There’s a discussion on the blogosphere about a hypothetical list of games that you would chose if forced to only play five in a given year. It’s a fun thought experiment, and unlike Naithin, I found it easy me to make that choice as I usually limit how many games I play at a time and only play MMORPGs with few exceptions these days.
In terms of choosing games to include in this made-up list, I’d have to include the following in no particular order:
World of Warcraft
Although I’m not subbed at the moment, and the recent political stuff doesn’t sit well with me, I’m bound to return to the game at some point given that it is the only MMORPG that has ever brought all my close friends and family together in the one game. A recent Massively OP article gave an interesting perspective on the uncertain economic benefits of courting the Chinese market to the exclusion of others. I think Blizzard needs to take a serious look at its own ethical stance on this and other matters.
This version of Norrath feels like a home from home in many ways. I may not ever really get that close to ‘end-game’ at least from a gearing perspective but I do thoroughly enjoy pottering around – there’s always more to do than I could ever finish. It has some of the best crafting gameplay around and the best seasonal events. Honestly I could play just EQ2 and probably never truly run out of content.
Lord of the Rings Online
For pure storytelling and world-building (well, faithfully recreating a world), Lord of the Rings Online is hard to beat in this genre. I’ve had some issues with content difficulty in more recent years but the game has a lot to offer not least the enormous world. I’m rather fond of the class design as well.
With these three stalwarts of my gaming library, I already have more gaming than I can reasonably find time for in a given week or month. For my fourth I looked at all the MMORPGs that I’ve blogged about and played vaguely recently and went with the one I feel more invested in.
Star Wars the Old Republic
I’ve gone without playing in this rendition of the Galaxy Far, Far Away for various periods, probably at least once for longer than a year. Whether I want to play or not depends mostly on content release cadence and whether that content captures my interest. This is a game I play more than most to experience the stories. So without new stories I’m not likely to be in game. It’s slightly ironic since I love the setting for Star Wars deeply, but I haven’t always found that the setting translates that well in SWTOR into a virtual world I want to simply inhabit without purpose. Still the sounds, music and visuals can bring back very positive memories and it’s always fun to return to.
For my last choice I’ll add a slightly different choice as my last, though very much not my least favourite.
Dungeons & Dragons (tabletop or Fantasy Grounds)
Whether in a room with friends, or online via Fantasy Grounds or similar, I’d not want to go a year without playing some ‘proper’ roleplaying. Computer games (offline or online) do not do this longest of my hobbies justice yet. I list Dungeons & Dragons simply because it’s the game I’ve played the longest and have an ongoing campaign that I love running when we find the time to play.
I’ve played some very good coop games that fall outside the MMORPG theme of this blog: Divinity Original Sin, Terraria, Shadowrun Chronicles, but these are games that I’m happy to play through once and done – even Terraria with its procedural worlds cannot inspire me to want to play multiple runs through. Only the persistent worlds of MMORPGs (and rpg campaigns) hold my interest these days, so my list is bound to be dominated by them.