Saturday, 25 April 2015

The games I love to play

F.l.t.r.: Valiant Hearts: the Great War, SWTOR, Guild Wars 2, Pokémon Emerald, LOTRO

This week's Fandom Friday* challenge was themed "the five games you love to play". Now for me this was a bit of a problematic challenge, as the only things I talk about are games, so most of you guys will already know what games I play (also, the text underneath "About this blog" to the right sort of gives it away). However, I play my games in different manners: for me there's a game for each time and mind state. So in addition to providing you with an overview, I'll look into what I get out of these games as well. When do I choose to play them, and why is that so?

1) Star Wars: The Old Republic

Type: MMO
Engagement level: Deeply involved
Activities: PvP, raiding

Back in January, I thought I would only write about SWTOR on this blog for now. I was (and still am) doing successful progression raiding and was enjoying the lovely company of people of my old LotRO kinship Asylum. Although I did notice I was getting bored by questing, I didn't perceive this as a problem: besides raiding, I was still enjoying grouping up with friends to do PvP in my non-raiding time.

Although I've started playing other MMOs since (see 2) and 3) ) to fulfill my apparent need for casual gameplay, I consider SWTOR my main game of which I know the ins and outs. It's the game I go for when I'm in a mood for challenging gameplay or want to meet up with my Asylum friends.

2) Guild Wars 2

Type: MMO
Engagement level: Casual
Activities: Leveling, dungeons

So while I was still living in my SWTOR-is-enough-for-me bubble, Conrad and I heard of a timed offer to buy Guild Wars 2 for just 10 euros from another Asylum member that played that game. On a whim, we decided to take the offer and try it out. Although I had some reservations about my character's armour initially, I soon got hooked on exploration and the cooperative nature of the game.

I usually pop into Guild Wars to quickly do some dailies or (if I have a bit more time available) level a bit together with Conrad. Guild Wars is really my duo game: we have four pairs of characters we only play together, which leaves me with only one character to play all on my own. We really like playing together, but even for us this is quite extreme. In comparison, I have sixteen characters in SWTOR, of which only one is reserved for duo leveling.

I can really tell from the Guild Wars 2 blogs I'm following that I'm a filthy casual: I can barely understand a word of what they write about because of all the jargon!

3) Lord of the Rings Online

Type: MMO
Engagement level: Casualish
Activities: Questing, revisiting old group content

I don't think many people will claim they are diehard endgame raiders in this game, because there's currently no level cap group content apart from scaled-up old raids, skirmishes and "epic" battles. The scaled-up raids can be problematic because they haven't been adapted to extensive class overhauls that were implemented later and the skirmishes and epic battles are one-dimensional zergfests.

So, while I used to feel deeply involved with this game, I put it aside when it went to shit became focused on casual gameplay. I've recently picked it up again because Conrad and I wanted to finish the story line and see the 'new' areas Rohan and Gondor. We ran into a bunch of old friends who enthused us to get to the level cap to join them for some nostalgic group content. Logging into LOTRO feels a bit like coming home. It provides relaxing gameplay, suitable for late nights when I'm tired. We log in every now and then to play through the new areas and show up for the occasional event.

4) Valiant Hearts: the Great War

Type: Single-player game
Engagement level: Casual
Activities: Following the story arc

I have the best friends. I added Valiant Hearts: the Great War to my Steam wish list at some point because I had read such positive stories about it. Of course I forgot I had done that afterwards. A friend of mine saw it, though, and gifted it to me! That was a nice surprise. Since then I sometimes jump into Valiant Hearts to play a bit of the storyline. It's especially nice that this game doesn't require an internet connection, so it's perfect for when internet or the MMO server(s) are down.

It will never cease to amaze me how this game succeeds to mix educational facts about the First World War with engaging gameplay. Together with an amazing art style, Valiant Hearts beautifully captures the sad reality of the war.

...I know right, I'm such a scrub.

5) Pokémon

Type: Single-player game
Engagement level: Casual
Activities: Gonna catch 'em all

I used to play Pokémon Red, Gold/Silver and Crystal on my brother's gameboy during holidays. We'd sit at the backseat of the car, annoying our parents with the repetitive 8-bit music it was accompanied by. Needless to say, the Pokémon games occupy a special, very sentimental space in my heart.

I picked up Pokémon Crystal for nostalgic reasons back in 2013 and wrote a series of blog posts about them. Unfortunately, I had to give it up when the time system of the gameboy stopped working. Conrad encouraged me to pick up Pokémon Emerald on a PC emulator today. It's a great game for me to play when I'm ill and have to stay in bed: it doesn't require any form of mental concentration and I can use a controller so I don't need to have the laptop on my belly.

Other games I have played in the past and might pick up again in the future are: Skyrim, The Sims, Civilization, and Dragon Age.


What game I pick to play really depends on the mood I'm in and other circumstances. If I'm up for a challenge, I'll pick up SWTOR  and do some raiding or PvP. If I'm tired or ill, I rather play LOTRO or Pokémon because they require less focus. Guild Wars 2 is the game I play when I only have time to hop in for a short while or if Conrad and I want to spend some game time together. I play Valiant Hearts with pretty large gaps, particularly when I don't have an internet connection.

What games do you divide your game time amongst? Do you pick them for a particular type of gameplay as well? Or do you get absorbed by one game and only play that?

* 5 Fandom Friday is a weekly event organized by the Female Geek Bloggers group on Google+.


  1. I haven't played a non-MMO in ages; somehow it feels like there are never enough hours in the day. (Plus at the moment I have the problem that I'm running out of disk space on my old hard drive, which makes me averse to installing new games in general.)

    I just play SWTOR as my main game, and recently Neverwinter as my secondary one. I don't really have this seperation of purpose like you though - while I'm only a casual in Neverwinter, I also still play SWTOR in a casual manner sometimes. I think for me it's more about rounding out my sci-fi with a healthy dose of fantasy.

    1. I'm a bit jealous at you: I always find it so relaxing to just play one MMO and be fully involved with that. I was really happy at the start of this year, too, when I decided to just focus on SWTOR. Picking up those other MMOs just kinda... happened. I don't know how it happened, but I just really got burned out with levelling, even though I don't consider myself as the typical butterfly gamer - I think I'm still reasonably loyal to the games I play.

      The sci-fi versus fantasy environment is a valid point, though. I think part of why Guild Wars appealed to me the way it did is because of the fantasy environment. And also because I enjoy walking through (virtual) nature, and there's relatively many cities and buildings in SWTOR.

      I've dabbled in Neverwinter a bit, but I never really got enthused by it.

      I'm not really the non-MMO type of player either. I guess having had extensive periods the past years in which my health was too bad to bring up the concentration to play MMOs 'helped' in that regard.

  2. Galaxies is becoming my instant favorite again.
    That aside, World of Warcraft is my main game. Of 11 characters I only have one now below lvl 60, which sort of amazes me. I don't raid in any game, but I have plenty to do at maximum level.
    Secret World is immersive, obsessive fun. It feels like a horror/puzzle/rpg with lots of people zooming by being chased by zombies. The storyline is scary and intriguing. I have no idea where they're going with this.
    Rift is a really dynamic world thanks to Rifts which open randomly all over, belching out monsters. Instant Adventures put you in groups that are teleported all over the landscape working to accomplish specific goals. Crafting is interesting. Homes are instanced but some are beautiful. You can make some of your own furniture, and some is looted.
    Everquest 2 has a lot of charm. It has a High Fantasy vibe. Lots of classes to choose from. Housing is instanced and doesn't have the freedom to place things you have in SWG and Rift. There is much ahead of me here, I think the game is rich in ways I'll like as I advance.
    Guild Wars 2 is a good game to drop in and play for bit. I've much to learn here too.
    LOTRO, yikes I should log in for the anniversary. Lots of new content for me. Some of the best quest writing and music anywhere.
    Morrowind, Oblivion and Dragon Age beckon. Haven't completed Mass Effect 1, may have to reinstall.
    Happy Gaming!

    1. So many games; you're truly the mistress of MMO juggling! I love how you manage to take the best out of each world. I would totally recommend picking up Mass Effect again. It only gets better later on!

  3. For MMOs I can only handle one at a time due to the time investment. But I do enjoy all of the Total War series. I can pop in occasionally, do a few turns and battles, then pop out. But I usually never split time between MMOs because I like to concentrate on story line, progression etc. For the foreseeable future it's SWTOR all the way.

    1. It's nice to be able to enjoy everything a game has to offer. I, for one, am looking forward to all the SWTOR stories to come on your blog. :)

      I have tried the Total War series, but - although I do really appreciate the historical factor - the gameplay isn't for me.

    2. It's understandable, everyone has a game they have a taste for lol. Stories are coming along, I saw you dropped by today as well. I finally got some decent screenshots to make the background of the site look a little more Star Wars like. Now that BHW is over, I'm focusing on finishing Ch 3 of the Smuggler story. I was actually surprised when Rogun turned out to be on my side of things hahahah, gotta love the plot twists. In the mean time I am trying to make the story personalized for me while sort of following the game. Spoiler: Correllia is next heh heh heh

    3. The smuggler storyline is one of my favourites what with the plot twists and all. I'm sure you'll enjoy Correllia, too! And don't worry about spoilers (for me): I've completed all class stories apart from the bounty hunter one. :)

  4. I love that you included engagement level with each title! I think I kind of tried the same thing, but I was so freakishly tired that it just reads like word vomit :P

    Some days I do wish that I had tried a bit harder with Guild Wars 2 for the reasons you mention, but I'm trying very hard to be a one MMO kinda gal. (It's not working very well so far)

    Awesome post, as always! :)

    1. I'm glad you liked it! If I had a choice, I'd also prefer one MMO for all my activities (exploration, questing, PvP, raiding... etc). What MMO are you trying to focus on, then? Final Fantasy, WoW, or Tera?

      For the lurkers, here's Neri's post. And for the record, it does not read like word vomit at all!

    2. At the moment I'm trying to focus on Final Fantasy, but I'm just finding that when I do have the time to sit down and play for a decent amount of time, I'm too tired and would prefer to just veg out with Netflix or something. It's rather frustrating, actually! I've only *just* made it to level 20 now, and this will be my second week subscribed (and the character was level 13 when I reactivated...)

      I should go to bed earlier or something, but where's the fun in that? :P

  5. Sooo... I decided that instead of bugging you with another gigantic comment, I would instead make a blog post about it. Here is the link if you are interested:

    >_> <_<

    1. Hurrah, that's even better!

      Here's a clicky version of your blog post:
      My recurring games

  6. Love Pokemon, I'll never grow out of that obsession. I don't think I ever played LotR online, but I loved SWTOR. I wish it hadn't gone FTP, because that often leads to pay to win, but it was one of the only other MMOs besides WoW that sucked me in.

    1. Never give up on that obsession, the Pokémon games are just good! Maybe your kids will like them as well. ^^

      As for SWTOR gone F2P, the way they did it you're not really affected by the cash shop if you're subscribing. Only if you play it as F2P you'll have to fight your way through what unlocks you'll need and which not etc. There are no pay to win options unless you count subscribing as pay to win, but I don't think that's really fair since that was the only option to play the game originally. All the cartel market items are either unlocks for your character (only needed when F2P) or cosmetic equipment, which you can also buy on the GTN for in-game credits.

      I'm reasonably happy with the current solution, as it means I don't have to deal with the cartel market if I don't want to as a subscriber. It's heaven compared to LotRO, where you get the Store in your face all the time no matter the payment model you follow.


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