Three Years In

Since the new year conveniently hits close to the time when I started playing MMO’s, it’s always a nice time to reflect on where I’ve been in the last year, with any random observations on those games.  I did it last year; I did it the year before.  So I’m doing it again now.

SWG is up first-as it should be.  It was my first MMO, and Star Wars remains my favorite setting of the ones I play in.  This is not, unfortunately, to say that it’s my top MMO.  2007 saw a number of milestones, some good, some not so good.  I converted Coreth Landwalker from officer to jedi at the year’s start, and as it progressed I managed to hit his two long term goals:  becoming a 9-ace pilot, and looting a Black Sun Ace helmet (still on display at Coreth’s lodge on Rori).  Zhaven Rel managed to reach his own milestone of hitting level 80.

Unfortunately, as the year wore on, it became obvious that the Hyperspace Outlaws were a quickly dying breed.  While it managed to surge into life again briefly during the summer, once that time ended the guild itself began to fade into a shadow of its former self.  In desperation, the still-active members chose to relocate operations to the Bria server; from my point of view, though, not much has changed, except there is more of a general population on the server.  The guild itself hasn’t really gained any more people, and guildchat remains somewhat barren.  I’ll admit, at least, that I enjoy the concept of the Wookiee smuggler Kallatarr that I put together; he’ll at least be entertaining when he’s online.

WoW, by virtue of being the biggest MMO in the nation, gets covered next.  Coreth-the-Warrior changed from being an Arms warrior to a Protection warrior; and to my surprise, that change didn’t hose him as much as I had feared for solo play.  With the Burning Crusade’s advent, he managed to plunge into the early 60’s levels.  Also about that time, Coreth got his epic mount at long last, which made a serious difference in travel time.  Gilraen the paladin also managed to hit the Outlands, getting up to about 61 if memory serves, and he respec’d to a Holy build, which was scarily efficient at raw survival.  But as time passed during the year, I found that I had trouble motivating myself to log on.  Finally, I decided to let it go; I canceled my subscription after about two and a half years of play.  I did not delete my characters though, because one never knows if I’ll find a reason to travel in Azeroth once more.

Vanguard gets a mention in my yearly review, if only because I gave it a try during a trial period.  Ranger Coreth lived again, in a way, but due to the game’s rather…strong hardware requirements, which my PC barely hit, it was a difficult game to play for me at best.  The setting failed to really grab me, too, which was disappointing for all the hype that Vanguard had built up.  These factors convinced me that Vanguard was not going to be the way to go.

Lord of the Rings Online, on the other hand, fit like a glove.  Creating Corethor, a captain of Gondor, I pushed the character into the mid-late twenties in level.  The setting was one I knew, and gameplay was pretty entertaining.  Grouping with other people was sometimes a challenge, and I never did manage to join any Kinships there; but I enjoyed a couple of months in Middle Earth.  However, LotRO became a victim of the next MMO.

City of Heroes/Villains sucked me back into its world in a hard way; the Rikti Invasion event was one that helped pull me back, as it was-even with the lag-the most fun I’d had in an MMO all year, and that included the WoW’s Opening of the Dark Portal event.  Up until about August, I played on the Protector server with my villain, Ebon Storm; but in September I took advantage of server transfers to send him to Virtue, a very well populated RP server (even though his name had to change from Storm to Thunderbolt).  He got to level 41 just before the New Year.  Also in September, I created the Old Ranger on hero-side, and he joined the Justiciars supergroup, and that accomplished something I hadn’t hoped to see since I’d first left SWG after the NGE:  I found a guild worth being in.  Given the troubles I’d had in guilds in WoW, I’d honestly not expected to find one I could enjoy myself in.  The Ranger managed to get himself up to level 38 before the New Year rang in, and he hit a new level just yesterday night.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the other detail inspired by MMO play:  my stories.  Last year saw the Tales of Zhaven Rel finished up (based on my SWG spy), covering an over-arching plot through each of the short chapters.  Unfortunately, due to the near-disintegration of the Outlaws and the abandoning of the Corbantis server, it’s unlikely that there will be any more written on the character; it’s not such a bad thing, though, since his story was pretty self contained.  The Saga of Coreth Landwalker was also concluded in 2007, with two stories:  Point of View told the story of how Coreth became…well, Jedi-like, if not an actual Jedi, while Final Reckoning finally wrapped up the plot threads I’d been kicking around in my mind for months (and in some cases, years).  All of those stories can be found on the Hyperspace Outlaws website.  I also began to write about the Old Ranger from CoH, and got three stories in the can; Origin, Between Scylla and Charybdis, and Sua Sponte.  I also had a brief vignette written called Public Service Announcement.  All of those writings can be found on the Justiciars web site.

It was quite a year for MMO play in 2007, and it’ll be interesting to see how things shake out for the coming 2008.

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