2020 might not be so bad after all…

No, no, hear me out…

Sure, there’s a crazy pandemic going on and every time you turn around some disaster is happening somewhere, but on the other hand, Phantasy Star Online 2 for PC is almost here, Blue Protocol looks like it is shaping up to be something I’d like to play, and New World will almost certainly maybe perhaps release before the end of the year (if it doesn’t hit the August date they’ve announced.)

I have been cynical about the hype around upcoming games in the past. And, as you may have just noticed, I am still extremely skeptical of announced release dates. PSO2, however, is not a new game and its track record in Japan speaks for itself. It’s a game people have waited years for. Blue Protocol looks gorgeous and the gameplay videos I have seen from the Japanese closed beta appear promising. And I preordered New World based on the alpha last fall; all the changes they’ve announced just make me more sure of that decision. We should get at least ONE decent game out of those three, and that will be more than we’ve gotten during some years of the Great MMO Drought.

Then there’s Greymoor hitting The Elder Scrolls Online. And, although it is of little interest to most people, EverQuest has two new progression servers debuting on May 27th. (I subscribed to All Access for 3 months to play on Aradune. That’s right. I gave Daybreak money on purpose.)

See, 2020 does have a silver lining. A very thinly plated silver lining, but that’s better than nothing.

Major ESO Update Coming 2/24

The Elder Scrolls Online will undergo a change to patching that will require a complete client re-download. This should improve performance for everyone, but especially console players. More importantly, the thank-you gift for the inconvenience is a free Crimson Torchbug Pet from the Crown Store. By now, dear readers, you know how I feel about free digital doodads. Must have them.

Crimson Torchbug Pet

This is a link to the official announcement on the ESO site. 

Non-game games: Playne, Kind Words

I bought a bunch of games during the Steam winter sale after saying I was definitely not going to do that. Among the things I bought are two things that aren’t really games as such, “Playne” and “Kind Words [low fi chill beats to write to].”

I was going to say that Playne is a PC-based meditation app in disguise, but it really isn’t in disguise at all. It’s just about meditating. It’s got a timer, a circle that grows and shrinks for you to breathe along to, and a fox who tells you that you’re going to save the world by meditating. I knew what it was when I bought it. I have wanted to start meditating for a while now. Why not do it with a fox?

Kind Words is a “game” that lets you send out short anonymous letters and receive short anonymous replies. Many of the letters are people trying to work through their problems, but sometimes people will send out letters asking for a list of things that make you happy or what you like about yourself.  You can thank people for their replies with stickers, which are used for both decorating your room and to send out to thank others for their replies. You can also send out paper airplanes– very short messages sent to the community at large with no reply option. Messages are delivered by the mail deer, which is like a mail carrier, except it’s a deer. The mail deer is very positive and encouraging too. As the title suggests, it comes with a variety of music tracks that can be changed via the radio on your shelf in your little bedroom, which is all there is to the game world itself. Thus far, Kind Words has been positive and uplifting for me.

I enjoy both these titles. I think they are both fine examples of the artform that video games have evolved into. The possibilities for applying video game technologies and mechanics to created new kinds of virtual experiences are truly endless.

 

I preordered New World. On purpose.

I don’t normally pre-order things. In fact, over the last several years, I can only think of two other games I have pre-ordered: No Man’s Sky, just days before the initial launch, and ArcheAge Unchained. Unlike other people, I liked No Man’s Sky right out of the box because I didn’t know what it was supposed to be. It was recommended to me by someone I trust, so I bought it and had no regrets. It was love at first play for me and it has only gotten better. And although ArcheAge Unchained has had its issues, I wanted to vote with dollars for the monetization model they were trying out. And it is a decent MMORPG if you aren’t allergic to PvP.

So that brings me to this most recent pre-order. While other people are howling into the void that the game is ruined and will be just terrible, I am betting that it will turn out ok. I played it during the alpha, and it was a gorgeous world I wanted to spend more time in, even though I generally despise survival sandboxes. I call games in that genre “treepunchers.” I hate punching trees. But I hated the survival aspects of New World somewhat less than I usually do. By the time they shut down that alpha, I knew I would buy it just to be there. And to spear turkeys.

Now that they’ve announced that it is going to be a different kind of game, I am even more interested. I don’t hate open PvP– I wouldn’t have lasted long in BDO if I did– but I prefer PvE and I am looking forward to more of that experience.  It sounds like it will be even more my kind of game now, but I was, as I mentioned, willing to buy it the way it was before.

I hope Amazon doesn’t disappoint me. I am forgiving and patient, but sometimes when a studio goes back to retool a game, it comes out worse for the wear. This has the potential to be one of the big releases of 2020 if they can just not screw it up.

BDO Guardian (First try, anyway)

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The character customization in Black Desert is the best part of the game, according to my son. I happen to like the rest of the game, but it is hard to argue with his point. This is my first attempt at customization of the new Guardian class. I am going to play around with it again tonight. (If you like this customization, I saved it as “Guardienne.”)

Post 101: This Week

This is post #101 for The MMOist. I guess I have written more than I thought! I will try to make the next 100 even better.

Today is my birthday. I am 49 years old. I have been playing MMORPGs since I was 27 years old. I’ve lived long enough for my online gaming self to be an adult. (And my online gaming self is not so far away from 30 if you count MUDs and multiplayer BBS door games.)

Wednesday is the day that pre-creation starts for the Guardian class in Black Desert Online in preparation for the release on the 22nd. I am already hyped for the new class, and this will turn the hype up to 11 for me. I know that’s the point of the event and I am a lemming for falling for it, but I was the same way with the release of the Lahn, the Archer, and the Shai. I can’t wait!

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In between, I will likely be playing Villagers and Heroes. I think I tried it once a long time ago, but I don’t remember it being good. I decided to check it out since it shares an award with Project Gorgon for Massively OP’s 2019 Indie Game of the Year and it is surprisingly… well, good.

I also plan to show a variety of MMOs to my husband to see if he’s interested in any of them. I think I’ve almost got him reeled in. Now I just have to hook my mom, and my nefarious plot to spread MMO gaming will be complete.

2019/2020

Black Desert Online continued to dominate my gaming (in any genre) in 2019. I played a little bit of a lot of games otherwise, most notably Riders of Icarus, which was my main game for a couple of months. In the final weeks of the year, I took up Destiny 2, which is really fun, despite how very bad I am at shooters. I also finally got around to purchasing Elsweyr expansion for The Elder Scrolls Online.

I want to try some new things, both in gaming and blogging, in 2020.

First, I want to give The Elder Scrolls Online a fair shake. I have had some fun playing it, but I seem to jump in during those periods when my real life doesn’t actually leave a lot of time for gaming. That’s a shame because I can see that there’s a really solid game there. I want to give it its due. And I am a pretty hot dude in that game.

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I want to get back to bringing all my BDO characters up to level 50+. That doesn’t actually take too long, but lately, I have had a hard time finding play sessions long enough to make progress on that goal. I do have a bunch of characters that have hit the target, but there are a bunch lagging behind. That can happen when you have 15 characters in a game. I am all excited about the new Guardian class, which will make it 16.

sliprock

But my main goal for MMO gaming in 2020 is to be more social, both in-game and in the communities that surround the games and the genre. I might even invite other people to join my BDO guild.