Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008: A look back year in review

Last year when 2007 ended, I really didn’t have a entire year of blogging under my belt and I wasn’t sure I was going to keep writing this thing every month as it was.

Well times have changed and with the amount of free time I have at home I have the opportunity to really jump in and post some thoughts on an almost daily basis. I have watched this blog go from deep thoughts to crappy patch notes posts all the way to comic and Blu-ray reviews. One thing this blog was never meant to be was anything serious. It is an outlet of my mind and my random thoughts. It is a way for me to express anger and happiness and to rant and rave about my hobbies. If you have stuck by this blog and kept reading it over the past year and a half you will notice that my writing as well as my moods go all over the place.

One thing you will also notice, and I only mention it this last time, is that I write a lot about World of Warcraft. I have played it for 4 years now. I cannot say that it has exceeded my expectations but it is obviously doing something right. I have matched with WoW my time in Everquest 1 and that officially puts WoW forever branded in my memories and life. I try to mix it up but this blog is primarily about my adventures in that game and that, whether you may like it or not, probably won’t change anytime soon. I may have had times this year where I played other games, but I never STOPPED playing WoW except those months in the mid year when I was getting adjusted to real life issues.

So without further ado, let us take a trip back through my first FULL year of blogging.

Jan 2008

In January of 2008 I kicked the year off with a bang by having the flu. A steady trend I hope to see fail this year in 2009 as the New Year heads in. In fact my first post was January the 2nd about how sick I was. The rest of the month saw me flounder between Dungeon Runners, playing horde alts as I tried to put my alliance guild debacle of October 2007 behind me, and Pirates of the Burning Sea.

On Jan 21st, as things were kinda so so in my home life and the ex and I played fewer and fewer games together, I played EQ2 again and joined Openedge’s Simple Complexities guild on Antonia Bayle. I didn’t last too long though as the usual thing with EQ2 kicked in and I quickly became bored with it.

Feb 2008

Febuary was one of the weirdest months I had ever had. My ex-wife’s mom passed away and all my gaming pretty much came to a standstill. I noticed my blog going through a rapid alteration as I changed the name from Wife Agro to Hudson’s Hideout. The month ended with me posting some Hellgate London stories and trying to get my personal life together. At this point I honestly thought I was going to quit blogging altogether.

March 2008

Since I wasn’t gaming too much, March became a month of news stories and me re-posting some Korsun Pocket (a computer wargame) after action reports. I wanted to keep the blog running and not bore people to death but I think I still bored people to death. At any rate the blog kept going and the only really big news was that Hellgate: London had post office boxes added to the game.

I was still secretly playing WoW but only very casually and as a Horde Blood Elf rogue in the middle of no where and with no friends or company. I managed to solo him to 46 before I quit for the next few months.

April 2008

Here is where everything hit the fan. This month saw me make my lowest post total in about a year, coming in at a whopping 8 posts for the ENTIRE month. Tabula Rasa had a free return deal and the writing was on the wall for that game. I think that Garriott mentioned something about going into space as well but I am not sure. We all learned that Ian McKellen will play Gandalf in the upcoming Hobbit movie.

May 2008

The first rumors of Diablo 3 popped up on Blizzplanet. Blizzcon was announced, and Josh Drescher (EA Mythic designer) announced that Warhammer Online had 5 years of content at launch. He probably meant you could run the same scenarios over and over for 5 years and cap out eventually. Who knows. I made a post that Wrath of the Lich King would make the game of WoW easier because Blizzard would listen to its player base, and turns out I was right. Funcom banned a bunch of exploiters in Age of Conan.

June 2008

The end of June saw Diablo 3 get announced for REALZ, and most of my month was spent trying out Lord of the Rings Online as well as still messing around in World of Warcraft with that rogue. I was still in the Warhammer Online beta, but June was one of the best months as they released a ton of cool PVE content. Sadly this zeal did not last more than a month into the games official release. Hellgate: London started to really get slammed in the press as a nasty forum leak came out about the inner workings of Flagship Stuidos. The writing on the wall was there for that game as well. The company later tried to deny everything which in fact turned out to be true.

July 2008

July I started to get REALLY bored. I was only playing the WAR beta, I had cancelled WoW, and I was in Age of Conan for what amounted to 3 miserable weeks of one of the worst MMO’s I had ever played. I busted out my XBOX 360 and dipped my feet back into console gaming. At this time I was sold that Warhammer Online would be my next MMO based on the beta. Looking back I was an idiot. Oh well. At least I got some cool XBOX games. I had already cancelled LOTRO as well due to sheer boredom. Noticing a trend here? If I was not playing WoW I could not stay in an MMO. Maybe the WAR beta was so much fun because it was free? That always helps. I was pretty mad in July at the state of online superhero games it seems.

August 2008

On August the 19th the WAR NDA was lifted and the freaking BLOG-O-SPHERE BLEW UP! I started posting all of my many many beta diary posts I had saved up and was having a grand old time. As the open beta approached I logged into WAR less and less and they forced us to test more PVP (err RVR) content and I should have noticed there my interest was starting to fade.  I managed to post some awesome PQ videos and things about the PVE aspect of WAR, but much like today no one cared. DANGER DANGER! I had Madden 2009 and played it about 3 times, Casualties of WAR was ramping up their recruitment and the upcoming launch started to get a lot of press time. So that takes us into those fateful days of:

September 2008

WAR launched and at first I was having a blast. The PVE areas were chock full of people and the idea of running scenarios over and over and over and over and over and over with about 90% of the population of the game never got old. I fought off attacks from bloggers that apparently could not take the time to try new games (I later apologized for that), I got into a fight with one blogger that instituted a communist regime, and I ripped Age of Conan for server merges and larger boobies in game. Gold spamming was the issue of the day in Warhammer. Being a blogger that talked about the new game was a constant battle of the “Bartles v.s. the Jacobs” as I like to call that great war. I am a veteran, I wear my badge with honor.

Of course looking back now it was all really quite dumb. HOWEVER I didn’t get into the war of the BLOG O SPHERE as much as others and generally kept a low profile. I got an awesome mention on the Channel Massive podcast though but my readership didn’t go up much. By the middle of the month I was reading comics more than I was logging into Warhammer and for some reason the “need to log in” addiction was just not there for me in Mythic’s new toy. I wasn’t sure what was going on but the game felt like a beta still and I was not feeling the love. My eyes turned toward Northrend…

October 2008

As the Halloween month rolled around, something started to happen in Warhammer Online. The PVE content  and social aspect of the game dried up, bugs started to creep out of their little lairs, play balance was questioned, and no one was found roaming the countryside. WAR was not everywhere and neither was the community. No grouping PVE wise was to be had, the low level areas were already ghost towns, and I started to see a chink in the armor of what I liked to call “pre launch” fun. By October 17th my mind was already wandering OFF WAR and heading to thoughts of other games that were more polished and had an established player base. I posted a poll that asked the readers to pick what I played. Most votes were to have me keep playing Warhammer Online and save money, but since the entire goal of the poll was to pick me a second game I threw out that result and picked the runner up with 23% of the votes: World of Warcraft. Of course everyone knew I was going to go back anyway, but that just cinched it. As October ended I was once again enamored with WoW and Warhammer Online was already a faded memory of failed potential. Enter:

November 2008

The Lich King was coming. Even after all the hate I had thrown at WoW (mainly in denial that it was my bitch), I was back and addicted again. November saw me dive head on into playing the Horde as I took advantage of the Refer A Friend program and leveled up the three classes I wanted to play the most: a warrior, a priest and a shaman. By the end of the month I had 3 level 60’s and had to pick which one I wanted to take to level 80 and be my main. By the time all was said and done I had spent hours playing my priest and never once logged in the shaman or the warrior and my path was set. Lich King launched and there was much rejoicing. I spent my Thanksgiving sick with a cold and took some time off to experience all the new stuff the expansion offered. I played a little Wizard 101 but my effort to level the WoW characters won out and I didn’t return to that game as much as I should have. Tabula Rasa announced it was shutting down and I added Hicks to the blog as a co-writer.

December 2008

So here we are! On December the 9th, Illinois sent another Governor to jail. Gov. Rod Blagojevich sought kickbacks as he considered a replacement for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by president-elect Obama. Much chaos ensued.

As far as the blog was concerned, not much changed really. The name of the site, the look, and the URL got an overhaul. I am still playing WoW, but not EQ2. When I started blogging back in June of 2007 I was playing EQ2 a lot, but only because I felt that my time in WoW was not worthwhile if I was not raiding or doing something UBER constantly. As EQ2 started to really drag on and the ex-wife and I came back to WoW things picked up for a while but I never had as much fun as I am now with my new guild. Things in game are exciting once more and the action is frequent and furious. All that time I put in with the refer a friend thing? Well I ended up ignoring those toons and heading back to the alliance side of things to my oldest character.

In late December I decided, for the LAST time, to start a guild and try to capture the feeling I had in 2004-2006. By the end of the month we were doing crazy things like 10 manning Onyxia and running Zul Gurub to show newer players what the old days were like. We have server transfers, rerollers, older players and even brand spanking new players to the game that started at Christmas.

The condo has sold and I am soon going to have to move. The new year will bring a new address, new internet access, new train routes and a whole slew of changes in my life. My game time may slip a bit, but I know that the stories will give great blog entries.

RMT started to get introduced in mid December as companies looked at their books and tried to think up new ways of tapping the MMO market. With Sony releasing some things into EQ1/EQ2 we soon saw rumors that the next Star Wars MMO would feature this as well.

Predictions? I usually stink at this but I have some:

Spellborn and Darkfall will flop hard. These games can barely get released in the North American market let alone hold a substantial playerbase. One of them will go free to play.

I think RMT will now make us pay more for our games and the sad thing is we won’t notice it until we do the math.

Some sort of drama will ensue at WoW Radio and yet another podcast will get cancelled and someone will leave the station…AGAIN.

On the fence bloggers will continue to avoid actually slamming MMO’s that are failing attempting to remain neutral to avoid ruffling feathers (and losing readers).

I will continue to be ripped for playing WoW. Apparently if you play a game that can actually hold subscribers and function with a working client you are a moron.

I will catch flack for running a guild that appears to be successful (where 80% of my members are garnered from World of Warcraft gaming sites). I know what players want, how to give it to them and what makes a happy community. I consider myself the Bill Parcels of World of Wacraft. You can talk junk about me all you want behind my back. By the way WoW is my domain and my MMO so I think I know what works and what doesn’t. It’s a video game, relax.

I think that Sony will close Matrix Online and Pirates of the Burning Sea will sail off into the sunset.

I will post something that causes me to lose even more readers because I speak (err blog) my mind.

Tobold will gain a free beta invite to SOMETHING and then get some sort of kick back for mentioning it on his blog.

Miley Cyrus will do something to totally ruin her image.

Daniel Craig’s movie Defiance will kick a lot of ass. Speaking of Craig, Peter Travers has backed me up on my dislike of Quantum of Solace. Thanks!

The phrase “EQ2 blah blah blah” will be uttered once more on the ”Shut Up We’re Talking” podcast.

Age of Conan will shut down and we won’t see any major releases in 2009.

The phrase “Triple AAA MMO” will thankfully die. Why? Because there are not that many and there never will be. I can count three. Two of them have been around for more than 4 years. I will let you guess my third choice.