Summer Series: Visiting ghosts of RPGs past

Player Attack is taking a few days off over the Christmas/New Year break – there’s not much news going on, and plenty of games to play. What are you catching up on, this holiday season? Find out if our lists match up with yours!

Christmas is a time for giving. Christmas is a time for family. Christmas is a time for giving family the flick and getting lost in video games while the sun scorches the landscape.

A favourite game to revisit around Christmas used to be Star Wars Galaxies, but this year marks the second anniversary of that most wonderful MMO’s closure. While there’s now another Star Wars themed MMO, Star Wars: The Old Republic is much more story driven. Which is fine, it’s a great game, but it doesn’t really sate the desire for aimless wandering without the intense sunburn of the real world.

The Hearthstone beta is certainly satisfying the need for something reasonably paced to while away the hours. No need for snap reflexes and there’s plenty of replayability thanks to a huge variety of cards and games that don’t drag on for hours. And best of all, the people you play against can’t talk to you! Not only is it an escape from social obligations, you don’t need to put up with filthy mouthed cretins.

There’s just one problem. I’ve been playing as Jaina Proudmoore, a mage, throwing arcane blasts and explosions around, turning minions into sheep and all the rest. And now I’m pining for some World of Warcraft. (And the fjords. Damn it’s hot in Sydney.)

Having only played some of the Mists of Pandaria beta and not even getting one character to the level cap for Cataclysm, there’s certainly a lot of game there for me to explore. And a one or two month subscription would see me through to the new year and games like Everquest Next Landmark‘s alpha which gets me through to Elder Scrolls Online

But then the Diablo III expansion is coming next year, too. Maybe I should get my Barbarian to the level cap there. Or go loot some cool shiny things to pass to my new Crusader, when it’s time.

And then there’s Battlefield 4, which I’ve been dying to put more time into, when I find time between Hearthstone and Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag.

This going around and around in circles thing is definitely a problem. Maybe some Forza 5 is what I need.

Right. Settled. Borderlands 2 and XCOM till 2014 it is. See you then!

… actually, all this waffling has lead me to two conclusions. First, I really do need to take a hatchet to my pile of shame in the new year. Second, there’s really only one choice to tide me over this summer.


[img_big]center,7257,2012-11-16/1761DragonPeak.jpg,The Elder Scrolls IV: Skyrim[/img_big]

Virtually endless wandering, interesting skills to build on, more mods than you can poke a stick at, a million billion side quests and dungeons I’m yet to discover and – best of all – that all-important feature during the holidays: A pause button. Because the family don’t care if you’re fighting a dragon, it’s time to open presents. Or meet the baby. Or eat delicious ham.

I’ve experimented with a variety of mods for Skyrim before, but mostly in a haphazard fashion, adding some armours here, a texture pack there and occasionally things I forget I even downloaded until it shows up in game. Simply sorting through the thousands of mods available is wonderfully relaxing, even if it’s not strictly “gaming” as such.

I last put a significant amount of time into the game before the “Legendary” difficulty and skill reset options were added. Attempting to play on Master difficulty with a spell slinging elf resulted in a lot of running away and reloading of savegames. I fared somewhat better with a Nord in heavy armour and two handed weapon, but there was still a lot of unfortunate deaths involved.

How much harder could Legendary be? And what should I play as this time? Pure mage seems to be out of the question, bar some miraculous revelation in my brain that shows me the secret to magical success. The first character I took through the base game was an archer/sword and board fighter, with no real magic skills to speak of, other than a tipple of Restoration for that ever handy healing spell.

Perhaps it’s time to try a full stealth rogue? Or maybe some kind of variation on the Nightblade class from past Elder Scrolls games. Sneaking about with a dagger, cloaked in magical shadows. Until a vampire finds and kills me with two swipes of its claws, I guess.

[img_big]center,7257,2012-11-16/1760Cultist.jpg,The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim[/img_big]

Uhoh, going in circles again. But at least I’ve settled on Skyrim for the holidays.

Until the next time I play Hearthstone, anyway.

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