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There and Back Again: The Winter Process

Following on the heels of my week of Star Trek Online revisited Guild Wars 2 for a few weeks.  All told, I spent more time talking to my father about GW2 than actually playing it.  A friend said it best.  The problem with Guild Wars 2 is that you’re always the same.  Same powers, same buttons, same equipment visiting some of the same areas.

That’s actually one of the things it does well.  They (ArenaNet) built a wondrous structure that means I can hang with friends new and old in places high and low without fear of overshadowing their efforts.  The downside is that no area feels different enough from another.  Bats, rats and Cave Trolls are always a threat.  Always.

A friend talked me into Mists of Pandaria.  I bought it, played it for a couple weeks.  I got my roommate playing again, for which I almost regret.  We finally turned off our EVE accounts, realizing that while it’s a great sandbox experience, we likely won’t go back anytime soon.  I like MoP, but my understanding of WoW changed considerably.  I view it less as an adventure game with endgame to achieve and more as a themepark experience to be had.  You pay your fee, you pick up your foam sword and go bop foam monsters on the head until you get tokens for the Cotton Candy vendor.  And then you do it all again.  Once I figured that out, I found I was able to objectively enjoy World of Warcraft even after recently having gotten as frustrated as I was.

A handful of clever phone games caught my attention.  Pixel People, Tiny Tower (again), Ridiculous Fishing and just recently Strategery (again).  All while I waited for SimCity to release which it did and I played and I moved on to watching Star Trek: Voyager.  This started a chain reaction culminating in playing Star Trek Online again.  Between one and the other I played Endless Space (Now fully released), Sword of the Stars 2 (Awww.. what did you do?) Distant Worlds (Yeah, just as chaotic as before) and a game called Stardrive (beta).  I dabbled in Civilization 5 for about an hour and now I’m back to Star Trek Online.

I’m of this opinion that if you stripped off the Star Trek, you’d have a great science fiction game.  I like how you aren’t just one character.  How you have a crew and team members who join you for missions, how you have officers who will fill roles for you without providing active abilities.  Case in point, my chief science officer can create a short-lived Gravity Well what truly messes with whomever it hits while my Duty Officer gives me a chance to spawn 3 more of those as the power winds down.  On top of that, I can send some of these officers on missions to earn me rewards.  I don’t just have a ship.  I have a represented crew.

BioShock Infinite hit store shelves and so far everything I hear is “This game is great”.  I’m giving it another week before I start looking for reviews.  Surely someone will have something negative to say, for context.

I’ve dabbled my hand at a few F2P action games recently.  I put some time into MWO which I really enjoy for the sheer nature of actually feeling like i’m lumbering around in 80 tons of steel and death.  Warframe is new and I haven’t given it much more than 30 minutes.  So far I can call it a Cooperative PvE 3rd-Person shooter.  I don’t think there’s pvp yet and what little time I spent with it I only had a broad idea of what was happening.  And by that, I did some shooting and aimed for what I thought was the head.  It’s a time-honored strategy that got me through many games.

A friend talked enough about Mass Effect 3 multiplayer that for 20 bucks I took the plunge.  Yeah, it’s fun.  In a nutshell you do a mission, complete some random minor objectives and shoot some dudes.  For your efforts and based on how well you did you earn credits you use to buy packs of random gear.  More credits, better gear.  But random.  Including alien race/class combos.  On one hand, I like this.  I could drop real money and get special points to buy those packs, but I can’t just buy the gun or class I want.  Limited smartly, I think.  Else the game would spike briefly as people dumped 50 bucks and bought what they thought was the best class and moved on.  I’ve played several hours.  Probably less than 10 and I can see where it would get tedious or old, but taken in moderation I’ll likely play well into Summer.

WildStar popped onto my radar recently.  While it’s still in beta there are a number of features that put this squarely on my “Wait and see list”.