2014 gaming review

As 2014 comes to a close this post is a summary of some of the highlights for me of this years MMO gaming.

Most of this month was about Neverwinter as we’d not long restarted in time for the Dec 2013 Simril festival. I was playing the game solo and with my partner on different characters. My wizard was taking some first steps into group content by doing some dungeons and call-to-arms scenarios.

In the second month of the year I considered in one post when coming back to an MMO is no longer an option. Amid the deluge of Neverwinter posts I also contrasted in brief the gameplay of companions in SWTOR and Neverwinter. Finally I logged in to witness the downfall of Lion’s Arch in Guild Wars 2 with very mixed feelings.

In March I was playing a mix of Neverwinter, WoW and at the end of the month even dipped back into LOTRO. I looked at campaigns in Neverwinter, they’re a strange mix of long quest-chains and end-game content in that MMO. I did try Elder Scrolls Online with the leveling trio and it failed to impress.

By April I was getting tired of WoW again, and was criticising the lack of spec flexibility in the modern game. I wrote a post agreeing that $60 was too much to pay on a new game. I was also getting annoyed by certain campaign-specific monsters in Neverwinter.

We tried as a duo to play some Wildstar but it didn’t excite us enough to drop our existing MMOs in its favour. Otherwise the month was a mixed bag of Neverwinter, SWTOR and a peak at Star Trek Online towards the very end.

This month we had a major influx of jaded-WoW players join the game and that saw us playing a ton of group content together with them. With hindsight it was the highest point of our Neverwinter play this year – the game does excel at group content played with friends. A notable event in June was Sony Online Entertainment finally putting an end to the PSS outsourcing of European gamer support and account management. That particular debacle started back in 2012 and had tinged my enthusiasm for Everquest 2 with a healthy dose of concern, enough to make me hesitate about committing to the game.

In July I was giving FFXIV a try again as a solo game, since we were playing so much Neverwinter grouped with the jaded-WoW players. I also did a ‘half-way through 2014’ review of my gaming mix.

In Neverwinter the guild was busy testing out epic-difficulty dungeon content. I had a burst of sudden progress in FFXIV. I also took part in the one of several blogosphere projects, this one for the 10th anniversary of World of Warcraft.

This month I was disturbed in two different MMOs in short order by just how badly female characters/avatars are stereotyped. As Archeage suffered under tremendous login queues, I considered WoW and login queues as a dual-topic. At the end of the month we (finally) gave The Secret World a first go.

Another short month of gaming as the second half of October was my third (!) afk of the year. I posted on puzzling delights in The Secret World. I also considered the hyperbole in many gaming discussions – the extremes that opinions and comments often go to. In keeping with the impending afk I also discussed whether you take gaming away with you when away.

Finally in November I returned to EQ2 for a proper go, opting for a slower pace of play. In TSW we were busy enjoying the Savage Coast zone. Warlords of Draenor launched and I was watching from the wings.

In December there was another community project, the BloggyXmas series of posts. I was trying to be crafty in EQ2. I’d also popped back into Guild Wars 2 to unlock some of the new content and to see the new daily system. I took a look at various MMO clients and how they perform comparatively.

It’s been a very busy year outside gaming, with a lot more time spent afk than normal, but I have still enjoyed posting on the blog immensely. Looking back it seems I most often try new or return to old games at the very end of a month (this year: LOTRO, FFXIV, TSW, EQ2), there’s something about having a new game to start afresh or again at that time perhaps.

The group content posts stand out by far as my favourites and those that provoke the happiest memories. As I said in my BloggyXmas post (linked above in December) the reason why I’m so focused on this genre is the community aspect.

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