The Search for the Summer Game

My daughter came to me last week and declared that she was bored with World of Warcraft.

This is not an unusual thing.

She is, after all, 13 years old.  Being bored with things is pretty much part of the job description, coming on the list right after being embarrassed by your parents.

An making sweeping declarations about Azeroth being boring are not new.  That comes up from time to time and she finds something else to do with her allotted computer time for a while before heading back to the game.

This time though… this time it was a bit different.  After the usual declarations, she started asking about what other games there are out there.  And she even asked me to turn off her account so we wouldn’t be wasting money paying for something she wasn’t using.

Shit just got serious!

So we talked a little bit about what else was out there… something complicated by the fact that her computer is an iMac.  She has the biggest, best looking screen in the house, but Mac OS doesn’t get anywhere as many games as Windows.

We talked a bit about that, then she went off to go revisit WebKinz, the first online game she ever tried, way back in 2007.  It seems that she gets video game nostalgia too, just like me.  I used to be pretty firmly on the “nurture” side of the whole “nurture vs. nature” thing, and then I became a parent and decided that nature is not to be dismissed lightly.  I’m not saying that The Bad Seed should be classified as a documentary, I just mean that I see my daughter exhibiting the same behaviors as I did as a child at times, but it wasn’t like she was around to pick those behaviors up directly.

Anyway, she went off to WebKinz, got her old account restored (which took a few days) then began complaining about how things had changed.  Again, just like pop.  You need a Deluxe Membership to do a lot of things, while the whole physical pet aspect… it is still there I guess, but it seems to be de-emphasized compared to the new cash shop.  I didn’t check if they had added lock boxes, but it wouldn’t surprise me.

Meanwhile, this got me to reflect on my own feelings about World of Warcraft at the moment.

I have been in something of a holding pattern.  I haven’t made instance groups nights for a while now, letting down the team.  I log into the game daily, but I generally just do some garrison tasks and a couple of daily pet battles before I log off again.

Vikund in his garrison

Vikund in his garrison

I have an alt sitting at close to level 92, largely due to pet battles, that I haven’t bothered to bring to Draenor yet, in part because the thought of yet another garrison to tend does not excite me in the least.

So I just tend my garrisons, increase my wealth… I could go buy that Grand Expedition Yak now if I so desired… and not much else.  I haven’t even rushed into Darkmoon Faire this month, and I am usually pretty religions on that every month. Though, on reflection, I mostly did that to collect heirlooms, and you can simply buy those with gold now.  So aside from the pets and mounts… and I have all of those already… and the minimal trade skill boosts, there suddenly isn’t as much to Darkmoon Faire for me as there once was.

So it might be time for a break from WoW for both of us.  We have been back and subscribed and playing WoW for nearly two years straight at this point.  A vacation from Azeroth might be in order.

But where to go?

Yes, things are happening in EVE Online, Fozzie Sov is coming.  But for me EVE is always the game I play along with some other game.  It cannot be relied upon to provide fun and engagement on demand.

In the past, summer destinations have included Lord of the Rings Online and EverQuest II.  There is certainly a lot more of Middle-earth to see on the far side of Moria, or I could continue my climb to somewhere closer to the level cap in post-cataclysm Norrath.

There is also the current progression server thing going on with EverQuest, though I am falling behind on that one, lacking a regular group… or much free time.  And unless Daybreak continues to publicize it the low level areas will dry up soon.

Then there are other MMORPGs I own or which are free… or free-ish.  I’ve been into Guild Wars 2 in the past and took a run a Star Wars: The Old Republic for a bit.  Along with those there is World of Tanks, War Thunder, and World of Warships, all of which I recently installed, though those tend to be short play session titles for me.  I could also add in some MMO-ish games to the list of possibilities, like Diablo III or Elite: Dangerous.

Then there is my Steam library.  Steam Left indicates that I have some play time left in that.

74 days would get me through the summer...

74 days would get me through this summer… and the next

And that number seems unlikely to get smaller given that the annual Steam Summer Sale commences tomorrow.  I know that something will be too cheap to resist… I have more than a couple games that were $3.74… adding on at least a few more hours.

So there I sit, needing a break from WoW but not sure where to head, and my daughter as well.  If I play with her, that complicates things due to the whole Mac OS limitation, though I might not need to account for her as she seems to have piled up some summer reading and has been more focused on art than video games on her computer of late.

16 thoughts on “The Search for the Summer Game

  1. SynCaine

    She’s not a blog reader right? Because if she is, clearly that’s where the nostalgia thing came from. Hell, I think at this point ‘I’ might have a bit of nostalgia for EQ1, and I hate that abomination.

    As for games, FFXIV has a mac version, easy ways to duo and solo on the same character without ‘skipping ahead’, and will feel new without feeling foreign to her.

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  2. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @SynCaine – My blog is an object of eye-rolling derision for her most day at her age, as is my lack of graphic artists skills. (She was watching me trying to make that cartoon from yesterday’s post and was practically beside herself watching me fumble about. She is quite the skilled artist and I am a hack at best.) She knows it exists, but my non-gaming wife is far more likely to read anything here than her.

    But watching her go back to WebKinz was like seeing me go back to an old game. It was eerie, like an out-of-body experience. I realize that there is “nurture” involved, but “nature” was clearly not being left out of the equation.

    Yeah, I suspected that FFXIV would come up, it being the cool kid game de jure. My first problem is that I really am not a fan of the Final Fantasy graphical style. Of course, I was not a fan of the comic, stylized Warcraft graphical style back in 2004 either. For her I hate to move away from WoW if only because the parental controls are better than anything else I have seen. And I am not sure if another fantasy MMORPG is really the ticket.

    We shall see what the summer brings.

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  3. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @SynCaine – Also, FFXIV Mac version? Not actually a thing according to their web site.

    Edit: Oh, wait… coming with the next expansion later this month. That means it will actually be stable and ready for prime time when given SE’s record?

    Edit 2: Heh, I wish I had recorded the look of utter disdain on my daughter’s face when I said Final Fantasy. There is apparently some anime-cultural divide over that. Ah well.

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  4. Jenks

    Well shit, it looks like I’ve got a bit of a problem

    I’ve been thinking about firing up on the EQ progression server but I’m on the fence as well. I’ve got a friend playing on it but he’s already 25. Also from what I’ve seen, it’s not classic. It looks very much like new EQ, just limited to old EQ’s content. I’ll probably wind up jumping in for a least a little bit anyway, it’s not like I have anything else to play.

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  5. dranwin

    I recently tried out Trove as it is in open Beta and was very pleased. This may be a great title for you to try out with your daugther. It is fairly light hearted and easy to hop in and out of although surprisingly deep as you keep playing. Not sure if it is Mac friendly though..

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  6. Jidhari

    I second Syncaine: FFXIV! However, I do get what people say when they find that the style turns them off. I enjoy it as for me it has a nice mesh of Japanese and Western artistic sensibilities but it is decidedly quirky. I am not certain about their parental controls but I do find it quite tame in voice chat compared to most MMOs I have played (but still you will need it as there is always an occassional juvenile sexual outburst). Also the glamour system is deep so you will see people running around in everything from full heavy armor to their underwear.

    They have a free trial system so maybe you can jump into it with her when the expansion launches and see what it is like.

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  7. Trippin Ninja

    Maybe Marvel Heroes? It’s a good time to jump in with the anniversary event they got going. They are giving away a hero of your choice tomorrow and then you get to pick one of the starter ones so that’s two heroes in the stable right away. You can level all heroes to 10 now too to get a feel for who you like. They dump 400 splinters on you relatively quick too with daily login rewards which could buy you a third.

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  8. Jeromai

    Minecraft? That’s unlimited creativity/art space right there and probably runs on a Mac better than GW2 (whom I’ve heard from a friend doesn’t play that well on one.)

    I suppose it might depend on just how -different- your daughter is craving. If she just wants something structurally the same (less to re-learn) but different wrapper, I’m not sure if Wildstar or SWTOR plays well on Mac. Bootcamp seems to be the common refrain for getting them to work.

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  9. mbp

    My daughters both went SIMs mad at that age. At one stage they were juggling multiple world’s in Sims 2, Sims 3 and most recently 4. Unfortunately it is single player only so unless you are prepared to sit beside her for hours advising on shades of wallpaper it doesnt tick the “playing together box”.

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  10. Pike

    “It would take you…
    4646 continuous hours
    193 days,14 hours,16 minutes
    of gameplay to complete your Steam library”

    Well damn.

    Guess I’d better get started?

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  11. Shandren

    Summergame for you: Have you considered trying out one of the new vanilla wow servers? The servers are almost bugfree, and the game was actually really good back then :-) If you think it is something for your daughter as well it runs on IOS too.

    I know that I, for one, am enjoying myself on Kronos these days. And with the open world difficulty, being two is a huge benefit.

    Shandren out

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  12. .xyd

    Splatoon for Wii U. The whole family here is currently addicted.

    I second the vote for Minecraft as well. I still find fun things to do there and both kids join in (although they’re only 7 and 9, somewhat younger than yours).

    Also hard to beat is Half Life which runs great on OS X but that may be a bit violent? You could have her play Postal 2 first, after which Half Life is like watching Romper Room.

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  13. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Xyd – I have heard good things about Splatoon. Even Yahtzee liked it. But as good as it sounds, along with Mario Kart, I am not going to buy a Wii U just for that. All we use our PS3 for is streaming video these days, while the Wii sits unplugged.

    My daughter is actually quite big on Minecraft from time to time. I am the problem on that front. My daughter grows increasingly frustrated that I have not memorized 900 or so obvious (to her) recipes. Just shape it like an axe!

    She has played through Portal, but hasn’t bit on Portal 2. The problem there is Steam. I had to yank her account when she, against my instructions, let it be known she was female and then immediately got several grown male creeps sniffing around her. Males on the internet just suck in general.

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  14. John Willis

    I absolutely love Marvel Heroes! I’ve been playing for 2 years now and have to say that the game has come a long way. All of the playable content (leveling and endgame) is free. You get one free hero to start the game and additional heroes can be purchased with in game currency or real money. Highly recommend Marvel Heroes as a free to play alternative to WoW.

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