So Many (Too many?) Games in November

November is just ridiculous. So many games came out and are still coming out on top of what was already a big October.

Fallout 4 came out and I have been experiencing that from a newb’s perspective. I’m taking it slow due to not having a ton of time to commit to playing, but loving the experience. I can see FO4 is easily going to take dozens of hours to do everything I want.

EverQuest has been a big lure for me these past two weeks. In these past two weeks I’ve gone from level 1 to 26 on my Monk on Ragefire, and I am having a blast. Planning to keep this going as long as my friends play. Check out our new little series below.

I’m also devoting a little bit more time to finishing up the last hour or two in Kingdom Hearts. Absolutely loved KH in my first ever play-through, and now I’m faced with having a bazillion more of them to get through before KH3. It’s a mountain I’ll enjoy climbing, but going to take some work to get through them.

Lastly, I’m still working through Assassin’s Creed Syndicate. I will absolutely be writing up a full review on this one. My love for the AC franchise runs deep. Look for that to come in the next week or two.

Now… Star Wars Battlefront goes live in less that two hours. Yeah, ’nuff said.

What I haven’t even had time to acknowledge yet but have added to my Christmas List for friends and family to gift my way:

  • Legacy of the Void
  • Halo 5
  • LEGO Dimensions

How the heck am I supposed to play all of these games?! First world problems, but I haven’t had this predicament in a long, long time. Fantastic problem to have, though I do wish these companies would have come together and decided to space things out a bit.

Are You Brand Loyal?

I was tossing the idea of brand loyalty around in my head this morning as I drove into work. I was thinking about how in the 90s and early 2000’s I was extremely brand loyal to many game franchises and companies. I had lots of faith in those brands/companies and would show that through the typical brand loyalty behaviors. When people are brand loyal they typically purchase without thinking too much about convenience or price. Brand loyal consumers are often unaffected by the marketing efforts of other brands, and sometimes they even disregard the fact that a certain product might be better.

brand loyalty in the gaming industry

Despite how easy it has been to become jaded, I still have elements of brand loyalty hanging in there. For example, I really like Nintendo. I really like their game franchises and I like the company. The Wii U is technologically inferior, and I think Nintendo has–in many ways–screwed up their marketing over the years. However, I still buy Nintendo products and love to be an advocate. I’m a loyal Nintendo fan.

I used to really dislike the Playstation. I was never a big fan. Certainly not to the point of being a loyal consumer. While I still do not consider myself loyal, I will admit that my PS4 is my #1 console these days. I use it for most games, and if possible I will get games on the PS4 over the Xbox One or the Wii U. It simply performs the best. That’s a marked difference between loyalty and preference. I think of it like Nvidia and ATI. I prefer Nvidia because I still see them as more universally supported.

Let’s talk MMOs and companies for a second. Blizzard? I don’t know if I’m brand loyal or not anymore. There was certainly a time when they could do no wrong. Even now I have a lot of respect for the quality of their products. They’ve made and continue to make questionable (read: stupid) decisions that I disagree with, but overall they’ve made and continue to make some of the best games of all time. On the other hand, SOE or Daybreak Games has completely crushed any loyalty I had. I do not trust a single thing they say or make to be worth playing. Yet, and here’s where I struggle, I feel this immense loyalty to the EverQuest brand. I’m drawn to it and feel like no matter what I have to be loyal. It’s pure psychology at this point.

In 2015 I feel like becoming brand loyal is much more difficult in the gaming industry–especially MMOs. The products are really volatile. It’s not like we’re talking about iPhones or body wash–things people can seemingly rely on day to day. Games have this way of being really great or really bad, and more often than not even the great companies release something that blows up in the faces of their players. It’s way too easy these days for gaming companies to let their fans down, and I haven’t seen much in the way of trying to cultivate customer loyalty or build community and following around games anymore. Instead, it’s all about herding sheep with hyping streamers. It’s all flash-in-the-pan tactics. Loyalty? It’s being tossed out the window for snap judgments and cash grabs. If it fails? Try again next year!

What about you? Are you fiercely loyal to any gaming brands, companies franchises?

Part 1: Making some WoW videos. Part 2: Let’s talk MMOs for a second.

Late night weekend update for the blog but I want to squeeze this in before I get too busy. I made a video last night while playing WoW that I wanted to share. I’ve started to notice a theme from some of you surrounding a line of questioning: Do you still play MMOs? Yes, I do. I play World of Warcraft very, very casually.

Since I enjoy making videos about the games I’m playing, I decided to include WoW and start a series showcasing why and how I am having fun back in the MMO I thought I quit a dozen times.

Now let’s chat about part 2 of this little question here. What’s with the state of the MMO industry? If you’re currently playing a handful of MMOs and you’re one of those people who can enjoy GW2 and SWTOR and ArcheAge and WildStar and you never quite understood why the population in those games was dismally low and the servers were merged then this isn’t going to be an answer you’ll comprehend. The MMO industry sucks in 2015, the talent is drying up worse than the reservoirs in California, and most simply aren’t worth the digital space they’re taking up on those MMO news sites desperate for page views.

I certainly do not enjoy them, so I don’t play them. There are a couple… maybe as many as 3… MMOs on the distant horizon worth even thinking about, but I have trouble getting excited right now. I think Camelot Unchained has the most potential for anything related to PvP. They just announced like a bazillion classes would be in the game, and I’ll write something on that soon.  Crowfall … let’s just say I have my “I told you so” post already written. Yeah, that sums it up.

If you use the term correctly, then yes I am jaded. I am tired, bored, and lacking enthusiasm. If you’re using the term incorrectly, you’re probably going to reply with something like, “Well you’re just jaded, Keen!” As if I’m wrong for feeling this way. I refer you to the correct definition. Some people like to call other people jaded as though there is something wrong with those people and the way they see something is inaccurate. I’m being pretty darn upfront here and stating that I’m bored outa my mind with MMOs and can’t find more than a shred of hope for them to improve. If you can give me a reason, I’ll be more than happy to hype it up and show some enthusiasm.

I’d much rather play a ton of fun games out there that aren’t MMOs than sit around and hate “gaming” because MMOs are currently awful. I’m having an awesome time gaming in 2015, and it’s because I got tired of waiting and moved on. Does that mean I won’t play MMOs anymore? Heck no. MMOs are my favorite games. I’m just waiting until they deserve it again, and by waiting I mean playing lots of awesome games.

Torn On Whether or Not to Get LEGO Dimensions

I’m torn. I really, really want everything. If I had all the money in the world then this wouldn’t even be a debate. I’d buy LEGO Dimensions, Skylanders Superchargers, and the rest of Disney Infinity 3.0 and be done with it all. But I don’t, and I can’t, etc. I want to be able to review it all for you guys, but unless the good people at Activision, Traveller’s Tales, and Disney decide to bestow review copies upon me then I’m stuck having to decide to space it out or forgo something.

LEGO Dimensions

Here’s where I’m at. I love Disney Infinity 3.0. Amazing game. Check out my review of the overall game as well as the TotR play set. That wasn’t cheap. I love Disney and their games. I’ve also been a long-time fan of the LEGO game series and what Jon Burton and team have come up with. We’ve played and reviewed them all here on our blog. But LEGO Dimensions isn’t cheap. It’s $100 for the starter set (LEGO markup is real) and about the same price as the other toys-to-life games out there when it comes to play sets and figures, etc.

LEGO Doctor Who

Can I say no to LEGO Doctor Who?!

When I think about it, LEGO Dimensions could technically just be another LEGO game. I’ve played LEGO LotR, LEGO Batman, LEGO et al. Do I need a LEGO game that would run me, bare minimum, $170’ish for what I want? Part of me says yes. Then I think to myself… okay, it’s LEGO. Does it have the building sandbox style of Disney Infinity 3.0 but with LEGOs? Sadly, it doesn’t, which is a huge missed opportunity.

Yet at the same time, Dimensions has a contiguous story across all of their universes which bridges the whole ‘it doesn’t make sense having characters in here that don’t belong’ because inter-dimensional travel is explaining it all. Disney Infinity sorta just throws it all in together and focuses on the characters rather than the ‘universe’ of their ‘infinite possibilities’.

Graev says I should wait for reviews. I want to be one of those reviews, dangit! I want to bring you guys information as soon as I can to help you make an informed decisions on whether or not you should go out there and buy these games. What do you think? Do I wait for reviews and see if LEGO Dimensions is worth it, or do I bite the bullet and pre-order the base game for $100? Your feedback is very, very appreciated. For now, LEGO Dimensions remains on my wishlist.

P.S. I feel like I could write a followup on Skylanders SuperChargers and hit the same chords… maybe I will.

Introducing ‘Keen Plays’

I mentioned a while back that I would start to introduce more video content here on the blog to enhance, augment, or extend our gaming coverage. I’m pleased to say that I finally have things ironed out enough that I can start making these videos somewhat regularly. My first foray into video coverage will be in the form of “Keen Plays.”

As you might have guessed, these are my own personal take on the “Let’s Play” video style. Keen Plays will essentially be video coverage of me playing the games. I might use them to introduce or do an overview of a game to go along with one of my reviews, or simply record what I’m playing that day with a microphone going in the background. I want these to be less ‘produced’ and more ‘Hey guys, I’m playing a game so come watch.”

Video production is still very new to me. I have some tools like Sony Vegas HD and Adobe Premiere Pro. I have a Live Gamer HD Portable that I use to record consoles, and I’m using OBS Broadcaster or simply Windows 10’s new Game DVR to record PC stuff. So far recording is really easy, and I can do it all in 1080p 60FPS. Where I struggle is post production, but I’ll get there eventually. Since I’m not doing this to garner 100,000’s of views and make a living, I feel like as long as my videos enhance the blog coverage then I have met my goal.

The two Keen Plays series up so far are Disney Infinity 3.0 and Super Mario Maker. I’ll go ahead and link the playlists below.

Super Mario Maker

Disney Infinity 3.0

If you looking to stay current on all of my Keen Plays videos you can visit the Keen Plays page, or visit the Keen and Graev Youtube Page where you’ll find all of our videos. Oh, and let me clarify that Keen Plays are just one of several types of videos we’ll be doing. I’m going to try my hand at formal video reviews for games (to go along with my written reviews and essentially be the same content but with video), as well as other video coverage. We’ll see how it goes, but for now Keen Plays are the for sure thing.

I hope you enjoy!