Best Games I’m Not Playing

This mornings post is going to be a bit of a departure from my normal routine in that I am going to talk about some of the games that I really enjoy, but am not playing for one reason or another.  I guess with the recent news about Daybreak, it highlights the fact that there are so many games we hold dear…  but aren’t actually actively supporting by playing them.  As such here goes my attempt to write a post about the three best games I am not playing.

Everquest II

EQ2_000008 Like so many former Everquest junkies, I am in love with the  setting of Norrath.  I love its cities, and races and the aspect that I enjoyed the most playing EQ2 was how often times you would just see glimpses of the world that came before this one.  The folks behind the zones in Norrath 2.0 were exceptionally good at tugging on your nostalgia at just the right moment, while at the same time making something entirely new.  More than anything I think it was the scale of this game that made me fall in love with it.  I did not play it at launch, but a few months into World of Warcraft I took a break and joined my friends who did.  The world felt so much larger than anything I was seeing in Azeroth, and this sense of amazement through scale never really faded.  It felt so much more like a living breathing world.  This game also gave me one of my favorite playable races in any game… the Ratonga.  While often goofy comic relief I enjoyed roaming the world as my little rat shadow knight.

The problem is that each time I play Everquest II, I ultimately leave due to the same problem.  I absolutely hate the combat system with its largely unintelligible stat increases, alternative advancement point minutiae and what feels like three hundred different attack buttons…  that are largely indistinguishable.  The funny thing is playing my Shadow Knight was a key sequence of about twenty five attacks… and still to this day I can reinstall the game and play it entirely through muscle memory.  For me it is the gaming equivalent of chicken fried steak… that comfort food you return to over and over even though it is largely uninspired.  The problem is…  I will always return to it eventually.  It has my favorite world in any game, so full of life and mystery.  I just wish I could transplant that world into a game I enjoy on a technical level.


riftvolcano Rift was the game that pulled me away from World of Warcraft by giving me every single thing I ever said I wanted in a video game.  I spent a good amount of time playing Rift at launch and since release it is a rarity that I do not have an active account.  The problem is… I am not playing it.  This game is one that I want to love so badly, and I wished and tried so many times to transplant my WoW family into.  Rift is a game made up of extremely well crafted systems that are honed to lightning precision…  but have been assembled in the wrong order.  That is the best possible analogy that I can give you.  Have you ever walked into a house and felt that something was just off, and then spent the rest of your time in it trying to figure out exactly what it was?  There is something wrong with Rift, and I cannot figure out what is missing.

I have heard the complaint that “Rift has no soul” and as much as I have rebelled against that notion…  maybe that statement is right.  There is some spark that ties everything together that is missing in this game.  I will always keep returning to it, because there are lots of well crafted components that make up this game, but the overarching game itself lacks something.  With the Nightmare Tides expansion I came back and started playing more regularly, but it was not long before I realized that all I had been actually doing was logging in to play the minions mini-game.  Even now talking about this game I am getting the desire to pop my head back in, because it is like this puzzle I cannot quite solve.  I want to know why it doesn’t work, but never actually find the answer.  What I do know however is it is a game supported by a lot of awesome people, and while I am trying to figure it out… I absolutely do not mind funding their efforts.

The Secret World

TheSecretWorld 2012-08-07 20-41-26-17 When The Secret World was released, I thought that it was absolutely going to be the game I could settle in for the long haul.  I believe it in so much that I spent the almost two hundred dollars to purchase a “Lifetime” membership, after having missed out on that same opportunity for Lord of the Rings Online.  The experience of leveling through this game and completing all of the content was absolutely amazing.  It still has some of the most thoughtful and interesting quest lines I have experienced in any game.  The thing that broke myself and the rest of the AggroChat crew was the fact that behind the Gatekeeper encounter there loomed a giant wall.  When we began nightmare content, we came to the realization quickly that we were essentially “playing the game wrong”.  The answer to beating the content was for us to change our specs to something that the content wanted us to be.  Doing this would have destroyed the magic of the game, the fact that we could craft the characters we always wanted to play.

All of this said, it is still a game I think upon fondly, and still consider the lifetime membership some of the best money I have ever spent.  Content is released in “Issues” and while purchasing one of these gives you the main story quest… there is also a substantial amount of minor content that goes in with each of them.  Games are notoriously bad about pointing out things that have changed in the world, and The Secret World is no exception.  I find it a mentally daunting task to not only try and remember how to play my character each time I return, but also try and figure out what is actually new.  The fact that you can repeat almost every quest in the game only serves to make this more maddening.  The answer of course is to claw your way through copious patch notes to figure out what new elements were added, but instead…  I simply don’t play apart from logging in every now and then to buy a cool new outfit with my monthly allotment of in game store currency.

Fondly Remembered Loves

There you go, this morning in honor of Valentines Day I give you the games I love but am not actually playing.  I feel like all gamers have these games in their history.  I am curious what some of yours are.  Leave me a comment letting me know what game or games out there are you still smitten by but just not playing anymore.

10 thoughts on “Best Games I’m Not Playing

  1. Sad just sad. The many abilities, AA points, gear, weapons, stats, and everything else is what everquest 2 the best MMO created. If you want to be a lazy little kid and just see the same combat animation over and over again until you level cap then go play the horrendously over rated WOW (god I hate that game).

    • I considered not allowing this one through the moderation queue, simply because it adds nothing to the conversation other than the tired “my game is better than yours, and you are a moron for liking something else” rhetoric. But I guess if that is the way the poster wants to represent themselves in public, then awesome… be that guy 🙂

  2. EQ2, TSW, and FF14 (I’ll explain).

    Reading about the recent layoffs at SOE (Daybreak is the post-razing name of the company as far as I’m concerned) kind of makes me want to come back to EQ2 and explore the richness of its vast and varied content for a while. But, my god, you are absolutely right about the combat. I don’t like the fact that you can do it while mounted and that by level 45 on my monk I had 4 hotbars full of abilities. I’m thinking about popping in for a bit again…I just can’t settle on a class that speaks to me (I had the same issue in classic WoW).

    Perusing the TSW chronicles posted by Syp (and sometimes Bhagpuss) makes me very interested in the game for its story. There’s something emotionally appealing to me about living in a world where everything has dark undertones. A bit like a good Anime film but without the exaggerated animations and cloying tropification. I’ve watched videos and, again, I can’t say that I care for the combat, but the story might be enough to carry it.

    My last one would be Final Fantasy 14 but that’s because I’m basically using GW2 as my methodone MMO detox method to keep me from playing too much. If there were 48 hours in a day I would be running stuff with the Free Company every single day. In other words, the game is too awesome and I fear it would consume my soul.

    Honorable Mentions:
    Black Desert – hasn’t been launched yet, but I’m crossing my fingers for a North American release.
    WildStar – I have a soft spot for it, but no.

  3. I would probably select those same 3 games as my “best loved, but I’m not playing them anymore.”

    EQ2 was home for me for 6 years. But now, any time I try to go back, I get lost in the wall of my 8 completely filled hotbars and the inevitable need to re-do my AA’s for barely-remembered skills and by the time I get through re-reading all my tooltips and trying to put in some semblance of a decent AA profile I’m exhausted by it all and log back out without playing……

    Rift I loved at launch and for the first year or so. But when SWTOR came out, even though I was only 1 month in to a 6-month sub and figured I’d swap back and forth since I loved rift so much still… TOR took up all my gaming oxygen. A year later when Storm Legion came out I bought the year sub since it included the expansion, so it made it a great deal. and I loved it all over again… for about 4 months, and then I again drifted off. Not even the release of the Dendrome and the swap to F2P and giving me $120 worth in in-game currency was enough to bring me back for more than 2 or 3 short play sessions. There have been new souls released since then for each archtype, and I’ve not bothered to log in to check them out either.

    TSW I loved enough to grind out the full wheel of skills and get into nightmare dungeons, at least. But now that my gear’s all in the 10.1-10.2 range (mostly, a little is actually better) it’s more than good enough for the non-dungeon content and I don’t care to endlessly repeat the dungeons just to get everything to “.4.4.” I’ve bought the Tokyo issues and worked through issue 9, but only dabbled at 10 as of yet. Their Valentine’s event is running now and I still can’t really muster the desire to log in for it either. Christmas drew me back in for a few days, at least, but V-day… meh.

    And yet, I’ll tell you to my dying breath that these are all awesome games and you should totally play them!

  4. The two big ones for me would have to be LOTRO and SWTOR. Both of them I love the idea of, and although I still have LOTRO installed, and frequently think “oh I should get back into that”, something always comes up that is more appealing at the time.

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