I am a little behind on my usual end of year posts with this. Generally I have a wrap up and a looking forward post at some point in late December… but then I found a bunch of other things to write about. I was only reminded of it when Belghast posted his charts.
There is a history here, as there is with so much on this blog. It started with something akin to goals, a list of games I wanted to play, often very specific games. Then it became games I was likely to play. Then it turned into something like a long term weather forecast with some easy calls (it will be warm in the summer) and some possibilities.
- 2019 – I played some things that I predicted I would, but not many
- 2018 – Technically, mission accomplished; reality, not so much.
- 2017 – I played nothing from the list, though arguably only two were playable
- 2016 – I played none from the list, but most didn’t ship
- 2015 – literally nothing I listed went live
- 2014 – I played Warlords of Draenor, which was a gimme really
- 2012 – Actually tried most of the items on the list
- 2011 – Tried 3 out of 5 eventually, but then The Agency was on the list
- 2007 LOTRO (shipped!)
- 2007 Gods & Heroes: Rome Rising (Didn’t ship)
And so it was that I wrote a post way back when about what I might play in 2020.
The list was broken up into several categories:
The Sure Things
- WoW Classic
- EVE Online
- EverQuest II
The Likely Candidates
- WoW Shadowlands
- Civilization V
- World of Tanks
- The Witcher
The Long Shots
- Lord of the Rings Online
- Diablo III
- Elite: Dangerous
- New World
I Should Make Time
- Project: Gorgon
- Grim Dawn
So, now that the year has gone by, what did I actually play? ManicTime has some numbers for me. I am only listing the top ten because after that the times drop down to mere minutes played.
- WoW Classic – 33.33%
- EVE Online – 32.69%
- World of Warcraft – 14.02%
- EverQuest II – 6.03%
- Minecraft – 5.25%
- EverQuest – 2.16%
- RimWorld – 2.08%
- Diablo II – 2.02%
- Pokemon Sword – 1.24%
- Minecraft Dungeons – 0.75%
At the top is a close race between WoW Classic and EVE Online, with a gap smaller than ten hours played total between them. I guess Azeroth wins over New Eden overall, since retail WoW is in third place. Everything else shakes out from there.
As has become the custom of the neighborhood, I have a chart.
At the top are WoW Classic and EVE Online, both of which I played throughout the year. I also put Pokemon Go on the chart. It isn’t tracked by ManicTime, being on my phone, but I played every day in 2020.
Technically, looking at my times, I also played retail WoW every month, but there were months where that did not represent a significant investment. I have made those months where I pretty much just did Darkmoon Faire and some pet battles as a narrow streak. And once the level squish came and then the Shadowlands expansion launched, I spent quite a bit of time there.
EverQuest II and Minecraft had their runs. The former was me finishing up the Blood of Luclin expansion to the extent I felt I needed to, and Minecraft was a bit of a pandemic diversion setup by Skonk. I played a bit of EverQuest after the anniversary gave us another heroic character boost, though I ended up mostly tinkering with the Overseer feature.
RimWorld had an update that I wanted to try out. That was good for a bit of a run, though like so many build and conquer games, it suffers from the mid-game malaise once you get your base setup well enough.
I had a great run through Diablo II to celebrate its 20 years. The game still lives up to its legend, though I would like it to run at a resolution higher than 800×600.
I received a Nintendo Switch Lite for my birthday with a copy of Pokemon Sword, which I played for a stretch. I just wasn’t that into it. For a Pokemon game to grab me I have to be in the right mood and have a real goal. I couldn’t quite get either this time around.
And then there was Minecraft Dungeons, which is a serviceable and solid but shallow ARPG whose main attraction is being set in the Minecraft IP. I played through the story, but it doesn’t have a lot of replay value save to boost up stats so you can face harder monsters that drop gear that let you boost up your stats further.
So that was 2020. What of 2021?
As with last year, there are some sure things this year, games I am actively playing right now so that has already been decided. They are:
- WoW Classic
- EVE Online
- Retail WoW
And, given the news, we can add one slight variation to that list:
- WoW The Burning Crusade Classic
After that, however, the future is a bit fuzzy, and part of the problem is hardware related.
As I wrote about last year, I have a 34″ 3440 x 1440 wide screen monitor now, and I love playing games on it full screen. But not every game I have plays nice with it. The three titles I am playing now all happen to work great with it, but others struggle and have issues or won’t run at all. I actually tried to play Grim Dawn, which was on my “should make time” list for 2020, but it was not having it at all. It would not even launch correctly with the new monitor hooked up.
And there is a further constraint, which is my video card. I currently have a EVGA GeForce GTX 1060 6GB card and, given the price of college and my wife being somewhat under-employed for the last year, spending a few hundred bucks on a new one is way down the priority list right now. So whatever I play needs to work on the big screen with that video card. WoW Classic and retail WoW both manage very well, with a few settings dialed back a bit, and EVE Online works like a champ, all settings maxed out, save for fights where the ships on grid get past the 2,500 mark.
But most newer games require a lot more horsepower to drive all those pixels. There is no way I am getting something like Cyberpunk 2077 or Red Dead Redemption II or Black Desert Online or anything like that to run well.
Meanwhile, a lot of older stuff is a bit shaky. As I wrote back when I got the monitor, EverQuest, EverQuest II, and LOTRO all sort of work, but have some issues, while Minecraft gives me motion sickness on the wide screen unless I dial back the field of view so far that I might as well just play it on my phone.
First world problems, I know.
Another angle is strategy games. Things like RimWorld not only run fine, but the large screen improves the experience. Maybe it is time for a bit of Civilzation V again. (I’m, betting Civ VI has too much going on visually to work with my video card at that resolution. It is the way.) Maybe I’ll pick up World of Tanks again when I need something fresh.
Of course, the lack of desire for something fresh is part of the problem as well. I’ve been kind of okay playing the same stuff all year. We shall see how I feel in 2021.
Yea, ultrawide is awesome when it works, but it still has some major downsides. I’d love to play Fallout 4 another time, but not dealing with the issues it has due to not cleanly supporting ultrawide. Then as you mention is the issue with horsepower, my 1080 is fine for most things, but newer games can’t be played maxed out at 120 FPS, which is a ‘problem’, one I can’t fix as the 3080 I would like to buy simply can’t be for under $1400, and that seems silly for a card that SHOULD be 800ish.
Strictly speaking about Cyberpunk, I can tell you firsthand that Geforce GTX 960 2GB is enough to have it run at 1920×1080, with very decent settings. Just take it as this: do not blindly believe reviews, even from reputable sources. Everyone nowadays seem to have an agenda.
Shame you had issues with Grim Dawn. :( Your post just made me go test it out again too in a bit of a panic, since I hadn’t tried it (that I recall) with my super ultrawide monitor (32:9, 5120×1440).
Worked OK for me, menus and ingame looks great — but cropping on the art for loading screens was off. Pretty minor issue though given how well everything else goes.
I wonder if it has some specific problem with your aspect ratio, although a quick google seems to suggest others have it working OK. Or possibly an old config file in existance pushing it to wrong res?
Whatever the case may be, hopefully not too difficult to resolve! I ended up going from ‘jumping in, just to see’ to ‘playing for an hour or so when it’s already much too late’. ;)
@Arhanta – My comment was less about Cyberpunk and more about any modern game. My card was fine driving any game at the resolution you’ve mentioned, but that is about 2 million pixels of data to push around. My new monitor jumped that number up to about 5 million pixels in which it it has to render however many 3D polygons. Even with WoW Classic, which has some pretty low polygon count graphics, I can hear the fan on the video card spinning up after not too long in combat.
@Naithin – I could get to the menus, but it would not load the game. I cleared the settings and tried a fresh install, after which it would jump to my second, small monitor, where the menus would load but not respond. I couldn’t get it to go past that. Then I tried using the GeForce experience to push some settings on it, and then the menus wouldn’t even load, at which point I called it.
@Wilhelm Ah that’s rough, sorry you had that experience. No clue what could be doing that, as other than the aspect ratio difference it sounds like we have similar setups. I’m running a secondary standard 16:9 monitor as well.
Mayhaps one of those things worth a retry if you ever end up reformatting or setting up a new PC. xD