The last 12 months went by and ended with me playing pretty much the same games I was a year before.
In December 2005 I played a lot of EverQuest II, a little World of Warcraft, and dabbled a bit back in EverQuest.
In December 2006 I played a lot of EverQuest II, a little World of Warcraft, dabbled a bit back in EverQuest, and trained skills in EVE Online.
In between, both a lot and nothing much at all happened.
I stopped played EverQuest II for 10 months, with the exception of a 10 day free pass I got in June, which seemed to coincide with the height of the server issues, at least on Crushbone.
I nearly bought Dungeons and Dragons Online, but then I read the copy on the box and put it back on the shelf. I hate to encourage lying, but when you cannot even get me to buy the box, you are in trouble.
I played the free trial for City of Heroes and tried to play the trial version of Saga of Ryzom, but neither did much for me.
I alternated between anger at and interest in Lord of the Rings Online. The comments about it in Massively Online Gamer episode 44 has put me back in interested mode.
I started writing a gaming blog because it seems to be more fun to bore strangers than my guild mates.
I trained up 3.5 million skill points in EVE-Online.
High Points of 2006
Podcasts – I had avoided podcasts up until mid-way through 2006. I was afraid they might be something like pre-recorded versions of public access television. (Okay, some are.) Sony putting out the SOE podcast got me to try out listening and whetted my appetite. I then went to iTune in search of more MMO related podcasts and picked out VirginWorlds, which in turn ran a podcast review episode, and now I get cranky during my commute when I run out of podcasts. (As opposed to getting cranky during my commute because my iPod lost my spot in an audio book over night. Not a big deal for 2 hour abridged crap, but when I lost my spot for the third time in the unabridged version of “The Gulag Archipelago” I was about ready to scream.)
Echoes of Faydwer – Not so much for the expansion its content, though that is great, but because the release of EoF may well be marked as the point at which EverQuest II was really ready for prime time. The endless series of changes that went with year one and the frustrating server problems that plagued a good portion of year two have finally settled down. Go forth and quest!
World of Warcraft – It is polished to a glossy sheen. Or at least it was when I started playing. My account dates back from early 2005, should they start handing out veteran rewards, but I did not really begin to play until the end of 2005. WoW accommodates about 60% of my play style and needs. I love that you are really never lost for what to do next. It is too bad that there is very little to do if you stray from the well developed, easy to follow, highly polished paths Blizzard has laid down for you. Still, there are a few path choices and with the 5 person instance group I have been able to explore one that most people do not get to see. (At least at the appropriate level. I have a level 60 friend who keeps telling me she’ll run me through all these instances.)
Low Points of 2006
World of Warcraft Patcher – Seriously, I put WoW on my office machine to show people the game and foolishly let the patcher run. Within 10 minutes I had 4 IT guys in my office wanting to know why a machine I owned was connected to over 400 different external IP addresses and had brought down our firewall. There was an awkward moment.
Comment Spam – The site is now just popular enough to attract comment spam bots. Fortunately, the Akismet spam protection on the site is pretty accurate and only two spam comments have made it through to the moderator approval queue. I do wonder what the point of the spam is. It is all very easily caught and it all seems very unlikely to interest anybody. Or am I the only one who would not buy car insurance based on link in a comment on a gaming blog?
EverQuest II Character Slots – I need more. How can you give me a new race and not give me more character slots? And now you are promising me more races! You had better give me more damn character slots! I cannot bring myself to delete characters into which I have so much invested! I think Mrrx’s Character Slot Epic digs into this more articulately than I can manage.
Mixed Results of 2006
The Serpent’s Spine – The best new player experience that EverQuest has ever had. It is just a shame that with a download-only distribution model, very few new players are ever going to see it. If you make a potential new player buy EverQuest off the shelf, install it, buy the new expansion online, then download it, you have lost the whole impulse market. Expect high-end raiding content for the next 27 expansions because TSS failed.
The Burning Crusade – Fine. It is late. Blizzard won’t lose a single sale because of the ship date. Still, there is much pissing and moaning and shouts of “you promised.” The biggest downside for Blizzard will be that all of the content in the expansion will be so well documented because of the extended beta that there will be few surprises for those who read the gaming press. Of course, that is only a small percentage of their subscriber base, and they are all going to buy it as well, so that may be no big deal as either. The upside of the delay is that it did give Echoes of Faydwer the holiday season to itself. That little edge probably gave EoF quite a boost.
EVE Online – Gah, the hard science fiction junkie in me wants to like this game so much. I just cannot get into it. I hate to admit it, but I might need to get out of the pod and walk around. I might need to beam down to the planet. I might need intractable aliens with whom to vie. Is Star Trek Online ready yet?
The Saga of Ryzom – A neat looking little game. Oops it went bankrupt. Yippee, it has a new owner. Does it still crashes after five minutes every time I try to play it on my machine? Yes.
So is that it? I listened to the Virgin Worlds/Massively Online Gamer year end podcasts and how they went on about what a crap year 2006 was for the MMO world. And you know what? It seems to be true, if you were looking for something new.
I wonder what I will be playing in December of 2007?