Brief catchups, Steam Sale, and a RPG kickstarter not to miss

There are two main reasons that I have been quiet on the blogging front lately. The first is that I’m feeling quite uninspired about MMOs at the moment – my main games are WoW (in which I’m still raiding with my awesome guildies) and LOTRO (which I’m playing about a session a week with Arb on my runekeeper). They are both oldish games. Maybe I’m just an oldish school MMO player.

The EVE experiment ran to the end of the first month, by which time I was really only logging on to tweak the skill queue. I have no doubt that the game is all about the corps and PvP, but I’ve played sandbox games enough to know that even with all these things in place, it’s still not going to be a game for me during the long slow summer gaming slump. It is in the nature of sandbox games to involve a lot of hanging around and being bored in between flashes of interest. It’s a pretty game though and I miss Elite.

Like many other players, I often fall into a summer gaming slump. This year feels different, because my enthusiasm about upcoming MMOs is so muted. I have played the FF14 beta and it was OK, but I felt bored. I saw nothing to make it stand out from the other themepark MMOs I am playing. I may have missed the aspects that make the game stand out, but I played until I got too bored to log in any more. TESO is likely the next new MMO I will play, and mostly because a friend of a friend told me that the writing was good. We’ll see.

The (not so recent now) news that Blizzard have ditched whatever their old plans were for Titan and are starting from square one didn’t surprise me, I’d already wondered whether they have dropped previous redesigns and had to redo due to changes in the market. But it does mean that WoW is going to be the Blizzard staple for a few more years yet. They’ve done a lot of things right with MoP but by this stage in the expansion, I am still feeling generally unenthused. It will be hard work for them to keep coming out with this level of content output and even if they do, they will be constantly losing players.

And as I have pretty much no interest in shooters, the upcoming shooter type MMOs are largely going to pass me by also.

The second reason for not blogging is that I’ve been busy with new job, which is all quite positive but takes a lot of energy.

I will however try to do more regular updates in future. Even if I am on a downswing in MMO playing (and the genre in general is also) it is still worth documenting. Along with some generic thoughts about MMO tropes that I will not miss. It is the vast virtual worlds to explore that I will however miss. I’m not sure how great a feature those will be for any new entries to the genre, such as it is.

Steam Sale

It’s that time of the year again. Anything big on anyone’s wishlist? I’m not sure I do, this time around. A lot of the games I wanted I have already been able to buy at good discounts. Kerbal Space Program sounds intriguing though, and I’d be up for Sword of the Stars or some kind of 4x strategy game. Any indie games anyone would recommend?

Clearly it is a bad idea to buy new games when there are older ones I have not started yet, but such is the world of extra disposable income.

Kick out for Chuubo

And lastly a shout out for a kickstarter that is ending soon, which is a (pen and paper) RPG by one of the most talented writers in the industry. Jenna (probably best known for Nobilis and some of the better received Exalted books)  is often hailed as either a genius or a quirky cultish author but aside from her evocative writing style, the real smarts are in the way she plays with rules and mechanics to build games that just work differently to the standard D&D wargaming based dungeon crawls.

In Chuubo the goal is to make it interesting and easy to run pastoral games, where character development and exploration is core to the game rather than just killing monsters and looting their corpses. If you want to know how she does this, plonk down $15 for the KS and you can have access to the entire first draft, as well as various other freebies, examples of play and short stories that she’s put up for the KS supporters. And as you might guess from the fact that the first draft is up, the game is already  completed and the KS is funded – further funds will go towards the stretch goals.

She describes the game as:

It’s an RPG that strives, as its first principle, to make it worthwhile to spend your time on both the little things and the big ones — a game that’s meaningful and fun whether your characters are drinking tea with their friends, exploring their new home, doing their daily round of chores, or hunting horrors in the dark. It’s a work that strives, as its second principle, to bend but not break when the same people who were sweeping or arguing over television shows a few minutes before start throwing around godly powers, breaking the world with their poorly-phrased wishes, and heading out into the dark to challenge Death.

I especially recommend this one to game designers. She is honestly a genius with mechanics. Enjoy!

6 thoughts on “Brief catchups, Steam Sale, and a RPG kickstarter not to miss

  1. I feel ya, Spinks. I’ve kind of set MMO’s aside recently and have been on a card game “binge.” Card Hunter is a lot of fun, and I shelled out for HEX. So far the Steam sale has only cost me $2.50 for Bastion, a fun little indie title that’s sort of a stylized Diablo. Hope you find something that catches your interest. 🙂

  2. This autumn I’ll have been playing MMOs for 14 years and I can quite honestly say I’m as excited and fascinated by them now as I was back in 1999. I don’t like the trend towards MMOFPS/RPG hybrids, nor do I welcome the intrusion of Action RPG elements and gameplay, but that aside I think things are brighter and more thrilling for the genre than they have ever been.

    The problem as always is finding time to do justice to the enormous range and depth of MMOs worthy of detailed investigation. It’s very frustrating only being able to scratch the surface of most, knowing that the real emotional involvement and lasting satisfaction that comes from becoming fully invested in an MMO and which probably dozens of current and forthcoming MMOs could readily provide must needs be left undiscovered because life and the days are both far too short.

  3. I am glad to hear I’m not the only one going through some MMO blues – I’m having so much more fun with the 3DS right now than any of my regular online games. I guess it’s a phase as usual (summer time) but boy am I feeling uninspired about any of them atm. =/ I always enjoy reading your round-up posts, maybe I should take the same freedom sometime and write about other things too.

    Oh and while I’m no p&per, I absolutely loved that paragraph you cited. sounds a lot like the MMO-RPG I’d like to play again some day. 🙂

  4. Like every summer, I am down on MMOs as well. I love our raids, but there’s little else I find compelling about online play at the moment. I have used the opportunity of MMO boredom to play a lot more single player games and am insanely ready to throw more money at Valve. So far none of the titles I am super keen on were up. I have found in me a love for good stealth games with great story, so I am currently waiting for more Assassin’s Creed games and Dishonored to go on sale.

  5. The steam sale is getting less and less interesting. Small wonder, since I already have 500+ games in my library of which I still have top lay a whole bunch.

    I might pick up a few games I missed, Kerbal does look interesting but I’m waiting for it to drop a bit in price.

  6. I have mixed feelings about Jenna K Moran’s stuff. On one hand, some of her stuff can be kind of interesting, on the other there’s only so many times I can watch Sandman, Amber Diceless and a Thesaurus have a fight and leave only a needlessly densely written lump left standing.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s