As if in response to my last post about demos, I seem to have come under a deluge of beta invites and new game releases and content releases. I Kickstarted Forge after PAX, I’ve been playing Smite, got an invite to Dota 2, Glitch has reached out again (and Liore has a nice writeup on it). Also, Borderlands 2 came out – and my group of friends is a bit crazy over that (including the one guy who completed literally every challenge in the game) – Torchlight 2 is extending its tendrils, and Rift’s Autumn Harvest event is in full swing. My Rift activities recently have been very much of the “log in, do the daily quest for the sweet mount, collect a bunch of artifacts, sell duplicates, collect money” variety, and less questing/Water Saga/PvP oriented. I’m actually totally fine with that, and I love that I can basically log in at any point and have something interesting to do.
Oh, and WoW is releasing Mists of Pandaria tomorrow. I’ve more or less completely stopped playing WoW (or, really, even worrying about it), but some of the recent posts actually intrigue me. I still have a month or so left on my annual pass, but this is the first expansion I won’t have purchased on release day. It’s a strange feeling.
That’s a lot of games…
And so we come to the root of the post. There’s an over abundance of choice in my gaming life right now. And that’s sort of the problem. I feel like I am spread really thin on my gaming time. I keep having forces pull me in all different directions when it comes time to sit down and choose what to play next. I know that I want to play Rift, Borderlands, and Smite consistently. But I also know that I should take advantage of my time in various betas to see how they are shaping up. I also feel some sort of obligation to the Forge developers to actually take advantage of their Alpha test and give feedback on a game that seems like it has some fun buried in it. I want to see that style of game succeed, and so I should be playing it to help make that happen, right? Plus, I have WoW friends and Diablo 3 friends that I haven’t talked to in ages due to gaming outside that ecosystem for the last couple months.
If it seems like I’m whining because life is TOO GOOD, it’s probably because I am. I love these periods where everyone is releasing something new, and it seems like everywhere I turn there’s another cool game to play. But with so many of the games being so heavily focused on the multiplayer experience, timing is important. This isn’t a case where a game like Dust: An Elysian Tail comes out and I miss the window, but I can still go back and play it sometime and still get most of the experience. The time to be playing a beta or an MMO expansion or the next hot multiplayer game (D3/BL2) is absolutely when there is a critical mass of friends and pseudo-friends also playing it. Once those communities move on to the next big thing, you’d better hope that the single-player experience holds up. Or that you know some people who are similarly slow to the party. Otherwise, you get things like the community abandoning your game (hi, SWTOR) and you have to deal with F2P conversions, or simply not-as-great single-player campaigns for games that are clearly intended for group play.
In short, can game developers and publishers stop releasing things on their schedules, and start releasing them on mine? Awesome, thanks!