Four Years In

Has it really only been four years of MMOs?  Feels longer.  Guess I’ve packed a lot of living into ’em.

As I have done in previous years, I’m going to take a look back on the previous year of my MMO hobby-the highs, the lows, and the stuff in between.

It has the distinction of being the first MMO I’d played, and as such, continues to warrant being the first I discuss.  Star Wars Galaxies did NOT have a good year for me, though.  As the year opened, the old guild had been flaking apart like old bread, and had just attempted to defibrillate itself by making new characters on the Bria server (leaving behind our Corbantis characters).  Unfortunately, in spite of a decent start, it never really got off the ground.  By the time June rolled around, I noticed that I hadn’t logged into the game for over a month-and with that came the decision to let the subscription die its final death.  I did visit when the folks at SOE reactivated everyone for a month for free in November, but nothing really gave me the feeling that it was worth going back to long-term.  It seems that my MMO time with Star Wars is over (at least until The Old Republic hits, and it is far, far too soon to make any calls there).

City of Heroes/City of Villains has become my “main” game of choice nowadays, and a lot happened on that one.  I managed to get my primary hero and villain (Old Ranger and Ebon Thunderbolt) up to level 50, max level, and proceeded to make legions of alt characters.  All right, that might be a bit of an exaggeration.  In April, the hero group I was in, the Justiciars, got hacked by a disgruntled former member, which led to all members being kicked.  Extraordinary efforts managed to regain most of what was lost in Prestige (coin of the realm for building bases), and for a time, the supergroup came together in the face of all this.  Unfortunately, disagreements with the way the group was being run finally came to a head and caused a significant splintering of the group, and a number of good people left the group-some voluntarily, some not.  I chose to leave the SG with some regrets, which had other consequences (more on that later).

Since then, I’ve had characters drawn into significant roles in a couple of other SGs; Amazing Kane joined the Adventurists, a pulp style group, while Stellar Protector joined Hyperion Force; both characters have a certain amount of authority/respect in their SGs.  Neither has really replaced the Justiciars, though, although there is some movement going on where the displaced J’s may again come together.  Stay tuned.

A game that hit the radar in the second half of the year was EVE Online.  While my loathing for PvP is pretty well known at this point, there was enough going for EVE that I was willing to give the trial a shot; and it was nice and complicated and deep enough that I subbed.  I don’t spend as much time as I might like-time is always a premium, honestly-but I’ve done well with new incarnations of Coreth and Zhaven.  With a couple old Hyperspace Outlaw refugees, we formed the Hyperspace Solutions corporation, and began doing weekly events (half mining, half missioning).  If it isn’t as large as the Outlaws were, at least we’ve consistently gotten together to do things on a regular basis, and that’s worth the world.

Unlike previous years, the number of MMOs played was pretty small.  With other MMOs on the horizon in the sci-fi genre, however, who knows what the future holds; Star Trek Online, and Stargate Worlds are the obvious choices, and I’m certainly watching for them.

My writings on various characters in the MMO world has centered on the City of Heroes franchise.  The Old Ranger had a quartet of stories this year, most of which were a part of an arc I called “The Arbiter Initiative”.  Smoke and Mirrors, and The Future is Now came first, broken up by Transformation-which resolved just what was going on with the character since the Rikti War-and finished with the character’s apparent death in the finale of Defiant.  But in a comic book style setting, death is one of those things you can never be absolutely certain about.  I also wrote up Musings in Metal for my other Justiciar-at-the-time, Armored Battalion.  Unfortunately, all these stories were purged from the Justiciars web site after my departure (not much bad blood there, huh?), but I’d already taken the precautions of moving the stories off-site; all of them can be reached via the Virtueverse pages for those characters.  In spite of this, you might also be able to catch the Old Ranger’s presence in the “Injustice” open RP story on the Justiciars website, until they remember it and delete my entries there, too (but I’ve saved that info offsite, too).

I also managed to put some time into writing A Gem of Rare Value, the origin story of Stellar Protector.  I wrapped things up with two holiday style stories:  A Paragon City Chirstmas Tale, featuring Aaron Richardson (aka Magic’s Shadow), investigating a rather unique kidnapping; and Holiday Vignettes, where I revisit just about every character in City of Heroes that I’ve written about as they approached the holiday season; both of these stories can best be found on the Tavern on the Edge site here at GuildPortal.

2008 was a year wrapped in turmoil, but closed out strongly, confirming my appreciation for the friends I’ve made online; I’m crossing my fingers for a fine 2009!

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