It has been a really slow year for mmo’s; limited schedule of new releases, what seems like only a few major expansions and a bunch of patches containing the same drudgery. Despite this though I’ve still has some amazing experience throughout the year that I will look back on fondly for years to come.
So here’s my favourite MMO experiences of the year
There was just something about the focus on freedom and lack of restraints on content that made it an amazing experience. Even starting out from the beginning I could join in with major raids or open world bosses; I could join in and contribute with some of the hardest content available and I could play where and how I wanted whole still being able to progress my character and account.
It was a game with a plethora of options on how to progress. Multiple frames focusing on a style of play, further your crafting abilities, collecting cosmetics and accumulating wealth and you can do all this in a variety of ways. I could always play with friends in whatever was happening, Battleframe progression didn’t matter in terms of dungeons and alternative zones and my damage or healing was still useful… and I was always being rewarded useful materials and items.
There was also a wide world of events that were actually dynamic and not just events bound by restraints, they could and did spawn anywhere and at any time. It was also a game that encouraged you to be in and explore the world.. and it was rather lovely to explore.
Rift was my first hardcore mmo. I spent countless hours levelling , researching and healing people in battlefields and I was in love with it for many many months. I also believe it was an important point in bringing me to this blogging lifestyle so to say I have a soft spot for the title is an understatement.
Coming back after over a year has been an extreme nostalgia overload, something I’ve never felt as strongly as this before. I’ve gone back and played plenty of games from my youth but Rift was the one that filled me with that warm fuzzy feeling. Remembering all the good times, the people I met, becoming part of a great guild and challenging my abilities far more than I had done before. I was hooked and, still am to that MMO buzz.
Rift has changed a lot over this last couple years, so much so that it’s always like a new game at time but the core of what appealed to me is still there, maybe not as bright but there’s still a twinkle. An interesting world to explore, a sensibility towards playing with others and that familiar sense of combat once more. Plus I get to collect shiny things again aaaand make a HOUSE!
Guild Wars 2
I’ve ranted and raved a lot about GW2 over the year, more so than I would have liked but it was a game that incited me to rage based on how much I loved many parts of it. It has a wonderful foundation waiting underneath.. if only those god damn devs would stop squandering it..
Anyway, there were a lot of great point to the game but my favourite experiences would always come from the Wuv Wuv mode. If I was to write a top 10 events in GW2 they would all be some sort of battle that began either defending and attacking keeps or one of those brilliant open field engagements.
.I loved the thrill of this battlefield, the adrenalin that pumped through your body during a fight and the hidden complexity of combat that only seems to come out with your coordinated group. It was something that created that sort of trained focus, that challenge which seems to come out when you’re working together as a group: mindlessly working, moving and fighting as one in some sort of brilliant interactive dance that is forever changing its inner tune. There is nothing quite as exhilarating as open world combat and even with all its flaws Guild Wars 2 never failed to disappoint during combat.
It was also the resurgence in community I felt due to our inclusion in WvW. It is a game type that brings servers together for a common goal, constant communications amongst its members that creates long-term friendships and guild connections. A strength of bringing people together through mutual goals and of course mutual hate.
I’ve said a lot on Darkfall‘s failing and how it just wasn’t the pvp experience I was looking for. The combat was lacklustre and cumbersome, and it was missing a lot of features to make it an interesting sandbox experience. I don’t think it will ever be the PvP mmo people are looking for but it still has that unmistakable open world appeal.
That feeling of caution when travelling the world, apprehension at seeing another player nearby and that all-encompassing feeling of tension the world has. That alone is a thrilling experience to have at times and is what I’m after. I don’t want to feel like some invincible hero, and I miss the choice that comes from giving players control of their experience.
With the full loot and item loss it was also experience that brought out those risk reward analysis of each and every situation whether that be the thrill of attaining something amazing and then that utter crushing feeling of having it taken off you in the next instant. Those extremes of play can only be found when you allow the extremes of loss as well and I would love to feel that more often.
Even though there wasn’t much new out this year I’ve still had a fantastic time gaming in our multi-player worlds. There are some great titles out there for every interest and it seems, this will only be getting better in the new year.