I have once again cancelled my World of Warcraft account. It has been quite a while since I last played, and I can’t see that changing any time soon, as I need a break from MMOs. If I find myself needing a fix in the coming months, I’ll likely give the free-to-play Lord of the Rings Online a go. I haven’t played that game since it was in Beta however many years ago, and even then I didn’t spend too much time with it.
Looking for something to play, my willpower was once again overtaken by a Steam sale, and I purchased Crysis: Maximum Edition this past Friday. It’s several years old now but I had never played it and the sale was good, so I picked it up, and thus far I’m impressed. The graphics are amazing (pictured above), and I’m having a blast with the game play. My expectations weren’t super high for it due to some unfavourable forum comments about the game, but I certainly don’t have any complaints at this point.
When not playing Crysis I’ve been dabbling in The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion again. I had abandoned the game after finishing the main quest, but I’ve always planned to return in order to finish the Shivering Isles expansion and the multitude of other quests still available. Currently I’ve been going through the Fighter’s Guild quests, and there’s no denying it, this is still a great game.
I finished the main quest at level 14-ish, and I was very careful to level my character as “optimally” as possible. For those that don’t know, Oblivion features a complicated leveling mechanism that I will not bother trying to explain here. I kept track of my progress with a spreadsheet in order to maximize my skill increases, and my character was just about as powerful as he could be in Oblivion’s “monsters level with you” system. Coming back to the game now, I decided I just wanted to see the content and not worry about how I level, so I decided to cheat. Using the console I leveled my character (“properly” and “efficiently”) up to 26. Of course, given that the monsters level with you, I am not an all-powerful uber-god; in fact, all it really did was populate the world with different monsters that I wouldn’t have seen otherwise, which is pretty cool.
My name is gladiator.
Now that I’ve finished the main quest in Oblivion, I can return to all the things I had left for another day. This weekend I focused on working my way through the Fighter’s Guild quests with one short detour through the arena.
With my heavy armour and blunt weapon skills nearly maxed out, my character has turned a corner, and combat encounters are typically over quickly and easily. As a result, I find myself enjoying the game more now that I don’t have to constantly regenerate my health between encounters. Confident in my characters abilities, I paid a visit to the Arena, and subsequently sliced through my opponents like a hot knife through butter.
For whatever reason I expected more of a challenge, but the only matches that posed any threat to me at all were the ones where I faced multiple opponents. The one-on-one matches were really no contest at all. I assumed the final match would be tough. The NPCs in the area had built my opponent up so much, I figured our championship match would be one for the ages. When the gates opened up, we charged towards each other, swords drawn, and then he stopped and begged me to kill him. He just stood there, so I obliged, and smacked him down without any opposition at all.
Now that I’m both the saviour of the world and Arena champion, I’m going to continue my way through the Fighter’s Guild ranks. Once I’m done that, I’ll finally head in to the Shivering Isles.
I made a few gaming resolutions back in my post of January 2nd, and I can now scratch The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion off my list of games to finish. There’s still a lot left for me to do in Oblivion, but I’ve put the main quest to bed which, although not specified in my resolution itself, was the requirement for completion. I still have the Shivering Isles expansion to go through in addition to many side quests.
Oblivion reminds me of what I like so much about single-player games. There were no external drivers forcing me to play, except for my resolution of course. I wasn’t under any pressure to get this or that faction, or to boost certain stats. I was in my own little world, doing my own thing, and loving it.
I haven’t logged in to World of Warcraft for about two weeks it seems, and I haven’t missed it one bit. There are still things I’d like to do, like polish off the last two levels to hit the cap, and do some questing in Icecrown. But truthfully, the only thing pushing me towards those goals is a sense of duty, not any overwhelming sense of desire. I don’t think I’m really having fun in WoW anymore, and I only seem to realize that when I break off and play something else.
How come whenever I walk through the aisles of Best Buy (or whatever other electronics store I’m in) I can pick out fifty different things I’d love to buy, yet now that I have some actual gift certificates in my hands I’m at a complete loss as to what to do with them?
There are four games that are currently on my “want list”. They are, in no particular order, The Witcher: Enhanced Edition (PC), Fifa 09 (Xbox 360), Fallout 3 (PC), and Galactic Civilizations II (PC). Of those listed, Fallout 3 is the closest thing to a “must have” for me. The problem with that however, is that it’s not due out on shelves until the end of the month. In the meantime, I’m kind of leaning towards picking up The Witcher. I haven’t played it apart from a couple of minutes in the demo to verify it ran well on my PC, but everything I’ve read indicates it’s a great game.
The other day I actually had The Witcher box in hand, ready to be purchased, when I talked myself out of it. Why? Well, sitting back home on my hard drive lies an unfinished Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. While I absolutely love that game, it lies unfinished because of another little game you may have heard of called World of Warcraft. Given that I was starting to feel a touch of burnout with that game you’d think it would be a perfect time to shift focus back to my other games, like Oblivion, but I rolled an alt instead.
I’m pretty sure I already know how this is going to end. I’ll pick up The Witcher tonight on my way home from work because there were only four copies on the shelf and for some reason I have it in my head that if I don’t pick it up right away, I’ll never see those boxes ever again. Then I’ll throw it on top of my “games to get to later” pile and load up Oblivion to finally finish it once and for all, clearing room for my new purchase.
After running around Oblivion for a few minutes I’ll start to wonder if any of my friends are logged in to WoW. I’ll quit Oblivion, and jump into WoW “just to check the friends list real quick”. Before I know it, it’ll be time to get to bed so that I’m not too tired for work tomorrow where I’ll sit at my desk and ponder which other new game I’d like to try.