With the new year comes some feeling, some need to assess and reassess things. And so it is today with the side bar of my blog.
For those viewing via remote reader or those who have never looked at it, down the right hand side there are two sections among the many categories of links titled “The Games I Play” and “The Games I Watch.” They are so named partially so that they will sort in the order I want along the side bar. WordPress.com only lets you have one list of links in your side bar (though you can whip up your own with a text field and some simple HTML if you really need more, but that goes beyond my ability to care about the side bar really) that can be divided into as many categories as you like. But the categories sort alphabetically. So I had to name them all in such a way that they would sort out correctly.
They are also named as an indication of my status vis-a-vis a given set of games. “The Games I Play” are the titles, usually just two, that I am actively playing. It is easy enough to understand that.
Then there is the section “The Games I Watch,” which sounds a little odd, like they are being broadcast on TV or something. The title was chosen for its ability to sort where I wanted it more than its clarity of message, obviously.
Games on that list are ones that I am not playing actively. Sometimes there are games that have not even shipped yet on that list. Diablo III is on that list right now, and it is months away at best.
Games in that section are games to which I pay attention, games which interest me, and games which I fully intend to either play when they ship, or go back and play at some point if I have already been there at some point.
And now, in the harsh light of the new year, I look at that list and I can see some entries that no longer fit the bill.
Runes of Magic
Remember back when a free to play games of any quality were a rare thing? And there was Runes of Magic trying to bridge the gap between subscription quality and free to play access with, among other things, that $10 horse.
Back in the day, when he wasn’t on about that horse, Darren called it a WoW rip-off, which at the time, what with being free and all, seemed like a hearty endorsement to me. So much so that, despite one of the worst installers ever, some of the instance group ran off to try the game at one point.
And it was okay. It had the usual stuff, a few interesting twists like dual (and now triple) classing, as well as the standard “suffer or give us money” options when it came to storage and experience gain. And gold spammers. Many, many gold spammers.
But in the end, there was nothing there that really stuck with me. We ran off to play other games. Half the subscription MMO universe went free to play in the mean time, so that no longer suffices as an attraction. I’ve totally forgotten my password… both of them, since there was a second login and password required to access the RMT currency, some of which I purchased at one point.
And then there is that installer. Have they fixed that yet? Or does somebody new still install the 2009 version of the game and then spend the next week patching?
Finally, the game is no longer interesting merely for its free to play model. That was something worthy of note a couple years back, but not so today.
So I think it is time to admit that I am just not that interested in the game and the odds of my going back to falls somewhere between “slim” and “none.” So it gets struck from the list.
You might be surprised that I still had Warhammer Online on my list until now. Despite the howls of the now repentant fanbois every time I dared say anything negative about the game, there was a lot I did like about the Warhammer Online. Our guild did have some excellent PvP battles at times, though for every good battle there were a couple of empty roll-over victories. And then there was our first taste of a dungeon, which left nobody interested in a second.
But the world itself was very well done, worthy of exploration. And if I was complaining about the quest log, it was because I was using it a lot to run through the PvE portion of the game to see that world. In fact, it was the idea of seeing the world that kept the game on my list.
The instance group moved on and there were other games higher on my list, but I kept thinking that at some point Mythic would change something in the game worth seeing or put out a “come back and play” offer that would get me to return.
They did have a come back and play offer at one point, ten whole free days, how generous! But it involved giving Mythic a credit card, and that seemed like a really good way to get screwed by Mythic, given their past sloppy handling of credit card transactions. So I didn’t try that.
Then, more than a year after launch, they made the trial version of the game, which restricted you to a tier 1 character, unlimited. That was interesting for some I suppose, but where I wanted to go would have put me well outside of tier 1.
They even talked about producing a Mac version of the game. Did they think that Mac users were that desperate for an MMO? I was tempted to try that just to see how bad it was, but never got around to it. I don’t even know if that came to pass in the end or if it is even still supported.
In the end, no “right moment” to go back ever materialized. Nothing compelling to me was ever offered up after launch. And I would still have to pay a subscription fee to go back and explore, and the bar to get me to do that has only gone up in the last couple of years.
So that world will remain unexplored by me, as Warhammer Online is off the list.
Games Close to Being Struck
Star Trek Online is on the edge. I keep thinking I will go back and play. But every time I log in, I am faced with a wave of changes similar to what Ravious described in going back to LOTRO, and I end up so mired in figuring out what to do that I end up logging off for a few more months, only to repeat the cycle again.
At some point I hope I will have enough time and desire to play, at which point I will start with a fresh character and learn it all from scratch again. Only there are always a couple of other games I would rather play first. Well, maybe some day. But for now it stays on the list, if only because of that lifetime subscription I bought. Oof.
And then there is Dunegons & Dragons Online, which I really want to like, but which is likewise always in 4th or 5th place on my to-do list. At least it is free to play and uses the Turbine patcher which at least puts it a couple steps ahead of Runes of Magic. But it is in jeopardy of being struck at some point. I just never get to it.
Games On or to be Added
You might point out that I have declined to play Star Wars: The Old Republic so far post-beta. But I will likely play the game again at some point. There is enthusiasm for it in the instance group, and even Gaff has picked it up already. And I do watch the news about it. I am interested to see, for example, if torture ever comes up as an issue the way it did for WoW back with Wrath of the Lich King. I am guessing that for most people, that ends up being a matter of “Sith will be Sith.”
I should probably add Torchlight II to the list. I have no doubt that I will play that when it launches.
Likewise, Guild Wars 2 will probably get a slot at some point. It is on my list to play, but I haven’t spent much time with the news or marketing build-up. So I am not really “watching” it yet.
And the rest of the list… well, those are games I am sure I will continue to keep an eye on and poke my nose into every so often.
How about you? Have you reassessed any games on your list, be it written down or just in your head? Are there games you have decided that you just are never going to get back to?