Time Capsule 2017

So I decided several years ago not to do predictions anymore.  It just wasn’t fun to write or to look back on.  What I did enjoy, I realized was what I thought I would be doing in the year to come versus what I actually ended up doing.   It is self-evaluation of sorts, allowing myself and others a chance to laugh at my naivete at the opening of a new year.

Unfortunately I never got around to one last year.  Not that it mattered much.  My computer problems dragged on forever, and I spent little time  in MMO’s outside of returning to The Old Republic for a bit from enforced movie nostalgia.

But this year could be quite different, as there are a few games hanging in the balance for me and a few surprises already.  So here is where I am at, right now:

What I’m Looking Forward To in 2017

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Exploring more of Black Desert Online.

I will write a whole post on this long convoluted story.   But for now, when BDO offered up a free 7 day trial in December, alongside a very generous 50% off discount for the base game (BDO is B2P), making it only $5 if I did like it, I jumped in.  And it has been nothing short of intriguing to me.   I’m still only level 19, but its captured something in me I haven’t felt in a long time in an MMO, and I’ve very anxious to see how far it takes me in 2017.

More World of Tanks Tournaments.

When I got back into World of Tanks, I noticed that they had started some 1v1 tournaments.  Lasting only an hour, and paying out at least a little gold to anyone who bothered to show up and play, I decided having a little extra gold to convert my backlog of free xp, and a way to vent my competitive nature, was worth the hour.   And they have been great!  Thursday evenings and Saturday afternoons, I’m usually geared out for an hour, and its rare for me to not finish in the top three.  Its gone from scratch gold for xp conversion to very nearly covering my monthly subscription.   And since WoT is a pay-to-remove-frustration model of game, I’ve found the game noticeably less frustrating when I have a 500-1000 gold a week allowance coming in.   I’m hoping maybe to find some others and graduated into the platoon sized tournaments (3v3) as the year goes on.

Cloud Pirates.

I got into the Closed Beta finally at Christmas, but just didn’t have time to play.  But this little gem looks like a lot of fun.   Steampunk airship pirate MOBA just has a nice ring to it.  It may not be anything like what I’m envisioning, but it sounds like fun.  And surprisingly enough I seem to truly enjoy the MOBA experience.  Which leads me to one of my burning questions for 2017.

 

My Burning Questions For 2017

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So England is in a cave now?  I don’t get it.

Will Star Citizen finally go supernova?

I feel like this year will be the year that the game finally has to make some tangible progress towards a playable beta environment or the wheels are going to start to fall off in a much more noisy and public fashion than they have thus far.  Again, think about the sheer volume of the wailing people did over No Man’s Sky, and then try to imagine the outrage if Star Citizen is anything less than everything they have publicly promised.

Or hey, maybe it ships and its the paragon MMO that everyone has been waiting for.  If so, you can still get in the alpha for the low low price of $35 by purchasing the hilariously named “Warbond” edition.  If you are still a true believer, you are a little late to the bandwagon I’m afraid.  The $400+ packages are out of stock, meaning you’ll have to settle for something in the $275 range.

What of my depressing Steam Back Catalogue?

I spent exactly $2.50 in the Steam Winter Sale, despite having a record number of games at my trigger threshold (higher than a 50% discount).   And that’s probably because with my online troubles this year, I’ve gone back through and played perhaps a dozen of my backlogged games that I bought on sale here and there, and realized that I didn’t really like any of them.

Sunless Sea, Disciples III, Joe Dever’s Lone Wolf, Thea: The Awakening, D&D: Chronicles of Mystara, Betrayer, Just Cause 2, and Panzer Corps join the list of previous disappointments, including Star Ruler, Hearts of Iron III, Might&Magic X, Star Ruler, State of Decay, Warlock:Master of the Arcane, Breath of Death VII, and Ys Origin.   That’s 16 of the 66 titles I’ve recently played so its not like I have a giant pile of worthless games.  But for all my discrimination and laser like precision in picking games and buying them cheap, that’s a lot of misses.   Technically I still half my catalogue unplayed though, and the idea that a quarter of all of them weren’t worth even the $2 I played (from my perspective) is disheartening.   I’m going to commit to trying a new game from my back catalogue every month, and giving a report on it.   But I have a feeling the “thumbs downs” may equal the “thumbs ups.”

What of Armored Warfare’s Balance 2.0?

I’ve spoken of this a few times now and I’m currently intrigued.   Early reports off the Russian PTS is that the new game mechanics are in need of tweaking, but a large boost in the enjoyment and playability of the game.   High tier vehicles just hit the PTS yesterday, and that will be the real question.   If this works, it will be a re-investment in the game here in NA, with advertising and a “Grand Opening” (or “Launch” if you want to believe Obsidian’s propoganda), in hopes of making the NA server viable again, especially for PvP.  The groundwork is already there – I had a chance to try the new Global Ops mode in the last couple of weeks, and it is absolutely stunning and engaging.  It mixes elements of regular MOBA’s with elements of FPS shooters like Battlefield, but from the highly successful UI/Control/Mechanics standpoint of World of Tanks.   But can they build the momentum and CU needed to be successsful here?   We will see.

Bonus: More MOBA’s?

Heroes of the Storm?  League of Legends?  Dota?  I’m wondering, given my enjoyment of Wargaming’s products, if maybe I should be embracing things I have previously firmly rejected.  Part of me says that they are too twitch and I am too old.   But part of me wonders if it is not at least worth downloading and playing a few games, just to see what it is all about.   It would seem remiss for me, as a PC gamer who spends a lot of time online, to not at least explore the phenomenon.   To me it would be like being a music lover in the middle of the century and declining to listen to Rock n Roll.   I may end up not really liking it, but it would be hard to deny the impact of the movement, right?

 

Where Will I Go In 2017

In a bit of a change, this is not strictly a nostalgia category any more.  But more a list of where I think I will head in general.

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SWTOR could learn a thing or two from this…

World of Warcraft?

This one is something of a gimme.   I was actually subbed up for December before BDO stole my attention.   But I was very much enjoying and impromptu return.  I dusted off my old characters, and was impressed with all the game changes that have been brought in.  My characters are, if anything, even more fun than they were before.   But my struggle here is one of lore.  I just don’t have a deep tie to the world and what is going on in it.  Which means I have to rely on the mechanics to keep me playing.   And while it does what it does well, I would not accuse WoW of having engaging mechanics.  While my higher level characters have been fun to pick up, at lower levels I’m still pushing the same three buttons.  Over.  And over.  And over.   This is a weakness that the millions who still play WoW probably don’t have to deal with.  But it is one for me, and it might be a deal breaker.

Something On Cooldown?

I have a folder on my desktop labeled “On Cooldown.”  Now that I have plenty of storage space, I have a bunch of games loaded that I’m not actually playing.   So any of them might be a good candidate for a 2017 return.   Currently in that folder:   Star Trek Online, Elder Scrolls Unlimited, TERA, War Thunder, World of Warships, World of Warplanes, and the venerable Uncharted Waters Online.

3rd Person Paradise?

I have realized that while first person games are increasingly hard for me to do (No Man’s Sky being a rare exception), third person games are increasingly comfortable for me.  A lot of my solo time this year was spent in Saint’s Row 3, Anima: Gate of Memories (holy hell is that a bad game…that deserves its own post right htere), Star Wars: Battlefront II,  Transformers: Devastation, Sleeping Dogs, The Witcher 1 and 2, and most recently, The Division.

So I think I will have to dig in my catalogue and try Darksiders I and II, Deus Ex, and others.  And go back through some of the first person games and try them in third person just to see if it makes a difference for me.  And probably most importantly, given what I’ve learned, tailor my future Steam and GoG purchases into new categories.  Maybe games like Assassin’s Creed, Dark Souls, and Tomb Raider are my speed, even if I didn’t previously think that they were.

 

Well that’s a mammoth post isn’t it?   Feel free to comment your feedback or leave your own Time Capsule moments here for me to revisit in January of 2018!

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