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The Council of Gaming Elders

I had a very interesting dream last night. I was evaluating the current state of MMORPGs and decided that the current state of affairs had gone on for too long. Our beloved hobby and industry was degrading past the point of recovery. I took action into my own hands and called a Council of the Gaming Elders.

I was standing in a dimly lit room with a solid round wooden table in the center. A chandelier with glowing blue flames hung above. There were 6 chairs. As I stood at my seat the other Elders entered, each announced by a low voice. First to enter was Mark Jacobs. He stood next to the seat at my right — the table in front of his seat embossed with the realm triad from Dark Age of Camelot. Next to enter was Raph Koster stood by his place marked by a lightsaber crossing a crafting station and house. Steve Danuser was next and took his place by a lore book.  Dave Georgeson entered next and stood near his place marked by a map. Last to enter was Mike Morhaime who took his place next to a seat marked with golden coins.

Once all of the Elders had entered, we sat together in unison. I began the meeting by stating that I had called them all there to discuss how we can restore these games to their true potential. Each of them possessed talents necessary for restoring MMORPGs to their previous state. What followed was an enlightening discussion and meeting of the minds. Each Elder brought up ideas and we began to craft the perfect game… the game to restore balance. It ended with the Elders departing, each committed to bringing their resources together to make this game (which we completely planned out) happen.

I don’t know why my mind chose these people. Mark Jacobs is an obvious one because he has become a friend and I value his contribution to PvP and the MMO community. Raph Koster is someone I’ve always thought of as a virtual world connoisseur. Steve Danuser is someone who gets the idea of a living world and I like his sense of lore and continuity. Dave Georgeson because he is attached to EverQuestand I respect him as a person and his career. Lastly, Mike Morhaime (who surprised me since I thought this would be Chris Metzen) because of his position over WoW.

The game we designed was ideal. That’s the general impression I get. I remember only minor thoughts I was having during the dream. This perfect MMORPG was some sort of mix of every game these Elders had worked out. I was in charge of the vision and I know that I felt like this was the true spiritual successor to every ‘great’ game I remember playing from 1996-2004.

I woke up feeling like I had accomplished some great work. For a moment I was even anxious to go play this game. If only…

Keen’s Christmas List

The first wave of holiday shenanigans is over, and it’s back to the grind for another few weeks before one begins. As part of our usual posting this time of year we like to put up a Holiday Buyer’s Guide. This year we are going to do something a little different.  Instead of showcasing a bunch of games we’ve likely already reviewed, I’m going to share what’s on my personal Christmas list. These are things I want but haven’t yet purchased or received as a gift.

Board Games

This year is going to go down as the year of board games. Last year, and much of the earlier part of this year, Graev and I started collecting and diving into the world of dice and meeples. Board games have provided a much more imaginative and at times deeper ‘gaming’ experience than video games. While our video games have become more shallow and repetitive, board games are growing in complexity and offering all sorts of adventures. Clicking on any of them will take you to Amazon where you can learn about the games and read reviews (very helpful actually).

Shadows Over Camelot

7 Wonders

smallworld

munchkin

Other games on my list include: Dominion, The Settlers of Catan, and various expansions to all of these games.

Video Games

Here’s a category I’m really quite sad about this year. Usually I have at least 4-5 strong titles on my list, but this year my list is smaller and I’m not positive about some of them. I really, really wish EverQuest Next or H1Z1 were out so that I could put a Station Pass on my list, or some Station cash. I just have no reason to buy any of that yet. I think 2015 will be an easy year for PC gaming.

Pokemon Alpha Sapphire
dragon-age-inquisition

assassins-creed-unity

Pretty simple list this year. I’ve tossed in the idea of an iPad if anyone is feeling particularly rich this year, but otherwise this is it. I benefit from having a Birthday in February, so anything I miss or that releases just after the new year carries over quite nicely.

I’m also, for the first time ever, in this weird mindset of wanting non-gaming things. I’ve spent the last week pouring over my wedding registry and spending way more time in Target, Bed Bath & Beyond, and Macy’s than I ever imagined I could possibly stomach. I find myself wanting spatulas and towels…

What’s on your list this year? Did I forget anything? Please let me know so that I can get my list out there to the people who are starting to form a mob threatening my life if I don’t tell them what I want.

Outlandish Gear

wow-tier-17

World of Warcraft started the whole crazy gear trend. Gear in raids has always been more elaborate, but when it comes to massive shoulder pads, flaming eye-hole-thingies, and ridiculousness, WoW remains king. The preview for Tier 17 (sheesh) was revealed by Blizzard today. Is it outlandish (pun intended) enough for you?

paladin-original-cats

Paladin from Dark Age of Camelot

The point of today’s post is not necessarily to discuss WoW latest fashion trends. I’m thinking about gear in general. On one extreme there’s WoW. The other side of the coin is realism with basic chainmail, leather, etc. It’s plain. There’s something authentic about it, especially if wearing it matters more than looking cool in it. More on that tomorrow.

I like somewhere in the middle. I remember the raid gear in EverQuest and Dark Age of Camelot. Those looked just cool enough for me. Ornate enough to stand out yet at least within the realm of fantasy believability.

What do you prefer? Do you prefer the glowing eyes and flaming swords or the realistic metal?

The Waiting Game

Sorry for such a huge lag between posts! I haven’t felt inspired to write anything intriguing, analytical, inflammatory, or hyping. As I mentioned last post, I’m not playing WoD. My friends are all playing — even the ones who swore they were done with WoW. I don’t blame them. I myself, even after saying I didn’t want to play, have the itch to just jump in and level then quit.

This weird holding pattern I’m in for the first time in my life has me intrigued. I’m not actively playing any games. I dabble here and there on Fridays and weekends, but nothing is really luring me in with a huge temptation. Normally I’d be playing WoW or muddling about between games and feeling that longing for a game to just dive into. It’s that ‘between major MMOs’ feeling. I hate that feeling. … but I don’t have it.

I’m busy doing other things I have to get done right now, and I’m grateful to not have any distractions. I’m also grateful that I can recognize I’m not burnt out. Just the opposite: I’m waiting for those next games to come out (EQ Next, Camelot Unchained, etc.) but not having to suffer through the wait.

A couple of games launched recently that I want to try out. I want to give Assassin’s Creed Unity a go but I’ve heard some horrible things about bugs. Anyone try it out? I’m also looking at Dragon Age Inquisition which I think is out today… that’s also tempting. Maybe I’ll add these games to my Christmas list. If you have early thoughts to share on either game, don’t spoil the stories but share with me what you think!

Something else I’ve noticed… there are a few games in development, but there isn’t a lot of talk about doing things differently, or theorycrafting, or devs really making their games a discussion point. That’s something I thrive on for commentary. I suspect it’s due to the time of year and the current MMO landscape (WoD launching is a pretty big reason to hibernate for a month or two).

New Game De-Hype

You know how a highly anticipated title will release and everyone is super excited to play it, but then most people stop playing it after like a week or two tops? What’s that phenomenon called? It’s similar to the MMO 3 monther except it mostly occurs with non-MMO titles.

It happens all the time with games like Call of Duty, Titanfall, sometimes Battlefield, or even a couple MMOs… to be honest I think Wildstar was a 3 weeker. Titanfall in particular I played for maybe a week.  I’m seeing a trend now that I think about it… shooters tend to be that way. I’m also guilty of it in games like Mario Kart and Pokemon. So it’s not an issue of the games sucking — some definitely do, though.

No hook? Good enough to enjoy then put down? New game comes out then two weeks later another new game comes out? I’m trying to figure this one out. Give me your thoughts if you too have observed the huge excitement for a game to release only to play it briefly and put it down.