When I began thinking about my gaming at the start of 2015, I was a bit lost and scattered. I had finally, finally broken away from WoW for good, and the MMO’s I’d turned to as a replacement (especially ArcheAge) were a massive disappointment. I was without a proper MMO home, and so I turned to my Steam library, inspired by Aywren and Jasyla primarily. Yet, staring at the hundreds of titles in that library, it was difficult to know how to proceed. If there is one thing I have learnt about myself, it is that I can’t make long-term plans for things like this. My interests span too many genres to know what I’ll be in the mood for at any given time, and if I have committed to a game and am not in the mood for it, then I just end up not playing anything really.
Thus, my gaming goals for the year were rather broad and flexible. But how did I do?
I never did find a new MMO home…or did I? I picked up FFXIV in the last Humble Bundle of the year, and although I’ve only played a couple of hours, I have a home in Aywren’s Free Company, a character that I have a steadily evolving headcanon for, and I am enjoying the game itself. The signs look good.
My first attempt at trying something new was when I took a punt on the exploration-only game, Wander. It was the lowlight of my gaming year, unfortunately, and although I occasionally check in on the update progress, it hasn’t done enough to draw me back so far. I’ve basically written it off.
I picked up a Wildstar key from another bundle about halfway through the year, but it wasn’t until I moved house at the start of December that I installed it. It’s nice, and I’ll keep logging in, but it didn’t hook me instantly the way FFXIV did.
I tried to get back into GW2 when my friend did, but it held my attention for exactly one session before I dropped it again. Similarly with LOTRO, I logged in once this year and started a new hobbit hunter, intending to just work through the story without the fiddly crafting and collecting stuff, but for some reason I never felt motivated to make it a regular thing.
Finally, The Secret World. I have been keeping it in view all year via my The Secret Lore series but have only played in small chunks – I think I may have spent more time on those posts than in game. However, I have made progress: I started the year partway through the Scorched Desert, and I finish the year having finished that zone, completed the City of the Sun God, the Virgula Divina questline in London (SUPER spooky!), and the Beseiged Farmlands in Transylvania, and am about halfway through the Shadowy Forest. I am making sure that I stay ahead of the Secret Lore entries story-wise, so that means I will have to get my arse into gear in 2016. I still love the hell out of the game, but it will never be my MMO home.
So according to my list pages, I have crossed 47 games off my Steam list, and have bought, won or been gifted 56 new (non-MMO) games…uh oh. I WAS DOING SO WELL!! On the one hand, there have been quite a few games I Noped on barely minutes into trying them, which I never wrote about, and that tips the scales somewhat. On the other hand, some of those Nope games come from that new games list. Like, Pixel Pirates, which I had not looked into carefully enough before I put it on my wishlist.
So…let’s call it a draw. Thus, no actual progress in thinning down the library. Boooo.
I am not all that happy with the result, but that comes down to one overriding factor: my depression. Despite having a lot of time on my hands, I was unable to muster up enthusiasm for, or concentrate on, a game for more than 30-60 minutes at a time. That led to a lot of game-hopping, frequent breaks, and very slow progress in each game. Something like a Back To The Future episode, which takes 2-3 hours, I had to do over 2 days. Something that I should be able to finish in a week, like Psychonauts or Crysis, took months. So although I am glad that I got some of the bigger games finished, most of my time was spent on smaller indie titles.
I managed to resist the Steam sales for the most part, only buying a handful of games in the Summer Sale and one (so far) in this Winter Sale. The biggest culprit by far was my inability to say no to bundles. Again. I avoided most of them, but even so the few that I did get have offset the gains I made in crossing titles off my list. I was, I think, also unusually lucky in winning quite a few Steamgifts giveaways this year.
Alongside my depression and the lack of energy that came with it, I ended up devolving to the “daily” games. Part of the year was devoted to Heroes of the Storm, I spent a month or two heavily into Diablo 3 with a seasonal character, and dabbled a bit in some online Magic. The mainstay of my gaming, though, was Hearthstone. I think I took one month off during the whole year, and most months I have been keeping on top of my daily quests. I did go full Hearthstone in October, in an attempt to reach legendary, but only made it to rank 4. It does require a lot of hours to reach legendary rank, especially if you start down at rank 20ish.
And there we have it, folks. I started the year all scattered and lost, and although I managed to focus for short periods of time, I remained fairly scattered throughout the year. Now that I am on increased medication, and in a new, less stressful living space, I should have a good baseline to work with in the future.