Another year has come and gone. As I reflect on a year of blogging, gaming, and industry events, I’m full of mixed emotions. Let’s take a walk down memory lane.
Keen and Graev’s Gaming Blog in 2012
We had more traffic this year than ever before! We started blogging in February 2007 meaning we’re almost six years old. I’m extremely proud that last year we grew our daily readership by 53%. That’s insane! I can’t believe so many more people now visit us daily compared to the start of 2011. We didn’t hype any major MMO releases, come up with any new phrases adopted by the industry, or receive any magical exclusives to drive traffic. I think the biggest increases came from two blog posts that were done simply to help people:
- Diablo 3 stuck at “Updating Setup Files” Fix – We came up with a fix to help thousands of people get Diablo 3 to install.
- Wii U WiFi Connection Error Fix (103-1001, 101-1002) – The Wii U launched with issues connecting to certain routers. We came up with a very quick fix that was linked around the web on dozens of major sites including Nintendo’s.
Each of the above brought in hundreds of thousands of people. Maybe this means we should go into tech support instead of musing about games all day?
I’m always fascinated by how I wrote during the year. Some years I’m hyped up, others I’m negative. Some years I feel full of ideas and inspired to share my thoughts on how games should be made, and others I just analyze what’s happening. This year was really ‘matter of fact’. I commented a lot on the state of things. Although this isn’t my favorite style (I prefer sharing ideas I have for how games can be made) it was needed, and fit the events of 2012.
‘Sandbox vs. Themepark’ and ‘Old school vs. A New Trope’ were extremely hot topics that came up in some form every month. I didn’t debate F2P as much as I did in 2011 because that topic took a back seat to analyzing why games are 3 monthers, or why MMOs die. I think we really dug into what MMOs are doing to deserve their classification, and discovered together what makes them fail and succeed. I’ve had a wonderful time learning from what you have to say in the comments. Keep it up!
Check out more of my 2012 in review including my year-end thoughts on specific MMO’s after the break.
The MMOs of 2012
This year was full of disappointments for me. Sure, there were some good moments even in the worst of the bunch, but I can’t shake the feeling that I never found a game this year that really made an impact. There was a huge rise in the “play to beat” or “please to consume” themepark trend, and I didn’t branch out far beyond the norm.
Star Wars The Old Republic – Carrying over from 2011, SWTOR started strong but quickly burned out for me and the likely the rest of you. The emphasis on story proved a bust, and it turned out that having your own story and playing a single-player MMO aren’t as important as other features.
Guild Wars 2 – I loved playing Guild Wars 2 my first time through. ArenaNet did a great job with most of the content, did some much needed innovating, and really progressed the buy-to-play trend. GW2 is “play to beat”, though. Sure, I did in 3 weeks what some people are taking 3 months to do, but that doesn’t negate the fact that there is very little to keep me playing. Content is king in a themepark, and there wasn’t enough for me to justify logging in. I plan to return in January to see what’s new. As for the WvW PvP… it’s good. It’s not great, or long-term, but it’s closer to what I want that most other games. I hope 2013 brings a lot of changes to help the WvW improve.
World of WarCraft: Mists of Pandaria – I returned to WoW in mid October and played for a little over a month. I leveled a Pandaren Shaman from 1-90 and saw all of the raid content available at the time thanks to raid finder. Unlike Cataclysm, the 5-man dungeons are actually fun; The raids were interesting, and zones were fun to hang out in. I don’t regret playing to see Pandaria, and I’m glad I was able to get WoW out of my system for a while.
Planetside 2 – The worst thing I can say about PS2 is it had poor timing. Launching when I went home for Thanksgiving meant I couldn’t play for two weeks at launch or much after due to test season starting shortly after. I haven’t been able to play as much as I would like, but what I have played I enjoy. I think SoE has done themselves a great favor by launching a game that isn’t hated by most who try it. They’ve also done a good job with their F2P model. If they can take the same model and apply it to a MMORPG instead of a MMOFPs then they may actually be the first to do a cash shop right.
Playing More than MMOs
I played more non-MMOs this year than the past few years combined. I made a goal (about two year ago maybe?) to branch out and play more console games, avoid missing major titles, and allow myself to indulge in more playing and less waiting. Do you have the same problem I do where you spend more time sitting waiting for a game to launch than you do playing it? I’m trying to overcome that problem.
Anyhow, I loved the new Batman franchise, Skyrim, Borderlands 2, Kingdoms of Amalur, Torchlight 2, Orcs Must Die! 2, and a handful of others like DOTA2. I think my biggest disappointment of the year for non-MMOs was Mass Effect 3. I had hopes for it to really end the series for me in a big way, but I felt confused the whole time and still hate the ending.
2012 was a decent year for blogging. Despite our blog’s growth, I look back and wish we had more to talk about. Let’s hope that developers like SoE, who plan to take things in a new direction (EverQuest 3?), and Blizzard, who may finally give us a look at the “next generation” (Titan?), give us a reason to debate and learn together. And I think we’re all ready for some developer, old or new, to come along and turn the gaming industry upside down.
Tomorrow I’ll share with you my gaming and blogging goals for 2013!