Giving your unpainted armies a ray of hope.

Monday, December 30, 2013

My Next Year of Gaming

2013 was a bit bland in terms of gaming offerings. Although I made a lot of personal progress as a gamer, I felt like my selections were pretty slim. As I look to next year, I'm practically overwhelmed at all the great stuff I'll be playing, both new and old, as well as a few things I'd really like to try squeezing in.

Video Games

Titanfall: Perhaps the game I'm looking forward to the most. I'm not a Halo or Battlefield player, and CoD Ghosts may have finally killed the series for me. However, I love competitive shooters. Titanfall is coming at a perfect time, although I wouldn't mind seeing it sooner. The story is told during the multiplayer, meaning I don't need to carve out 10 hours if I want to understand the story behind the maps I'm playing on. The gameplay looks really solid, guns seem to do the same damage as CoD guns, and the Titans look like a powerful, but balanced, strategy to bring to any match.

Hearthstone: I've missed playing a solid trading card game. I like Magic, but boy is that game draining on the wallet, especially if you have any hope of staying competitive. Although Hearthstone is still in beta, it has absolutely scratched that TCG itch, all without costing me a cent. Although you can pay money to get cards faster, the game features an excellent way of acquiring some of the most powerful cards without having to pay. Plus the draft game type is an absolute blast, and playing well means you can play it indefinitely without having to grind out "quests" to earn credits. I look forward to Hearthstone's release, as I think this game will be my go-to as I wait for other games in this list to release.

The Division: This one could see failure of epic proportions, but I remain very optimistic. Playing a game of survival with friends, battling against AI enemies and rival teams, seems like a blast. The heavy use of cover opens up a lot of strategic possibilities, and also gives the developer many opportunities to create memorable battles. The gear thing has me a bit confused as it sounds like dying will let people rummage through your stuff, but if gear isn't a chore to acquire it could add a fun risk/reward system. My only worry is that I won't have enough people to play with during my erratic play schedule, and I don't know how fun it will be to work with complete strangers in a game that seems to greatly reward cooperation.

Destiny: As info has trickled out, I've become a bit less excited for this game as it sounds like a more serious version of Borderlands, complete with a rather mundane endgame that has you grinding for mildly-improved gear, playing PvP, or... well, that seems to be about it. Hopefully they have something in mind to reward players who are dedicated to the game and beat it quickly (right SWTOR?!) instead of leaving people with nothing to do once they've finished. Still, everything up to the end of the game sounds loaded with lore, combat, and a lot of sweet gameplay possibilities.

Watch Dogs: I lament that I have to wait until 2014 to enjoy this, but alas. The game looks loaded with strategy, eschewing typical shooting for a more cerebral experience. I hope the hacking element can stay fresh and creative, although there is a definite risk of it becoming like the summoning element from Bioshock Infinite where you only really have a handful of combat options. Still, the story looks fun, the gameplay seems unique, and it could be one I play several times. The fact that it is somehow connected to Assassin's Creed 4 has me further intrigued. Speaking of which...

Assassin's Creed 4: AC3 was without a doubt the worst big-name game I've ever played. After I beat it I texted my brother-in-law, a fellow AC fan, and told him I was sending him the game in the mail so he could enjoy my misery. After hosting several internal rants, I decided that I was just done with the series if that is the kind of garbage they were going to release. When AC4 released, I paid 0 attention to it. On a whim I decided to look around and see how people compared it to AC3, and was surprised to see that it was almost as good as AC2, the best game in the series. I'm curious to see where the story will go after the huge conclusion of the previous game, but the more I think about it the more I want to play the game, even if I just rent it for a few days and plow through it.

Dark Souls II: Can lightning strike twice? Dark Souls was amazing for its punishing-but-fair difficulty, but also for the deep sense of mystery that penetrated every pixel of the world. Story was handed out in vague bits of dialogue and details on weapons, and creating a small community that was dedicated to understanding the world. Months after release, Dark Souls received a patch to enable a sissy difficulty, and that act has me worried that DS2 will lose something as it goes from an obscure game that slowly built momentum, and launches a followup that many more people are looking forward to.

Tabletop Games

Warmachine: No surprises here. Warmachine is the game that got me in to wargaming, and it has practically ruined me for any other game. I have a Skorne army I've been saving up for a league, and I'm excited to finally take them for a spin. How much I play is really dependent on my back, and I may have to start fielding beast- or jack-heavy lists to minimize the amount of stuff I move.

Malifaux: If you've been paying attention recently, you knew this was coming. After spending all year watching the game from afar I finally dove in and played. The rules are excellent, the models are beautiful, and I've been really enjoying the fluff. I'm still waiting for the euphoria to clear before I decide just how good the game really is, but it's definitely a winner in my book and I can't wait to work on starting a community for it.

Games I Hope to Play

Android: Netrunner: I've played this several times with my wife and have loved every game. The asymmetrical gameplay, with each player having a different set of advanced rules, is unique and adds a lot of creativity. The cyberpunk flavor adds a lot of fun to the cards, and although it's a bit of an obscure game I think it's one that any hardcore TCG player would love.
Zombicide: Admittedly I don't know much about hte game, but it seems to be the best zombie board game out there. After being let down by Last Night on Earth and... some other junky game, I've been hesitant to really hope for a good zombie game. The fact that this game is rarely in stock anywhere speaks volumes to how worthwhile it is. I don't know that I'm willing to pay the $80 entry fee for the game, but I really hope I can track someone down who'd let me play a game with them.

IKRPG: Despite only playing a few games, it's been requested that I revive our game this summer. I love DMing, and merging D&D with Warmachine is a fantastic experience, and one that I hope to recreate for my friends.

High Command: I'm not a huge fan of deck building games, so my desire to play this is based purely on the intellectual property attached to the game. The game has gotten a lot of positive buzz, so it seems like it's a good game in its own right. Even if I only play it once, I really want to see what it's all about.

Plants vs Zombies Garden Warfare: PvZ as a 3d shooter sounds awful, but everything I've seen makes it look like an impossibly good game. The classes of zombies and plants are quirky, making them feel like their tower defense counterparts. I don't know if this game will be good enough to retain a dedicated following, but it definitely looks like a game worth playing.

Elder Scrolls Online: I almost didn't include this because I know I won't play it. But I also said the same thing about WoW last year, and I found myself lost on Azeroth for 2 months this summer. I played a small bit of the beta, and while it feels like a typical Elder Scrolls game, it's also a bit dependent on the typical MMO fare of "go here, kill that." Although games like Skyrim and Oblivion aren't averse to those quests, doing so in an MMO very much removes that feeling of you being a lone adventurer carving their own destiny, and instead feels like another excuse to grind out some more levels. I've pretty much dusted my hands of anything related to a standard MMO, and I instead plan on focusing on more unique offerings like The Divison and Destiny.

Zelda: A Link Between Worlds: Despite Skyward Sword ruining the series, I really want to go back and enjoy the Zelda games in their purist form. This would of course require me to get a 3DS, which isn't high on my priority list, but doing so would open up a lot of handheld games I've missed out on over the years. I doubt it's in the cards for 2014, but it's still going to be on my mind!

Infinity: My group flirted with the idea of playing this game, but I found the rulebook to be very poorly written, so I never really pushed for us to play it. Malifaux has shown me how fun a game of dense terrain can be, and Inifinity is the game of dense terrain. The rules system seems very weird, and I think the game is like Amish Friendship Bread where you need someone who already has the game to show you how to play, otherwise there's a lot of work ahead if you want to figure it out yourself. [The bread thing was a bit off-the-wall, but my wife has been going bananas over making that stuff so it's an incredibly relevant comparison to me!]

Any 10-15mm game: I don't know why, but playing a tiny war game sounds like an experience I don't want to miss. Flames of War is pretty popular if the overwhelming number of terrain tutorials is any indicator. Dropzone Commander has also caught my eye, but it sounds like the rules are pretty dense. Still, I have some DZC ships a friend gave me, so I wouldn't mind painting them up for my gallery and trying out the game as well.

Fire Emblem: A bit of a weird one to end on, but I really want to play a recent Fire Emblem game. I don't remember the last one I played, but I've been craving another good grid-based game after beating XCOM several times. I've been waiting for the Wii version to go on sale, but as with all good Nintendo games it's impossible to get it for a cheap price.

2014 is going to be a good year. Tons of great games are releasing for consoles and PC, and my tabletop gaming will hopefully be better than it has been the past few months.

What will your next year of gaming look like?

See you tomorrow!

Remember to follow me on Facebook! I'm doing a blog post every single day for 2013, and Facebook is a great way to stay up-to-date as well as take part in my monthly giveaways. This is my last month of guaranteed giveaways, so don't miss out on a free copy of Super Dungeon Explore, a painting project, and more! Click here for details!

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