2014, A Retrospective – Part 2

July

So what else happened in July besides a whole lot of blogger XCOM?

The Living Story Season 2 opens in GW2 with the Gates of Maguuma.

Right off, I take to the Story Journal like a duck to water. Maybe it’s just Guild Wars 1 nostalgia, but for those of us used to the older game, story is supposed to come in chapter-like chunks in private instances where Randomname the Ranger and his mapchat spamming friends can’t interfere with one’s immersion and interaction with story NPCs.

Besides, this means other players can experience the story at their own pace and time, which is always good for encouraging others to join the game at any time and not feel like they’ve missed out forever and have nothing but the current seasonal content to do.

There was the Dry Top zone, that steadily opened up fortnight after fortnight.

I indulged in a modest amount of farming, but didn’t go overboard since it was essentially a permanent zone. (Still working on all those Ambrite weapons to this day.)

The World Cup happened, apparently. I have forgotten, but for this post I made comparing soccer, football and the MMO trinity. Yeah, I still don’t know where I was going with that ramble.

And I spectated the DOTA 2 International, because the pros have a lot more time to play one game very well, and me, I just dabble, doing a little bit of this and a little bit of that.

It was a pretty good July though, until the slight letdown with the next awkward Living Story transition that attempted some open world aspects, which promptly broke down.

August

In GW2, there was Mawdrey, and the resulting Orr deforestation in the pursuit of the shiny Bloodstone Dust chomper and backpack.

Blaugust was revving up, but I was mostly busy mucking around in my personal instances chasing achievements and doing just fine at a less intense blog posting pace.

I did, however, write some general topic articles inspired by the communal productivity surrounding the Blaugust event:

  • MMOs are Dead, Long Live the Multiple MOGs – I get a terrifying amount of hits to this post to this very day. For whatever reason, there appears to be a lot of people either wishing for the death of MMOs or seeking confirmation to their demise or something… (Look, guys, just google “FPSes are dead” or “RTSes are dead” or “adventure games are dead,” you get the same stuff! Someone’s burned out and no longer interested in the genre, is all. It’s OKAY to change games. There’s no “till death do us part” vow involved.)

I also play the heck out of Path of Exile, since it launched its Forsaken Masters expansion, albeit at a super casual level.

The end of August marks a bunch of shitstorms that enveloped the GW2 Reddit for a while, most of which I avoided commenting on, because I just couldn’t muster up any indignation one way or the other. Too damned busy actually playing games here (and woirking on a sekrit project.)

I did defend the New Player Experience, since I do think it smooths out the learning curve for the group of people that need direction (and there’s so -many- of them.) Whatever gets us more newbies attracted, then attached to the game is good! Even if they have to try it out multiple times before it finally clicks!

And finally, I launch my secret project, still super rough around the edges and due for a version 2.0 some day: The Beginner and Intermediate Player’s Guide to Movement and Combat in GW2

Call it my sneaky contribution to the new player experience.

I actually forget which post and which comment started it, but the gist was that it looked like a lot of players didn’t even know -why- they were stacking in corners or how to move appropriately to break line of sight and pull mobs if something went wrong at the beginning of their ‘stack here’ strat.

Probably no one had ever bothered to explain the basics to them, the very foundations of movement and positioning, and what things like ‘kiting’ or ‘LOS’ were. The stuff and jargon MMO regulars automatically know from prior games… except GW2 is meant to also attract people who have never played an MMO before.

How many will actually find it, or bother to read it? Don’t know, don’t really care. Can’t save ’em all. Still going to meet players in-game that’ll turn your hair white.

But at least it’s out there now… so individuals who do care about getting better might find it, or have the link shared with them by others who care to help them.

It hit 3,801 views in August, and has an average of ~500 views every month, so -somebody’s- reading it anyway. If it helps one person play better, t’was worth the effort. (And hey, shameless pageview accumulation is good for my blog and my ego!)

September

Day 1: Computer troubles. Serious computer troubles. No gaming. Much troubleshooting.

It takes a good part of the day to finally narrow down the troublemaker as the Creative X-Fi card that just decided out-of-the-blue no-driver-change-or-anything that it would hang the entire operating system. Repeatedly.

I eventually yank the entire card out after a week of intermittent troubles and fall back on the built-in Realtek audio on the motherboard.

The big anticipated feature patch hits GW2, bringing the NPE, collections and a whole bunch of other changes.

That month, I am mostly all over the place like a squirrel, but end up sucked down the rabbit hole of Minecraft: Agrarian Skies.

October

October brought Bragtoberfest, the one blogging community event this year I managed to find sufficient time for proper participation, rather than just cheering from the sidelines.

I play a hefty helping of games that month, many in tandem with other people, who have all met online at a scheduled time expressly for the purpose of playing said game. This is a rather new and enjoyable experience for a grumpy hermit like me, even if I do lose some sleep over a couple of weekends and draw the line at Twitter. We play Strife, Path of Exile, Team Fortress 2 and Killing Floor.

We also play a few other games asynchronously, using blogs and Twitter to share our experiences – such as AxonMountain and some Orcs Must Die / Defence Grid.

Along the way, I’m chugging along in Minecraft and faithfully doing dailies in GW2, but there’s really nothing to write home about logging in for 15 minutes to do Daily Gatherer, Daily Laurel Vendor, Daily Kills and so on.

At the end of October, I bow out of most gaming and blogging to play the best game ever: Building mah shiny new computer.

November

Too much shiny. Too little blogging. That seems to be the story of this month.

When my luxury purchase of a GTX 980 graphics card finally arrives, I’m like a kid that hasn’t had sugar in three years suddenly let loose in a candy store with pocket money to spend.

GW2 is cranked up to high settings and everything becomes eye candy. I go after FPS games that would have previously brought my toaster to its knees, like Natural Selection 2 and Evolve. I’m just trying to play all the things – Prison Architect, various Minecraft mods, Marvel Heroes, GW2’s latest story drop that brings the Silverwastes zone (with all the attendant grind) with way too little time.

I do manage two philosophical response posts about PvP and PvE – why it’s in our best interests to get along, despite differing tastes, and trying to break down the terms PvP and PvE into more useful differentiators of preference.

December

The last month in 2014 brings the Seeds of Truth update to GW2, aka EVEN MORE GRINDING. Oh yes, and there’s a pretty jumping puzzle too.

Well, I guess we’re all grinding away in our respective games, be it Warlords of Draenor or otherwise. That’s a seed of truth too, I would surmise.

I have wound up stumbling my way into a perfectly balanced triumvirate of gaming: GW2 + Minecraft + Random Singleplayer/Steam Game holds my attention perfectly. So perfectly that I sometimes forget to blog about what I’m doing, and sometimes I still think you guys don’t really want to hear about the 30-60 minutes of doing my dailies in GW2.

I get in one more community participation event post with Bloggy Xmas – broken into two parts because I’m longwinded as hell when I get started.

  • Community and Me” is just me rehashing my old history and getting a little maudlin about old communities.
  • Community and You” is the main inspirational message to those who miss old communities and yearn for new ones. Step up. Join in. Lead. If you don’t want to lead, be the Second Man. If you still don’t have time for that, be the umpteenth follower, but join in regardless.

As Izlain and Belghast and a number of other blogs are recapping and recounting, 2014 was the year this little part of the internet figured out how to become more interrelated and create a sense of community – one overall arcing ‘blogging’ community containing lots of smaller sub-communities within.

And that’s a good thing too.

P.S. I suddenly remembered that I was supposed to also share what else happened in December that never made it to my blog.

First, the ancient 5.1 speakers and subwoofer started to give way, with the power cutting out every so often (mental note: Buy new 5.1 speakers for Christmas. T’was easier listed than done, mind you, 5.1 speakers appear to be way out of fashion now. Took me a while to find new ones.)

Then on the 19th of December, the unmistakable scent of burning electronics engulfed the room as the power supply of my old toaster of a computer finally reached the end of its lifespan. *bows head in respectful moment of silence*

The good news is that the old hard disks didn’t seem to be too affected by the blowout and I managed to salvage all the data onto an external hard disk.

The bad news is that I’ll have to locate and transfer saves if I should ever want to play stuff I was halfway through, and I’m a very lazy person when we come right down to it.

The fate of the rest of the components is still unknown, pending more free time to check them out. They’re so old, it’s hard to muster enough enthusiasm or energy to do so. One has already written them off in my head, so to speak.

Oh well, at least I successfully transitioned to the new rig before that happened.

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