Obligatory End Of 2009 Post

Blow up Stormwind! Blow it up!

Stargrace and Pete both beat me to it (and so did probably, you know, every other blogger on the planet), but every self-respecting (and self-loathing) blog out there needs some form of summary post about what the past year has meant to the blogger personally. It just has to be done and I don’t want to be left out of the great nostalgia of 2009. So here goes.

I’m pretty impressed by Pete being able to look back and do a month-to-month analysis of what he’s been playing since, well, I can’t remember what I had for dinner yesterday. Did I have dinner yesterday? See. Clueless.

What I can say, looking back at the year, is that it’s been a fairly weak year for new MMOs. We had a bunch, some of them more fun than others, but except for the notable exception of Fallen Earth (which I did give the number 1 spot on my MMO of the Year list on GRTV), they were all kinda meh. Sure, we also had Free Realms, which was nice and all, but the rest failed to deliver.

Aion looked good and played good and followed the same formula as all other games before it and added a ridiculous grind and I’m getting bored from just writing about it. I hope NCsoft improves on it, though – every time I see a piece of art from the game I get this stab in the heart. I loved the world in Aion, I adored the design and the client and gameplay was solid. But it was far from enough and the complete lack of innovation got me in the end (when the servers finally let me in).

I’d rather not talk about Champions Online, but I will mention it since it was one of the big releases this year. I really can’t stand CO, at all. I’ve tried, over and over again, and I’m so glad that I didn’t have to review it because that would mean I would have had to play it more. I hated the graphics, the art design, the gameplay, the concept…no, CO was not for me. There is something with that game that just ticks me off and I can’t put my finger on why. I actually have to bite that finger every time someone mentions the game, since that’s how hard it is for me to not make a snide remark about it.

Which is not nice of me and I truly don’t want to be this way. It’s not professional. I think I need help to get over it. Like Star Trek Online, which I am currently playing. I’ll get back to it if I get around to writing a 2010-post, but here’s my quick review: I will be playing STO when it launches. Enough about that.

Fallen Earth did save 2009 from being a complete loss, with a wonderful new setting (at least for MMOs), cool crafting and a lot of good work being done on it post-launch by Icarus Studios. I’m looking forward to getting back into it sooner or later, but if you haven’t tried it yet, I recommend searching the Internet for a trial key (there might be a few left out there). Or just go buy it already.

No, 2009 was all about the old MMOs, at the end of the day. It was the year I finally quit World of Warcraft for more than a few months (I’ve been clean for almost a year now!). It was the year when I noticed that Star Wars Galaxies is a cool MMO and that the hate mongers should just STFU already. It was the year when I started to migrate over to American servers since my friends are all playing WoW.

It was also the year when I finally started this gorram blog and kept it running. That feels kinda neat.

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  1. Stargrace says:

    Fantastic overview of your year! We share a lot of the same views, but also some differences, which is probably why I love reading anything you’ve written (grins). I do notice that pretty much everyone played some (or all) of the new games that came out this year, but very few of us actually stuck with them, most of us gravitated to one of our older games (or perhaps moved to a new ‘older’ game with friends (a la EQ2, LotRo etc). Here’s hoping for a fantastic 2010!

    • Petter says:

      Looks like it, perhaps there’s a lesson to be learned there?

      But aye, here’s to 2010!

      Edit: Sorry, forgot to say “thanks”! and point out how much I love to read your stuff too. :)

  2. Pete S says:

    I couldn’t remember a damned thing that I played until I went back and re-read a whole year’s worth of blog posts! Jebus I’m long-winded!

  3. Longasc says:

    I just graced Stargrace’s blog with my thoughts, so I hope you do not feel offended when I just copy what I wrote over there. It applies here, too. My personal MMO summary.

    I just noticed I did not mention EVE, but I actually did not play EVE in 2009 – okay, for a FEW days – but I did not like that I had to switch on anti-aliasing in my driver. Dunno why, but it bothered me enough to uninstall. Years ago it wouldn’t… because I did not have the rig to use 8xAA all the time. ;)

    And here the promised obligatory 2009 statement:
    I did not play any MMO as the year started, got burned out by WOTLK within a month. xD. But then I tried Age of Conan and had high hopes for Aion. Beautiful game, beautiful client – but too asian in looks and in the end the grind got me always around levels 25-35 in both Beta and Release version.

    I did not try Fallen Earth and Champions, in the case of Champions because I am not a superhero game guy, and FE sounded a bit hyped by the people who were playing it. A lot already unsubscribed by now, so I was probably right to wait a bit before jumping in, which I didn’t in the end.

    I played LOTRO during the Aion Beta Weekends and did not think I would play it after the first trial. But then I tried it again, got to love it somehow… but it still was not a great love. Then, while getting more and more depressed by Aion’s grind focus later on, I finally bought a LOTRO bundle for cheap – got 90 days playtime for some 5 bucks or so, plus Moria…^^

    Needless to say, I am still playing LOTRO right now. While I still think it cannot win against Guild Wars or Guild Wars 2, I just played GW already for four/five years already and just needed a change back to a “classic” MMO world. Besides that, not a MMO, but a cool world: King’s Bounty and its addon Armored Princess are a very nice single player game in Heroes of Might and Magic style, with a bit more RPG and less strategy. Plus beautiful graphics. I can only recommend it.

    I regret not being in the mood nor having the time to test Allods at the moment, but it sounds like Allod of fun. There will unfortunately be no GW2 in 2010, so I hope that LOTRO keeps on getting better with each expansion and that I can finally see Rohan or Dunland in the upcoming Volume III.

    • Petter says:

      Allod of fun? You actually went there, dude. :D

      Great summary! I left out EVE from my summary too, I thought I’d do a separate entry for that. Can’t remember if the AA stuff is in there or not, perhaps I just haven’t thought about it – it just looks so preeeeetty already.

      All your nice words about King’s Bounty is making me consider picking it up. I remember Eurogamer giving it a shocking 9/10 when it was released.

      Speaking of LotRO and me moving to American servers…when will we see you on that side of the pond? C’mon, you know you want to…

  4. Mike says:

    I wanted CO to be good, as two of my friends worked on it at Cryptic. Unfortunately, it failed to deliver. One of the aforementioned friends has already been laid off, due to CO’s dismal performance in the MMO market.

    During beta, one of the biggest complaints was the lack of heroic feel in our characters. Specifically posed was the question, “Why am I running around the desert killing mutants, under the command of the military, rather than in the city, fighting crime?” Then there were the comments calling it not CoH 2.0, but CoH 0.5. I can’t help wondering if Jack is now wishing they hadn’t sold CoX to NCSoft.

    Aion is gorgeous. But the grind… ugh! I stopped playing, pending release of the supposed grind-fixing patch. Once that’s been applied, I plan on giving it another spin.

    LotRO I played in beta, and during the first few months of release. I enjoyed it, but there was a problem acknowledged by many of Landroval’s early players: it was too hard to find groups.

    I spent two full weeks trying to find enough groups to finish the quests at Garth Agarwen, and could never find groups for Fornost. And I could only get as far as Chapter 4 in the books, before even those groups became impossible to find. I eventually gave up and returned to WoW.

    Fallen Earth frustrated me during beta. While I loved the tutorial — the commercial that plays when your clone awakens :) — I found the zombie mobs overwhelming, and with a ridiculously high spawn rate. Perhaps I’ve become spoiled by the ease of WoW, but I don’t think a Level 1 should die half a dozen times, just trying to performing their introductory quests.

    What I’m most looking forward to in 2010 is TOR, and hope Bioware can pull it off. I’ve been itching for a good Star Wars game since NGE was released. BTW, my issue with NGE? The replacement of a skill-based system with a class-based one. I liked the variety of the prior system. Given the prevelance of class systems, it was unique. If I was going to be pigeon-holed into a single class, I may as well quit and play EQ2 (which was new, and which I did). :)

    • Petter says:

      Thanks for a great comment! But I really think you should give Fallen Earth another chance. What I saw in beta was a pretty buggy mess, while the launch version was a lot better. They’ve been patching like crazy too!

      I hope your friend bounces back soon, that’s always sad to hear. And I know why people are angry at SOE, but take a look at what I’ve written about the game here and you’ll see a bit more of my thoughts about why I think it’s time for the haters to finally let it go. :)

      • Mike says:

        I have been following your SWG experiment, and actually reactivated my sub around the same time you started playing, to see how the game-play has changed since I quit five years ago.

        As you pointed out, it’s buggy. Many of the issues I experienced during its first year are still present. The quests are still silly (go kill 10 butterflies), and at times don’t make sense (Jedi running around killing people who have offended Jabba?). But the housing has always been the best any MMO has had to offer, and the crafting is still the most dynamic of any game I’ve played.

        I probably will give Fallen Earth another try, as I do like the setting.

      • Petter says:

        You should, FE is coming along really nicely. :)

        You are quite right about the quests – I’ve actually dropped Legacy now, only doing mission terminal quests to slowly level up, while having more fun doing sandbox stuff and just playing around. I’m trying to get into the crafting, got a capped alt, but it’s hard…the vets truly have the upper hand there.

        Did you ever try out Ryzom? If not, they got a 21 day trial and the crafting in that game is amazing.

  5. xXJayeDuBXx says:

    Quite the shiny post you got here. An excellent summary, even with the Galaxies reference!

  6. [...] As does Don’t Fear The Mutant [...]

  7. Blue Kae says:

    Just so you felt better, I held onto my year end post until January 2nd. Actually, I had to go through about four drafts (each starting from scratch) before I got something I liked.

    Oh and just to torture your bitten finger some more: Champions, Champions, and Champions. :)

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