What Gives Me Trouble In Games

jumping chua

Getting In The Way Of My Own Goals

The fact that I like PvP and multiplayer makes me at least a mildly competitive in gamer. I guess. I don’t strive for the number one spot, but I like to do well. Kind of a passive-aggressive balance between not caring and going overboard. Anyway the point of this rambling is to say that in order to excel in gaming, you have to pick the classes and roles that play to your strengths. You choose a playstyle that fits you. That creates two problems for me. I don’t know what my playstyle is, and my other problem is just the natural progression of what comes next. I have a hard time picking what to wear.

My Quest For The Perfect Playstyle

There are a whole lot of levels to this problem. First up is the developers. They either can’t, or don’t want, to be flexible in regards to class selection. World of Warcaft is the best example. Now as I mentioned above, I love to PvP. My ‘main’ character in Warcraft is a Paladin, and I really love the Protection (tank) spec. Unfortunately for me though, Protection Paladins are not ideal for Arenas (Ranked PvP for the uninitiated). They could be, but the devs have just chosen not to balance them. I’m guessing that’s because it’s too hard. But hey, that’s why I picked up a Warrior. Except that now Warriors are only good when they have a healer. Finding a healer for PvP that is both a) good, and b) online when you are, is #!%$*@& impossible. The constant changing balance of classes is so frustrating.

The next part of this problem is a little more of my own doing. I’ve tried a lot of playstyles in MMOs. Warriors, Paladins, Rogues/Thieves, and more. I’ll find a few of these classes to be particularly fun, but which one is more fun? Most fun? How much time do I have to spend with a class to figure this out? What if our group needs a tank? I don’t want to sit around waiting for a <needed class> logs on, or find one of sufficient skill through LFG. Then, i’m playing so many different classes that I lose track sometimes. I really don’t have the time to level up every class to max level, then fully gear it up, then bounce around in ranked PvP for a few weeks.

guild wars 2 warriorThen on top of all this, I have to ask the life-long question: Melee or ranged? Well, given the classes above you’d think melee. I thought so too for the longest time. That is, until I tried smuggler in SWTOR. I can honestly say Smuggler is my favorite class in SWTOR, hands down. That decision is easy. That got me to try a Hunter in WoW, which I immediately loved as well. So now I’m back at square one. Guild Wars 2 has the best system I have experienced so far. The classes were all highly customizable, and the build I had for my warrior was probably the most fun of any class in any game I’ve played.

Lookin’ Good

So this part ties in with my playstyle quandary. There are some classes I won’t play. Generally those are the ones in cloth, but it could also be because I don’t like the concept (Necromancer/Warlock). I may be the best mage the world has ever known, but unless I can wear plate mail, the world just won’t ever know it. I don’t care about magic. I want swords and shields to plow through the enemy with. Or a good blaster. Another example is race/class combinations. I love way Worgen look in WoW, and I love the way Paladins play. You can’t be a Worgen Paladin though. Why should I have to sacrifice any part of what I like in a video game? This isn’t real life, this is a game. This is purely for entertainment, and I’m spending money on it. I get attached to my characters! I see them for hours on end! More frustration.

Another example of this is in Company of Heroes 2. I’m in love with this game. CoH2 is a WWII era RTS game where you choose an army to battle with. Being an American, I like to play the United States. Unfortunately for me, they apparently don’t fit my playstyle. They’re a moderately aggressive, combined arms force. Apparently I’m a defensive, single focus player. I don’t want to try the Germans, Russians, or British. So I’m trying to learn a new playstyle, but coming in dead last nearly every game. It eats at my soul when I can’t even pull my own weight. Locking playstyles to specific visuals is a mistake. Stellaris, a 4x strategy game, is another good example. There are no visually appealing races for me to play. Dozens of races, but nothing that I find interesting. That’s the only thing that keeps me from going back to the game. It’s such a stupid reason too, I know. It’s literally just a little portrait you only see occasionally. The game itself is fun. Eventually I’m sure they’ll release some DLC with a race I like, but until then, it’ll continue gathering digital dust.

Anomaly or Pattern?

The answer to all this is customization. Video games need more customization and flexibility. Skill trees over class templates. Why do classes/roles have to be so narrowly defined? Why do I have to choose between what I find fun, and what I find visually appealing? I understand that you can’t plan for an infinite number of scenarios, but why am I having so much trouble? It seems in every game I play, I have to choose between what I want, and what’s good for me. Am I really that far outside what developers consider ‘normal’ players? I am determined not to sacrifice visual appeal in my games. Guild Wars 2 makes it work, why can’t everyone else pick up on it? Am I just weird? I don’t have time to try and master every class in every game, and then pick a class to keep playing! I just want to pick a role, and at least pick a general visual appearance. DEVELOPERS: Stop locking me into such narrow templates! If you want my money, just let me be me.

 

My Top 5 Most Played Games

tracking time in video games

The Numbers Really Surprised Me

What would I do without Google Sheets? I’ve found it harder and harder lately to predict if I’ll like a game. One way I thought might help was to take a closer look at what games I had enjoyed the most. Perusing my spreadsheet of hours spent in various games, I was shocked. I never would have guessed #3, 4, or 5. Of course, #1 and #2 were easy to accept.

#1 World of Warcraft

wow logo

I have over 14,800 hours in World of Warcraft. I’ve never considered myself much of a fantasy buff, but I have always known that World of Warcraft was an exception. I’ve spent over 580 days in Blizzard’s fantasy world. Largely due to the people I’ve met, but if I had to pick one other thing that kept me coming back, it would be the story. Man I love that story. In fact I’m subscribed right now.

#2 Star Wars: The Old Republic

star wars the old republic logo

I’ve been a Star Wars fan for almost 20 years now. I’ve played SO many Star Wars video games, spending untold hours in them. If you counted all the Star Wars card games, roleplaying games, and miniature games, I’m willing to bet it would dwarf WoW handily. SWTOR has never felt like Star Wars to me though. That combined with it’s lack of PvP content updates has really put me off from this game. Still, SWTOR clocks in with over 3600 hours played. With the new expansion coming, there are probably a few more hours yet to come.

#3 League of Legends

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I didn’t see this one coming. This game has done some growing up. When I first started playing, it was with a small but dedicated group of friends. I stopped for a month or 16 and came back. When I returned, I found the community much more friendly and accepting. In my on-and-off again experience with League of Legends, I’ve logged over 750 hours. It’s also one of the games I’ve spent the least amount of money on. It’s been great for the wallet.

#4 Total War: Arena

total war arena

Never played a Total War title in my life before this one. I dare say it has had a significant impact on my life. It reintroduced me to my love of strategy games, it got me started in streaming, and it put me on my first airplane. All that in just 6 short months, and over 720 hours of play time. In just 6 months time, this game became my #4 game of all time. I’d imagine it’d be well on it’s way to #2 if it was still available today.

#5 World of Tanks

world-of-tanks-logo

So the math on this one is a little iffy because I can’t track exactly how much time I’ve spent. What I can track is how many matches I’ve played in, and that’s over 5100 games. I could have been knocked out in under 3 minutes, or I could have spent the whole 15 minutes allowed. It’s impossible to say. Even at 7 minutes per match, which if memory serves should be about right, that’s over 590 hours of game time. Kinda miss playing, but never really had anyone to play with.

Interpreting The Data

Looking at the disparity between time spent in these seems like it should mean something, but I don’t know what. From 14800 to 3100 to 750 is such a huge drop, but then again WoW has been out more than twice as long as SWTOR. I also haven’t exactly stayed consistent with League for more than 3-6 months at a time. I haven’t played in years now in fact, although I’ve wanted to go back and try those ARAMs again. Doesn’t help much in the way of figuring out what I like, although it does bring up some questions that may help. Questions about MMORPG vs. MOBA and subscription vs. free. Suppose that’s a post for another time though.

What’s your longest time spent in a game?

Creative Blogger Award

I was nominated by Targeter on his Imperial Intelligence blog for a Creative Blogging Award. Thank you Targeter! I like Shintar’s description of what a Creative Blogging Award is best, “a chain letter”. Kinda makes it more of a nomination than an award, but that’s just as good to me. Knowing people read, and like, what you write is the most rewarding part of writing. A quick glance at Imperial Intelligence shows that we share A LOT in common. We’re not interested in Overwatch, we’re both nostalgic for the ‘good ole days’ of World of Warcraft, we both have characters on Ebon Hawk in SWTOR, and the game Rebel Galaxy caught our attention. 4 for 4, we’re doing good.

SO, to fulfill my part of this nomination chain, here are the rules:

  • Thank the person that nominated you and share a link back to their blog.
  • Post 5 facts about yourself.
  • Nominate 15-20 people for this award.
  • Let the people you nominated know, that you have nominated them.
  • Post the rules so everyone will understand what to do.

Now that 1 & 5 are done, I’ll just go in order. I think #2 is the one that everyone wants to read anyway. So five facts coming up:

  1. I love me some dinosaurs. Before ARK and The Isle, there was a life size velociraptor skeleton in my living room. It was there when my wife came over for the first time. No idea what she must have thought. I also have a secret dinosaur project website.
  2. I don’t collect weapons, but I collect weapons. Pistols, long guns, knives, swords. Even a random throwing tomahawk. All real, no wall-hangers. Some are inherited, some I just kinda picked up that looked interesting.
  3. I enjoy tabletop gaming when i’m offline, specifically Warmachine. I’ve also played X-Wing & Armada, the Star Wars flavors. Now I just need a job in the gaming industry to live the 24/7 gamer life dream.
  4. I used to hate cats. I’m a dog person. Then I met my wife’s cat. We simply co-existed for a while until one Christmas we got a baby kitten. My wife’s cat jumped up in my lap when I tried to show the new kitten a little attention. We’re now bestest buds. He tucks me in every night. Now I’m a cat person too.
  5. Finally, my favorite color is red. I know it’s kind of a cop-out, but I’m actually feeling pretty ill right now. Coming down with something, and actually had to call out sick from work.

As for nominating people, Shintar and Ravanel are the ones I know best. Njessi is always entertaining too. They’ve all been nominated already though, so I’ll just consider myself a good judge of character. I don’t think I even know 5 other bloggers total, much less 15 or 20. I’ll take recommendations in the comments below if someone knows someone?

Now just to let them know…and we’re done! Quick, easy, and probably better than the QQ I was going to spew about the new Warcraft PvP system for Legion. Don’t worry, we’ll get to that next week.

Constant Warfare for 2016

tom clancy's the division
It’s like year round Christmas this year.

2016 My Busiest Year EVER for Video Games Already

In the beginning, I was a one game kinda guy. World of Warcraft for 7 years straight, except a 3 month break where I played Tabula Rasa, but no WoW during the break. After WoW, I started playing multiple games. League of Legends, World of Tanks, City of Heroes, Wildstar, Heroes of the Storm all mixed in with the ‘main’ games of SWTOR and Guild Wars 2. Still, I was probably playing 2-3 games a year total.  So far in 2016 I have played Total War: Arena, The Division, The Isle, Total War: Rome II, Star Wars: The Old Republic (with Shintar!), ARK Surival Evolved (With Ravenal!), and it’s just now March. That’s six games already, and there are a ton more coming.

I plan to continue playing all of these games throughout the year.

  • Total War: Arena – It’ll be back eventually!
  • The Division – I want to unlock everything, and get full legendary gear. Then we’ll see how Dark Zone PvP goes.
  • The Isle – Luckily there is no progression yet. I can log in and just have fun.
  • Total War: Rome II – I want to at least finish my first campaign.
  • SWTOR – I’d like to start the new Knights of the Fallen Empire story, and of course play more with Shintar!
  • ARK – I want to find a home server, hopefully somewhere I could play more with Ravanel. Ideally if the opportunity arose($), i’d like to host my own server!

I can foresee The Division and Total War: Rome II dropping off that list this year. Which is good, because there’s a storm of games coming for me still in 2016.

Games Still Coming in 2016

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The next game up is DOOM! Yes, my first love in computer games. Scared the ever living crap out of me when I was playing the shareware levels over and over. I look forward to seeing the new one, and hope the singleplayer campaign can live up to the nostalgia. I also look forward to using SnapMap to make my own map(s).

Total War: Warhammer comes at the end of May. I’ve contacted Creative Assembly about getting into their reviewer program, so maybe I can get an advanced copy and put out a review. I’ve listened to some of Overkill’s Lore Videos, and am most excited to play Bretonnia and the Empire, in that order. The ‘good guys’ of course. One of my stream viewers is helping to develop this game as well (Goremaster!), so getting to see his work is another exciting aspect for me to this game.

I heard about No Man’s Sky a while back. It’s an exploration game with a procedurally generated universe, meaning it never ends. Exploration is infinite. Imagine all the planets and animals you can see. My fondest memories from MMORPGs come from exploring something for the first time. Every planet is this experience over, and over. It has a survival element thrown in too, so boredom won’t be a factor. I am really curious to see what the average player lifespan is for this game.

Affiliate link 20% off with Amazon Prime!

World of Warcraft: Legion launches on or before September 21st, 2016. Hopefully no sooner. I am excited to play this knowing some of my stream viewers also play. Mostly I just can’t wait to get back on my Worgen. I have a couple of WoW tokens waiting for me, so this won’t be too expensive. Burning Crusade 2.0 here we come!

And that’s just the games with confirmed dates. Indie games have been popping up more on my radar recently, specifically Dreadnought which may pop up this year too.

What’s Still On Deck

The Humble Bundle has been good to me, and I have a bunch of games that I want to play but haven’t had the opportunity yet. Streaming has really ramped up how much I play, and for how long. It’s hard to stop playing something when people are having fun.

  • Aliens Franchise – Aliens Colonial Marines and Alien Isolation.
  • Heroes of the Storm – Everyone seems to love playing this game.
  • DOOM Franchise – I’d still like to replay all the old DOOM games. Preferably before the new one launches.
  • Star Citizen – I’d love to get back into this for the flying part.
  • Diablo 3 – There’s a new map i’d like to check out. Just once through.

and…

  • I want to make my own video game. Cryengine, Unity, or Unreal. More to come on this later.

Looking For More, PST

I am always looking for people to play with. I will be streaming 90% of everything, so feel free to come watch! You can also join if you’re willing to use voice chat. Actually talking to people – from around the world – is my favorite part about streaming. Playing with LionheartShintar, HaxoTheHunter and Ravanel has been awesome, and I hope to group up with even more people throughout the year. So no matter where you are, if you’re interested in any of these games, drop me a line in the comments. 2016 is going to be a big year in gaming for me. I’d love to have others along for the ride.

 

Amazon Prime Gives 20% Off Game Preorders

AMAZON PREORDER new releases discount

Amazon Heavily Discounts New Video Game Releases

I have to post this before the regularly scheduled time next week because of just how awesome a deal this is.  When I went looking for preorder bonuses on The Division, I stumbled across something incredible. Amazon.com is offering 20% off video game titles to US customers for new and preordered titles. It’s probably trying to compete with grey market sellers like Green Man Gaming, but the reason really doesn’t matter. The savings do. There are a couple of caveats, but they aren’t really caveats because the “fine print” isn’t so bad this time. Make sure you read through everything below!

Prime Customers Only

This is the big one. You must subscribe to Prime to get the discount. Prime costs $99/year. With the average new $60 game title, that’s $12per game. The Division comes out in March 2016, Total War Warhammer comes out in April, and DOOM comes out in may. The new World of Warcraft expansion hits in September. That’s $46 already saved, almost half the cost of Prime in video games alone. On top of the 20% off video game preorders, you get free two day shipping on nearly everything. And there’s streaming music AND video services too. I also use it to get some groceries cheaper than in stores, and delivered right to my doorstep. The banner here is my affiliate link, and will get you a free 30 day trial of Amazon Prime. According to Amazon’s FAQ, everything you order during your trial still gets all the savings. I subscribed to Prime in September of 2015, well before this promotion was available.  It was well worth the $99 price then, and worth even more now!

Must Order Physical Copy

The discount doesn’t apply when buying game downloads, but it’s still not a problem for those of us that like to have games on launch day. If you select the 2-day Prime shipping (which is free), it will be delivered on the day it’s released, GUARANTEED! So you really don’t miss much of anything. Not to mention you still get the usual low price guarantee when pre-ordering through Amazon.

Buy Prime For Games, Save Money On Everything

This is something pretty new, as I didn’t see this last week when I went looking for The Division on Amazon. I already confirmed it works for DOOM, World of Warcraft, and so on. There are lots of upcoming titles, and I have (affiliate) linked the main page below. No matter when you come across this, you can see what Amazon has to offer!

cheap games amazon preorder

As always, if you have any questions about this offer, feel free to leave them in the comments below!