Assuming that the Mexico trip turns out to be the two weeks it’s projected as instead of a 4-6 week international marathon (I consider that to be a 50/50 probability at this point, and I probably won’t have a better idea until a week or so into the trip,) the question arises of what I will be playing next. I do not at this point intend to abandon EVE again, but such intentions have proven short-lived in the past. Yet EVE works, probably better than any other MMO, as a game that can be played comfortably along with another title. So I will almost certainly pick something else up after I return.
The way I see it right now (and again, this could change,) it’s a choice between 3 games: Warhammer Online, EverQuest II and City of Heroes. WAR and EQ2 both have new stuff coming around that time; new classes in the former case and an expansion in the latter. But while I’ve been meaning to get back to EQ2, little in the expansion aside from the new Acheivement trees will be accessible to me for a while, as I don’t have a character above 50th level. I’m not all that far away – my highest level character is 38 – but I also find EQ2’s spellcasting classes to be the most appealing in the game, and that main is a Berserker, which is not the easiest class to solo with. My Illusionist and Conjurer are much lower, in the low teens. The upside is that leveling in EQ2 is generally fun and there’s never a lack of things to do, but a part of me dreads playing catch-up once again.
In WAR’s case, I won’t be playing all that much catchup – my main has turned out to actually be my preferred class, and at rank 22, he’s fairly far along with only eight or nine levels left before he’ll be able to participate meaningfully in Tier 4 content. But I realized that this same line of reasoning makes the addition of the new classes less than a perfect drawback – because I’d be starting from scratch, and none of my alts are into Tier 2 yet. WAR is an appealing game, but I’m not feeling the lust to go back to it quite yet. But, again, in two or three weeks that might have changed depending on my whim and how buzz develops in that time.
Some of the WoW talk has given me a little itch to break my promise and go back, but thankfully that errant handful of brain cells got quickly shouted down by the rest. The fact that I uninstalled it was a great help. But y’know… I do still have it on the laptop. I could play it down in Mexico. The possibility seems very remote to me, and I suspect that if I’m not tempted on the trip, it’ll be safe to assume that I am going to be able to resist a return to WoW in perpetuity. Certainly nothing coming in with Wrath of the Lich-King sounds more appealing than the equivalent fetaure already in WAR.
I’ve been sitting on a City of Heroes code for months now, and it’s been even longer since I last played the game – on the third of my trial accounts with the game, and the one that sold me on it as a viable title. I’ve been meaning to get back to it for a while now, but various events have kept me from doing so, the most obvious of which were the WAR launch and my return to EVE. But various eal-life issues are got in the way as well – the timing of my burnout on WAR was such that I didn’t want to activate an account for a game I knew I was unlikely to get a full month out of, given my expectation that this Mexico trip would be happening (even though that wasn’t confirmed until last week.) City of Heroes is a game that hews more closely to the EQ/WoW mainstream than EVE does, but it’s probably the most distinct game within that otherwise pretty narrow category, in that it’s neither fantasy or a port of the standard fantasy MMO tropes into a sci-fi setting. It’s pretty traditional in broad terms, but it departs a great deal in the details, and it feels even more different than it really is.
A part of me thinks that CoH could be a good long-haul game for me. Its proceduraly generated missions ensure an endless supply of content, even if it’s fairly repetitive, and in no other game is what random mob grinding in the open world quite as satisfying. Patrolling the streets looking for old ladies to save from muggers is much more firmly a part of the comics genre than rolling from mob area to mob area, massacreing subhumans who never bother anybody outside of their homes is part of the fantasy (and I’m speaking from the standpoint of the source literature here, not on the games based therefrom.)
So, yeah, right now I’m leaning towards giving City of Heroes a good thorough 30-day shakedown. This is another way that it differs from WAR or EQ2 – I’ve spent enough time in each to feel at home and comfortable there, whereas CoH feels fresher because I haven’t spent nearly as much time there. Again, I could change my mind – I have a code available for Tabula Rasa as well, and for D&D Online, but activating the latter probably entails setting up a pre-made group to actually play with.