2012 in Review

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:

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. (more…)


Planetside 2: What a MMOFPS Should Be

I’m finally getting around to giving you guys my thoughts on Planetside 2.  Aside from being extremely busy the past two weeks, I had an issue with Planetside.  Every single time I would play my computer would completely lock up after about 10-20 minutes. I finally identified the problem: STEAM.  Uninstalling from STEAM and reinstalling via SoE’s standalone client solved my crashing,a nd I am finally able to enjoy the game.

I want to touch on just a few points that I feel make Planetside 2 a game worth playing.

Exciting Combat

Tonight we were defending a research station close to Vanu’s WarpGate when suddenly the entire sky was filled with aircraft.  It was one of those mind-blowing moments that are so awesome they make you slam your hands onto the keyboard desperately trying to hit Print Screen.  Although it felt like hundreds of fighters, bombers, and galaxies, in reality it was likely closer to 40.  Still, 40 aircraft suddenly flying over is insane.

Those 40 aircraft proceeded to wipe out most of our defense, then a handful of galaxies deployed several dozen ground troops.  While I was watching the enemy rain from the sky down upon us, a Sunderer burst over a wall and smashed into position, deployed its spawn beacon, and proceeded to flood our base with dozens of more enemy soldiers.

The entire experience was glorious, horrifying, and exactly why I play Planetside 2.

More after the break. (more…)


Dragon’s Prophet: Doesn’t take a prophet to see what’s coming

Dragon's Prophet Dragon
Fight, capture, train and ride 300 different dragons that come with their own set of abilities.

Shortly after I wrote about an ideal MMO sandbox which takes elements from very specific games, I discovered details about a SOE game in the works called Dragon’s Prophet.  Dragon’s Prophet seems to come close to what I want, but illustrates how easy it is to miss the mark with a few awful decision.

Features in Dragon’s Prophet

Dragon’s Prophet will feature an odd skill system that I am still trying to wrap my head around.  Someone correct me if I’m totally wrong, but what I gather about the system is that you find a dragon and gain a random set of abilities.  There’s an element of fighting, taming, and training going on here. I’m sure another class system will also be in place.

Non-instanced housing will let players claim plots and plop down a house out in the world for all to see.  I want to know if it’s like SWG and houses can be placed freely anywhere, or if there are designated plots of land.  I’m leaning toward the latter because what I’ve read seems to indicate that certain plots cost more. Sounds better than most systems, as I am a huge fan of open-world community-centric features.

What sounds really neat about Dragon Prophet is the idea that players can claim areas of land almost like the kingdom idea from my previous entry.  Out in the frontiers, areas of PvP land that can be colonized (again like my ideal MMO), players can become subject to taxation from other players.

Combat will use what the official site calls “auto-targeting”.  It has been likened to DCUO’s combat, which isn’t bad, or like TERA but faster (or something like that).

Overall, a nice set of features.  Implementation could be all wrong, but at least the ideas on paper are good ones.  That said… (more…)


Happy Wars

A really fun game called Happy Wars released recently on Xbox Live Arcade .  Happy Wars is a crazy third-person melee with up to 30 people divided into two teams. …

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City of Steam Alpha Weekend Key Giveaway

We have another giveaway for you our loyal readers!  We’re giving away 45 City of Steam Keys, graciously provided by Mechanist Games,  for the upcoming alpha weekend events: July 27-29 and August 3-5.

First, for those who have never heard of the game, here’s a quick bit of info.

About City of Steam:
City of Steam, a full-featured, browser-based 3D MMORPG, transports players to an industrial metropolis that has fallen from grace. Emerging from the ashes of ages past, heroes versed in swordplay, divine harmonies, and the arcane arts seek their fortune in a world beset by countless foes, from dangerous factions to mechanical horrors.

From what we can tell, City of Steam blends fantasy and steampunk settings. Classes include everything from sharpshooting Gunners to church hymnal singing Channelers. City of Steam is a Free-to-Play game, and as always we’re hesitant to believe any claim made by any developer that it won’t be pay-to-win, but we’re a sucker for giving everyone a chance to prove the model wrong.

During the upcoming weekend you’ll be able to try the Elves, and the next weekend will be all about the Greenskins (always our favorite). Playable classes will be the Arcanist, Gunner, Warder, and Channeler.

We’ll be giving City of Steam a try for the first time this weekend so we can’t weigh in with our opinions just yet.  We encourage anyone interested in the setting or features of the game, and willing to help test, grab a key and get in there to experience the game.   Look for our followup post with our impressions, and be sure to let us know what you think!

You can find our giveaway widget after the break.