Final Fantasy X “To Zanarkand” on Piano

My wife has arranged another video game song! You guys requested “To Zanarkand” from FFX, and she happily put my EverQuest requests aside. Grumble…. Nevertheless, “To Zanarkand” is a really pretty song. Such a calming, almost haunting melody. I’m honestly not very familiar with FFX, but listening to the song and looking at pictures I can surmise that Zanarkand felt like a once great city, and now lies in ruins.

Definitely visit her Musical Bri Youtube Channel and subscribe/like/etc. You’ll make her day.

If you have more requests let her know! She’s actually reading your comments. I’m expecting my EverQuest next (no pun intended for those paying attention)…

In somewhat (loosely) relataed news, I have started playing Final Fantasy Explorers. Initial impressions are very favorable, and I can tell you now I’m already liking it more than the Monster Hunter series. Much more my pace and style.

Wrapping up January

I want to do a bit of a catch-up post to end January. Is this year really already down by an entire month? Crazy. I have had a really wild past two weeks in terms of everything I have going on. Some of you have left comments with the sentiment that when you focus on your professional lives with the same intensity as you normally would gaming, then you can see some incredible results. I can wholeheartedly agree with and say that I have seen the same outcome myself. Busy is good, but it means sometimes not getting as many posts up as I would like. I’ll figure out a balance.

Personally, I’ve not only improved the work at my day job, but also in my own personal side gig as well as my wife’s music business. I’m doing marketing consulting work on the side for small businesses. I enjoy being able to help companies realize their potential when they actively, and intelligently, properly identify and work toward accomplishing their marketing goals. As for my wife, I’ve done a bit of ‘marketing’ for her as well and she’s grown from having a little website bringing in a little bit of money to a thriving music business where her schedule is packed and she’s thriving — it’s incredibly satisfying to see that happen for her so quickly.

Gaming Lately

My gaming scene has been a little bit weird of late. I finished up all of the Disney Infinity 3.0 games, and I’m finishing up a few games in my backlog. A big part of my play time lately has been invested in Diablo 3’s newest season, but the initial surge is dwindling (thanks to deflating RNG hating me). EQ is still my big obsession. My Cleric is level 18, and I think I like playing him more than my Necromancer! Maybe it’s that I enjoy getting groups.

What I’m Playing Next

I have a few big games coming on my list that I will be writing about and making some videos to show off.

  • Final Fantasy Explorers on 3DS – It’s like an action RPG meets MMO meets Monster Hunter.
  • Xenoblade Chronicles on Wii U – Big RPG that I haven’t dived into, but it’s next on my list.
  • Just Cause 3 – This will be a nice evening go-to game to blow stuff up.

The MMO ‘Drought’ 

It continues… really, there’s nothing out right now except for EverQuest that comes even close to satisfying a TRUE MMORPG experience.  Albion Online is doing a nice job, but still in closed beta until the end of the year. I did promise Werit I would take a video of the private islands — sorry, I haven’t forgotten! I have the video and I’ll upload it for you tonight.

“Traverse Town” Theme on Piano (Arranged by my wife!)

One of the benefits of being married to a very talented musician is that on a Sunday afternoon I can ask her to listen to some video game music then on the spot create a custom arrangement and play for me.

As I’ve mentioned in the past, Bri really enjoyed watching me play through Kingdom Hearts. I didn’t have to try hard to convince her to create a custom arrangement of “Traverse Town” and put it on Youtube for me.  Enjoy!

I think I’ve even convinced her to take requests, so if you’d like to hear something let me know. I’m working on getting an EverQuest theme or two from her, and definitely something from Zelda, Mario, and Minecraft.

The Effects of an Aging Player Population

The bulk of EverQuest’s current population has to be 30+. EQ originally came out in 1999, and I was 15 years old. I’m now 31 years old, and I can remember even back then that most players were older. That was back when MMOs weren’t even MMOs. That terminology didn’t even exist back when EQ first originally launched. We were still toying with what to call these online graphic DikuMUD things.

Now, 16 years later, on a niche game running niche rulesets with a specific niche holdout community, it’s not farfetched to think the average player has to be older. What does that mean for the community?

Maturity & Civility

You would think so, but really people are still immature asses. The “barrens chat” isn’t at a high school or college level; instead it’s about social security. People are still idiots. The people who would have been the offenders 16 years ago, or on a modern MMO, are the same type of people they are even when older. Camps are stolen, scams are run, intentional training runs rampant, etc. People are people.

Playtimes

Here’s an interesting one. I’ve been complaining about getting groups lately, and I didn’t stop to think about why it may be such an issue. I play at prime time when I get home from work. If everyone is my age or older, we all have full time jobs, spouses, kids, etc., in a higher concentration than most newer games. No wonder it’s difficult, right? 95% of the population all wants a group at the exact same time I do.

I’ve seen on more than one occasion people saying that the server is dead in the mornings and you can practically get whatever camp you want. Well that makes sense. I also have noticed firsthand how in the 7:30-8:00pm range that suddenly a lot of people all have to log off — bed time? Yep, that’s when I usually let my groups know I need a replacement.

Economics

EverQuest operates on the usual $15/month subscription, at least for the progression servers. However, Krono and in-game potions/boosts are common too. I keep seeing so many people uses potions and the Krono market is definitely a regular part of the economy beyond what I would have expected for a niche game. Why? Again, the average player has a job. We aren’t starving college students or teenagers begging our parents for cash anymore. Most people just buy what they want, when they want it. This absolutely plays a part in EverQuest.

Design Choices

Although pretty much nonexistent in terms of developing or designing the game since we’re just playing an old game anyway, I have to wonder if (hopefully) Daybreak games makes their decisions knowing their players are older. In H1Z1 they push hoodies and gimmicks. In EQ they push nostalgia and convenience. Why does this server exist anyway? To relive the past.

I do wonder what MMOs as a whole would be like if everyone was older and the average player’s age was closer to 40. The choices devs make to capture the 40 year old vs. the 18-24 year old would certainly make MMORPGs different. Just something to think about this Monday morning as you sit at work waiting to get home and play. 😉

Most Anticipated Games of 2016

Let’s kick the new year off with a look at the games I am most looking forward to in 2016. Funny enough, two of the games I wanted to see in 2015 aren’t out yet and may not even make a 2016 launch. I’ll go ahead and keep those on my list this year.

The Legend of Zelda Open World

The Legend of Zelda Wii U (Hopefully)

The big open-world Zelda game for the Wii U is looking more and more like it won’t make it onto NIntendo’s current gen console. Everything I’m reading indicates we may see a dual launch on both the Wii U and the NX. Nintendo wasn’t happy with it the game so they went back to the drawing board which never bodes well. This time last year not much was certain about this upcoming Zelda game, and now I can’t say we’re much closer to any answers. I just have this awesome image of a Zelda game set in a world that is open and akin to an Elder Scrolls game. Do I have delusions of grandeur? Yes, absolutely.

Horizon Zero Dawn

Yeah… watch the trailer.

Easily near the top of my anticipated list.

No Man’s Sky

We have an announce date! June 2016. Exploring galaxies, planets, mountains, moons, and space all seamlessly and procedurally generated… sounds like a blast. I imagine it being something like a mix of Terraria, Rust/Ark, and Space Engineers. I haven’t spent much time researching the details, but I know that there will be 18 quintillion planets, and no NPCs.

The “game” part of NMS still eludes me. What is the point? Just explore? I think there’s enormous potential to be a disappointment if there isn’t a ‘point’ to the game.

scalebound

Scalebound

I saw this announced at one of the conventions this year and thought it looked really neat. The gist is that you are bonded to a Dragon and fight big monsters. You have a dragon arm, can use melee weapons, and play with other friends to tackle big bosses. It simply looks cool.

Honorable Mentions:

  • Overwatch
  • Uncharted 4
  • Mass Effect: Andromeda
  • Gears of War 4

I think 2016 will be a great year, and thankfully I think there will be a few fewer launches to flood the second half of the year. I’m looking forward to playing all of these, as well as having a good amount of time to hunker down and enjoy some MMORPG playing (mostly EverQuest) while waiting on a few MMOs that are nowhere near 2016 — hopefully I can add Camelot Unchained to the top of my 2017 anticipated games list.