2010 in Review pt. 1

Another year has come and gone quickly for the gaming universe.  Sometimes it feels like all these years bleed together and I can’t recall what released in 2010 or 2009 and sometimes I’m not even sure if I enjoyed this year of gaming or not.  This is why I’m so glad that I have a website where I write my thoughts because I can look back at the end of the year and see a clearly outlined narrative.

Each year I try, like many others, to make predictions.  It’s fun to see how close to the mark I was with my Nostradamus skills.  Granted, some of these are obvious but some of last year’s predictions actually have a little depth to them if I twist them a bit.  Let’s see how I did.

1. Star Trek Online
– I was dead on.  The game flopped with a resounding “bummer”.

2. SWTOR – Didn’t release this year and we did get an “after April” type announcement for 2011.  I believe it’s avoiding Cataclysm like it should.

3. Cataclysm
– This was like saying the sun will rise, but I was close to the release date.  My prediction of some huge upset could be the Real ID fiasco.

4. Free to play Games
– As much as I dislike it, I was right.  Look at what F2P did this last year: LotRO went F2P, EQ2 has a F2P option now, WAR is offering their first tier F2P, and we are seeing them rise.  Luckily it’s taking a back seat still.

5 & 6.
We barely heard anything about Diablo 3 and weirdly SC2 seems to have not made as big of an impact as I had hoped.

7. FFXIV – This one is where I’ll twist it a bit.  It did release in 2010, but did it?  They’re still letting people play for free and promises of big changes as a sort of relaunch are planned for early 2011.  In a way, I was right?

8. Global Agenda – I think I was dead on with this one too.  The game sorta faded away and even the developers decided to make the game that should have been made by purchasing the Tribes franchise.

9. PC Gaming – We had a good year with PC games.  There’s still great hope.

10. New Console and Zelda – We did get the Nintendo 3DS and Zelda was announced for the Wii.

Not bad if I do say so myself.

Looking back now at 2010, it wasn’t too bad for gaming as a whole.  It certainly wasn’t bad for console gaming which is evident by the massive stack of games that Graev played through: Halo Reach, Dead Rising 2, Red Dead Redemption, Mario Galaxy 2, and the list goes on and on.  We had Black Ops release in November for PC and console which I did not even know existed last year.  Cataclym’s launch in December is almost unfair to count, but it still slid in.

If we look specifically at the MMO’s that released, it was another year of flops.  Here’s a few that I know by name but there are many I don’t.

  • Mortal Online – Not finished and just a shell of a game
  • Perpetuum – Have any of you even heard of it?  I can’t call it a flop but it’s on the list because it’s unknown. I like it more than EVE but 90% of you probably don’t know what it is even about.
  • Star Trek Online – Just bad.
  • Allods – Confirmed that F2P destroys games when it went from awesome in beta to garbage at launch.
  • Global Agenda – All around Meh.

This year’s MMO crown definitely goes to World of Warcraft for being the most reliable gaming experience.  Say what you will about the game, but even if you dislike it you can’t deny the quality it brought to the year amidst a sea of unreliability and let down.  Despite my distaste for the path they’re taking, I would probably tip my hat to LotRO then EQ2 for reasons mentioned above.

In part 2 of my look back at 2010 I’m going to evaluate how I did on my gaming New Year’s made last year.  We’ll also be making our predictions and analysis of particular games and their potential coming up in 2011.

Happy Halloween 2010 from Keen and Graev!

Happy Halloween everyone!  We hope that you enjoy this holiday as much as we do.  It’s a night of warm chili and cornbread, apple cider, pajamas, and family for us.

Halloween, although not anywhere near the date when we started our blog (February 2007), has become a tradition of “where are we now?” here on the blog.   In 2007, when we first started the tradition, we were playing EQ2 on Antonia Bayle,  2008 was spent in Warhammer Online, and 2009 was oddly enough spent in Aion.  This year we are extremely happy to find ourselves in World of Warcraft.

This is not our first Halloween spent in WoW though.  In fact, in might be our third.  I can remember back to the very first Halloween event that Blizzard put on when the straw-man was first lit.  This holiday has always been one of Blizzard’s bests and remains one of the best holiday events in any MMO ever — perhaps tied with EQ2 and The Realm.  The atmosphere created by the lit pumpkins and how they have a way of making a simple setting like the inn in Brill feel eerily festive is really magical.

Some quality light reading

There aren’t many opportunities to write entries that present my views on a broad range of topics.  Often times someone will visit the blog and see my most recent thoughts on a single subject.  They may see something that offends them or that differs so greatly that they leave and never return.  The opposite is also true where someone may agree so wholeheartedly that they think we agree on everything.  Bottom line, there’s nothing quite like an interview to give a nice broad representation of how I think.

My most recent interview is with Chris from Game By Night.  I put a lot of time, effort, and really a lot of thought into answering the questions.  Hopefully this will give any of our new readers a nice quick glimpse of my thought process, where I’m coming from when I speak about a certain game, and some of the industry’s issues.  I think it’s a good read.

Something that I enjoy doing with these interviews is putting it on you guys to tell me what, if anything, you would like me to expound upon.

Game Watch: Worms Reloaded and Elemental War of Magic

We have two great games for you in this edition of Game Watch.  Game Watch is our segment where we look into the near future for titles worth playing.  Not just any titles though.  These are games you may not have heard of or simply haven’t been following as much as we think you should.

(PC STEAM) (August 26)
Worms games are always awesome. It feels like forever since the last one and this time it’s coming to PC through Steam. Worms Reloaded is designed specifically for the PC with PC controls and it gets all the Steamworks goodies.

The basic premise of the game is that you have a team of worms and you have to kill the enemy’s worms. You do so by taking turns using all kinds of weapons and gear while trying to get the upper hand on the map. You’ll get an idea of the gameplay from the video.

Worms Reloaded is bringing back a lot of the best gadgets (like the Super Rope) and introducing several new ones as well. It’s coming with a landscape creation tool so that you can create your own levels as well as 4 player multiplayer and a singleplayer.

It’s the type of game you’ll be able to pick up and enjoy for 10 minutes or 10 hours that never gets old. Steam integration is the real gem here since you’ll be able to get groups of friends playing together in seconds.

(PC) (August 24)
From the creators Publishers of Sins of a Solar Empire comes what we’re hoping is an equally deep and imaginative strategy game. This time the setting is a medieval fantasy world.

There’s really no better explanation than the official site’s:

“Players found new cities, research new technologies, study spells, build a family dynasty, engage in diplomacy, fight wars, go on quests and much more as they strive to overcome all enemies and dominate the world.”

It looks to be one of those great empire builders where you start off with a few workers and a basic civilization and have to gather your resources, establish your dynasty, and conquer the world. Creating and customizing your own troops, playing with up to 16 players, going on quests, killing special monsters, creating your own worlds, and an overall “more than 4x” experience make this one to watch.

Weekend of Gaming: Renovations

Last week’s Weekend of Gaming was neglected as Saturday was spent from dawn until dusk cleaning out the garage preparing for it to be finished off with drywall and paint. With that project out of the way, will there be any time to game this weekend? We hope so because we definitely have plans.

I’ll be playing the ‘prepare the house to be painted’ game. We just had crown molding and new baseboards installed throughout the house this past week. Next step is to move more things towards the center of each room. It should look really nice but it’s been a real challenge to do all of this house work while taking care of a new puppy, watching our older (and blind) dog. Add in that I’m leaving for school in less than two weeks and this has been the busiest summer in years. But that’s enough of RL.

My gaming will be sporadic, but I have some important plans. I want to finish up KotOR which has been dragging along for me. For the first time… maybe in 5 or 6 years… I have a backlog. I have Kotor, Bioshock, Overlord 1 and 2, and three or four console games to finish. I may dabble in Overlord, if anything. I’ll also get in a few SC2 matches here and there. I’m ranked 4th in my 2v2 random team Gold League division. I went on a 6 game winning streak but the strategy only works if I have a teammate who can hold his own. And, of course, WoW (which is hard to log into for only short bursts of time so I usually check auctions and say hey to guildies before having to log.)

Perhaps the most interesting game will be FFXIV Beta. Let me just say that playing in short bursts is not any way to have fun in this game. More to come on FFXIV after the weekend.

I’m checking out stuff on my iPad mostly. Chaos Rings is a Square-Enix RPG (available on iPhone and iPad that I know of) that I’m an hour and a half into and enjoying. Plants vs. Zombies might get played. Castlevania: Harmony of Despair (XBLA) is also on the list and worth checking out for those interested in yet another good XBLA game. I might get some Mass Effect 2 in if time. I’ve been playing a lot of Monday Night Combat and will definitely play more this weekend too.