*blows off the dust* whooo wee it’s been a long while since I’ve been here. More than a year, in fact, judging from the date of my last post.
So much has happened in the past year, I’m tempted to break it up into multiple posts rather than write some ginormous thing that will wallow in the depths of the internet like a beached whale.
First of all, I’m a student again. I was successful in my PhD applications last year, and in August made the move all the way over to the USA with my wife and our son. That was an adventure all by itself, the trip taking 3 days in total with a stopover in Japan to enjoy some yummy ramen before being left with the horror known as American instant ramen. To be fair I did consume a fair amount of that during my college days but I don’t think anyone wants to go back to eating what they ate during college. The human body was not meant to survive on chips and soda, despite what college meal plans tell you.
Judging from my last post here, I was still enjoying WoW. However, I think not too long after that I stopped playing again. I had done a lot of the heroic dungeons, leveled up a couple of alts… but it wasn’t the same without my wife playing. I think WoW has really evolved past me at this point, and is clearly targeted at a different audience. Of course I’ve said that before (I think) and I still came back and had fun for a while.
I’ve been having a busy schedule trying to adjust to being a student again, and in an unfamiliar place. The USA has really changed a lot in the past 10 years. I like a quote that I heard during a graduate student orientation here, which was that the biggest effect that 9/11 had was to make the entire country insane for 10 years. In any case, despite all that I still try to have some time for some games (probably more than I should…)
World of Tanks
This was the main game I’ve been playing since May 2011 I believe. World of Tanks is a fun simulator/arcade tank game that is Free-to-Play, although there are admittedly some pay-to-win elements in it like gold ammo. But frankly I wouldn’t be too concerned about that since there are so many other factors that go into a match that having a higher shell penetration chance isn’t a big deal. It’s not like gold ammo lets you 1-shot opponents, and if you bother aiming for weak spots you mostly penetrate anyway.
The biggest appeal to me was 1) no subscription and 2) I could jump on for quick matches instantly when I had some free time. Each 15 vs 15 match lasts 15 minutes at most, and often under 10 minutes, which meant I was less likely to be interrupted by our son. It still happened, but it didn’t have as much as an effect as say, being the healer in a 5-man heroic in the middle of a boss fight and having to go baby-afk.
I did alright despite being historically pathetic at shooters like Counter-Strike. I think I ended up with a 51% win rate, which is above average, and I have a tier 9 IS-4 tank which is due to become tier 10 in the next patch. In fact I actually let my EVE subscription lapse so I could have more time with WoT. I hadn’t been doing much but skill-flip and update market orders for a few months already in any case.
Eventually, however, I guess my attention wandered away, as it seems wont to do nowadays. Most matches were pretty similar, and once you get to high tiers there isn’t much incentive to grind another tree. I mean, I chose to get the IS-4 due to how I read it plays (i.e. heavy armor, slow, decent gun) which suits my playstyle since I seem to suck at fast tanks and end up playing peek-a-boo anyway. So since I can only play one tank at a time, there’s no point grinding up another tier 9 just to have it sit in the garage. The other, very big, downside is the free-to-play community. The Internet in general is the cesspool of humanity, and looking into it shows you a reflection of just how shitty most people are. Free-to-play games, however, are like that kink in the plumbing where the scum of scum congregate and gather. The absolute stupidity of some of these players is mind-boggling, as is the aggressive manner in which they believe they are the greatest ever.
One of these days I might chronicle my journey in WoT, and very likely I’ll hop on after the next patch to give my new tier 10 a spin, but for now I’ll move on…
So as I mentioned my attention wanders… in addition to WoT, during the past year I also tried out a bunch of other games, none of which held my attention for that long. I played a bit of XCOM: UFO Defense, which was a game that I played way back in secondary school. Great fun, tried it on a harder difficulty setting this time and still did pretty well. I didn’t finish it though, once I realised that I would have no trouble killing anything it became a bit repetitive since I already knew the ending and how it was going to go. Other games I tried were Dungeon Defenders (since it was on sale from Steam), Neverwinter Nights : Diamond edition, and Kingdoms of Amalur:Reckoning.
Round and round we go…
And so, where do things stand now? I think one of the reasons my attention kept wandering was that none of the games I was playing were real MMOs. World of Tanks technically is, but you can really play it like a single player shooter with really retarded NPC teammates. Dungeon Defenders has multiplayer, but I never got into that and mostly played solo. So it seemed like I’ve been a bit spoilt by MMOs, which tend to have more new content. But I didn’t want to play anything with a sub fee since money is tight now that I’m a poor student with a family to support, and I have extremely limited play time.
I always follow TAGN’s posts with great interest as his situation resonates with me (being ancient, a gamer and quite often a noob). So I read with a fair bit of interest about him joining Goonswarm and taking part in null-sec fleet battles. And after a while, I heard the siren song of EVE pulling me back again… EVE has always been a game where there is so much to do, its almost impossible to do it all. I had yet to explore low-sec, null-sec, PVP, industry, invention, wormholes, Incursions…
Plus, the good thing about skill-flipping for a while is you come back able to fly lots of new shinies!