My look back at 2009

I thought a lot this week about my 2009 games of the year, as I saw gaming sites all over the internet posting their lists in various different formats.   I was going to skip the whole thing, because I did not want to be a “me too” poster.  Then I took a pause today and remembered this site is not for anyone else but me, and I a post about my thoughts on 2009’s game is something I would like to read later.  And thus I bring this post.

How this works is I am going to list games that I have memories of , along with a bit of commentary.  This is not a best of list by any means, just me thinking back on the year.  It’s also not in any particular order.

I had zero hope that this game would “revolutionize” or “impact” the Western MMO scene in any real way before the beta’s started.  Of course then came the hype, bloggers and tweets chatting the game up as though it was something new and fresh.  I was not convinced, and when I finally got to play in one of the betas, I knew I was right.

The game offered nothing but a pretty paint job over old, tired, linear, grindy, uninspired gameplay; at least in my opinion.  I knew this was one MMO I was not going to have to buy.   The Hype continued, well that is until soon after launch and now all I hear are “crickets”.

A game my hype meter was maxed out on before launch.   I was a day 1 player, and was very disappointed.   I am not sure if I made any notes back then about why, but I do know that I only played for a month before moving on.

Well this year Turbine moved the billing model to a F2P approach, and I took a peek back in to see things.   I was impressed.  DDO:U is a good mmo version of D&D,  and without a subscription to worry about I now have the game installed and ready to pop into whenever I get the urge.

Rock Band
We were late to this party, but our house now can rock out on the xbox like most of the rest of the world.  I learned two things from this purchase, sometimes the mass market is dead on right about fun, and I am as terrible at the game as I thought I would be.  The fact that the game is a blast even if you are terrible says a lot about the game.

Modern Warfare
I played the first Modern Warfare game’s single player story and loved it, but did not bother with multiplayer at all.  Then I played Modern Warfare 2, and this time around as soon as I wrapped up the SP game, I jumped into MP and found myself almost addicted.   A game that is a blast to play even though I die more than I kill, is a winner to me.   So many unlocks that continually give me more options; Thumbs up.

1 vs. 100
An  online version of the gameshow, that just works.  I highly recommend this game to anyone with xbox live, get on and get in a group with your friends. Taunt each other over wrongly answered “easy” questions.

Assassins Creed 2
Its better than the first game! Seriously, they took the best parts of the first game, pulled them all out and made a sequel. Its not perfect, and there definitely feels like there is some forced gameplay variety, but its good. Worthy of a purchase.

Batman Arkham Asylum
If you have not played this yet, STOP what you are doing right now and go get it.  This game is great.  No fooling, great.  It does Batman right.  If I was making a list of bests this game would be in the list.

World of Warcraft
Again this game dominated my year.  I continued playing an raiding for almost the whole year.  And with much of that time during my unemployment, lets just say I put a LOT of time in the game.  Then something happened.

I got employed again, and found I did not want to have keep pushing myself as I was just to stay competitive.  No I was not directly competing with anyone in my WoW playing, but I was indirectly competing with other healers that wanted to raid with our group.   I was finding it unfun to have stay at the very top of my game to feel as though I was contributing to our raids.   SO I took a break from raiding, which made taking a break from the game much easier when I started working.

I will go back, that is inevitable.  Cataclysm with pull me back in, even if I suspect the world changes may not be as much as everyone hopes.  Heck I might be back before that, if I can force myself to play more casually.

A Bundle of F2P MMOs
Over the year I tried a number of different F2P MMOs (including DDO:U above), and none of them pulled me in.  I believe the biggest reason for that lack of “hook” was me not having a social community.  I tried all of those game alone, and did not join any guilds, thus I had no one other than the general population to chat with; which essentially means no one. 🙂  The games I have the biggest memories of were Runes of Magic and Free Realms.

Runes of Magic is a solid wow-like, that in my opinion offers a lot for the F2P player to enjoy.  In 2009 would recommend this for anyone that wants to play wow without a subscriptions.  Of course in 2010, that recommendation might go to Allods Online, but RoM is a solid option.

Free Realms is a Mini-game MMO-like.  When I played at launch, I got hooked by the mini-games but really that’s all the game offered.  Of course it is marketed at the younger crowd, so maybe I just “dont get it” but for me this is one of the most shallow “MMOs” I ever played.

Fallen Earth
I think I would love this game if I had a bunch of my friends playing with me and I could get over the “old feel” the graphics engine gives me.  This is not an easy, or casual MMO, but deep and more hard-core game.  I only played enough to know that I would only play if I had friends already playing.

Dragon Age
I still have not finished this game. It’s a great throw back to the Baldur’s gate style of game; full of great characters and tactical combat. And you get a lot for your money, maybe too much since I have still not finished my play through.  If you like SP-RPG’s I highly recommend this.  Oh and get it for the PC, not the consoles.

Yes I work for Gearbox, but I did not work on this team. In fact I started about time the game dev. was wrapping up, so I am as much a retail consumer as everyone else.  This game is a whole of FPS, point-n-click, pick up loot kind of fun.  If you like blowing up bad guys with your friends using an incredible about of varying firepower, then this is a game for you.

This is 2009’s SP Diablo. It’s inexpensive in price but not in fun.  If you enjoy point and click action RPGs, go buy this now.

I took another trip back into Middle Earth this year, and I had fun for about 35 levels.  Then I simply grew tired of running all over the world, back and forth trying to get grind through more kills, quests, or harvests.  I strongly believe that if I had been in a guild with several other active players I would still be playing LOTRO today.   Alas, I was only playing with a couple of other friends, both of which also had real life distractions which left me soloing for several evenings. That soloing experience was more tedious than fun and so I stopped.   My suggestion to Turbine. Make getting a mount right at level 30 much, much easier.

Red Faction Guerrilla & Prototype
These were my games of June and I had a blast with both.  They both scratched different sides of an open world itch and I would suggest both of them friends.  If RFG had offered Co-op play it might have been a for my imaginary “best of” list, but even without both of these game are solid SP experiences.

Champions Online
I was so very excited for this game, but what I got a launch did not live up to my expectations.  The character creator was good, and some of the basic game play was fun,  but (at launch at least) it lacked something.  The game felt a bit shallow and to quickly repetitive.  I also think the vast number of customization options might have hurt the game, in an odd way.   At launch there was no easy way to respec your choices.  They did give player the option to test choices before committing, but the test environment was not the same as the real game and choices that seemed good at level 6 might not seem so good at level 16.

On the macro level I am on the fence about free respeccing, but gamers these days expect to be able to “correct” mistakes and at launch CO did not provide a cost effective way to that.   The game has a solid foundation and I suspect the additional content that will certainly be added over time, this game will be worth revisiting.   I would suggest a Supergroup leveling and bases system as a first priority.

Warhammer Online
I gave this several weeks back at the beginning of last year, and without reading my posts from then all I remember was being bored.  As with any MMO if my friends had been playing with me, or If I had joined a guild, or heck if there had been simply more players , then maybe I would have kept playing.  I still have a time card, and I hope to give it another look later this year.

Everquest 2
This summer I created a new station account so I could give EQ2 a 7 day peek.  It had  been 18 months since my last peek, and I wanted to try and evaluate the starting game as a fresh player.  I did not re-sub at that time.  Then 3 weeks ago some things happened.

1) I found Sony activated my account until the end of the year.
2) Some people on twitter I follow started talking a lot about the game.
3) A good friend of mine took a peek back at the game.

So what did I do? I jumped back in and this time not only did I re-sub, but I started a second account and recruited-a-friend. I forced myself to walk away from my past characters and created new ones on a server where I was able to quickly get into a guild.  And I am having a blast and I suspect more posts forthcoming about my time back in the game.

I suspect I left some games out, but if I could not recall them here then *shrug*.  If a big one that I somehow totally blew remembering comes to me later, I will post about it.

In my opinion is was a good if not great year for gamers and gaming, and I am looking forward to what 2010 brings us.

2 responses to “My look back at 2009”

  1. Couldn’t agree more about Arkham Asylum, I really should put the MMOs down and go finish that game.

    Regarding Champions, I think that people enjoy that game inversely to how much attention they gave it before launch. I wasn’t interested in the game until about two weeks before launch, and I’ve had a lot of fun with it. I agree with you that the amount of customization in the power system does make it more of a challenge to min/max, but as someone who loves to make concept characters, it is great to not have the archetype limits that CoH imposed.

  2. @Blue Kae
    Making various Characters was my favorite thing to do in Champions. Alas playing them long after their creation was not.

    Their system really did allow for the creation of some awesome concepts.

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