Thursday, August 4, 2022

It's my Birthday! Time for a review of '21 to '22

The well wishes started to come in last night from my online Australian friends (I mean, it was the 4th for them after all and social media sites started tattling on me early), and a few more are trickling in this morning. That said, we're not really celebrating much on the actual day this year. I'm still working today, but I am going to play some D&D tonight, so there's that! Our family will be waiting until the weekend to really have fun together.

Overall, the span of 2021 to 2022 was much better for me than the span of 2020 to 2021. Last year I wrote about all the stress and recovery I went through, but this year, it's been more of an amazing ride. I'm still getting over the fact that I actually released a new album of music, but I thought I'd take a moment and just write down a few thoughts and highlights from the past year.


1- Runes of Magic -- RoM solidly had my ear for the first half of the year last year. I saw mention of it on Massively OP as a forgotten MMO and that was my cue to go check it out. (You know I love a good off beat MMO.) I was pleasantly surprised to find an actually pretty vibrant community keeping that game going. The best thing to come out of my time in that game was all the friends I made in an old folks guild there. The second best thing to come out of Runes of Magic was a massive amount of game writing for me on the way up to end game as I took a good look at what makes the game tick. 

A small gathering of guildies in Runes of Magic

It's fun . . . but the Guild vs. Guild PvP in that game is a pay to win mess, and I think it was actually the end game gear grind that caused me to check out. I found my breaking point about six months in when I was approaching end game and saw it for what it was in the bottom half of this post: "I don't know . . . maybe I don't have the full picture on gear costs and I've never seen anybody with a tier 20 piece of gear because if you do the math, isn't that like 4.5 million dollars for one piece of gear?  That can't be right, can it? No . . . I gotta be looking at this wrong . . . THAT CAN'T BE RIGHT?! Please someone educate me in the comments if I'm not looking at this right." No one came to educate me on my post, but as it turns out, there is another way . . . it just takes a lot of time. More time than I'm willing to give to the game.

2- VR -- I fell in love with VR this past year. I mean, I had already started down that path a couple years ago thanks to PSVR games like Astrobot, Beatsaber, and Dreams, but my son introduced me to the Oculus 2, and that's all it took this year for me. As it turns out, it was good timing since my company had also decided to take a look into VR development. The big announcement for me there is that I'm now part of our first VR Skunk Works team, making a new game and learning the ropes as we go.  That also means I'm also really trying to immerse myself in VR news, games, and thoughts. I'm making daily trips to the Road to VR and Upload websites (a couple good bookmarks for you) and playing VR daily.

If you stick around and continue reading here at the Friendly Necromancer, you'll probably see more VR game reviews and thoughts as I continue to be fascinated with it.

3- Launch of RPG Dice, Heroes of Whitestone. There were two things that actually tore me away from Runes of Magic last year, and that's the launch of WIMO's RPG Dice and playing a little New World with my friends Stephen and Christina.  It was a one-two-punch for Runes of Magic, and I bounced. My wife and I run a guild in RPG Dice called Wyrd Beards, and it's been our mobile game of choice to play together the past half of the year.  

I find it hard to be subjective about reviewing a game I also worked on, so I haven't talked much about it here on my blog. I will say that I'm having a great time playing our game. Perhaps when I'm going through my Game Portfolio this month, I'll say a few more thoughts.

As for New World, I really only penned two posts about it here on my blog, but it really was a very enjoyable game.  I'd love to head back in and hit more of the dungeons with Stephen and Christina. We'd just need to get our schedules to sync up again and find some time. It was nice having some time to talk with Christina about the recent death of our beloved Chrissy the Blesser . . . long time supporter of Pirate101 and The Friendly Necromancer.

4- My amazing son. It wasn't just all about games of course, I had a lot of great things happening in my real life. The big event was when my son, "Kyle Skystaff" as he was known on this blog, graduated from High School. He's such a great person, and I'm so proud of all he's done in his life. There was a time in my life when I wasn't sure if he'd ever be communicative because of his autism, but he's in such a good spot now. It's pretty amazing.

For his senior trip we took him and the whole family over to Pensacola Florida so he could hang out with his friend.  He's still learning to drive, so we drove him and made a little family vacation out of it. Pensacola has the most amazing white and soft sand. That was a great trip for all of us!


5- My trip back home to Utah this year was also a real-life treat. I loved that I was able to just spend a week there, and while it was a busy trip full of things to do, the real highlight was spending my mornings simply sitting with my mother in her retirement home, watching Star Trek Next Generation with her. I wish time and proximity allowed me to do that more often. Also getting to meet Adam Terry of FountainAVM and actually play in a club in SLC after 30 years of not doing so . . . wow. I'm stunned that I actually spent some time on stage performing this past year.

Yup, that's me on that stage *pinch*

6- Gaming with the legendary Lessah Ismorah has been another great highlight this year. We played a ton of Far Cry 6 together, as well as 7 days to die, and now we've started dipping our toes into Icarus. I honestly don't know why more people don't follow Lessah. As I tell her all the time, "WHY ARE YOU NOT FAMOUS YET?!" She's a hidden gem of a person, and I'm glad I discovered her funny sense of humor through listening to Dungeons and Dragons Online podcasts. 

7- I loved reconnecting with Team Spode and playing through V Rising. Even if the game puttered out on us, it was a lot of fun when we were all vamping it up and having fun in a game together again. Team Spode is looking to head back into Guild Wars 2 for a while, and that'll consume many many late Sunday nights to come. Calrain, Tipa, and Spode are the best static group friends you could ever ask for, and as for Tipa . . . what an amazing writer she is

Team Spode swinging around on a vine in Guild Wars 2

8- Fun at Mutant Reviewers. This year also saw me starting to write a few movie reviews at the Mutant Reviewers website. If you guys don't know Syp, you should get to know him. The guy puts out an amazing amount of content that is truly to be respected.  Between movie reviews, podcasts, game writing, being a pastor, and more . . . I just don't know how he does it all.  He, of course, attributes it to organization and a few good tools, but I think it's magic. Yup, it's magic.

9- Great friends, like you! I just want to say how happy I am to have friends that check in on me and are making their way in the world, being successful humans. Too many great people to mention, but you all are fantastic people. Have to call out by name my friends Mercedes and Kayly. To see the great things they're doing at KingsIsle, and to know that their paths to becoming game devs was so similar to mine just makes me happy. I'm so sorry I keep myself so busy and don't have as much time to chat as we used to.

Thanks for reading, and here's to making the upcoming year just as amazing! (Why as I type that do I fear the worst? The pandemic has had a really long shadow.)

Happy Dueling!


Bhagpuss said...

Happy Birthday! I love those 360 degree camera shots, by the way.

Stingite said...

Thanks Bhagpuss! I love messing around with my 360 camera. Being able to take 360 shots inside my favorite MMOs would be next level.