If you couldn’t tell already, I’ve had a very strange month, gaming-wise. I’ll have a wrap-up tomorrow to go more into depth, but the short of it is that I’ve struggled with cementing my gaming lineup for this summer and have instead been wandering all over the place. More than usual, I mean.
It’s been weird and interesting and personally revelatory, but the end result is that I’ve realized that three is sort of the magic number for me when it comes to online games. It’s just enough for variety (I really can’t be a one-MMO guy, just never could) and an interesting rotation (hitting each game at least twice a week) without being too scattered and making me feel overwhelmed with too many “projects” and goals spread across a half-dozen or more titles.
So three. And the first two are not in doubt. LOTRO, because I love it, I’m still having fun in it, the expansion is coming out this fall, and I cover it for MOP. And Secret World Legends, despite the do-over. There’s plenty in those two games to keep me going for a while and my interest in both is high. But the question is, which game gets the third spot to help me settle down and cruise through the rest of summer?
There are a few games I tried this past month that I liked but for various reasons I don’t think are contenders. FFXIV, while nice, doesn’t have its hooks in me the way it seems to for others. DDO was really neat to return to and a blast from the past, but it’s not the future. So that leaves me with three options that I’m mulling over, and since I’m mulling, I might as well be writing. It’s one of the main reasons why we blog, right?
Here are the contenders:
Guild Wars 2
- Pros: Really love the combat. Pretty. I dig my Engineer and have invested a fair bit of time into her (almost through season 2). Would… sort of like to see the expansion and season 3. Can be relaxing just to do zone clears. Expansion later this year might make me regret not being ready for it.
- Cons: Loot is boring, story is boring, expansion is vertical jungle (and that’s like they designed it to be a turn-off to me personally). Haven’t found a really good, sticky guild. Tired of buttflaps and trenchcoats. Don’t want to grind ascended or legendaries.
World of Warcraft
- Pros: Been fiddling about with a new resto Shaman as a healer, kind of like that idea. Could just level casually with no rush to endgame. Have flying unlocked in Broken Isles. Argus could be really cool. Always liked the game and am part of a great guild. Fun dungeons that offer a satisfying experience for healers.
- Cons: Was really burned out around April and May. The endgame doesn’t seem as compelling as it did early in Legion. No housing. Sometimes feels overwhelming with too much to do. Subscription.
Elder Scrolls Online
- Pros: Brand-new to me. Morrowind is a great starting place for a newbie and a hit of retro nostalgia. Warden is a perfect class for me. Housing! Lots of places to explore, nice single-player RPG feeling mixed in with the MMO. Voice acting decent so far. Visually stunning. Buy-to-play (and I just dropped $40 on it, so I feel like I should get my money’s worth).
- Cons: Elder Scrolls games haven’t always been as strong with me as other franchises (I’m not a fanboy, in other words). Combat is not that thrilling. Default UI is frustrating. Doesn’t control like other MMOs.
Putting it down, I think I can rule out GW2. It was getting to be more of a chore than fun the last few times I played it. But I am really, really torn between WoW and ESO. The familiar, proven game vs. the unfamiliar, brand-new content. Both popular, both have a future. I think I could be happy with either, but I do need to choose. Three is focus, four is messy (again, at least for me). I’m going to set a deadline for this weekend and go from there through the rest of this summer.