I say inevitable, but since this blog is only just approaching its one year anniversary, this is the first! Take a deep breath, this is even longer than my usual drivel.
On the stat line:
Total Hits: just over 50,000
Best day ever was 2,968 hits on May 7 which was almost entirely the result of Tobold linking my LotRO side by side visual quality survey, LotRO: What You Might be Missing. Fully 8 months after that post, I still seem to receive about 20 hits a day– many linking from forums in strange languages. It just doesn’t die. Its also telling that something as simple as what a game looks like with different graphic settings in various places is the kind of information that people like and apparently few are providing.
Even with a move later in the year which took me out of circulation, I’ve been getting into more of a groove with posts. It certainly feels like I’m beating my average of about 2 1/3 posts per week. I’d like to post more frequently, but work gets in the way and I tend to like to write longer bits though I’m certainly not immune to the meme, survey or quiz link, but I don’t like to post just for posting’s sake.
A totally new experience, Darren from Shut Up We’re Talking invited me to be a guest on three editions of SUWT this year, #6, #8 and #13. A great deal of fun and I was glad to make my modest contribution to the show. Darren has done a great job developing the show. I’m looking forward to seeing it develop and contribute again whenever Darren has run out of interesting guests to invite.
Games in 2007
World of Warcraft. Our instance group was making great progress making the grand tour of all Azerothian instances (at level) until one member of our little group got a long term out of town assignment. When that turned into a permanent relocation and he got settled, we reconvened the group. Since then we are all on the cusp of hitting the old level cap at 60 (just dinged mine) and finishing the old end game instances of LBRS, UBRS, Stratholme, Scholomance and Dire Maul. An heroic achievement– we’ve managed to stay within less than a level of each other after just over one year of play.
The 2.3 patch which reduced experience requirements and increased rewards pre-60 has accelerated our leveling substantially. We will be unable finish all the old Azerothian instances before we all hit 60. Afterwards, the Dark Portal awaits. Taking the completely casual approach and keeping with the group has proven to be bearable for all concerned and a wonderfully fun trip since we started a little over a year ago.
Vanguard. I technically got into the Open Beta in January. Not sure I need to say more than that. With other things going on at the time and the sorry state of the game, it simply wasn’t worth the effort. I have it on my list and am considering exploring it again to see how far its come in a year.
Everquest 2. I picked up the Echoes of Faydwer expansion and was having a decent amount of fun in the game but it turned out to always be the 3d game on my list and it didn’t grab me enough to justify the subscription. With other games on Station Access like Vanguard and PotBS that I’d like to checkout, I may reload EQ2 and see if I can stick it out.
WoW: The Burning Crusade. I got in on launch day which was a first for me in a game. I had gotten into WoW only a couple of weeks into release, but its just not the same as Day 1. Rather than head straight to Outland, I rolled a Dranei and enjoyed the noob Dranei experience. I spent some time with my old characters in Outland, but as our instance group was progressing on another server, I mostly put TBC aside to focus on Azeroth and other games.
LotRO. I was in the closed and open beta and remain a founder. While the game held great promise, the fun factor started to peter out in the late 20s. As a result, we put it aside after a few months when our WoW instance group reconstituted itself. I’m looking forward to stopping in from time to time to see how the game is progressing. I just stopped by to pick up my X-Mas founder horse, so one of my peeves (expensive and slow travel) may have been overcome.
Tabula Rasa. I got into the beta of TR right about the time it went open beta. At the time, the game was simply not fun. Nicely done visuals, with some interesting game play mechanics, but it was so unfun that the game and my schedule at the time didn’t justify even giving it a fulsome review. Seems everyone thinks the rollout of the game was mishandled and now they are scrambling to undo a host of bad first impressions. Things seem to have changed, now and many bloggers whos opinion I respect (like Darren and Bildo) seem to have changed their opinion on this game since its been reworked. I checked out the latest 3-day promo and had a good time, but 3 days is just not enough time to see if it really has any longevity.
Guildwars. Looking to backfill my game knowledge and explore new things, I picked up the first Guildwars and have been playing it from time to time. There are some things really done well in that game that make it easy to play but still keep it relatively immersive. There are also some really annoying bits too, but I think with the right group, it could be pretty fun on a regular basis. Without a subscription, I put it aside guilt-free and pick it up when I want to. This I like very much. Too bad every character looks like a nancy-boy. I would be very interested in seeing what they offer up as the next generation.
Starwars Galaxies. I loaded up the free trial, just got started and had to move. Too short to really tell, but it didn’t really grab me right away, but I wanted to see what all the fuss was about.
Eve Online. The ever interrupted MMO. Unlike Wilhelm who was able to stick with it and did a great job of blogging it all, I got sucked into RL and subsequently parked my Eve accounts AGAIN. Yes, plural. This was the first game I two boxed which was pretty fun. I expect to fire it up again in a while when my game plate clears a bit.
Dungeon Runners. Free to play. Pretty fun if you like the Diablo play style. It a bit like popcorn. A great snack and one that you may return to again and again, but its not really a meal.
Dark Age of Camelot. I loaded up the 14-day free trial since I never played it at release. I haven’t gotten that far yet and I don’t expect to keep with it, but its part of the pantheon of highly influential games that I want to have some familiarity with.
Pirates of the Burning Sea. I did the closed beta and am in the open beta. I’m really wanting this to be everything that Eve is but also everything Eve isn’t. I’m afraid at launch it will be not enough of the former and too much of the latter (and not entirely in a good way). Still, I’m looking forward to seeing how this game develops. I did the pre-order and hold high hopes. Parts are really fun and parts feel unfinished. It will probably be part of my station access strategy along with reloading EQ2 and Vanguard.
Games in 2008
In addition to those I’ve mentioned, I’m interested in checking these out as well assuming they ever get out the door:
Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning. Looking forward to it, but with delay on delay, as well as the disappointments of 2007, I’m cautious. I’m not a PvPer at heart, so I’m afraid even if its well executed, it may not be my game. Still its probably the most anticipated game of 2008 so I want to check it out when its out.
Age of Conan. Another delay that gives me pause. Couple that with the increasingly juvenile “boobs and blood” marketing strategy and I’m starting to get turned off of this so-called “Mature” game even before its out.
There are also a few older games out there that I want to check out for the first time or revisit.
Everquest. Yes, I haven’t been back since 2000-01 ish. If I go for Station Access, I think I’d like to convince Wilhelm and Gaff to drag my arse around Old Norrath again in one of his bouts of nostalgia.
City of Heroes/Villains. Like Guildwars, I would like to try to see how this would play with a static group. At $29.99 for the CoH/CoV pack, it might not be too hard to convince some folks to pick it up. Another game that would be great without a subscription.
Goals for the Blog
Writing. Mostly stay the course but get better. I’d like to find a bit more balance in the frequency of my posts and to some extent more consistency in their subject matter. I’m sure I’ll always write commentary on things going on in the blogosphere, game reviews or impressions, but these are somewhat “reactive” in nature and depend on extrinsic events which are inherently unpredictable. I’d like to find something a little more in my control to provide a bit of an anchor to my writing. Most bloggers have a running character journal so its something I may consider adding. Part of the challenge there is its always easier to start a character journal when you start a new game (or at least a new character/race etc.) and 2007 wasn’t great for new games.
Video. I’ve made a few halting forays into the world of creating game videos and would like to explore doing more of this. I think a few seconds or minutes of gameplay is worth more than a 1,000 words. Video reviews and impressions? I dunno. Sounds like podcasting made difficult…
Goals for Gaming
New Game #1. Find a game other than WoW in which to continue our group adventures. I love Thanksgiving, but I can’t eat turkey sandwiches everyday all year long. Some of us have a one game time budget, so it needs to be accessible and afford the opportunity to progress through the game in relatively small blocks of time– the mythical 2-hour casual gamer block maybe once or twice a week. If its that accessible, consider roping in some new blood for more fun and adventure. I’m not necessarily seeing anything on the horizon that fits the bill, but I’m willing to be surprised.
New Game #2. Find a game #2 that offers me a different experience than game #1 but that grabs me enough to cap out. I think you need to have a #2 that you can integrate into your game life in order not to burn out on game #1 or life for that matter.
Ok, enough of that.
Happy New Year to All!