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Some Form of Return?

I haven’t blogged in ages now, mostly since I’ve been busy writing so much at work. Combine that with a certain feeling of burnout with MMOs, and the urge to blog have been more or less non-existent over the last few weeks.

I’ve also had some trouble with my back, due to my desk and chair not being the best of friends. I’ve fixed it, partly, with the help of a trusty screwdriver so I can sit in front of the computer for longer periods of time now. I tried out my new solution with some Lord of the Rings Online, and felt the MMO-itch come back…

So I will try to blog more frequently again. I’ll at least try.

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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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London, Nordic Game and a wedding

I’ve had two fairly busy weeks, including the aforementioned trip with THQ to London and the annual Nordic Game convention here in Malmö. The trip to London was very nice, especially since most of it went so smoothly – the press event was held at the same hotel as we stayed at, so we more or less just had to leave it to head over to a restaurant in the evening. I’ve been to London so many times that I can’t really be bothered with actually walking around in it (except to visit Forbidden Planet and Atlantis Bookshop, my two favorite stores that are only three blocks away from each other), and since the hotel was only 5 minutes away from Victoria we didn’t even have to care about buses or the Tube. Too bad for Eirik, our camera guy, who had never been to London before.

We did get a bunch of interviews done there, including one with Joe Madureira – as an old Marvel and Image-fan, that was a bit of a nerdgasm right there. The interviews are currently being edited and should be online next week or so. Also got some hands-on with Darksiders, Joe’s upcoming game, which looks promising. We’ve seen the formulae before in games like Devil May Cry and God of War, but I think the visual design of Darksiders is so much better than in those two games. Will Porter from Eurogamer was there as well and he has penned  down some first impressions of the game if you want to read more about it.

Then I had to spend the weekend more or less locked up in my apartment, reviewing The Sims 3…that review will go online June 1 (in Swedish) and should be in print around the same time (in Swedish, of course). It was a tight deadline, had the review code waiting for me when I got back from London, but I managed to get a lot of playtime in before the review was due.

Nordic Game this year was nice as well, even though I only had time to go to one of the lectures. We did get some interviews done there as well, and some pre-E3-stuff at the same time, and the big nerdgasm this year was getting to meet Suda51. I didn’t do that interview, in fact I only did one with Nathan Richardson from CCP, but I got to stand around and look like some form of GRTV-supervisor. I should had kept my sunglasses on inside and had a much sterner look…when the interview was done I did manage to get to use my Japanese to ask to take a photo of him before we had to get going – at least I still remember how to ask that. Expect the interviews to go online over the coming weeks.

I’ve also started to deal with some personal issues and things might actually look a bit brighter. Hopefully things will be more stable in general soon and give me an opportunity to some real restructuring of my life. It’s sorely needed and hopefully DFTM will be updated more frequently as a result. We’ll see.

With all this going on, and a wedding this weekend to plan for (I’m the Best Man, which means I need to finish writing that damn speech), I’ve hardly had any time for some good old MMO-gaming. I’ve promised Brendon to take a look at Rappelz, but the damn thing refuses to patch properly. I might strangle it soon. When this weekend is over I do hope I will have some time to just sit down and fix the darn game, as I really do want to give it a go. EverQuest II is also beckoning me back, I kinda miss my Gnomish berserker already.

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Virtual worlds, massive multiplayer games and assorted ramblings

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