I’m always so behind on these kinds of things. I realize we’re already six days into 2012 and almost figured I would skip the rundown this year, but oh what the hey…for tradition’s sake.
The five things that gave me much joy in the past year:
If I didn’t give Trion a tip of the hat it would be a great disservice — considering they kept me playing their game for much of last year, quite a feat when you take into account the influx of F2P MMOs in 2011 to distract me. Looking back, there were quite a few games that excited me but ended coming up short, but Rift wasn’t one of them. In fact, it was one of those pleasant surprises that caught me off guard; the rifts and flexible class system were what drew me in, but it was also the impressive number and frequency of updates from Trion that made me go back for more.
Oh, and the advent of area loot. Best thing since sliced bread.
Last year I included Goodreads on my highlights of 2010 list, which wasn’t exactly related directly to gaming but regardless made an impact on my gaming life because of the social aspect behind it. I include National Novel Writing Month this year in my list for pretty much the same reasons. In November 2011 myself and a handful of my fellow gamer bloggers/tweeters took the leap and participated in this challenge, and I have to say any activity is more invigorating and inspiring when you’re doing it with a group of friends.
Duh. This game has been on my radar since I was still in college, so yeah, I would say the launch of SWTOR was kind of a big deal to me. At one point on the eve of December 20, 2011 I had to pinch myself just to make sure it was really happening.
SWTOR’s impact remains to be seen, but already I get the feeling that story and voiceovers in MMOs are going to be a big deal. Even last year I noticed more games adding their own VOs and cutscenes — from Star Trek Online to World of Warcraft. I mean, after five years of not caring and saying shit all to me, Thrall finally wants to get chatty? How timely.
Every once in a while I like to indulge in the single-player experience, and I’m so glad in 2011 I had Skyrim. The last time I was so absorbed by an RPG was probably Dragon Age: Origins, and my game time in Skyrim was probably close to double the amount of time I spent in that. I bought the guide, I bought the soundtrack, I read the Books of Skyrim compilation, and quite honestly, if I could I would go back in time and buy the collector’s edition. The game isn’t without its bugs, but it’s the whole experience that counts — and for me it was such that I would happily throw money at Bethesda if it means they will continue making immersive games like this.
Now if only BioWare and Bethesda would have a hot night of sex; their lovechild will probably be the RPG to end all RPGs.
I won’t lie, getting into the SWTOR beta and being able to play it for six months was pretty damn exciting. But actually being in general testing wasn’t what made the experience a highlight for me. As much as I enjoyed reporting bugs and writing up my feedback every week, in point of fact, it was the friends I made and the relationships I forged over that period of time which made it memorable. As we all know, finding a good guild can be a challenge. Early last year, I was content on waiting until closer to launch to start guild-hunting, but lo and behold, during testing I was fortunate enough to meet an amazing group of players. The result: the RMC and the IMC, a pair of great guilds I am happy to be a part of.