Year End Wrap-Up

It’s that time again. Another year ending, a new one beginning. Time to reflect, or at least catalog, the past 12 months.

Before I wrote this post, I had to go back and skim what I’d written in the past year. I really couldn’t remember what I’d played, at least in the MMO space, and that gives me pause. Are MMOs just “empty calories” for me these days? And if so, aren’t there more productive ways to spend my time?

Before I get too maudlin, let’s recap the year.

In January my time with Warhammer was winding down. I was coasting on a free (I think) EQ2 renewal, dabbling in LOTRO, Vanguard and Fusion Fall (I’d totally forgotten that one!). Oh and I tried Runes of Magic for the first (but not last) time. But the game I was most excited by was Mount & Blade, a single player game.

In February I quit Warhammer (a 60 day time card ran out; I’m not sure I’d played for a while) and was playing Too Human on the 360. I started my for-pay blog at IT World, which has really colored my life since then. I spend a LOT of time following tech news now and rarely have much time for gaming during the week.

March was about Chronicles of Spellborn. Another I’d forgotten! I’m actually looking forward to checking it out again once it gets sufficiently relaunched as a free to play title.

April saw the launch of Free Realms, which I played quite enthusiastically for a while, despite being well out of the intended age bracket. I also got engrossed in Rune Factory Frontier on the Wii and wrote a series of semi-in character posts about it. Silly fun but a very time consuming game.

May was more Free Realms, plus I started working out via EA Active. Doing that made me feel so much better but it cut my days even shorter. I need more hours in the day! I also started and quickly abandoned Sacred 2 on the XBox 360, declaring my intent to get back to it soon (I’ve yet to do so).

In June I foolishly bought a Wii Motion Plus bundle with Tiger Woods Golf for the Wii, plus Grand Slam Tennis. Those were fun for about two weeks.

In July I started my like/hate relationship with Aion via their sketchy beta system. Happily for me, the hate grew and the like faded and I never bought the game. I still have a 60 day NCSoft timecard gathering dust (got it on sale for $20 in anticipation of Aion). Aion may have been the first major MMO release that I totally skipped and it really broke a money wasting, frustration inducing cycle, I think.

August was Champions Online, first beta and then release towards the end of the month (I think?). I made some lifelong enemies fighting about Cryptic’s weird lifetime/6 month membership policies. That’s OK, I can always use a few more enemies! Unlike many, I really enjoyed Champions, but Fallen Earth was calling to me too. A tiny dev trying to make it among giants. Who doesn’t love an underdog?

So September was about Fallen Earth, until injury struck. I did something to my arm (exactly what was never determined) and using a computer was very painful for the next few months, severely curtailing PC gaming of any kind. In some ways that too broke a cycle. I turned to Need For Speed:Shift on the PS3 and Halo: ODST on the 360 for solace. And my interest in Dragon Age: Origin ramped up. As a result I was added to the ‘press’ list for DA:O which led to many preview-ish posts over the next months.

October saw almost no PC gaming, although towards the end of the month I started playing Torchlight since it was so mouse-oriented (my injury was to my non-mousing arm). I finished ODST & played through Brutal Legend on the 360, and moved on to Demon’s Souls on the PS3.

November was all about Dragon Age: Origins, until the end of the month when I started to get excited for Siege of Mirkwood. That, and my arm finally getting “better” (though it still isn’t completely healed) led me back to LOTRO.

And finally December. What PC gaming I’ve done has been LOTRO and a bit of the Star Trek:Online beta.

So that’s my year. Nothing really stands out all that much in the MMO space. Gaming in general hasn’t felt all that captivating for the past month or so; I’ve been more inclined to watch movies or read books than game. I think to some extent MMOs have ruined me for single player games, but now MMOs don’t feel very compelling either.

A few big changes in my attitude: I’m not signing up for every beta that comes along any more (I got into Star Trek Online via Champions, not because I actively applied). I think in some part heavy beta testing is what started my burnout. Nothing highlights the overall meaninglessness of pumping hundreds of hours into an MMO than having all that progress wiped out when a game comes out of beta.

My EQ2 account was reactivated over the holidays (thanks Sony) and I got as far as updating the client but never actually logged in. I’ve got my Champions Lifetime account, and I’ve reinstalled Guild Wars, but haven’t played either of those either. LOTRO seems to be enough for me right now, and I’m playing that more like an economic strategy game, growing alts to support each other’s crafting rather than chasing levels.

My greatest joy these days seems to come from casually chatting with folks on Twitter. I’m happy reading about what other people are doing, and don’t feel all that motivated to do it myself. I of course live with a huge MMO nerd and take a lot of joy from watching her delight in the games she plays (EQ2 & Free Realms).

2010 is starting with me hungering for a new challenge and itching to build something, or create something. I’m trying to be patient, waiting for these urges to jell to a point where I have a clear direction. In the meanwhile I’ll be wasting time on stupid Facebook games, chattering on Twitter, and messing about in LOTRO.

Here’s wishing you and yours a healthy, prosperous new year. I’m hoping for no more layoffs, the abolishment of living paycheck to paycheck and the economy starting to grow again. And thanks for keeping Dragonchasers in your RSS feed; I know it isn’t much of a blog these days.

9 thoughts on “Year End Wrap-Up

  1. Doesn’t look like there was anything wrong with your year at all (aside from the real life stuff, injuries and health is no fun to deal with) as far as gaming goes – if anything I think that what you’re experiencing is quiet common among all gamers at one point or another. Obviously your passion is still there, but I consider it a form of growing up a bit. Sure, you’ll probably still dabble, but maybe your gaming is evolving into a different form – which I would embrace! It’s maturing, as I like to term it (myself having also gone through this).

    As a very late blooming nerd, I see myself going through similar phases of gaming that others have already done, and watched them move on and have been delighted to know that I too will probably head that way eventually. It’s not like any of us actually give up our geeky ways, but we do change and evolve.

    Hugs, and thanks for still writing here every so often, you won’t be leaving my RSS feed any time soon!

  2. Happy New Year too!

    My time with mmos looks to be confined to what comes the way in console gaming. The single player games that concentrated on the characters and less on plot, were the ones I enjoyed best. I hope for more titles with this mind-set in 2010.

  3. More productive ways to spend your time? Of course there are, but a better question is are there more fun ways to spend your time? Seems like you’re hitting one of the meh periods again, which happen to all of us. Nothing wrong with that unless its your job to review games, right Stargrace?

    Just don’t disappear from Twitter. 🙂

  4. I already posted this on Petter’s and Stargrace’s blog, you have might read this already there.

    I just noticed I forgot to Mention Mount & Blade – I agree, it is truly an awesome Knight’s Sandbox ™. I got also a bit tired of beta-testing the Counter-Strike style online mode, which is not bad but not the part of Mount & Blade which made it so cool, the well done mix of different genres.

    I did not play any MMO as the year started, got burned out by WOTLK within a month. xD. But then I tried Age of Conan and had high hopes for Aion. Beautiful game, beautiful client � but too asian in looks and in the end the grind got me always around levels 25-35 in both Beta and Release version.

    I did not try Fallen Earth and Champions, in the case of Champions because I am not a superhero game guy, and FE sounded a bit hyped by the people who were playing it. A lot already unsubscribed by now, so I was probably right to wait a bit before jumping in, which I didn�t in the end.

    I played LOTRO during the Aion Beta Weekends and did not think I would play it after the first trial. But then I tried it again, got to love it somehow� but it still was not a great love. Then, while getting more and more depressed by Aion�s grind focus later on, I finally bought a LOTRO bundle for cheap � got 90 days playtime for some 5 bucks or so, plus Moria�^^

    Needless to say, I am still playing LOTRO right now. While I still think it cannot win against Guild Wars or Guild Wars 2, I just played GW already for four/five years already and just needed a change back to a �classic� MMO world. Besides that, not a MMO, but a cool world: King�s Bounty and its addon Armored Princess are a very nice single player game in Heroes of Might and Magic style, with a bit more RPG and less strategy. Plus beautiful graphics. I can only recommend it.

    I regret not being in the mood nor having the time to test Allods at the moment, but it sounds like Allod of fun. There will unfortunately be no GW2 in 2010, so I hope that LOTRO keeps on getting better with each expansion and that I can finally see Rohan or Dunland in the upcoming Volume III.

  5. I love your recap of your year. I am not a “serious” gamer and thus haven’t got into any of the games you talk about. (I also do not have a computer up to playing those games.) Found you looking at stuff about City of Eternals (which I love btw, I can play it when I want, and it is totally supported by my very outdated PC.) However, although I am playing much lower ended games (Did a stint with fallensword – only stayed as long as I did for the people bored me to tears & one with evony also bored me, but the people are awesome) I have seen a similar patter with myself. 🙂

    Anyway, I enjoyed reading what you had to say and realizing I am SO not alone in my game phases. (Well I have a wii, and have a xbox360… But well I like games where I can socialize IF I feel like it.)

  6. Hey its a great blog, don’t cut yourself, your still around. Anyway the fantasy is out here, the reality is with Tom Bombadil, whatever he is. Don’t let the wraiths win out again this year, one good New Years Resolution is to join other blogger’s and take a step towards transparency from the companies who profit from your blog writing by NOT writing April 15, 2010.

    Let private companies like Lijit and public one�s like Google know: you know they have not been transparent about what they make from our blogs; what % they share with US, the people creating the content they use and re-sell at great profit.

    If you can�t keep your fingers from working on April 15th, 2010, then ask companies like Lijit, Google, or any other currently profiting from you blog this basic question:

    What do you make from my work? What % are you sharing with me?

    Your UNION, P.U.B., Publisher�s Union of Bloggers, has asked these simple questions from companies such as Lijit and Google, and they have either not answered (Google) or used personal attacks and threatened legal action against P.U.B. and its members (Lijit).

    Why? Google, Lijit, and other�s profiting from publishers plan on there being no power among independent, freethinking writers. ‘They will never act as a group, never ask us to be transparent, we can pay them whatever we want, if anything’

    Is your creative work worth asking this simple question?
    Then ask it, April 15th, 2010, and tell your publishing peers to ask for it too.

    Keep up the good work,


    Barney Moran
    Founder, P.U.B.

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