Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Canada Day Resolutions for 2009

It's July 1st, which makes it Canada's national holiday and the first day of the second half of the calendar year. That makes today as good a time as any to take a look at my progress on my new year's resolutions from six months ago.

WoW-related resolutions
1. Finish the major level 80 reputations on my main.
2. Gear up my main to somewhere in the ilvl 200 epic level.
3. Complete each 5-man at least once, perhaps on heroic.
4. Obtain some heirloom items for alts (top priorities are a pair of daggers and leather shoulders for my rogue, perhaps some goodies for the Warlock, and maybe plate shoulders for the Pally).
5. Buy a motorcycle for my hunter. (I ordinarily don't spend anywhere near that kind of money on an alt, but that's the character I play with my wife, and she will love being driven around places. :))
6. Work on misc achievements, especially the holiday ones.
7. Finish at least one additional level 80 character. Not sure whether the Rogue, the Pally, or the Horde Warrior is the most likely candidate for my second 80, but I'd like to have one.

To date, I have met and surpassed the first four items. This may be less of a function of my having been productive in WoW (I think I've actually spent more time in EQ2 so far this year), than a function of how close I was to being done with the attainable content in the game as of December.

Looking ahead:
  • The motorcycle is mostly off the table - if my wife gets back into MMORPG's at some point, it's far more likely to be Free Realms than WoW.

  • Heirlooms, including the upcoming chest pieces, are definitely in the works. My Rogue is fully decked out, other than the bow (a comparatively small improvement since it's neither her main weapon nor does it grant an exp bonus, and it's not an item that I'd use for any other characters). My next alt, if I ever decide what alt that's going to be, will be able to start off with shoulders, chest (once patch 3.2 hits) and a 2H weapon.

  • Achievements are what they are, but Greenwiz will be in line for the holiday drake unless Blizzard manages to really break Brewfest (or adds the new Thanksgiving holiday to the meta-achievement and manages to break it).

  • In the short term, I'm not feeling much pressure to farm champion seals. I'd like a teleporting tabard, and the upgraded squire, when 3.2 hits, but that patch will also add more ways of getting the seals.

    I haven't quite decided what I'm going to do in terms of gear for Greenwiz in the medium term. The emblem change places a lot more upgrades within his reach, but also helps point out just how temporary those upgrades really are.

That's basically where I am on WoW. Though I will definitely want to try out the new content as it rolls out, I don't expect to stay continuously subscribed to the game for the rest of the year. It's more likely that I'll drop in for a month at a time as world events roll around or patches are launched. I don't really view this as a bad thing - I'd rather take frequent breaks than become frustrated because I've run out of stuff to do.

Other Gaming Resolutions
  • 8. Try out EQ2, which seems to keep appearing on people's "games that aren't WoW that you're missing out on" lists.

    Some of EQ2's grizzled forum trolls do their game an immense disservice when they whine that it's easier to level than it is in WoW. I picked up this game expecting to burn through it in a month or two tops, based on the dire pronouncements of players who are convinced that the game is becoming increasingly trivial. Instead, I found a deep world, an interesting crafting system (if occasionally prone to a grindy exp curve), and a refreshing change of pace. Perhaps I could have burned through to the cap if I ignored everything but the exp/time ratio, but I'm very glad that I did not.

    Looking ahead in EQ2, I have probably got at least another month or so of work on Lyriana before she hits level 80, and a fledgling Sarnak Warden I'm working on. I will need to decide what to do about the coming expansion, but I'll definitely be spending some more time in Norrath in the mean while.

  • 9. Give Turbine a few more patches to flesh out Moria and then visit LOTRO to get Allarond up to level 60 and see the sights.

    With a bit of regret, I've decided to pass on Turbine's various generous (and/or desperate) renewal offers, which ran out yesterday, and punt on the entire Moria expansion era. Turbine managed to effectively make the money a non-issue with their various promotions, but I remained concerned that I would have ended up leaving the game frustrated after having run out of stuff to do.

    There is still a chance that I will play LOTRO again in 2009, if they do not delay the (presumptively-Rohan) expansion into next year. Two expansions' worth of content, including full polish on the 50-60 tier and a better look at how they will be handling the legendary item transition when the level cap increases, would offer a far more tempting dish to sink my teeth into. The only catch is that Turbine's promotions are a little bit too good; it might more sense to wait for the next sale after Rohan before subscribing.

  • 10. Send good vibes in the direction of Mythic so they can keep improving Warhammer - perhaps even give the game another shot somewhere down the road if there's time amidst all this other stuff.

    Though I still think that free re-trials should not require billing information, it is possible that I could give this game another chance somewhere down the line. If I do, I will not repeat the mistake of playing the game as if it were WoW with slightly different incentives. I would be looking for a guild to join as soon as I got into the game. I would be trying to tough it out on the Rune Priest (or, I suppose, its Destruction counterpart), since that was my favorite class until I got tired of being singled out for focus fire and chickened out (re-rolling Witch Hunter).

    Would that, plus the improvements to the game itself, be enough to change my mind? No idea. That said, the power of the free re-trial is that it wouldn't cost me anything to find out.


Various other games have got a variety of buzz, but I'm not really jumping on any of the bandwagons just yet. You just can't trust anything you hear about upcoming games before they're ready for persistent testing of all of the game's content without an NDA.

As to Free Realms, my wife and I own two of the game's nearly 4 million accounts, but have not logged into the game in over a month. Somehow, making time to play the game just hasn't been a priority for the two of us together of late, and I don't think it makes a lot of sense for me to work on the game by myself and end up maxxing all the jobs we could otherwise play together. Such are the perils of the free to play genre - there's no barrier to entry, but the barrier to departure is equally low.

Blog-Related Resolutions
11. Continue to blog about all of the above.
12. Write at least 200 posts (this is number 176 of the blog since its start in April, but I don't want to overcommit), with a goal of having my 400th post up in 2009.
13. Thank all my readers.

I'm over halfway to the goal of 200 posts this year. However, my pace has definitely been slowing down recently, due to a combination of off-line circumstances and writing challenges. I don't know if I've suddenly become more concerned about quality or if I'm suddenly a lot more prone to rambling, but I feel like I'm spending more and more of my blogging time writing lengthy sections of posts that I end up deleting or condensing. (Case in point, this already-massive post was once about twice as long.)

I'm happy with the end results of the extra time spent editing. Left to my own devices, I will write a lot of text that is true, and related to the topic of my post, but not really necessary for the central point or commentary I'm trying to make. Unfortunately, spending half of my blogging time revising instead of writing means that I'm not able to post as much as I would like.

Anyways, thanks again to all my readers for coming here, reading this, and generally putting up with way too many words of text. We'll see how the rest of this stuff holds up in six months! :)

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