Last night was a bit of a rough night, because we had a massive storm blow through. A side effect of the storm was the fact that about 11:30 my wife woke up on the couch because something dripped on her foot. In the middle of our living room, dripping from one of the beams was a slow trickle of water. At that point there really isn’t much to do other than put down a towel and a bucket and hope it stops. However that sort of ruined any thoughts of a really solid nights sleep. This morning I had originally intended on writing about a rather hamfisted absurdist article that is making its way through my twitter circle, but in truth I am simply going to not deal with that today. It reminded me of conversations that myself and Tamrielo have on a regular basis… but I also wanted to approach the topic with more grace than I probably have in me right now. So instead I am going to answer a twitter poll in blog form.
TWITTER POLL: Quote this tweet with your GOTY for each year for the last five years, 2012 to 2016.
— Alex Carlson (@PostMesmeric) April 25, 2017
While technically not a poll, it is definitely a thing that I thought looked interesting so this morning instead of tearing into discussions that I don’t really want to get into… I started thinking back upon various years and trying to determine the games that mattered the most to me during that time. Also I may or may not be applying a little “in retrospect” to a few of these choices, but that is also ultimately my prerogative. I limited myself to only picking games released during a specific calendar year, but in many cases the true impact the game had happened much later.
2012: The Secret World
I really cannot say enough good about this game… from the perspective of someone just starting out playing it. I’ve said an awful lot about this game over the years in three pages worth of blog posts… and probably some others that I failed to categorize correctly. This often makes my “best games I am not playing” list whenever I compile one. Functionally there are two vastly different game experiences… the leveling game when you are digging through the story and trying to solve the mysteries of the world… and the end game where you lose all creative freedom that you had while leveling. The first game is phenomenal and something that I feel everyone should experience at least once. The later… is ultimately what caused us to quit and keeps me from reattaching to the game for any length of time. However that said the ride is well worth it, and the game has some of the more interesting dungeons in MMOdom… until you reach nightmare levels where everything sort of falls apart. I am really looking forward to the re-release of the game under the Secret World Legends name… and hoping beyond hope that they can give me an experience to latch onto with both hands.
2013: Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn
The impact this game has had on me and my friends is immeasurable. Largely because it gave us a common ground in the form of an MMO experience that we all care about. More than anything however it knows how to tell story in and interesting and serialized fashion, where the story arc from one expansion sets up the key players for the next. This is also the only MMO that has ever sufficiently pulled off a surprise plot twist, and has done so many times…. and been willing to assault structures that I assumed were fixed and sacred to the game itself. From August onwards in 2013… my life pretty much belonged to Final Fantasy XIV until we slowly petered out when we ran out of things we were capable of doing. However we came back and had a renaissance with the game that has continued to the present times with this still being the game we can all sort of agree on.
This is another game that realized its ultimate impact on me long after the year it actually released in. Destiny is a really important game to me for a whole lot of reasons. Firstly it has amazing moment to moment gameplay and it is hands down the best feeling shooter I have ever played. From the moment I heard about the world and the setting I was completely sold… and in truth this is the game that pushed me to buy my way into the current console generation. I got my PS4 console the week the first PlayStation exclusive alpha was happening, and the little I played of it hooked me extremely hard on the concept. Year one had a lot of problems, and I sort of picked at it like you might pick at the remains of a meal you know you are done with… but just keep nibbling on. I did return to paying regularly towards the tail end of the first year, so that I was primed and ready for the launch of The Taken King. From Year Two on however I have been a dedicated acolyte of the world, and own it for both PS4 and Xbox One… and am contemplating making the leap to PC version with the launch of Destiny 2. The game still has some narrative problems, but it does not stop me one bit from enjoying it.
2015: Fallout 4
I love Fallout as a franchise. I still remember saving up the cash to buy the first one when we were in college, and I was completely hooked. I am not old school enough to remember Wasteland fondly, but I have always been a fan of the whole post apocalyptic nukepunk genre. So while I am listing this as my game for 2015… it is a hype cycle that began long before and continues long after. This is still the game I boot up when I am in a specific mood. Similarly I have played Fallout 3 and Fallout New Vegas countless times, and Fallout 4 simply replaces those in succession. This game is proof to me at least that I care far more about systems, and gameplay… than I really do about the main narrative in a game. In fact the only reason why I probably beat this game is because we chose this as our November/December AggroChat game club game for the tail end of 2015. I would probably still be avoiding the main story… and still off on my own having adventures in my head…. which is in truth my preferred method of playing a game. Just talking about the game has given me this huge urge to boot it up… right now… which would be a horrible idea considering I have to go to work.
2016: World of Warcraft: Legion
I have to give a lot of credit here to World of Warcraft and the rebirth of the game that happened with the launch of the Legion expansion. They took a game I thought I no longer really cared about, and was legitimately done caring about…. and turned it into an experience that I rabidly played. I even managed to return to raiding and didn’t check out this time until we were a few bosses into Nighthold… which is in truth way longer than I lasted in Draenor. I’ve reached this point where I am not really playing the game or following it now… but the transformation that took place should nonetheless be honored. They tried a whole bunch of new ideas that they admittedly borrowed from other games… but wove it together in a fashion that felt new and fresh. Similarly I feel like it has to be said that they have done and continue to do a great job of managing patch cycles. They finally broke the “three and done” mold that had happened with Pandaria and Draenor and by all accounts are still releasing interesting content. I know at some point I will return and at the very least finish out the Legion flight meta achievement, but for the time being I am simply not forcing myself to play a game I am not super into. Legion however is probably going to go down in history for me as their best expansion… toppling what was previously my current favorite Wrath of the Lich King.
So now that I have given you mine… what are yours? Feel free to post them in the comments section here… or join in the twitter poll. I am curious to hear everyone’s thoughts.