This break has been a bit of an odd one… namely because I have completely screwed up a few times and failed to blog. Even worse… I forgot I forgot to blog. It is as though I have been in a bit of a weird time warp where I lived a bit separate from the rest of the world for awhile. So instead of being connected like I usually am… everything has just sort of flown over the top of me without ever really sinking in. I have not been logging into MMOs hardly at all… and when I did it was for a specific focused purpose rather than just hanging out there. The break has been about falling into a number of game shaped holes… including Destiny, Minecraft, Bloodborne, and most recently Tyranny. However today represents the beginning of me trying to get into the swing of things. I technically have two full days left… well not full given that its 9 am when I am finally getting around to writing this morning. However it is time for me to do my sham of an attempt at an Awards Show… that I started last year, where the categories really don’t exist and no one actually wins.
Something Is Missing
Recently in the name of better health and that whole tradition of trying to start the New Year off right… my wife and I have been spending a lot more time walking. One of the things I greatly miss that was a huge part of my life during 2016… is Pokemon Go. One of the updates essentially screwed me over and locked me out at least semi-permanently from playing the game. The Google Safety check… seems to think my phone is rooted even though it is not. My only work around is to actually root my phone and install one of the many applications that will hide root from Pokemon Go… defeating the entire purpose of their safety check. However I am reaching a point where I really want to play the game… and I might just resort to this. Essentially this game was a good chunk of my year… or at least I was obsessive about it for two months. Pokemon Go did something that no game really has… made me care about mobile as a gaming platform and as a result it should get a significant shout out.
You Can’t Go Back
For the AggroChat Game Club, we tend to pick a game for both November and December… since once you take the holidays into account… you really have a single functional month. Last year the game that spanned the two was Fallout 4, and this year Grace chose Diablo 2 as her pick. At first I was all about this because I have some seriously rose colored lenses about this game and my memory of it. I remember trying to see who could get through all of Act V in a single lunch break, and so many farming runs to see if we could get the coveted set pieces. However on replay… I have changed drastically in my tastes since this game released, and while I was on the Diablo 3 doesn’t feel right bandwagon initially… I have evolved. Diablo 2 now feels like a grindy mess of a click fest with very little carrot and a hell of a lot of stick. So I am honestly wishing I had NOT replayed the game… and could leave it sitting happily in my memory untouched. My recent experiences… are proof of that adage that sometimes you can’t go back home.
But Maybe Sometimes You Can
Saying that however… there are apparently times when you can go home and enjoy yourself in the same ways you used to. There was a period of time when I was convinced that Warcraft would always only tangentially matter to me. That I mourned a time and a place and a specific group of people that were long going and could likely never been aligned and arranged in the same pattern again. I’ve devoted a lot of digital ink to this lament throughout the years… and then Legion comes along and proves me to be completely full of shit. I am not exactly sure what it is about this expansion but for the first time in seven years… I feel more hope for the game ahead of me… than nostalgia for the time that has long passed. I thought I was done raiding in World of Warcraft… and instead I am actively raiding three times a week… one night of progression, one night of farmed content, and an amazing karazhan team. I am super happy with the state of the guild, and the game… and how far we have come. I am amped about the prospects of starting Nighthold on time when it releases… and while I have not spent much of this break in game it still very much feels like home. While I still have issues with some of the disjointed feeling of the forced faction storyline at times in Legion… the bulk of the content is amazing and just seems to keep getting more interesting.
But Sometimes It Doesn’t Last
The other subtext of the year is how I have apparently fallen out of love with Final Fantasy XIV. We made an attempt to get the band back together and start raiding once more… and it worked amazingly for awhile. Honestly the Free Company is still an active and happy place… just with myself not really playing much of a role in it. I keep thinking that it will be fun to return… but I knew something was a miss when I started completely blowing off the holiday events that I used to love so much. Now I am significantly behind in gear and in story… and it is going to take a significant push to catch back up. This push however is just something that I have not been willing to do as of yet. I am excited about Stormblood… but nowhere near as much as I was prior to the launch of Heavensward. I guess the scale of Heavensward felt limited… with two dungeons per patch instead of three, and that alone wore on me. When you are grinding two dungeons in an expert tier… it gets super old really fast. They have since added in other content to occupy time like the deep dungeon… but it also feels extremely grindy in nature. I know at some point I will return and happily do so… but in the meantime I have simply not been forcing myself to log in and play a game I was not entirely into.
With Guns Blazing
The real winner of the year as far as my total time spent… I feel is probably Destiny. This game has gone from being something that never quite clicked…. to turning into a game that I obsessively play on an almost nightly basis. Over the break I spent a good chunk of my time playing “Not-Wipeout” and participating in the Sparrow Racing League. I managed to hit the currently light cap of 400, and instead of it diminishing my desire to play… it seems to have only spurred me on further trying to get infusion fodder to upgrade all of my favorite items. I cannot tell you how much being able to bring my favorite weapons from Year 2… into Year 3 has improved the game for me. Traditionally MMO items are just stat sticks with a look and a feel… and cosmetic systems make it so that you can look however you want therefor really negating any need to keep using older items. Destiny however… your items have a feel and a purpose and greatly effect the gameplay. I have guns that I love… that feel amazing to use… that I cannot actually quantify in words as to why. For example I love the Fabian Strategy… even though I technically have far superior legendary items that don’t eat my single exotic weapon slot. I just feel sorry for my friends who are casually interested in the game… because I go from zero to “let me show you my pokemans” in a frighteningly short amount of time.
Bad Christmas Was A Bust
This time last year… I was looking forward to the impending launch of The Division. I thought this game would end up being my new Destiny, and even better so because it allowed me to get the sort of gun play and looter shooter action I craved without having to resort to consoles. Unfortunately that was not the case and I never actually made it to the level cap. Going into Division I thought I would have a strong community to support me… but one by one my friends checked out quickly for a lot of reasons not directly connected to the game play. Largely they objected to the themes… and enough so that at least one of them immediately turned around and refunded the game through steam. I could have reached outside of my circle of friends and found new communities… but I was left with the awkward situation that my PS4 clan was of course playing on that platform and that I just didn’t really want to have to pester folks to play with me on the PC side. As a result I solo’d a hell of a lot… and reached a point where to progress at the speed I wanted to progress I needed some people with me. There was also the technical problem that I just don’t really like playing a third person over the shoulder shooter nearly as much as I enjoyed playing Destiny. Even more than that… the thing that was missing was the futurism of Destiny weapons. None of the guns felt any different than any other gun to me… so ALL SMGs felt the same, ALL LMGs essentially felt the same etc… they were more stat sticks than something that felt unique or individual. I still hold hope that at some point that I will be able to get back into the game and push the last bit to hit the level cap and start doing interesting content.
Awesome But Not My Deal
Sometimes there is a game that I am way more into the game world… and the lore than actually playing it. This is very much the case with Overwatch. I love the characters, and all of the storyline that is coming out surrounding the game… and while I enjoy playing the game in small bursts it just never seems to be the game I choose to play on any given night. As a result I am something ridiculous like level 6… and have only logged a few hours in total playing the game. I think much like with League of Legends… I would enjoy playing with a team of friends… but then you run into the issue of getting bored with bots… and not having the chops or desire to learn them to play against other pre-made teams. I also tend to be most happy when I am playing Torbjorn, but always end up playing Reinhardt or Mercy because I end up getting randomed into a team full of Hanzos and Genjis. I wish I had the burning desire to play this game because I love everything about its world and what it is doing with its narrative. In truth I find myself mourning the game it could have been… back when it was originally slated to be a new MMO. I would to play a Destiny like game… set in the Overwatch universe.