Almost missed this one. That’s one of the hazards of working from home; it’s easy to lose track of the days. But I remembered. Yay! And on this day, nine years ago I published my first post the imaginatively titled, Welcome.
Things have changed a lot in the days since then. When I look back at those early posts, I notice a distinct improvement in my writing. That comes from practice, but also from confidence. I remember struggling to come up with ideas in those first posts. I don’t have that problem as much anymore.
When I started blogging, I was pretty much exclusively playing World of Warcraft with my titular character as Marksman specc’d Orc hunter. I was in a guild at the time, Ministry of Offence, which was a great bunch of guys and girls that unfortunately imploded in guild drama somewhere around a year or two later (iirc.)
Since then I’ve altaholic’d my way through a number of games, met a lot of fun people, and thoroughly enjoyed myself. There’s been Warhammer, Fallen Earth, The Secret World, TESO, and a few others I can’t recall at the moment.
There have been a lot of notable moments over the years. Here are a few:
On a raid in the Molten Core (vanilla WoW) and we’ve just got the the area with the giant hellhounds and are taking a loo break. When all of a sudden a troll starts spinning around, and then runs straight towards the giant mutts which promptly stomp the troll. And the turn towards the group, half of which are AFK relieving themselves (or making coffee.) Not unsurprising it was a route, which required a run back and a fight back to that spot. We never did manage to get past those doggies. Hmmmm.
Opening day of Warhammer Online in the Orc starting area (forgive me if I don’t remember all the details in these reminisces.) It was so electric and alive. PC’s running back and forward. NPC orcs banging on drums. The atmosphere was memorable. It’s a pity that game didn’t succeed. It wasn’t that long before that starting area was just like most games starting areas.
Lord of the Rings Online. There were a couple of times when I came over a rise, or into a new area, and just had to stop and look around. Man LotRO was (is) a beautiful game. It’s probably the nicest looking game that I’ve played, with Conan perhaps taking second place. Pity Turbine hasn’t responded to my requests for help to get my lifetime account back. Oh well.
The generosity of other players comes to mind. There were a number of times that some random player dropped some plat on me, or helped out in some way. That’s not to say there weren’t some jerks around, but the good memories overtake the bad ones.
Where do I begin?
The games that I play, as mentioned above have changed over the years. And to be honest I’m not all that keen on some of the changes.
I mentioned in another post that I played a little bit of free WoW a couple of weeks ago, and was quite disappointed in the change to the way that Talents were handled. I know that some applaud this, but personally I like to work some of this out. I feel like MMORPGs have been dumbed down. It’s one of the reasons I’m enthusiastic about Project: Gorgon. I’m aching for a good sandbox, but also something with a little less cookie cutter, and a bit more diversity.
I’m also playing a lot more single player at the moment. Time is still a factor, otherwise my Steam catalogue would be getting hammered, but I’ve been mostly single playing when I get the chance.
Currently on the slate is some Terraria. There’s some cathartic about digging (that’s what I liked about Minecraft too.) Terraria has recently been updated, so I updated, cleaned off my pick and got started.
I’ve also been getting my devil on. Season 4 of Diablo 3 has just started, and since I haven’t done a season yet I started a seasonal Crusader at Master level and started bashing away. Pinkerton the Crusader is currently at level 43 and is my highest level D3 character. (My first Stropp the Demon Hunter only got to 32 after completing the unexpanded campaign. My aim is to get Pinkerton to 60/70 so that I can unlock the Torment levels and start doing the non-campaign rifts.
Perhaps the biggest change I’ve noticed over the last nine years, aside from the games themselves, has been the community.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s still a lot of great folks playing, but the MMORPG community has changed a lot. I mentioned above that player generosity was memorable, but there seems to be a lot less of it these days. Players don’t seem to interact with each other as much for one thing.
I reckon the games themselves have contributed to this. Everquest 2 made it impossible to help other players in need. Prior to EQ2, players would give drive-by buffs and heals. I received heals when fighting mobs and things weren’t going so well by players just running past. I did the same myself. Then EQ2 prevented that when engaged in combat and not grouped. It was meant, I think, to prevent players from twinking and powerleveling friends, and to stop kill stealing which it did, but it also had the effect of training players to not help and keep on running.
And it’s been well documented how Blizzards changes to grouping to make it easier has destroyed much of the sense of community in that game.
It is a shame. I do hope that developers start to build community into the next lot of games. It isn’t just about forced grouping though.
Who knows what the future brings?
I haven’t really be closely following any upcoming games. I’m keeping an eye on Gorgon, The Repopulation, and Everquest Next, but I’m also curious about Richard Garriotts new game , Shroud of the Avatar. It looks like it might be going in the direction of some early games.
I suspect that developers have finally given up on the idea of the WoW-killer, that there will be a game like WoW perhaps that will steal Blizzards lunch and dominate the industry. As good as World of Warcraft has been for MMOs, there have also been negatives the greatest being that everyone bought into the fiction that WoW-like was the only way to design a MMORPG. (To be fair, Everquest started this trend.) Let’s hope that MMOG developers can take a step back and start getting experimental again.
Okay. Well that’s a lot of rambling. What more to say?
If you’re still reading. Thanks. While I write this blog for me, there’s still a desire to be read. I appreciate all my readers and the time you take to read my wonky words. Cheers.