At the beginning of every year I write a post about the upcoming 12 months. Sometimes it is silly predictions. Sometimes my predictions are even correct, but not very often. I have made demands. I have asked questions. Here is the story so far:
- 2008 – Predictions (silly, mostly wrong)
- 2009 – Predictions (mostly silly, mostly wrong)
- 2010 – Predictions (lots of bullet points, mostly wrong)
- 2011 – Demands (mostly unmet)
- 2012 – Questions (mostly unanswered)
Now it is time for the 2013 version of my yearly post.
This year I think I am going to set goals, which is just another way of drawing some marks in the sand to measure what happened when the year finally comes to a close.
1- Finish Rift
Well, finish Rift for a specific definition of “finish.” MMOs are designed to never truly be finishable and Rift, with all its possible class builds, especially so.
In this case, it means hitting the level cap and running all of the five person instances with my main character, Hillmar, and the rest of the regular group. And, just to put another parameter in the mix, I would like to see this happen before the inevitable Summer hiatus when we head out for vacations and other distractions.
2- Find a new goal in EVE
2012 was about learning to live in null sec and flying in large fleet operations. There were large wars going on throughout most of the year and I flew all over null sec in fleet ops. Now, however, things have quieted down. There was no “Winter Break War” as there was last year and the prospect of any big conflict seems pretty remote right now. We have been effectively ordered to not do anything that might result in the CFC having to deal with any more sovereignty.
Which puts me out of a job.
So I am in training mode with a little bit of ratting and selling now and again. That can be lucrative, but it is also dull, as is mining. (Though I hear from Gaff that with the new NPC AI, he has to actually tank all his mining ships as the rats now change targets. And they pop drones without mercy, making drones pretty much useless for mission running and the like. So mining is dull AND annoying now!)
There are some things I could train up. There are a few decent guides on planetary interaction out there, if I wanted to add that do my EVE resume. There are some player skills I could work on, like scanning. I am hopeless at scanning at the moment and, historically, every time I make an effort to figure it out, CCP changes how it works.
But as for what would essentially be a new vocation in EVE, I do not have a plan… or even a general direction. It might be time to go back to that chart.
3- Get to Tier IX in World of Tanks
This is something of a vague goal, as I do not really have my eye on any specific Tier IX tank in WoT. For now the Soviet heavy tanks seem to be my favorites, followed by the German tank destroyers. But who knows, I might be mad for French self propelled guns or get the itch to nip about the field of battle in one of those Cromwells. And then there is the Chinese tank line coming along soon. Or so they say.
Anyway, barring any dramatic need to start up on another branch of the tree, Tier IX ought to be an obtainable goal even with my somewhat sporadic play schedule. I just need some focus.
Good luck on that.
4- Finish that Second Instance Group Video
Almost a year back I put together a video about the first year of the regular instance group in World of Warcraft. Fun stuff. I like to go back and watch that video now and again. Not quite as emotionally evocative as Sayonara Norrath, but a lot closer to home.
Originally I was going to make a video about our whole experience, but that was a huge project, so I cut it back to just the first year with the idea that I would do one for each of our six… headed into seven… years.
But while the first year was a good plan (for me at least) as it gets our origin, how do you distinguish it from year two, three, four, and so on? So I decided I needed another specific subject.
I chose our time in Wrath of the Lich King for the next video. I even started in on the long job of reviewing and editing pictures. WotLK was the pinnacle of the instance group in WoW, where we finally got our act together. It was also our downfall, the last happy time in WoW. We got good at the game only to find that it isn’t that much fun when you are good. When you are a random, badly equipped group running comedy specs in the wrong roles, every boss kill is a major victory. When you are geared appropriately, using the right spec, and playing your role correctly, it starts to become a matter of just figuring out the gimmick for any given boss.
Archaedas was exaltation. By the time we hit King Ymiron, he was just another boss on the long list.
Still, those were good times and set a standard of effort and fun that Cataclysm couldn’t match. And it was a nice, discreet time frame. We were there the day the expansion launched through to finishing off the last instance.
Piece of cake to put it together, right?
Except I cannot find the right music. I need that to inspire me. Earl’s rendition of Eleanor Rigby, with its twangy sounds and great mix of nostalgia and irony (all the lonely people indeed!) really moved me to finish the first video. But I have not found the right music to get me excited to finish this video yet. What will capture Northrend and the instance group, our travels, our defeats, and our victories?
So really my goal is really to find the right music. We shall see if I can get there.
5- Retry an MMO That Didn’t Stick
There are a number of MMOs out there which I have tried and let drop after some effort. For one reason or another the games just did not hold my attention or otherwise compel me to keep moving forward.
There are a number of options for this goal. Possibilities include Vanguard, Dungeons & Dragons Online, Star Trek Online, Runes of Magic, Warhammer Online, Star Wars: The Old Republic, and probably a few more I have forgotten. Pirates of the Burning Sea maybe!
The trick here of course is to find a game where whatever made me stop playing has either been changed/fixed or was something that I have since changed my mind about. And that, in turn, is something of a function of the time that has passed since I last played the game.
SWTOR, for example, is just a year gone by, and I did not like blaster combat or having dialog forced on my character. The former probably hasn’t changed, while the latter is the vaunted “fourth pillar” that was going to distinguish the game, so it seems like unlikely that I am going to like the game any more than I did the first time around.
At the other end of the spectrum is Vanguard, which I haven’t really played since late beta, and which I only recall as being an ugly, lagging, broken, resource hog of a game that was clearly not ready for prime time. Six years down the road it is possible they may have addressed some of those issues.
6- Scout for the Next Instance Group Game
With the downfall of WoW as our default game, it has become an ongoing task to scout for the next game we might try. We are currently settled in Rift, but since the first goal on my list is to “finish” Rift before the Summer hiatus, it seems likely that we will need something new come the end of vacation.
As always, the usual parameters are in place. It must have content that caters to groups of five or six people. It has to work for a variety of play time budgets. (Some of us will play all week long, others will only play on group night.) It has to have content that we can enjoy in our standard “three hours on a Saturday night” parameter. And it has to be something that we can all buy into.
There are a lot of options out there, even discounting things some of us have already played. I think that, as a group, we might find a month or two of fun in PlanetSide 2. Four of us would probably find Need for Speed: World or World of Tanks good fun, but I am not sure about all five. And there are candidates from both the previous and the next goal that are possibilities. Picking one though and getting everybody to download and commit, that can be a challenge.
7- Book My Autumn Nostalgia Tour Early
Every autumn I get the urge to go back and play some game from my past. Sometimes it is EverQuest or TorilMUD. This past year is was EverQuest II. And given my long time attachment to the games, you can probably put WoW and Lord of the Rings Online on the list of potential candidates.
The thing is, the urge tends to hit me rather suddenly and I run off, play for the requisite month or so solo, then the urge tapers off and I am pretty much done. (Pro Tip: Always subscribe month-to-month for nostalgia based events.)
But while this is often fun, it is usually a lot more fun if I can get Gaff or Potshot in on the tour. Nostalgia is a meal best served family style or some such. So if I can just peer into the future and maybe decide on my target, we can get together on the plan and have a great time. The thing is, which game? Do I book a room in old Qeynos for the rainy season, or is the Forsaken Inn a more likely holiday spot?
8- Blog Stuff
Often when I look at the future, I will tack on something about “playing more and writing less.” Over time though, this has increasingly looked like nonsense. Writing here on the blog is clearly part of the process of playing games… or at least online games… for me. The writing, the remembering, the picking of screen shots, and the clicking of the “publish” button are all part of the package.
So my goal for the blog is pretty much “stay the course.” And maybe find a new theme. Though I have been saying that for about six years and I am still using the same WordPress theme that I had on day one.
So those are my goals for 2013. Not very exciting. We shall see how they play out.
How does 2013 look to you? And any ideas for music for that video?
For your next instance group MMO, may I suggest The Secret World? It’s now buy-to-play like GW2 and its instances are simply the best IMHO.
@WN – You mean it is buy-to-play like Guild Wars with subscription and cash shop options like LOTRO, right? Can you tell I am getting a little tired of that false GW2 comparison?
You can certainly suggest it. I think Potshot has tried it. Not sure if it made the cut on that front.
When I asked about TSW and how its ranged combat compared to SWTOR, which I did not like, it sounded pretty similar.
For the instance group I was gonna say probably try TSW as well. You already commented on that one.
Having played TSW all the way through at launch to what was close to the end at that time I can certainly say there isn’t a single thing you have or had to buy from Funcom ingame web store. The fluff in TSW is pretty much clothing or buying new outfits. You can certainly buy allot of it and more in the game with game cash.
As for Combat in TSW it can seem a bit ackward somewhat compared to other MMO’s and I can’t compare it to Star Wars since have never played that game. TSW combat is allot of movement and anything that can be caster can be done on the move. Could be why many can find it a bit different or ackward in a way. I dont personally have much issues with it haven’t been used to it and know how to use movement as tactics. The story in the game is the biggest gem in the game and it’s a game that goes up in fun playing in a group no matter what your doing.
TSW might be a solo MMO but it’s a rare one where being in a group does make it way more fun overall. There are solo dungeons in some mission tiers so that’s the exceptions or on some investigation missions.
You asked that about ranged combat way back when TSw was in beta and several people, including me, answered that yes you do shoot things repeatedly at close range with high-velocity firearms before they fall down but that since the things you are shooting are mostly undead or Lovecraftian monsters this does not seem inappropriate.
That remains true for much of the game but there are an awful lot of what appear to be normal humans in Egypt and hey take just as many bullets before they fall over. Generally, though, it isn’t much of a problem.
GW2, which I don’t think would have worked for the Instance Group as it was at launch is morphing into something that has quite a lot of instanced dungeons and they are improving (according to people who like instanced dungeons, a set of which I am not a member). By the time you finish Rift it may well be viable option.
I’ve been playing the Chinese tanks on the server, and they are a lot of fun – the heavy line plays out almost identical to the Russian one, but with one thing that might interest you…as of right now, unless something changes, the XP needed to get to tier 9 in the Chinese line is significantly less than the other lines. My only guess is a desire to get the new SEA (SouthEastAsia) server/market up to speed quickly by giving them a quick leveling option. But in any case, we may benefit as well.
This is just a hunch, but…there are quite a few nice dungeons in Vanguard as well…wouldn’t it be a trip if that’s where your group ended up, after all these years?!
I’m going to toss my hat in the ring for TSW too. I commented in your “barriers to playing with friends” post about it and nobody said anything,s o I’ll just copy that comment again:
I *love* TSW. Yeah, it’s still a bit unrealistic when using firearms vs regular mobs, (though shotguns still do seem to take out zombies in only a hit or 2. . . ) but in dungeons the mobs tend to be huge so you wouldn’t think your bullets would be more than bee stings to them anyway, so it makes sense that it takes a while for them to fall.
My personal favorite weapon is actually chaos magic. It’s a melee/close range magic that you simply wear a focus on your back and as you execute moves the “weapon” appears in your hand. Usually some kinds of claws for melee moves, or a simple glow around your closed fist, but there are also hand-crossbows for the ranged attacks, or spears coming up out of the ground to poke at your enemies’ feet. I love how it looks.
It’s B2P now and I’ve heard it’s as cheap as $15 on Amazon. You should give it a try. If you want to go with healing like you are in Rift, you can use a Rifle for “heals through damage” (think Chloromancer) or Fists for “straight healing” (think Sentinel), or Blood for Barriers (Purifier). and you can mix and match them too. Fist/Blood is generally preferred for beginning healers, then they graduate to Fist/Pistol (pistol doesn’t heal, but it buffs healing and crit, and healers LOVE crit in TSW), and then eventually graduating to the Rifle/Blood healer since it doesn’t suffer from diminishing returns on endgame gear since it needs to balance out heals with damage.
And then of course the skill wheel is a theorycrafter’s dream. Once Funcom gets it tweaked so that multi-hit skills (burst and focus) aren’t obviously superior to single-hit skills (strike and blast) then it will be even more fun to muck around with.
I think your instance group would have a complete blast with it too. IMO, the dungeons are the best part of the whole game. Group size is 5, so it’d be perfect for you. Plus while there are “dimensions” there are no servers, so even if you don’t start on the same dimension you can still group up and play together any time you want.
I’ll add that you can play any faction you like too and the only place you can’t group together is in pvp warfronts, but otherwise it’s free to group with anyone.
I think you’d all love it. Progression is largely horizontal, not vertical, so those with smaller play time windows can still focus on doing 1 thing well, while those who play more can do like in EVE and simply fill out more skills in order to have a few more options.
TSW is a great MMO… I had fun in small groups (although mainly played it solo), however I don’t know whether it will match your group expectations. If the rest of your friends are more after something like Rift or WoW, the dungeons and levelling may not be of much interest.
How about Age of Conan? I enjoyed that up to the level cap, and loved running their dungeons with medium to big groups.
If you decide to give STO a try as your new MMO, I can answer any questions or get you into a decent Fleet. You can give me a shout @Maarkean. It’s not a perfect game but the space combat is fun. It’s come a long way since launch. The starbase, duty officer and reputation systems are all fun activities. Leveling goes pretty quickly but acquiring good gear can take some time.
I’ll toss out a recommendation for Planetside2. I’m just a casual player with little FPS skill, but its solid fun in a group and would probably keep you hooked for a month or so like you mentioned.
You can always find a firefight and with lots of classes, weapons & vehicles there’s some good variety.