Author’s note: Not entirely a gaming related post, so feel free to check out here. PS
Keeping the gaming pace up during the summer has always been a bit of a challenge in recent years. Having the instance group around has provided a weekly anchor to gaming activities that tended to keep me tethered to something during the week in the summer months. Still, the call of long days and warm nights makes it hard to hunker down in the game cave.
This summer has been typical in that regard with one notable exception: No main game. Our little group fell out of WoW post-Cataclysm and decided to try EQ2X for a bit. Wilhelm and I knew that might be a bit of a tough sell to some in the group and if EQ2’s indiosyncracies weren’t enough, Sony’s downtime right after we started really took the wind out of some folks’ sails. We more or less decided to take a hiatus for summer.
Not coincidentally, I’m typically distracted in July. Mrs. P and I are cycling fans and the Tour de France occupies fully three weeks of July. The magic of DVR permits us to feast at the trough to our hearts content. Of course, watching 3+ hours of cycling certainly takes a bite out of gaming time. Especially this year’s Tour with the final winner coming down to the final individual time trial yesterday. An amazing job by Cadel Evans and reminiscent of Lemond/Fignon in 1989.
Still while virtually on Tour, I have been poking around with a few gaming diversions, mostly provoked by the explorations of others.
Age of Conan
I ducked into the new FTP version of Age of Conan briefly. Having done the beta, I was pleasantly surprised by how well the game looked and performed on my system, although it did/does seem to have a memory leak perhaps as performance seems to degrade over long sessions (on Win 7 64-bit at least). The Tortage experience is still, in my view, quite a clever and logically consistent way to integrate and individual story line with a persistent multiplayer world. Coming off of EQ2, the combat felt much more visceral and “connected” though I could probably live with out the fatalities. With free to play, I could imagine checking back in from time to time.
Gods and Heroes: Rome Rising
I did the open beta for Gods and Heroes. Sadly, I think this is a case where one company (Perpetual) managed to sink two games (STO and GNH) with their demise. Had Gods and Heroes been given the love it needed (and needs) and released two years ago, it could have been something enjoyable. By all accounts, it seems to be woefully lacking in content and completely unworthy of a subscription model.
That said, I hope they quickly pivot to a free to play model and bulk up the content. The estate system is inspired and the game seems to perform reasonably well and look good on modest systems, even if a bit dated looking now. Such lost potential.
Empires and Allies
As a rule, I rarely use my Facebook account. With Twitter and WordPress integration, I seldom need to and that suits me fine. I do however get sucked in to try a few games from time to time. The latest being Empires and Allies.
I’ve always been a sucker for the sim city type empire building games and Empires and Allies has a bit of that as well as the pseudo RTS. Its cute and generally fun, but I tend to quickly grow weary of constantly hitting the resource constraint wall– in this case the empire points if I’m recalling the name correctly. They are earned too slowly to sustain a longer session unless you choose to pay for them (which I don’t at the moment) which is my problem with most of the FB games. The are geared toward frequent revisits rather than infrequent longer sessions, but I had the same problem with WoW dailies too.
Need for Speed World
After Wilhelm’s post about NFSW, I got sucked in and tried it. It is quite fun and scratches an itch I haven’t had for a racing game for some time. Shades of lost youth and the reminiscent scent of burning rubber (and oil and antifreeze and transmission fluid and wiring insulation… English cars ftw). Very much like World of Tanks, its a solo experience even if set in a multiplayer world. No persistence other than progression, no meaningful “group” experience that I’ve seen yet.
Somebody make an Interstate 76 MMO please.
The Road Goes Ever On
I’ve patched up and am set to begin the chase again to catch up to Wilhelm and Gaff in Middle Earth. Moria being the goal and a mid thirties character the vehicle. And now with the Tour complete, I think I’ll have some time to devote to the pursuit. Onward!