game forever unfinished. Seeking is a way to end the character you currently have, to give them closure, even if it is a terrible sort of closure.

Similarly, if you’ve been playing for a significant length of time, you’ll find the opening content has changed a bit. The structure is new, there are new qualities and perhaps even new stories that we missed on the first whirl around the Neathy merry-go-round. If you want to start fresh, Seeking is a way to do it.

On both of these, you could just walk away from the previous character, but it feels empty. For all that it’s just a game, that’s a lot of time, effort, emotion and sometimes real life money to leave on the table. Better to burn it all down than abandon it. And of course, there are those who can’t resist doing anything they’ve been told not to do. Adventure seekers, people who are determined to collect every last bit of story, those who find pleasure in wrecking something they’ve built. It takes all sorts.

But all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well. :)

As someone who was in a similiar boat, wanting very much to see the end of Heart’s Desire and the Parabola Base Camp and bring my character towards where Destiny had been leading him…the destruction of everything that has been built up over about 12-18 months has been incredibly satisfying. For me, it wasn’t so much that it was creating an Ending, so much as realising there was a point where I’d wake up and drop my 20-40 actions into the Flit for Tales of Terror and then head off to work. It was just an efficient grind for time/click, because until the next monthly story? I’d been there and done almost everything within reason.

Hell, SMEN gave me the realisation that I could actually afford a Übergoat once I stopped hoarding for the rain day :D Perhaps even two or three if I’d not turned it into an awful lot of Secrets and Rats.

Taking Monogatari beyond the Avid Horizon was one of the best decisions I think I’ve actually made in this game and not turning around (though I remain tempted by the Grieve/Hate options… /sigh). I’ve tentatively made a new account, and just little things when starting I’d forgotten all about when re-reading the Lore. Of different decisions made (this time, the Contessa lives…), and trying things again. Reading the stories anew rather than simply clicking the button over and over again for the most efficient echo and click sink. A break will likely be needed, but I cannot see myself staying gone for long either.

Having finished SMEN, you’re not locking yourself out of that much that you cannot read through echoes. Holding out for a different sort of horizon is almost certainly going to result in a worthwhile wait - but in the meantime, I strongly advise simply reading and enjoying things for so long as you can.

I have somewhat the same feeling. The thing is, with Failbetter having shown that they’re not afraid of providing an &quotending&quot to the game, I’d imagine we’ll be able to realize our destinies one day. Only those will be good endings.

penknife, that’s really interesting and I definitely get what you’re saying. It made me realize, though, that I never expected FL to have an end: complete the Ambitions, sure, but the idea that you could deliberately write “The End.” under your character, I never thought that was coming–mostly from a business standpoint, I admit, but also it just never felt like it was going toward something that the game would treat as definitive, as opposed to the character or the player deciding it was.

(I’m Seeking because I want to know All the Things and because I really do want to re-experience the game fresh, so I’m doing it now rather than wait until the Ambitions are done. Also because I do want to know what taking Cider NORTH will do, though I’m fairly sure the answer is “nothing.”)

I was also very surprised that the game now has a “Game Over” state. I fully expected Seeking to continue indefinitely. For me, it was about the road, not about the destination.

I still treat it this way. I’ll advance SMEN most of the way, but won’t go NORTH yet. (I’ve started Seeking alts in order to eventually know what’s at the end)

For me, Seeking is a combination of an Ambition and a Destiny. It’s as character-defining and consuming as any of the Ambitions (if not more so), and it gives you a glimpse of where you are headed, even if it would take years (like some of the Destinies).

I’m actually thrilled that there’s an Ending. My character is all about Endings and that’s partly because I’m obsessed with them myself. That I can now tell a complete arc from beginning to end is so very nice.

That said, I’m nowhere near that point in my character’s arc, not yet.

But just knowing it exists is nice. That it is gloriously self-destructive – casting bits and pieces of yourself aside in a nearly suicidal obsession with forbidden knowledge – terrible, forbidden knowledge – just, just wow. (Also, just ‘Ow!’)

When my Abs tires of FL, when they have seen everything they want to see, I am so Ending them. Just gonna be a while.

For me it was all about the journey. I started not long after original SMEN was retired, and have been waiting patiently for its return ever since. That said, I’ve been having a great time playing this game, and like An_Ocelot said I never really expected there to be a true &quotending&quot, as such, to an online multiplayer game whose entire business, almost, relies on subscriptions.

I turned back at the Gate and could not be happier with my choice. I got to experience one of the most intense and wildest rides in Fallen London, and I get to carry on playing to experience everything else this game will have to offer in the future. My thinking is that most players don’t want a true &quotEnd&quot, at least not until there is no more content left to be written, but having the option there, and having it be both so punishing and so much fun, is both a surprising decision and one that I am very happy was made.
edited by Barselaar on 7/9/2016

I don’t think SMEN should be the default ending for anyone who ran out of content, though, but I am glad they are willing to write an ending for SMEN instead of making it a destiny with hoops to jump through to get.

Seeking will never be my endgame also. Not everyone fits the traits required from a Seeker. It would be beautiful if there were for or five endgame storylines for those who WANT their character’s story to end at some point; some grandiose and dark, like Seeking, some simpler like a return to the Surface, some occult like ascending the Chain. I understand however that SMEN was a labor of love, a very specific idea - which seems to describe a lot of the content in Fallen London, by the way.

Seeking is the way a Lovecraftian madman would end his existence. Fallen London / Sunless Sea is greatly influenced by the Cthulhu mythos, hence it’s a fitting end. Not the one I would choose for my persona, but then again the Neath is everchanging and with it, we are too.
If you feel it’s not for you, you can wait for the Destinies or the Desires, while absorbing as much of the content you can for now.

I read about this story! It seems very mean, so my character won’t do it.

I’ve just checked my journal since I honestly can’t remember how long I’ve been playing FL on and off, and apparently it’s been 5 years (February 10th 1889, to be exact, assuming I started my ambition the day I started playing). And while I certainly haven’t done everything there is to do yet, and I’m not ready to leave London behind yet, I can’t imagine a better way to end it than finally finishing SMEN. My character is inherently secretive (oh, how they guarded that Waxwail Knife…), and I can’t think of a more cathartic and IC ending than to get rid of the carefully hoarded collection of items they’ve amassed to take that trip to the Isle (and then NORTH).

Part of the reason I don’t want to Seek with my main character is that I don’t want to end my life in Fallen London. Playing, and reading the Forums, seems like returning over and over to the same Internet cafe time and again. It’s familiar, and, despite its oddity, friendly, to me.

On the other hand, the echoes I’ve seen of the Eaten storyline clearly are among the best writing Alexis has ever done, and I want to experience them in context, once.

I agree with that sentiment! Logging in to Fallen London, flipping through my cards, seeing what’s going on in the IRC; it’s all become a part of my routine. A major part of my life would be gone if I ended it all, at least on Paflick!

I intend to make an alt with the intentions of Seeking at some point, because I do want the lore. That will come in good time, though. I’d like to stay in London for a good long while.
edited by Paflick on 7/24/2016

Me, personally. I don’t crave closure like many others. In fact, I hate closure. Closure is the last thing I want. I want this game to never end, to keep being updated with new content until there’s literally nothing else that can be added. I hate goodbyes.

I don’t expect endings soon, I don’t expect the stories to go on indefinitely either. Things get strange when they are dragged out.

I don’t think we will see another “hard” ending like SMEN, simply because of the logistics of the game. People have spent vast amounts of time and possibly money into their characters and to have an option which stops play or retires your character would be tough from both an emotional investment standpoint and from a business standpoint. The closest thing to an ending you will probably get is the end of ambitions (whenever they arrive), but even then I am almost certain you will be able to continue playing after completing your ambition.

I am probably being insanely completionist, but I actually even hope that we will be able to take up another ambition once we finish the first one, and maybe even go after all four of them one after the other …

I am probably being insanely completionist, but I actually even hope that we will be able to take up another ambition once we finish the first one, and maybe even go after all four of them one after the other …[/quote]

Someone suggested the idea of secondary ambitions that build upon the first one which I’m rather fond of. Maybe something that builds upon a the end of two ambitions - Nemesis and Vake Hunting seems like they have some thematic overlap from what little I’ve seen.