The time of playing Elder Scrolls Online exclusively has passed. The summer break put an end to that. Playing one MMORPG exclusively has positive and negative side-effects on my playing habit, although one could argue that the positive outweigh the negative aspects.
All in all, during those six months, i felt more invested and more connected to ESO in particular but also MMORPGs in general, which is strange considering my interest in other games was basically nonexistent in this time. Another interesting side-effect was that i didn’t think about what to play when i was in the mood for gaming, it was a simple decision of wanting to play or not. And for once, i thought of things like reaching the level cap and maybe playing single-player games as achievable.
For years- it must be six now- i’ve been looking for that “one” MMORPG experience. Some times, i thought i had found it- in Guild Wars 2 and ArcheAge, for example. That was pre-release, of course, as games are often perfect on paper and rarely on screen. What i was looking for is simple- an MMORPG that gives reason to living in the world, offers the opportunity to simply being a crafter or trader, removes instanced content completely and has regionally different pricing of goods as well as item decay. Were i still in that exact spot in my life both real and virtual, i would rejoice right now and welcome Black Desert Online as my new MMO home. I don’t, though, and it’s not the fault of the game. I’m still early in this (~7 hours /played) and my current situation is still the same Syl describes, but i have to say if that itch was still itching, BDO might just have made it stop.
Of course i’m wary- i was before release and still am. What if all these systems are actually quite shallow, as i’ve read somewhere (of course)? What if the cash shop gets worse? Actually, that’s not a question of possibility but time, in my opinion. As far as i know, all cash shops get “worse” over time. I can’t think of any example where a cash shop that started decent held this position forever. Elder Scrolls Online comes close, but in the end of march, it will introduce assistants- a banker and a merchant you can buy in the cash shop that will come out in the wild for you. In a game where inventory management still is a huge part of the gameplay experience, this is, of course, convenient and not pay-to-win, but it still signals a parting from only selling cosmetic stuff. But i’m not worried about all that- i don’t play any game competitively, so i don’t care if you need to buy stuff from the cash shop to be in the top 1%. But still, it might happen.
Before release, i didn’t really look into Black Desert Online. First it was because it was only announced in Korea and i didn’t want to put my hopes up like i did with ArcheAge and wait 3 years for the game to be released. Then, when it was clear it would come in the forseeable future, it was because i didn’t want another ArcheAge. It seems BDO avoids the mistakes that made ArcheAge sour for me: hacking, landgrabbing, cheating. I didn’t care for the business model, not even for the pay-to-win stuff that was available shortly after launch- what killed any desire in me to play it was the fact that, in the end, i was paying a sub to being able to craft and own land without the possibility to do so, because other players were cheating.
In BDO, housing is instanced and hacks don’t seem to play such a huge role. I also don’t need to subscribe to be able to craft or own houses. So by my accounts, it’s fine.
Not looking for the saviour anymore
What it comes down to is this: my expectations are different now. I don’t expect MMORPGs to provide that whole virtual world experience anymore. Sure, i prefer it, but it can come in so many varieties nowadays that i can’t point a finger on something and say: THAT’S IT! Take Elder Scrolls Online, for example- it’s not a sandbox by any means, but compare it to my feature-wishlist, it’s only really lacking in the non-combat-department. Instead, it offers interesting stories while questing, the ability to build the character in almost any way i want, not an open world, but very open zones and an interesting crafting system. It also encourages social activity by removing global auction houses.
It was surprising to me, but i’m happy in Elder Scrolls Online and like the experience it provides very much- this is a game that i like better on screen than on paper. I think this is key in the whole “manage your expectations”-theme: if you read something, you’ll inject your own ideas into vague marketing/hype statements. In your mind, you’ll make it seem even better than what the devs actually tell you (this goes the other way, too- if you dislike something about an announcement, you’ll make it seem worse than it is). ESO fits into everything- my available time to play, my playstyle, my favourite pacing.
This week, when i was able to play, i had to make the difficult decision on whether to play Elder Scrolls or Black Desert Online. I’ve played multiple MMORPGs at the same time pretty much since free-to-play became a thing, but sometimes it was feeling more like the choice of a lesser evil- i’m exaggerating, of course, after all nobody forces me to play MMORPGs, or games. This time, it feels different, because i want to play both (and more, but to a lesser degree- looking at TSW and Blade&Soul here) at the same time. It’s different than last year- last year, i switched games because i was unhappy/not having fun with one for a longer period. This year, it seems there are too many choices where i do have fun.
My view on MMORPGs has pretty much shifted to me perceiving them as normal games instead of the special entity they used to be for me in the years past. And i think this is a compliment for the devs- at least a partial one. I’ve never found an MMORPGs gameplay very enticing- it sold its whole package to me. But with games like ESO and BDO- and soon even The Division- i think fun made an appearance in the genre (Guild Wars 2 and Blade&Soul also do fine in this regard).
All i’m saying is: i’m not looking for that saviour anymore- the game i’ll play exclusively in the coming 5 years, because i value diversity in the genre now. If i was, though, i think Black Desert Online would come close- on paper as well as what i see on screen right now.
Black Desert Online – earliest impressions
I can’t even do an “early impressions” post yet. Others are better in doing that, anyway. A few things i noted in my time with BDO so far:
the game doesn’t do a very good job in introducing you to its systems- for instance, i do know i can talk (it’s a conversation minigame, by the way) to NPCs, but i don’t really know why i should bother
this encourages exploration and wonder, so actually, i love that it doesn’t make everything so clear
the quests you do at around level 12-15 will offer a slow introduction to crafting
you can’t dry stuff when it’s night or cloudy – this game is highly immersive
there’s no fast travel- but there’s autorun; it’s the combination of these two elements that make this work
The night is dark and full of terrors (mobs are stronger and more aggressive in the night)
combat is fun- even with the Witch. Can’t wait to create my Valkyrie
you need to switch on all quest types in your Questlog (standard key: o ), elsewise the game will only mark NPCs with kill quests
inventory management. I carry all available tools with me- not a good strategy because i only have like 5 free inventory spaces when i venture out
it’s a beautiful game and a beautiful world that’s fully worth exploring
Conclusion? Right now, i love Black Desert Online and hate it for this love at the same time. As soon as possible, i’ll hook up with Massively Overpowered’s guild- my guess is that will improve the experience even further.
I’m late on the whole Blaugust thing, so i think that ship has sailed, although i might be looking into how it works and maybe join the ranks because participating might be fun. I’ve been away for the last three weeks, at a place where i couldn’t read my mail, use Twitter in a meaningful way and read/write WordPress blogs. No, i haven’t been to the moon, only china. I’ve been following the news, though, mainly through Massively Overpowered and i’ve read some of the non-Wordpress blogs.
Anyways, three weeks gone from any MMO gaming opportunity does change one’s point of view. Interestingly, the games i’ve missed aren’t Final Fantasy XIV or Star Wars: the old republic but open world games like Lord of the Rings Online and World of Warcraft as well as full-featured themeparks like Everquest 2. Of course, all three of these games also featured heavily in the news- EQ2 with its TLE servers, Lotro with the coming server merges and WoW with the expansion news- so that might also be at work here. With WoW, i can honestly say that i wanted to play even before news of the expansion broke. I still do want to play, but the subscription is keeping me at bay for now. What i might do, though, is to level the classes i’m most interested in to 20- that would probably be the Shaman, Druid, Priest, Monk and maybe Paladin.
Still, with all this longing for the mentioned games, i still don’t want to leave SWTOR and FF14 behind. While i don’t have very pressing goals in FF14 for now- the expansion has launched and i’m way behind the curve again, i do want to level one character- possibly the Jedi Sage- in SWTOR to 60 before the expansion hits in october.
And then, there has been news, as well. Bad news.
Funcom is looking for a merger/acquisition. Now, we all can take a guess what that will mean for the future of Funcom’s games. Personally, i’m hoping for the best, which would mean no jobs lost, all games remain intact and get the same kind- or even better- attention in the future. But i wouldn’t bet loads of money on that outcome. So, while i really don’t know what the outcome will be, i’m kind of bracing myself for shutdown. And that would be bad on so many levels. Especially The Secret World is a great game, i’ve come to respect Funcom for what they do. I’ve also found it quite sad, really, Funcom is one of these companies providing us with games from the genre we love. I think it’s time to ask ourselves some uncomfortable questions- concerning business models, for instance. Or maybe not- maybe they’d be in an even worse state if their games would still follow the sub model. What i’ve found really disheartening, though, is that- again- there’ve been comments welcoming these news, thinking that it would be well-deserved and things like that.
So, TSW needs to go back into my rotation. It might not- and let’s just hope that won’t be the case- be around much longer. The same goes for Lotro, really. We don’t know when it’ll end, but i think the best guesses would lean towards a 2017 closure…maybe. Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that, either.
Coincidentally, those are the only two games i ever bought a lifetime sub for. At least for Lotro, i got my money’s worth. For years it had been my “return-to” MMORPG and i loved it- Lotro is one of the most relaxing MMORPGs out there. It’s also very atmospheric and the landscapes still look stunning. I’ve never made it through Moria, though. With TSW, it’s even worse. While i feel i got a good deal there, as well, neither my /played time nor my progress could serve as proof for that.
So when i thought about ways to shrink that roster down to my usual three, i realized that it isn’t really possible. I want to experience FF14, SWTOR, TSW, Lotro, EQ2, maybe WoW and/or even more games when i feel like it. I also want to make some progress in all of them. And there’ll be releases this year, as well. Wildstar f2p, Blade and Soul, the Repopulation.
For now, the most pressing concern is to reach level 60 with my Jedi Sage before the SWTOR expansion hits. With 12XP, i think it’s very possible, even for me, if i concentrate on the story mode and leave other things like crafting, the strongholds etc. out for the time being.
Lotro is for fun, but i’d really like to progress through Moria to see what lies on the other side. It’s also the game i’ve been playing since our return home on tuesday.
For now, i’m done with forcing myself into a schedule/a roster of MMOs, and i’ll simply do and play what is fun to me. “Of course”, you’ll say, because that’s the way one should do it- but there’s still the knowledge that i don’t really play that much- reaching significant progress in all these games with my available time might be quite difficult. I’ll try it that way, anyway.
When the closure of Tabula Rasa was announced, i was quite sad- i really, really liked the game and miss it to this day. Then, i decided that i wouldn’t continue to play it as i’d lose my characters/the game anyway. Nowadays, i often wish i would have decided the other way round- to try and experience as much as possible. With the news coming from Funcom and a refound love for Lotro, i’m not really in the mood to limit myself right now.
So may is gone and with it goes the first month of my “Project Trinity”, where i choose three MMOs to play in a given month. For may, there have been varying results. Let’s take a look at the MMOs i played:
Star Wars: the old republic – 14 hours
Age of Conan – 2 hours
Final Fantasy XIV – 2 hours
Trove – 2 hours
All in all, i played about 24 hours in the whole month, which is a very low number, even for me. Reasons are the mentioned strike in the nursery/kindergarten, but also that when i limit myself to three MMOs and find me not wanting to play any of the three, i simply don’t play.
Trove is in there because of Ironweakness– he made me curious and so, one evening when i was looking for something casual (and also something to replace ESO in my trinity), i launched Trove.
As you can see, there’s not much to feed this blog on in this month. There are topics, of course- Wildstar’s free-to-play move, for instance. Lately, i’ve also (re-)found the urge to play many, many different MMOs. There’s Lotro, The Secret World, Guild Wars 1 & 2, Rift and now even Wildstar- all of them are possible successors for Elder Scrolls Online, which i’m also hesitant to drop.
There’s a reason for this, as well- for one, it’s nothing unusual that in times when you can’t play as much as you’d like to, the games you miss become much more desirable. I’ve also stumbled in continuing to play FF14 as well as SWTOR in a significant amount- with FF14, i usually need to put a little effort in first (as in: play x hours), before it becomes sticky. With SWTOR, following the 12XP put a dent in enjoyment.
For june, the third spot will go to The Secret World. I was tempted to leave SWTOR out this month, because i feel current play times don’t really justify two subscriptions. But SWTOR just felt so fitting to me in these last weeks that i don’t want to let it lapse. I might opt out of the 12XP, though.
Good news on the strike, as well: nurseries/kindergartens will open again on monday, after four weeks. I can’t imagine how parents with less flexibility coped with that, it was difficult even for us; and i’m quite flexible.
All that gives me hope to be able to put out some of the more “column-like” posts this month; i really want to do some of those. All three games on my list are capable of filling those in, and i’m excited to get some more time in MMORPGs this month. Let’s hope it works out.
I have a break-out-condition, though. If there’s news about either Lotro’s “episodic content” or on the release date of Guild Wars 2’s expansion, i might switch things around before the month is up. But my guess is that won’t be necessary.
Moving on with my plan to cut my MMORPG rotation down to three MMORPGs per month, i’ll also try and look closer at what i play. Thankfully, i’ve still got Raptr installed, tracking all games i play, so it’s easy to give the previous month a review.
It is worth mentioning that i began this project in mid-april, so forgive me if this list contains more than 4 MMORPGs (3 of my own choosing, 1 in the guild project which currently is Age of Conan). So, last month i played:
Star Wars: the Old republic – 14 hours
Age of Conan – 9 hours
Final Fantasy XIV – 6 hours
Elder Scrolls Online – 4 hours
Guild Wars 2 – 3 hours
Neverwinter – <1 hour
Adding all that together, i spent about 36 hours with playing MMORPGs in april. I like, however, how SWTOR gained the top spot here- i played it almost exclusively in the second half of april, with some FF14 thrown into the mix (all FF14 hours have occured last week).
I have to say, it seems as if Project Trinity is working out just fine for me- not only do i cut down my attention into fewer games, but i’m also more invested in them. After all, 20 of these 36 hours have been played in the second half of the month, while Age of Conan’s time was pretty much constant over the weeks, so the second half wins with about 24:12 hours over the first half of april.
I hope it will continue like that. As i’ve mentioned, this month will see Final Fantasy 14 as my main MMO and SWTOR & ESO as side dishes- to be honest, i expect to play FF14 and SWTOR for about the same amount of time and ESO to fall short to these two. The reason is simple: i have projects in FF14 and SWTOR, but not so in ESO.
After Eliot’s article on Massively Overpowered where he wrote about catching up to the expansion in time as a fresh level 50, i am so not in a hurry anymore. What he wrote about seemed to be a lot of content to do even when you reached the current cap, not all of it what i’d call engaging content- that the least it did was to assure me i’ll not be ready for the expansion when it hits. I might be able to play the new classes with release, though.
But that’s fine with me- it puts me in a place where i won’t be telling myself i’d “have to” play lots of FF14 to catch up and instead free me up to play more SWTOR where i have some plans for 12XP when it hits.
This marks post number 100 that is going to be published on this blog, 59 of them this year. All in all, i think one can call this blog “active” and i have to say that so far, it’s been a great ride. I’ve had some ups and downs with the ups mainly being my experience with the larger blogging community- they’re great people that are very welcoming and help out, sometimes knowingly, sometimes just by clicking “like” here or there on one of the scribblings i tend to publish. The downs are just stretches of time when i don’t know what to write about or don’t have time.
Thankfully, this year so far hasn’t had any major breaks in posting. I’m just coming out of a time of lower activity due to some private stuff, generally not playing any one MMO with enough investment to warrant a post and other things. Right now, though, things are looking good since i started what i from now on will call “Project trinity”- selecting three MMOs to play each month and ignoring all the rest, even if they have updates or somesuch. I just hope i won’t be in a situation at some point where either an expansion (GW2) or a business model change (Wildstar, not confirmed of course) hits one of the other MMOs i’m interested in while i chose different ones.
Anyway, back to the round number of posts. I want to thank every one of you who made my blogging experience a pleasure- all those who linked to one of my posts, came here to comment, like, conversed in some way via Twitter and of course all who still read that.
My personal top highlight on this blog is the “Dual Wielding” series Ironweakness and i are doing in cooperation. The first edition has been great fun and i’m very, very positive that it will continue to be so in the future, as well. So i want to take that opportunity to thank Ironweakness for the suggestion and sharing this path with me!
Going forward, i’ll try and put some structure in place here on this blog, as well. Dual Wielding is one of these projects, the “Milestones” – series with its first post being published yesterday is another one- “Milestones” will simply be a project to share some ingame-progress i made, like another 5-level-span, for FFXIV it will be about the MSQ (Main Story Questline)…whenever i feel i have reached another interesting step in venturing through an MMO, it’s a Milestone, to me. Other things are on my mind, as well- guilds, roleplaying, community and ingame stuff not related to progress to name a few. We’ll see how it works out in the end, since i only have so much time to spend here and last time i shared my projects, it didn’t work out so well.
Again, thank you for being here, for making me feel welcome and maybe even liking what you read.
Now why would a person that only reached max-level once in an MMO care about endgame? Why would a notoric game- and character hopper look for an MMO to settle nicely into? Well, we’ve been through the reasoning, i tried to make it work in one game or another and lately, i’ve been thinking about how to find “that game” in a different way. Even for someone like me, who doesn’t reach endgame quickly or ever, it is important to know what’s waiting at the end. The options on what to do- either delivered by developers or by making my own fun. And you’d be surprised (i was) how very few MMORPGs would really work as a home MMO for me when viewed through this perspective.
Credits. Gold. Pax. ISK. Call it what you want, but that’s where my endgame is. But if i can’t do anything with it (Pax), the currency given to us in an MMO doesn’t really matter. If your gold has but one purpose- for instance, to buy a sub for a month, it doesn’t work for me. So on the other side of the coin there have to be.
Gold sinks. Housing (Strongholds), Crafting, Unlocks, cosmetic outfits and so on- there should always be something i can spend my ingame gold on, to try and achieve some measurable goals in a way i like. See, Gold as endgame really is the only currency to allow us players to choose how we want to play by ourselves. If it’s dungeon gear, you have to do the dungeons. If it’s crafting, well, you have to craft. If it’s luck, you have to grind.
So gold it is. An MMORPG that i’d consider as a candidate for my personal “home MMO”, it needs to offer stuff in exchange for gold- and multiple ways to earn said gold. All those alternative currencies you gain by doing dungeons, pvp and whatnot might allow you to choose the way to play and get you rewarded- but it’s a tunnel system- you get rewarded for doing stuff you like with stuff that helps you perform better in said stuff. There’s a reason we use money as “universal currency” in the real world instead of giving tools to the handiman, computers to developers, frying pans to cooks and so on. Virtual worlds should follow suit.
When you think about that, there really aren’t that many MMORPGs that offer this- i could list a few. I know prompting for comments is a cheap move, but i’m really curious and might get some suggestions for games- so i ask you; which MMO lets you spend your earned gold/pax/credits/ISK in multiple (ingame) ways? On what can you spend this gold? How do you earn it?
I’m excited to start this project in cooperation with Ironweakness over at Waiting for Rez– it was his suggestion in a tweet to prompt each other for topics to write about and an idea i instantly fell in love with. Ironweakness and i share some attributes, the biggest of which is our reason to blog/restart blogging more regularly: when Massively’s closure became known and imminent, we started to wonder where the community might go- we both felt the loss in MMORPG coverage would be big and while we certainly wouldn’t aspire to be a substitute for a site like Massively, we wanted to keep the conversation going and stay in touch with the larger MMO community- so we (re-)started our blogs. In a sense, i think this project fits so well with our motivation to blog. So thank you for suggesting this, Ironweakness, and i hope we’ll have many interesting topics to write about as well as interesting perspectives. Today’s topic is one that seems to be more prominent these days- for me personally, but it appears that in a bigger picture, this is something that touches on the greater MMO community, as well.
Should you play one or many MMORPGs?
Stickiness of MMORPGs is a big topic these days- not only am i always returning to this line of thought in search for maxlevel, guilds and communities, but there were some articles on Massively Overpoweredskirting this topic, as well. Then there was the MMO Hobo and his very recent post wherein he asked if we, as players who might look for “the one” MMORPG to play, might shoot ourselves in the foot by joining multigaming guilds. I think this topic is very broad- you can view it from so many different angles, but i think you could boil it down to one big question- what do you want to get out of your MMORPG playing experience? Do you play this genre as “games” or do you play it for the virtual worlds they present, the social ties, the community? I believe most MMORPG players want to play “the one” MMORPG- i don’t have a poll up, but my guess is that in the end, we’d like to have that game back that allows us to dive in and play more or less the same MMORPG for years. Sometimes, we’ll look at a game that will be released in the close future and think that this time, it might be it. And it rarely is.
I’ve seen times when i somehow, without expecting it or giving it a deliberate effort, will stay with an MMO for 2 or three months- Final Fantasy XIV comes to mind. But there always comes a time when i want my experience to differ, i want something else out of a session. And this is a strong reason to go with multiple games.
If nothing’s perfect, why not mix it up?
The MMORPGs we have are surprisingly good. I don’t look at “success” much, because i think in this regard, the releases of the last decade failed to deliver on their expectations and World of Warcraft, while being the most successful MMO, isn’t the best in my eyes. And while we often lament every new release to be a “WoW clone”, by which i think we mean “themepark MMO”, they’re not as similar to each other as one would think.
And these differences make switching between different titles an attractive option- first, you get to use all of those “special weekends” and events like the release of an expansion, a meaty patch or something and see for yourself how they fare. Then, you’ll always have a choice in combat mechanics, depth, even different economies, atmosphere and general gameplay experience. In some games, questing is pretty much all you do (Lotro), in others it’s the same but delivered in a different way (TSW), you’ll have a somewhat lighter atmosphere (FF14, Wildstar) or the more grimdark experiences of Elder Scrolls Online or Age of Conan. There’s polished content without much of a story (Guild Wars 2, and yeah, i know it’s lore-heavy, but i think the story is not presented very well in-game) and story-heavy questing (SWTOR), involved crafting (FF14, EQ2), standard crafting (WoW, Rift, Lotro) and hands-off crafting (Neverwinter, SWTOR), and i don’t even touch on how the game’s paces differ from, say, EQ2/FF14 to something like Wildstar or Neverwinter. For me, playing multiple MMORPGs makes sense because i don’t want to play the same game when i want to play. Sometimes i want a very relaxing and slow atmosphere, sometimes i like to get more involved and these are the times when “action combat” is a major point of decision making on what to play. Wildstar, for instance, with its very involved combat and high mob density is a fun game, but one i can’t play for longer stretches of time. Lord of the Rings Online is quite a slow game, it’s very relaxing, at least in the early zones, but the combat isn’t very engaging. One game that, in my opinion, gets the mix very right, is Guild Wars 2- it’s a fun game, but not too stressful. GW2 has the downside that i seem unable to find “depth” there.
The downside: you won’t set roots
So for almost every mood you might have, there’s an MMO waiting to give you the wanted experience. Only, it’s just not one game and if you don’t have a lot of time, you’ll be having trouble being where the buzz is. It’s also kind of hard to immerse yourself when you play half a dozen MMORPGs at roughly the same time- you’ll forget skills, current goals of your character, the story and other things. It might also be tough to get in touch with a good guild- and a good guild is essential to enjoying an MMORPG.
Now, this might not be a problem for someone who’s able and willing to play 20+ hours a week- a player with that mindset could juggle more than two MMORPGs just fine, i think, although i believe even then it might be more difficult to make friends ingame. MMO devs have been criticized a lot for making MMORPGs less social- by adding dungeon finders or even PUG raids- but i don’t think we can put the blame for our less social experience solely on the devs- it’s within our responsibility as players to be more social- the option isn’t removed from the games, we just aren’t forced to connect to other players anymore. If it were a dev thing, especially games like Guild Wars 2 and Rift would be very social affairs- both provide huge opportunities to form bonds with other players- and yet we don’t.
If you want a home, choose it
There was such a great opinion piece on that on the olden pages of Massively, but i can’t find it anymore. What Eliot Lefebvre wrote in his opinion piece basically came down to this piece of truth: if you want “the game”, you shouldn’t wait for the perfect fit. You shouldn’t think that the “next game” will make everything work out perfectly for you. He made a somewhat dangerous connection to a relationship- and the mindset of going to a date with the expectation that you’ll only date the partner three times or something instead of going all-in for a longterm relationship. If you’d want a shorter, more superficial relationship, that would be fine, but if you’re looking for a longterm partner, you should meet them with that in mind. (Edit: Thanks to Eliot for providing the link to the article– it’s a great read.
I agree- but having started with great hopes in Guild Wars 2 and Archeage, i can attest that even when something looks good on paper and makes you think you found the game, it can still be screwed up in a million ways.
I would argue that if and when you choose to play one MMORPG exclusively, your experience will be much better, because you can dive deeper into the game mechanics as well as interact in social groups within that game. You’ll be there for content additions, you’ll sometimes log in and “just chat with guildmates/friends” and so on- you won’t do something like that if you’re playing too many MMORPGs at a time- because before you log in just to chat you’ll be launching something else. On the other hand, if you’re a “time-hardcore” player, MMORPGs might not provide you with enough content to play in your time- so maybe you might be able to juggle more than one MMO and guild- and then there’s the topic of “play-to-finish” MMORPGs which are basically all about the journey and not-so-much about endgame (The Secret World comes to mind). If a game really doesn’t provide you with any activity you’d want to do, switching to another one might not be such a bad idea. But this is a problem for players who play a lot, really. From my point of view, TSW, for instance, would provide me with enough questing and story-related stuff for…well, maybe for its whole lifespan.
I wrote about reasons to play only one MMORPG earlier- in fact, it was one of the first posts on this blog. I think many of these reasons come into fruition now when you read about how more and more bloggers make their way into Final Fantasy XIV- others are there, there’s even a free company of (not only) bloggers somewhere, they stick with the game and have a great experience others want to have, as well. If you think about interesting blogs to read, at least in my opinion, it’s written by people who mainly stick to one MMORPG and can provide deep info, interesting, different ways to play and experience “their” game. Their excitement and dedication is infectious, they stick with a game long enough to alter the experience in these games beyond the obvious while us game-hopping individuals only see quests, quests and quests.
So you’re saying playing only one MMORPG is better?
No, i’m not exactly saying this straight- i think our experiences would be better if we stuck to as many MMORPGs as we can realistically handle. That number would differ from player to player. I’d say that if i were to choose one MMO to play with my ~10 hours a week, my enjoyment in this MMO as a “virtual home” would grow, i’d have more interesting topics to write about here and maybe would even be able to form friendships in that game- all of this isn’t possible when you divide your 10 hours to 4 MMORPGs at a time. Someone playing a lot would possibly be able to handle that number.
But still, as noted earlier, the games are quite different to each other, so much so that only one MMO wouldn’t fit into all our moods. So i guess my suggestion would be to “choose” one main MMO that you play for depth, social ties and as a “virtual home” and spice it up with some other games that offer different experiences. Also, i’m somewhat in agreement with Isarii right now: maybe don’t join multigaming guilds if you want to find an MMO home. But i don’t want to open that can of worms right now.
2015 will be a good year for MMORPGs. I believe so, because there’s not much in the way of “new shiny” coming out. This will be good, in my opinion, because the genre will relax a little bit- players will be more happy with their choices (because there’s nothing coming out next month that will make everything better), the chosen games will turn a profit and see some kind of development, and maybe some will be left behind and close shop. This may seem like a sceptical outlook, but i think this year is going to be healthy for the genre and its players.
So, i’ve put my resolutions for 2015 into some words and there’s two that are hopefully going to define my MMORPG-related gaming in 2015: focus better on some titles instead of spreading out too thin and “be ready when they come”. Also, i’d like to NOT discover an open subscription to a game like i did with Final Fantasy XIV the other week.
Final Fantasy XIV
Speaking of which, FF14 will be my first candidate. With Update 2.5 possibly coming in January and the expansion, let’s say, in April, there’s still some time to get my main character to 50 at least in one class/job and hopefully one gathering and one crafting profession, as well. As i’ve mentioned a couple of times, i like the game a lot- it’s a nice mix of old school mechanics and new features and it at least tries to make crafting and the economy somewhat worthwhile.
So, at least in the first quarter of the year, i’d like to make that one my main MMO and hopefully get something done in there.
Everquest 2 will be my “main alternative” MMORPG for the time being. I like it a lot (in reality, this is my problem- it’s not that all MMORPGs suck, but that they all have their strengths and i do like them).
I’d like to play it when i’m not in the mood for FFXIV and continue levelling my Inquisitor slow and steady. My goal is to be where i need to be when the next expansion comes, presumably some time in November. But, of course i know that this game would be too big for that goal even if i’d play EQ2 exclusively until November, so i’ll see how far i’ll come.
SWTOR will lie dormant for the time being. It’s that “third” MMO i’d like to play, but i won’t have it in my roster permanently- the other two will take up all my free time to achieve what i’d like to achieve there. But still, when i’m in the mood, i’ll probably fire it up some time.
The Repopulation- i’ll take a look before headstart/final wipe and i’ll play it if and when it releases. But we’ll see if that’ll be in 2015, anyway, soooo i’m totally relaxed on that part.
Landmark- i have a vision i’ll share when i looked into the game and my abilities with it and have decided to follow through with it. So that might come up at some point, as well.
World of Warcraft is postponed. I might get back to that if i’m in the mood.
Lord of the Rings Online. If and when they let me buy my way through Moria i’ll take a look at the lands beyond. I won’t play through those caves, though.
Elder Scrolls Online and Wildstar. If and when they go buy-to-play and/or free-to-play, i’ll be there on relaunch day.
The Secret World. Hmmm, i don’t know. Funcom did something spectacular with this game, it might just be the best “play-to-finish” MMO out there, but unfortunately, it’s too quest-heavy for my tastes. But it is possible i’ll be hopping in from time to time.
Did i forget something?
For sure. I’m fickle. Sometimes i’m in the mood for this and sometimes i’m in the mood for something else. As much as i’d like to call one MMORPG my home, i don’t see a candidate yet. It would have to offer almost everything MMOs have to offer in one game- also, my guess is it would have to be polished and, of course, at least hack-and-cheat-free. Also, of course, there are Elite: Dangerous and The Crew, which you might or might not call MMO…and there’ll be new games.
Doesn’t matter, though, for now. We know Heavensward is coming and that should be my priority right now, because i know for a fact i’ll consider buying it and it would be a nice change to finally see an expansion i paid for. So, right now, i’d like to declare 2015 to be the FFXIV and Everquest 2- year for me. We’ll see if that pans out. (Spoiler: it probably won’t)
2014 was an expensive year for me in MMORPGs. Developers monetize the feeling of missing out i always get when there’s some kind of early access/beta or even expansion and new releases very well nowadays. Others may dislike the chaos that are the first days in an MMO, but i like how everybody’s interested and sets foot in a new (part of the) world of a particular MMO. That’s why i’m always inclined to join as early as possible. So in 2014, i “preordered” Landmark, ArcheAge, the Repopulation, Elder Scrolls Online, Galactic Strongholds (actually, i only subbed to get it, but still), Wildstar and Elite: Dangerous. I also stocked up store credits in Rift when the new expansion came. That’s some serious money for games i play in a (very) casual manner. In case of ArcheAge, it was a total waste. I don’t know, this one makes me sad, because i like the crafting/economy part of this game but feel it is totally borked.
So in 2015, i’d like to spend less on that stuff, although i know that Everquest Next, should they release a founder pack with alpha access will probably make it on my list, and there’s at least one expansion that’s beckoning me, Heavenswarth for Final Fantasy XIV. But even so, i hope to be more careful this year.
Be ready when they come
I’m sure this’ll be a moot point for EQ2, because that game’s too big for me to get to the “end” of the available content before the new expansion hits, but in general terms, i’d like to be where the fun starts with a new expansion. Right now i can think of SWTOR and Final Fantasy XIV where i’ll want to at least be level-capped when new content hits. EQ2 would be a bonus, but as i said, there’s not much hope.
Also, this isn’t new. Last year, i was hoping to get settled into one, and only one MMORPG. I was quite sure that by this time of the year, i’d live happily ever after with ArcheAge, but it wasn’t to be. So this year, i’d like to be at least a little more focussed and try to ignore those who most likely won’t expand this year. I could add Lotro here, but i’m so far behind the curve in that one and don’t really like Moria that i don’t think i’ll even try.
Don’t forget this blog
Yeah, i posted very infrequently since i started this blog and i’d like to change that. I can’t write every day like others do, but still, i want to keep it active. Also, more pictures please.
Continue my guild project
Well, i copied an idea from an international guild i was part of and brought it to a german multigaming guild. Basically, we move between f2p games every 3 months. We use a poll to determine which one it’s going to be and then meet up once a week to play that game together. Right now, we’re in Everquest 2. Reception of the idea was very good, with 15 players signing up. A couple of weeks later and we’re down to 4 players. Anyway, i think such a project is good to have in a multigaming guild, because it brings the players closer to each other and lets them play together for a while.
Be more social in game
I don’t really know how to do that. If in a guild, i’ll try and group up more often, or at least chat. Also, i’d really like to make use of a friends list again- the last one i used as intended was back in WoW, since then it’s mostly just prep-work to get a guild set up.
Don’t overstretch, focus (a little)
….please? For now, i’ve said goodbye to the idea of playing just one MMORPG at a time, it seems it just isn’t my style at the moment. But with my available time for gaming, it would really befit me to not have 5 MMORPGs to choose from every time i find myself having some time. Also, when i’m not focussed, i tend to sub to multiple MMOs and sometimes even forget a subscription (a few days ago i discovered my FF14-sub still being active). So, please, dear me, try and stay a while.