2016 Wrap-Up and 2017 Plans

I hadn’t planned on writing a 2016 wrap-up post or a plans for 2017 post, but here we are. I’m not going to review every month of last year instead I want to hit some of the highlights throughout the year that are both life and gaming related.

March

During March I finished off my classes for my Bachelor’s Degree in Zoology. It felt really good to be done, but this achievement didn’t feel capped off until the commencement ceremony in June.

April

I didn’t play many single player games in 2016, two to be exact, but in April I played Papo & Yo and absolutely loved it. I was saving this game until I knew I would have time to play it in only one or two sessions. While I had planned to write an impressions post of the game I never got around to it. If you happen to have this game sitting around I definitely recommend you give it a play through. It took me 4-5 hours to complete the game. If you are going to play Papo & Yo, come for the story and the experience. The story revolves around some heavy topics such as addiction and its effects on relationships and tends to pull at the heartstrings.20160427131758_1

July

Early in July, I received an unexpected e-mail from a former professor offering me a position in her lab if I was still interested. I jumped at the chance. Back in March of 2015, I had contacted this same professor about working in her lab, but at the time she had no available positions. So in late July I started working with one of her graduate students.

August

August was interesting. I was at a church picnic and was running after a frisbee when suddenly I found myself on the ground. I thought I had run into the chair of someone nearby, but when I sat up I saw that I had broken my leg (specifically my left tibia and fibula). My first priority was making sure my sister took a picture of it for me.

If you’re curious what the break looked like and don’t get queasy when it comes to injuries do a search for the French Gymnast that broke his leg during the Summer 2016 Olympics and you’ll have a pretty good idea of my break.

I had surgery about a week later. Titanium ftw!

September/October

By early-mid October I was out of my boot, back in a normal shoe, and walking without crutches. And by mid-late October I returned back to work. I can’t describe how thankful I am for quick healing, a supportive family, and an understanding boss.

If we rewind a little bit, at the end of September I started gaming more regularly and was able to finish up the Guild Wars 2 personal story by mid-October. Had lots of spare time as I was recovering, didn’t take full advantage of the time, but at least I got that done.

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November

During November I had my last x-ray and final doctor’s appointment. I also completed Beneath a Steel Sky the 1994 point-and-click adventure game from Revolution Software. I don’t have much experience with point-and-click adventure games from this era, so it took me some time to get used to things, but overall I enjoyed my time with the game.

Leftovers: A few things that don’t necessarily fall within a specific month.

Back in May, I posted that I was going to start playing DCUO, and I did. I played it on and off, and while I enjoyed my time playing, the past three times I have played I have been getting a lot of lag and weird performance issues. So, for now, I am going to set DCUO aside and hopefully come back to it in the future.

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Something I have played more than I expected this year especially the last few weeks is Paladins. In November I jumped in after not having played for some time and found that the game felt much improved from my previous time playing it.

2017 Plans

A few of my goals for 2017.

  • Focus and simplify.
  • Slow down. Be deliberate with my time.
  • Get digitally and physically organized.
  • Draw. Draw a lot.
  • Read. I’ve got a stack of books that have been waiting a few years to be read.
  • Take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE).
  • Research potential Graduate Schools.
  • Apply to Graduate School.
  • Complete Guild Wars 2 Story Content (Living World Season 2 and Heart of Thorns)/Catch-up to current Living World Season 3 content.
  • Get through more sinlge player games and MMOs.
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It’s Time to Make my Way Through Some Other MMOs

On Saturday, I picked an MMO out of a hat.

I decided it’s time to make my way through the list of MMOs that I want to try, and I’m been trying to think of a way to do this. Unfortunately, being as indecisive as I tend to be I had a hard time just picking a game and saying “yeah, I’ll play that one”. Then I remembered one of Syp’s projects where he made a list of MMOs put them in a hat and then would tackle whichever one he picked for an evening. I really like this idea, but I want to stick with the game longer than one evening.

To do this I’ve decided that I am going to need to implement a schedule, as juggling three MMOs will not be an easy task, especially considering how well I’ve done trying to balance playing two.

You see, this June will mark my 12th year playing RuneScape, and in February, I hit 3 years in Guild Wars 2. I have yet to hit the level cap in either game or be anywhere near completing everything I would like to. In both games, I have one main character. I have dabbled with alts in RuneScape but the majority of my time playing has been devoted to one character, and in Guild Wars 2 I still have four empty character slots that have yet to be touched.

I was introduced to RuneScape when I was in middle school. Those early years saw consistent play and progress. I had quite a few friends in real life playing the game and found a wonderful clan, but both of these things faded. Friends left because they lost interest or they moved onto to other MMOs. The clan I was in eventually disbanded, and since then I have been in multiple clans, but none have been able to capture that feeling of home like that first one. For some people, seeing friends leave a game can act as a deterrent to keep playing, but for me as mostly a solo player I continued on; yes I missed my friends but I also hadn’t lost my passion for the game. I continued playing, and at some point my sister also started playing, so now if I am not soloing we are running around as a duo getting stuff done.

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I’ve been here a long time, but there is still so much to do.

When it comes to Guild Wars 2 I feel like we were never properly introduced; we never really connected. While I do contribute some of this to getting into the game after my real life friends had already moved on, having yet to join and be active in a guild, and not reaching out to people I know are playing; I think the main reason why I don’t feel a strong connection to Guild Wars 2 is the same reason why for the last few years in RuneScape I have had this feeling of being lost in a familiar world.

That reason would be: playing sporadically.

Some weeks I get a few hours in, others a few minutes. This tendency to play very little or play quite a bit and then not play for days, weeks, or months has plagued me for some time now. I eventually became content with just logging in for daily rewards, because trying to balance high school/university with playing two MMOs and trying to dabble in this game or that game started to feel overwhelming.

I use to have a near encyclopedic knowledge of RuneScape, but now I just feel lost because there is so much that has escaped my notice over the years. As for Guild Wars 2, when you play a part of the story one week and then pick the story back up a few weeks (or months) later not only is it easy to forget what’s going on, but I also find I feel disconnected from my character and the supporting characters. I’ve been playing the personal story on and off for 3 years, and the last time I played it was about 7 months ago.

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Come sit at the waterfall and watch the days pass by. Dragons can wait.

So, I think it’s time to change things up a bit.

I’ve come up with a tentative schedule, that I’ll be testing over the next few weeks. Hopefully, a schedule combined with chronicling my progress here will make my gaming time more consistent and deliberate.

Back to the hat.

The game I pulled out of the hat on Saturday was DC Universe Online. My plan with each game I pull out of the hat is to progress to a natural stopping point and then move on to another game. This stopping point may be level cap, end of the main storyline, or when I’ve reached a point where I am not having fun anymore. I figure it will be different for each game, especially since I plan to progress through each game as an F2P player, so I might be in one game for a few weeks and another for a few months. When I’m not in DCUO I will be buckling down in RuneScape and Guild Wars 2 attempting to get reacquainted with each game.

My goal is to make some actual progress in exploring the MMOs out there that I’ve been meaning to dig into but either never get to or just play enough to sample the beginning and never go back. I am hoping over the course of this journey I will gain a good perspective of how feasible it is to progress through these games as an F2P player, and just become a more informed player of MMOs.

If you’re playing the game I’m currently making my way through or have played it feel free to shoot any advice or tips you have my way.