My gaming 2012 and a look into the future

While the teenagers from my neighbourhood are busy blowing everything up with fireworks,  I sit inside my apartment and ponder about what a great year 2012 was. I achieved my bachelor’s degree, immediately found a job and met a totally fantastic girl. I’m physically healthier than ever before, and more confident than I was ever in my life. I don’t want to sound arrogant, but 2012 was pretty much my year.

Personal achievements were not the only thing that made 2012 glorious. From a gaming point of view, the past year has been freaking fantastic as well. In this post, I want to honour digital and tabletop titles that made my year.

MMO’s and RPG’s
2012 was a great year for the ever-growing genre of MMO’s. and RPG’s (and by that extent, MMORPG’s). It was hard to stick just to one game, so I found myself hopping from one exciting title to the other. I want to focus on three games that had an impact on me, no matter if that was positive or negative.

March of 2012 brought us the final chapter of Commander Shepard’s story, in the form of Mass Effect 3. I had high hopes for this title, and if we put the somewhat annoying ending aside, the game delivered pretty well. However, after giving it a critical second look, I feel like Mass Effect 2 offered far more epic and engaging story-telling, along with a lot more character development. No matter what, it was great fun to fly aboard the Normandy one last time and to free the universe from those pesky Reapers.

In May, Blizzard released Diablo III, a game the entire RPG community had been waiting for. High expectations had to be met, and sadly, Diablo III could not please everyone, including me. After running a Monk all the way to the first Act on Inferno difficulty, the game got far too boring and simple. The lack of a Skill tree akin to that in Diablo II, combined with a non-existing offline single-player or LAN mode took away a lot of the charisma its predecessor had. Nevertheless, it was fun to punch darkness in the face and roundhouse-kick Diablo!

In the summer of 2012, Funcom released The Secret World, a title that took me entirely by surprise. Don’t get me wrong, I had read about the game before, but it never caught my attention. That is, until I found an invitation for the final Beta weekend in my inbox. I downloaded the client, jumped right into the game…and was hooked. The setting is marvelous, the storytelling is unrivaled when it comes to MMORPG’s, and the characters are memorable! Mind you, combat isn’t that exciting, and boss encounters in dungeons are fun but not all that innovating, but damn, is this game fun! This is surely a title I will keep on writing about in 2013.

Tabletop RPG’s
In 2012, I did not have as much time for tabletop gaming as in 2011. Fortunately, I was lucky enough to squeeze in a few days of rolling dice and slaying monsters, and here are my favourite three ways of doing so in 2012.

First of all, Shards of the Exalted Dream, along with the announcement of a third edition for Exalted, made me a very happy White Wolf fanboy. Shards offers so many new things for a fantastic setting, and I’m sure that a short Burn Legend campaign is not far away. If you thought Exalted is lame and boring, fetch a copy of Shards and try one of the alternate settings. You won’t be disappointed.

More related to my current game, Green Ronin published the Game of Thrones edition of the Song of Ice and Fire role-playing game, which includes updated rules and a set of adventures for starting groups. I read a lot about the game in 2011, but 2012 was the year I actually started playing it. I’m still amazed by the simple yet awesome rules, and I’m curious to see where my campaign is heading in 2013.

Lastly, these last days of the year gave me a chance to play Fiasco. If you want to play a really neat game about normal people with big plans that go horribly wrong, then Fiasco is your best choice. In the two sessions I have played with my group, we told some better and more thrilling stories than in some of our long-running campaigns. You can expect a longer post about the game soon, but for now, it’s enough to say that Fiasco itself is anything but a fiasco, but a glorious storytelling experience!

Looking ahead
This blog is still young, but 2013 will be it’s year. Starting in the new year, I will expand this blog with a column on geeky health, where I give tips to all you gamers on how to combine your sitting lifestyle with a healthy one. Next to that, you can expect even more content about RPG’s, MMO’s and other geeky things. I hope to see y’all back in 2013, and be careful with the fireworks!

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