2018: Let the Games Begin

I’m oozing into the New Year, but, I’m ready to kick things into gear.

Listening to last week’s MassivelyOp Podcast, I was inspired to look at my 2017 and think ahead to a better year in games.   I love that they had everyone on!  I wish they’d do it more often.  Once a month, even.

Looking back at 2017 I developed a nice game rotation.  There was even a month or so where I wrote a short synopsis of the play session after I played.  I liked doing that, but I’m usually playing pretty late at night and writing up a session at 1 am isn’t ideal.

I liked the idea enough that I put the same rotation along the top of my 2018 calendar for January.  Now I think, I need to narrow a regular rotation down to the MMOs I love best.

World of Warcraft
Elderscrolls Online
Lord of the Rings Online
Everquest 2

While not giving up on Secret World Legends or Guild Wars 2, I’ll just keep the games updated and saunter in now and then rather than trying to make any real progress.

In separate posts, I’ll try to make some goals for each game.

Overall game goals for 2018:

Play a greater variety of games.  Games remain in my Steam queue and on my iPad that I could make some progress on.

Pick a character in each MMO to be my main.  Get them to max level.   My Alt-itis will never go away (hugs to my Alts!), but in order to really know a game, making your way all the way through the world really helps you connect the dots.  See what the heart of the beast is for good or ill.

Since it is an overall goal for me in the real world as well, I’m going to try to be more social.  Ack! Imagine!   We’re talking reading and contributing in more forums, we’re talking voice chat and the ever finky Discord.  I hate my voice, and I should be able to master push to talk so you don’t hear me swearing.  Oops.

I’d like to be more well informed about games like I used to be.   I reactivated a gaming Twitter account.  I need to remove some old, bratty posts.  Need to read the latest posts for the games I’m interested in.  Read more of the game sites I used to pour over.

Blogs!  Read more (up to the letter “G” stealing blogs from Biobreak), comment more.   I love reading blogs, even for games I don’t play.

Play more Board Games and Card Games 

Noble goals, are they not?

Happy Gaming 2018!

Let the Adventures of 2016 Begin!

2015 was a fine enough year in gaming.  The new year is always the exciting one, so many worlds, so many stories, so much possibility!

Biobreak’s Syp has a nice post plotting out which mmo will be his new virtual home for 2016.  It’s an intriguing idea and way of looking at things.  His choice of Final Fantasy wasn’t a surprise because he’s already said he is burned out by the other choices in other posts.

This led me to think maybe I should try visiting or revisiting some mmos.  Final Fantasy sounds good from what I read because of its dungeons and housing.   There isn’t anything else there that appeals to me though.

I love Elder Scrolls but didn’t like what I saw in the late beta of the world.  Not Tamriel like at all.  I also dislike that the Imperial City is a pvp zone, and, unless I’m reading it wrong, in order to enjoy the crafting game you have to join a crafting guild. And you need to go to the pvp zone to sell your wares.

Maybe I should give Star Trek Online another look.  I loved the space game there, but little else.  It really was like being in space, with your own ship and exploring vast expanses.  Space combat was a hoot.

Star Wars The Old Republic   I eventually got over Wow taking so many guildies away from Galaxies, but, Galaxies was closed down to make room for this sterile mess.   Hard to get over that one.   I’m put off by what I read about the monetization.  Do you really have to purchase emotes with real monies?   Do they really have their little cash registers at the ready to charge you for every small thing?   No wookiees. No Rodians. No Mon Calamari.  No Trandoshans. No Ithorians. No Bothans.  No rare Sullustans.    Just Twi’leks and Zabraks carrying over and bland humanoid variants.   32 Classes…no….4 Jedi Variants, Bounty Hunter, Smuggler, 2 Soldier variants.   It is so hard for me to wrap my head around the blandness of the character design.  The only appeal given these things would be if the stories were excellent and immersive and if we see more worlds and locations from the Star Wars universe than we’ve seen before.

Project Gorgon   I haven’t tried it at all, but it sounds like a wonderful rpg-like game with great doses of wit and humor.  How impressive it is being done by a team of two.  I’ll try it upon release.

Ark: Survival Evolved   It sounds like people are having a blast in this game, but I’m not in the mood for dinosaurs and insta-death.  I find the splintering into private servers rather than a unified world server to be game breaking.  You can’t exactly jump in and try it out, right?

Crowfall   Despite it being a full pvp game, the world seems rich and maybe I can sneak in at release and try it out for a few spectacular deaths before slinking away.

Camelot Unchained  Just announced a deep crafting system in another pvp world where we know I have no chance at even moments of life.  Maybe again, another peek before death and dishonor.

Plenty to Play Already!

World of Warcraft    The new expansion coming out waaay next summer has nonetheless mobilized me to level up characters.  I’m thinking one of each of my favorite classes ready at 100 on the two servers I play on.   The world is huge, and crafting before Draenor is so much fun.  I find each time a character gets to Draenor and gets their very own garrison, I am so happy and proud of them.   I really do love the storylines of Draenor.  For the first time in the game I became immersed in the lore, and became attached to npc characters.  Yrel, Maraad and Thaelin!  How I do love them.

Lord of the Rings Online   Although my main character was left hanging long ago in disappointing Lothlorien, I have her positioned right where she left off and I’m ready to move her though further adventures in Middle Earth.   She’s a Hunter, with the most wonderful bow animations in any game.  I happen to be leveling a Hunter in World of Warcraft at this time as well, and it reminds me of how much I like this class in any world where it is available.

Star Wars Galaxies, Emuland Edition

There was a wonderful article this week at Rock, Paper Shotgun that talked about Galaxies and Everquest emus.   Though they talked with someone from the NGE emu, the article got just right the absolute joy of being able to walk and play and live in a world which had been lost when it officially was shut down.

Before entering the world of Star Wars Galaxies again in April of last year, I pictured many times in my mind bringing up the game world, hearing the music for Coronet (my favorite city) load and just being immersed in a Star Wars universe like no other.  Now here I am, with characters to level, goods to sell, incomparable adventures to be had.

Rift   This ever intriguing world is one I like to log into a couple of times a week at least.  There is something about the music, the world, the crafting, the amazing housing, the Instant Adventures and the huge and varied landscape that draws me in.  It is an exotic world full of treasures.

Everquest 2    My little wizard is poised in the Commonlands (still) awaiting her adventures.  Talk about a deep world full of adventure, stories and treasures.  I know it has much to offer and I just need to stop in a few times a week to swashbuckle my way through the world.  I did purchase the new expansion and so now I have access to all of the expansions.  This may be a game I subscribe to once I am established.

Secret World    This atmospheric puzzler of a game is so well done.  I’ve never seen anything quite like it.  Anytime I’m in the open world, I find myself looking over my shoulder in case something is sneaking up on me.  Time to get back to that door code.

Wildstar   Yikes, this game is so much fun and frenetic.    I see people saying they don’t like the combat, but it’s like anything, you just figure out how it works and do you what you need to to stay alive.  For all of the complaints of World of Warcraft being “cartoony” over the years, forget about it, THIS is a cartoony world.  Love that crazy announcer.    My main character here is a medic, and I need to focus on moving her forward through this sproingy, action packed world.

Guild Wars 2   I didn’t purchase Heart of Thorns because I’ve not gotten far in this game.  I think I have yet to settle on a particular character and class that I like so that I’ll move forward here.  I think I feel it is lacking in story and immersion in the world somehow.  Maybe as I move forward.

As if that weren’t enough….

Fallout Four   I love Fallout 4 so much.  It is a dangerous world, I die like a fly.  My doggie and I continue to explore the Wasteland.   I’m avoiding starting a settlement because I don’t want to be tied down to it until I’ve seen everything.   Silly perhaps, but in a single player game you get to call all the shots.

Steamy  As if I didn’t have Mass Effect 3 and DragonAge Inquisition to adventure through, I was a fish for the Steam sale for the first time ever.

Thanks to my exciting IntPiPomo win  🙂    I have episode one of Life is Strange to try out.

Steam sale wise I scooped up:

Dear Esther (not on sale but long on my acquire list)
Grim Fandango Remastered
Icewind Dale Enhanced Edition
L.A Noire
The Witcher 1,2,3
Broken Age
The Park (Secret World standalone)

Tomb Raider: Rise of the Tomb Raider may be coming out at the end of January, a year before originally predicted.  Snare it, you say.

Even without trying out any new to me mmos, I should be busy busy busy till this time next year.

Happiest Gaming 2016 to you!


What An MMO Should Be…

As I still wait for Wildstar to download…zzzz I’m thinking what am I looking for in an MMO that would make or break my being interested in playing beyond a beta?  What I’m looking for has changed over time quite a bit.  Here’s a rough sketch:

Class Choices

Varied abilities, the more the merrier.  Let me try all of them.  Games with four classes or less are too boring.

I don’t mind a trainer who you pay for new skills.  I don’t mind if they just pop up.

Character Creation and Beginner Areas

Hair styles with variation, long, short, length, color.

Wide variation of skin tone.

Facial choices though not necessarily with sliders which can quickly alter your cutie into a mutant.

Height, Weight choices.  Tiny races I like to make as tiny as possible.  I don’t want to be stuck weight wise with a rear that looks like a shield wall.

Let me have a first name and a last name.

If you have “good” guys and “bad” guys, go for it, don’t try to pretend the bad guys just look a bit creepier.  Give them a reason for being bad.  Set it up right away so there is a choice between sides in an ongoing world conflict.

Have a brief intro to the world and lore whether it be a cutscene or a tutorial area.  Make it possible to skip the dang thing after the first time you go through.  Don’t trap people in areas like the Worgen or Pandaren starter areas forever, let them get out there and play as soon as possible.

Playing the Game

Have plenty of travel options.   I’m all for discovery of travel points before you can go there after the first visit, but make travel point to point be quick after that.  No meandering ten minute ride over/through the landscape.

World Size   Yes size really does matter.  The bigger the world, the more to explore, the better.   Make areas as different in look and feel and tone as possible.

Introduce crafting early on.  Allow there to be a market for newbie crafters who can make things other newbies can really use.   Don’t require 80 pieces of wool to make a single pair of pants, ye gods.  Let there be customization options.  Let us name our products, have a maker’s mark as they used to say on items so we know who made them.  Allow dyes and other coloring options, allow experimentation so that depending on materials used you can make a good or very excellent version of your item.

Stop with the stoopid bag limits of 6 item bags good grief.

If you have Dungeons let there be a really good dungeon finder, so people know how long they may need to wait.

Encourage group content with public events and world events. Do not have a solo quest chain end in a group only quest.  Grrr!   Give us reasons to group, such as better xp while in a group. 

Alternate ways to advance    Make it so you can quest, gather, do daily quests, group adventures, dungeons, exploration and anything else that may help you tick tick tick that xp meter upwards without feeling like you’re in quicksand.

Squash the bugs!

My worst beta was Star Trek Online where there was much to like about the game but the bugs and whole systems that did not work as they went live were just an embarrassment. 

The Gold Standard for betas was Lord of the Rings Online which went live with even typos squashed.   I compare everything new to them.  I get the impression that they are no longer so sharp about things from what I read, but they went live in super mode.  Best development staff and community support staff ever going in.

Link Lists Added

I added Link Categories for Neverwinter, Lord of the Rings Online and Guild Wars 2.  So far just the “official” sites. 

It is surprisingly hard to find blogs and sites specific to games by doing a general search.  I usually find them when I’m looking for the answer to a particular question that I have about the game.  At least the categories are in place, and much can be gained from starting at the official sites.