It’s been quite a year of Choose My Adventure columns, hasn’t it? We did a pretty good random skip around of different games, in my opinion, and as is tradition around here, we’re taking a look back at all of the games that we visited over the course of the past year.
One of my favorite parts of this sort of roundup is that it gives me a list to plot my next courses for the coming year, but also it lets me reflect at the variety of experiences I was able to have. Moving from week to week I tend to lose the totality of everything I’ve experienced, so these retrospectives are as much a good time for me as they (hopefully) are to you. So, without further ado, let’s look back!
I’ll be perfectly honest, not much about this game stands out in my mind, and the fact that it’s still a thing seems like a small miracle, especially considering the problems it seems to constantly offer its playerbase and those who are stewards for it. Still, I don’t hold any hard feelings for ArcheAge – it’s a perfectly fine bit of MMO gaming.
Warhammer: Return of Reckoning
I really wish I had a chance to experience the RvR that this game seems to be known for, because legitimately the battlegrounds I got to experience were the single most fun I’ve ever had in PvP ever. It might have been due to my choice of class (a healer that heals because she’s hurting things with swords), but I also just like the way it all felt. Maybe someday I’ll get to experience RvR. Or at least RvR that feels as good as PvP did.
Talk about a surprise! The depth that’s present in what’s otherwise considered a “kiddie MMO” surprised me quite a bit, and seeing how far along other players can come versus how I was progressing was impressive. I’m still not a particularly big fan of how this game effectively pressganged me into buying some subscription time, but otherwise this game is a gem. It just happens to be a gem that likes to eat your wallet.
My poor poor RIFT, what have they done to you? I mean, the IAs were a lot of fun and I think making that the default way to play PvE MMORPGs is something to consider for other games, but there just seems to be an abject lack of magic from this game, or at least what I felt when I was rumbling around during its initial launch. I feel bad for this one and do hope it doesn’t get culled by Gamigo.
Talk about a letdown of personal expectations. MapleStory had all of the assumed ingredients to be something enjoyable and it ended up not being fun to play at all. The whimsy and charm of the quest steps were not enough to make the awkward control scheme and kind of basic combat easy to ignore. And all I ended up wanting was for MapleStory 2 to come back from the dead.
Star Wars Galaxies: Legends
I am still very mad at myself for having missed this game in its heyday, but being guided into the Legends rogue server did a great job of finally understanding why this game is so beloved and what still makes it a high water mark for other sandbox MMOs. And I was lead along and helped out by no less than Bree herself, which was like finding a Philosopher’s Stone. Seriously, she is the standard for SWG stuff.
You know how sometimes you get curious about a game and then you finally sate your curiosity and you wish you hadn’t? That’s pretty much my relationship with this game. Clearly, it’s got an audience and it’s still a thing that’s loved by plenty of people (as near as I can tell), but it also seems like one of those walled garden MMOs: It has its audience and they’re being fully served, but those from the outside coming in probably won’t lock in quite so easily.
I’m glad this game is around. It’s colorful, it’s easy to play, it’s fun, it has interesting classes, it has entertaining enough combat, and it has some truly awesome features that make it one of the more expressive games in our genre. I don’t know that I’ll play it too often, but every time it brings a smile to my face, and being able to focus on it for a month was really nice.
DC Universe Online
OK, look. I’m glad that the DC IP has some kind of big MMORPG tied to it, especially one that lets you populate the universe instead of wear some other licensed character like a mascot suit. Be that as it may, the way combat feels in this one is never going to stop being weird to me, and I just started to lose my drive to play too much more. It’s a fine game, but the superheroic genre, in my opinion, deserves better. And it has it in another game.
Lord of the Rings Online
While slotting this one in to CMA was definitely an unforced error, it also was because the game truly is so vast and impressive and so totally its own thing that making it just part of a brief preview would not do it justice. Frankly, I’ll leave this one to those who are deeply invested, like Justin, because I don’t think I’ll ever see the top of the mountain. Not because it’s bad, but because few other MMORPGs offer so much stuff to do. Or to put it another way, the road goes ever on and on.
I’m actually happy I tried this one out. It’s been sitting in my Steam backlog for the longest time and I’ve been passing curious about it for a while, so doing a CMA for it was enjoyable, even if a little awkward. It also seemed like a lot of others following along had my same morbid curiosity, which makes me think I should try other games of its sort – the “build a custom thing and explore a sandbox” game – for future editions. Assuming, of course, the voting says so.
Finally, we arrive to Grim Dawn, the ARPG that started off slow but absolutely kept on growing on me. This game, frankly, did Diablo III better than Diablo III did, and I’m absolutely excited that I’ve found an ARPG that I can actually enjoy. I’m still kind of angry I didn’t give it a shake sooner, but better late than never, right?
So now we turn our gaze to 2022 and to the next year of adventures. I genuinely want to thank everyone for all of your engagement with this series and hope that these adventures have been enlightening and intriguing for you. We’ll be kicking off next year with a return trip to previous installments, starting off with The Elder Scrolls Online, but until then, may you have a safe, happy, and healthy new year.