Hello friends! It is a brand new year so it is a good excuse to try to get back in the habit of blogging regularly. I had some much needed time off over the holidays, and squeezed in a good amount of gaming. Here’s a quick summary:
The Good: Undertale
I’m just a few months late to this party but I have to say I’m very glad I finally got to play. It has been sitting in my Steam wishlist for a bit and a good friend gifted it to me for xmas (thank you, again!). I didn’t go in exactly blind, since I’d seen lots of folks discussing the game, but most of what I knew was focused on how the game is possible to beat without killing anything, and how it remembers and “judges” you if you do kill. I made it my mission to do a pacifist run, and was happy that I made it all the way to the king before I had to break down and look up how to finish a fight.
I’m not sure what I can say about this game that hasn’t already been said before. I really enjoyed it, and it definitely gave me some feels. It did not make me cry but it came close. Gone Home still gets the prize for “made Gracie cry the most”. I have mixed feelings about how Undertale plays with the ideas of saved games, but I do understand why it works the way it does. I’m also glad I went in knowing I wanted to avoid killing at all costs. I don’t think my mental state would have dealt well with the guilt of murdering innocent monsters in addition to all the other stresses of the holidays.
Overall I am super glad I played this game, really enjoyed most of it and absolutely loved some of it. If you have interest in it I’d suggest picking it up. I think it is worth a try if the turn-based rpg style isn’t an immediate turn-off. The music alone is worth the price of admission.
The Adequate: SWTOR
I managed to somehow avoid Star Wars hype for the most part. While my friends were getting increasingly excited as the movie premiere approached, I was busy hardening my heart. I guess I had been burned too deeply by the prequels to have much hope. I did still get tickets for opening night, I just tried not to have any expectations. Then I saw the movie and fell in love with Star Wars all over again and all bets were off. No, it wasn’t perfect, but it was fun and funny and had a kick-ass jedi and creepy sith and adorable droid and my entire holiday became colored with Star Wars fever. Thanks Disney, you managed to pry my heart and wallet wide open again for all things Star Wars.
In a fit of Star Wars fever I did something I had vowed I’d never do again: I subbed to SWTOR for a month. Sure, it is F2P, but the F2P model is so punitive that if you want to play at all you might as well sub or not bother. I rolled up an Imperial Agent because that seems class most folks say has the best story, and I hadn’t seen it yet.
SWTOR was having some sort of bonus XP event, and with their new adaptive level scaling thing I ended up hitting the level cap of 65 well before I had even finished chapter 1 of my class story. This felt very odd, since the game was trying to gently shove me toward the new content, while I just wanted to finish the story without getting it spoiled. Once I hit 65 I stopped doing any quests except the class story ones just to get through it faster, which reminded me how much the game likes to send you back and forth between planets. During normal leveling it isn’t too noticeable but when you’re just doing the story quests it feels like you’re spending more time traveling than questing.
I eventually did finish the main (level 50) story for the agent, and promptly closed the game and have not logged back in since. The story was quite good compared to most of the other ones I had seen, and I still haven’t figured how it ranks in comparison yet. My bottom line seems to be that it was a good story but it didn’t feel “Star Wars” enough for me, especially right in the middle of my movie-fueled fever. The Sith Warrior for example, felt like a fairly strong story and way more Star Wars flavored. In any case I don’t regret the time and money spent, but it didn’t quite do what I wanted in terms of scratching my Star Wars itch. In retrospect, I probably should have picked a class that gets a lightsaber.
The Inexplicably Unsatisfying: WildStar
I love WildStar, and still think of it as my “home” MMO. But for whatever reason over the holidays I just could not get invested in it no matter how hard I tried. I still logged in almost every day, and did some of the holiday Protostar event stuff, but my heart just wasn’t in it. Some of this had to do with me needing some “alone time”, which meant I needed a change of scenery from my usual game. Part of the problem may have also been that I had too many other games vying for my attention, and the attraction of new shiny things is strong.
I think some of it was also due to plain old liking the halloween event better than the xmas one. For me there’s no contest between the two holidays in real life, candy and spooky stuff are just way more fun than trees and snow. In-game, I liked the Shade’s Eve expedition much more. I love the idea of the mall in the sky, and the changing rotation of challenges each time you play through. However I wish some of the challenges were combat-based. it just didn’t feel like the rest of the expeditions to me and after a few runs I got tired of clicking on things in a way that I somehow don’t get tired of shooting things.
I ended up playing far far less than I did during Shade’s Eve, and never even got all of the rewards. I did at least get my rowsdower slippers, because I do have my priorities right.
The “Why am I still here?”: WoW
I subbed for a 2nd month of WoW using in-game gold. I’m not entirely sure why. This is the game that perpetually feels like going to visit your old home town long after you’ve moved away and lost touch with all your old high school buddies. It is technically the same place but everything is changed and even though it is familiar and you can’t help but go back once in a while to see how it looks it mostly ends up reminding you that the good old days are well and truly gone.
I continue to play almost completely solo, mostly running old raids for mounts and such, and messing with the follower system to earn more gold to buy more game tokens. It feels a bit like a self-perpetuating treadmill, but it is familiar and easy and oddly comforting in its way. My goal is to stockpile at least 3 more WoW tokens this month, and then take a hiatus until Legion is on the horizon.
I think a huge part of my indifference to WoW is that I have a huge stable of characters on a server where I have no friends and no guild. I can’t force myself to reroll someplace else because it is too hard to walk away from the self-sufficiency and gameplay options of 6 level 100 characters, and I can’t transfer because the cost of moving one character is prohibitive right now, much less 6-8. To make matters worse, by far most of my WoW-playing friends are Alliance side and my main stable of characters is Horde. So I play by myself because it feels like I don’t have much choice. I’m planning to use my 100 boost to plant a character on a server with my friends once I save up to buy Legion.
The WTF is this Even?: Hatoful Boyfriend Holiday Star
I loved me some Hatoful Boyfriend, so when I saw that this holiday-themed addition was coming out in December I knew I’d be on board. I still haven’t finished the whole thing, but so far it has been enjoyable in a “I don’t know what is happening but I like it” sort of way. It feels even more like a visual novel and less like a game than the original, but I’m more used to the style now and am happy to just hang on for the ride. My main disappointment has been that I haven’t actually been able to date any birbs. I will be reporting back on this one once I finally finish it.
So that was my holiday gaming for 2015. Enjoyable. Comfortable. A little weird. Just the way the holidays should be.