A few days ago my good friend Rowanblaze tagged me in his post about Developer Appreciation Week 2015. To the best of my knowledge this event was actually started by Scarybooster, but I cannot for the life of me remember if I actually got a post in while it was going on. If not then this is something I absolutely need to remedy. This morning as a result my post is going to be a little contorted but I really enjoyed the format from Ravanel of Ravalation… so I am rolling with that. Thus begins my super contorted and rambling Developer Appreciation Week post.
Funcom Games – The Secret World Team
This game is absolutely phenomenal. I was lucky enough to get on board early and do one of the lifetime subscriptions and I have to say I have never once questioned that investment. Knowing that it is always waiting there for me to return to the world of the Templars and the Illuminati… makes me happy inside. While there are a lot of interesting things about the game, the part that always floors me is just how well written the quests are in this game, and how well the whole cinematic feel of them works. I greatly prefer silent protagonist games, because they allow me to substitute my own inner dialog into the scenes. What is awesome about TSW is they manage to do this is a way so that the silence feels like an answer. I desperately need to poke my head back in and try out the new combat changes, because the nightmare level content was ultimately what crushed the hopes of my group. From what I hear a lot of these rough spots have been ironed out.
Square Enix – Final Fantasy XIV Team
I am constantly amazed at just how damned good this game really is. Every detail of the game has a loving care applied to it. Once again it is the storyline that first sold me on the game. It gave me a series of characters that felt like my party in a traditional Final Fantasy game… and then made me care about each and every one of them.. yes even Thancred. What has kept me coming back however is just how good their content is, and how frequent their updates are. I’ve heard that the team is only around fifteen people… and that they are doing both the live patches and expansion development at the same time. I am floored that they can manage to crank out a new patch every month, and major patch every few months… all the while working on a brand new expansion? The way they manage to make content remain relevant to the players is pure magic, because I really enjoy running low level content with friends… and making it feel like it matters again. Last night they patched in the 2.55 content… and I am completely amped to log in and play it.
Turbine – Lord of the Rings Online Team
If there was a list of games that I wish I played more of, Lord of the Rings Online would be near the top. There is so much for me to enjoy in the game, even not factoring in the fact that I love the franchise behind it. The gameplay is a bit of a throwback to an earlier era, and more than anything it has always reminded me a bit of a modern updated Dark Age of Camelot. That said the part that has always stood out for me is just how well they have managed to create the world of Middle Earth… everything is how I had imagined it while reading the novels. There are so many moments like the above picture where I reach some fabled destination and I have to just stop and sit in awe that I am in this or that place. Another strange thing that I love about this game are the horses. They have the absolute best horse movement of any game. As you are moving around the horse feels right, which adds so much to the feeling that you are in a living breathing world… and not just a themepark.
Trion Worlds – Rift Team
This was the game that finally came along and successfully dislodged me after playing seven years of World of Warcraft, and that in itself is no small feat. What makes me love the game however is its class system. I love being able to mix and match bits and pieces of class trees to make something unique that does exactly what I want it to do. Especially from a tanking front, this game will always hold a special place in my heart because it was the first game to give me both charge and deathgrip in the same build. The raid content was absolutely insane, and I greatly enjoyed the times I was able to experience it. This is one of those games that I boot up every few weeks to poke my head in, especially now that it is free to play. I’ve spent a lot of its four year history with an active subscription, and there is just something about the world that keeps me coming back. With the impending release of the new Wardrobe system I am looking forward to popping back in and playing some more. Trion was the first team to make me believe that a company could keep a monthly content release schedule, and through it all they have created some very impressive work.
SOE/Daybreak – Everquest II Team
Everquest II for me is a tale of the path not taken. With EQ2 and WoW releasing at the same time, some of my friends went to EQ2, and I and the majority of my friends went to WoW. That said this has been one of those games that I keep coming back to so that I can re-experience this ball of nostalgia that is Norrath. This game has hands down the best world building of any game on the market. I love the world of Norrath 2.0 with all its detail and quirkyness. Sure it is not exactly how I remember it from the original Everquest, but that is part of the charm for me. Every now and then you will be knee deep in a dungeon, and you will see some little call back that makes you realize “oh my god this is that place” that you recall from your memory, changed over time and presented in so much higher fidelity. While I have issues with the combat system and likely always will… this is a game that I cannot seem to keep myself away from for long. Even today EQ2 is a sort of comfort food for me… where I will hang out inside and vege out on the couch dusting off my Shadow Knight and exploring Norrath with new eyes.
To Be Continued…
I feel like I have so many developers that I want to show my appreciation for… that I had to break these up into multiple posts. Tune in tomorrow as I talk about several more developers. Hopefully this will cause your own upwelling of nostalgia and end up with you posting your own thoughts in blog form. If you don’t have a blog, feel free to use my comment space for that same mission. There is so much negativity out there, that I believe completely in this notion of the Developer Appreciation Week. Reach out and show your appreciation to those games you love.