Over the last few days I have made a few posts recounting some of the positives and negatives of the last year. Today I want to place my eyes forward towards the next year and what I hope it might bring. One of the problems with futurism is that generally speaking it is always going to be wrong. 2015 was the year that Marty McFly went forward to in Back to the Future 2, and that movie made a ton of guesses about what the future would look like, most of them being completely wrong. That said we are at least getting a form of a hoverboard next year, granted we will have to pave the streets in conductive metal for it to actually work properly however. The thing I find funny is how no work of futurism ever seems to get just how incrementally fashion evolves, because I doubt any of us are going to start wearing chokers made of bullets or a darth vader breastplate. Instead of futurism I am going to focus on my hopes for the year to come.
Gamers Stop Being Assholes
While yesterday I spent my post reveling in just how awesome my gaming community was over the past year, the larger community has not really been an awesome place to be. Our very small niche of a community has figured out more or less how to exist in a relative state of harmony. Outside the gated community however, things are pretty much in a constant state of martial law. My hope is that this year gamers can figure out that it is cool to have lots of people playing in their sandbox, that may or may not look the same or want the same thing as them. Diversity only serves to make things more interesting, because really as we learned during the 90s… just how many doom clones can we really stomach? At the very least I would love that gamers would stop endangering the lives of others with their misguided crusades. We are all here, we all play games… lets enjoy that fact and quit trying to claim this person or that person isn’t as much of a “real” gamer as you are.
More so than all of this… I would really love it if my natural instinct when confronted with having to play with a group of strangers is not to clench my sphincter and prepare for the worst. I would love to be able to approach grouping with random players the way that I used to before I started turning off every public channel in any game I was playing. There is a great post from Liore summing up a lot of these feelings of dread. Mostly I feel like a lot of gamers have forgotten why we started playing games in the first place… not for the competition, or not to be the best at something… but because we used to honestly have fun doing it. I have tried really hard to embrace this spirit of fun and positivity, but you can only be told “you fucking suck” so many times by a random stranger before you stop trying to interact with anyone that is not already connected to you. I’ve branched out and made a lot of friends, more than I can possibly list… but for the most part when I play a new game, I shut off all the public channels and hang out with people I already knew before going into it. This year… I would love this to change.
Settling Down for Awhile
For years I have been searching for something, a magical spark that seems to have been missing for me in MMO games. Over the last several years I have tried extremely hard to make this game or that game my new home. I tried to make Rift work, and tried to forcibly bring all of my friends along on that journey with me. I tried to do the same with Final Fantasy XIV, and Wildstar, and Star Wars the Old Republic, and The Elder Scrolls Online. In order for that spark to exist two things need to be there… firstly there needs to be tons of things for me to do, and an insane amount of goals and sub goals to keep my mind busy and engaged. Secondly there needs to be a solid and thriving community to keep me engaged socially. This past year I found that spark, but in two different places… both of which appeal to slightly different sides of me. As a result I am splitting time between raiding in Final Fantasy XIV on Mondays and World of Warcraft on Tuesdays and Thursdays… and occasionally Wednesday fun runs.
So far this mix works extremely well for me. There are things I like about both games, and I like the freedom of being able to flip back and forth between them at will. Right now I am spending the bulk of my time in Azeroth, but I think that is a counter reaction to the fact that I spent the last three months exclusively engaged in Eorzea. I feel no less connected to one when I am spending time in the other. I am playing both games and I am happy to be doing it. My hope for this year is that by the time we reach next December that I will still be playing both games happily. I am in amazing raid groups in both, and the content is keeping me engaged in ways that I feel like only one game would not be able to satisfy. I have a feeling that when new content is released in one, I will shift to mostly playing it… and versa vicea. My hope is that I have found a combination that works for me… and I can settle down for a long while here. I’ve gotten tired of the constant game jumping and want some stability for awhile.
2014 saw me getting involved in a bunch of projects other than the Tales of the Aggronaut blog. I kept up my rigor of daily posts and in April I celebrated both my 5th anniversary as a blog, and my first year of daily posting. This coming April I will be able to celebrate a second year of daily posting and another year as a blog. My hope is throughout all of 2015 I will be able to keep up this daily posting thing. This past year also saw the launch of the AggroChat podcast along with my friends Rae, Ashgar, Kodra, Tamrielo and sometimes participants Dallian and Raven. Over the course of the first season we recorded 37 episodes of Aggrochat, and I think that is pretty damned solid. We made it over a lot of the awkward hurdles, especially considering I knew absolutely nothing about making a podcast before we started. Those first few episodes are mighty painful to listen to at this point, and I am sure after another year the entire first season will feel the same. We are anything but professional, but we have a large enough following that I feel like we must be doing something right.
This year also saw me start a fledgling experimental podcast called “Bel Folks Stuff”. So far three folks have been gracious enough to have a conversation about “stuff” with me, and I am thinking overall it works pretty well. The podcast has a much smaller footprint as a whole, but I am okay with that. In January I have another individual lined up for another conversation, and hopefully another in February. Basically this is just an excuse to have a conversation with friends and push the record button while doing so. Other than this there is another thing looming on the horizon that should be exciting for 2015, but I don’t really want to talk about it much until I am ready to announce it. Essentially my hope is that 2015 will be as awesome of a year for my side projects as this year has been. I could not do this without all the awesome people supporting me, and the constant help of my friends who always seem to be willing to follow me down whatever rabbit hole I fall into. Thanks to you all for taking this journey with me… I may not know what the next day will bring… but I know I will always have you along with me.