Top 10 Videos From 2016

I know blog readers don’t care about videos, but I wanted to record my Top 10 game videos from 2016 for posterity.

One day I decided to click on that Analytics tab on YouTube and found there was actually some information there, like which videos people watched. YouTube ranks videos by watch time, not views, which I suppose indicates that these are the videos that people actually stuck around to watch the most, for some inexplicable reason.

10 – Battlefield 1 – Pt 1 – Intro and Gallipoli. First of my Battlefield 1 playthrough, and first of four Battlefield 1 videos on this list, uploaded in 2016. I guess people like shooters. Interestingly, the “traffic sources” for these videos show a lot from “suggested videos.” I’ve no idea what that means or how that happens.

9 – Battlefield 1 – Pt 9 – Cambrai. More Battlefield 1.

8 – Dark Souls II – Part 15 – Ruined Aflis. This one was from 2015. A really action-packed episode in my epic Dark Souls II blind playthrough series. Starts with our first look at the Ruin Sentinels boss (from which we ran screaming), then goes to our first look at the Heide’s Tower dragon (from which we ran screaming), then ends up with us summoning Ruined Aflis to kill skeletons and turtle knights.

7 – T-Day Stream – Age of Conan, Questing in Eiglophian Mountains. A super oldie from 2014, when I tried streaming regularly for a month, and the only MMORPG in the list. A rare webcam appearance, from back when I used a headset, for the worst possible sound quality.

6 – Dark Souls – Sorcerer to Oolacile Township 2nd Bonfire. Another from 2015, and another rare webcam appearance. At least I had a condenser microphone setup by then.

5 – Battlefield 1 – Pt 8 – Cambrai. More Battlefield 1.

4 – Battlefield 1 – Pt 3 – Italy. More Battlefield 1.

3 – Dark Souls II – Part 17 – The Pursuer Defeated. Part of my epic blind Dark Souls II playthrough from 2015. This is the one where I finally beat that !@#$! Pursuer. Not shown in this video is the 500 times I failed in a previous episode of the series.

2 – Snap Judgment – Novus Inceptio. First (and only) 30 minutes of trying out Steam Early Access survival game Novus Inceptio. I guess people wanted to see it before buying it and apparently I was the only person willing to play it. Has the honor of getting 2 dislikes!

1 – Dark Souls – Sorcerer vs. Sif the Great Grey Wolf. From 2015. Me killing Sif in one shot with a sorcerer, very early in the morning, long before I cared about audio quality. I can only speculate it got a higher watch time because it’s only 3:30 long so people didn’t mind watching the whole thing.

By the way I’m debating uploading a Morrowind playthrough next.

Most Played Games In 2016

It took a little more effort to calculate my most-played games in 2016, because I changed PCs in the middle of the year. But the results are now in, and the number one positions were just what I guessed they would be.

(This data was gathered on December 24, 2016. I’ve pretty much only played Morrowind since then, although I played a couple hours of Elder Scrolls Online as well.)

Most Played MMORPGs of 2016

  1. Black Desert Online – 221 hours
  2. World of Warcraft – 163 hours
  3. Rift – 67 hours
  4. Final Fantasy XIV – 42 hours
  5. Lord of the Rings Online – 22 hours
  6. Guild Wars 2 – 12 hours
  7. Blade and Soul – 2 hours
  8. Mortal Online – 2 hours
  9. Star Wars: The Old Republic – 2 hours
  10. WildStar – 2 hours
  11. The Secret World – 1 hour
  12. Elder Scrolls Online – 1 hour

I was initially very surprised that I played so much World of Warcraft. But then I remembered the time before Legion, when I ran around participating in all those Legion Invasions leveling up my alts, and it made more sense.

Riders of Icarus and The Division should also be in there, at about an hour or less each.

Top 10 Most Played Other Games of 2016

  1. Dark Souls III – 339 hours
  2. ARK: Survival Evolved – 209 hours
  3. Morrowind – 40 hours
  4. Dark Souls – 39 hours
  5. Civilization VI – 30 hours
  6. Far Cry Primal – 26 hours
  7. Fallout: New Vegas – 24 hours
  8. Dark Souls II – 23 hours
  9. DOOM – 20 hours
  10. 7 Days To Die – 13 hours

Not too surprising. I played a lot of ARK at the beginning of the year, and a lot of Dark Souls in the Spring and Summer.

I’m not going to do another chart of which games I played in which month, because frankly I can’t remember how I did it last year. :)

P. S. I use ManicTime to gather these statistics.

UPDATE: Played from Dec 25 – Dec 31:

  1. Morrowind – 17 hours
  2. Elder Scrolls Online – 17 hours

That would move ESO from 12th to 6th on the Most Played MMORPGs of 2016 list.

Starting Ashes of Ariandel DLC

Over the weekend I tapered off of Civ 6 to push through to the end of my umpteenth Dark Souls 3 playthrough so I would finally have a character ready for the Ashes of Ariandel DLC. It took a total of about 18 hours to go through all the bosses and all the areas (over the course of a couple weeks, not two days :).

I had to make a new character because, if you didn’t know, you can’t transfer DS2 or DS3 characters from one PC to another. That’s really annoying, From Software. All those high-level characters I have on my old PC are now worthless unless I want to play the DLC on that old PC, which I don’t, because old PC is old.

The aptly-named Snowfield
The aptly-named Snowfield

The point is that I finally got into the Ashes DLC for the first time Sunday night, and soon I will be uploading a blind playthrough to YouTube. I’ll probably hold off on uploading for a few days so I don’t get influenced by any comments telling me I’m doing everything wrong. (Not that anybody ever watches my videos anyway heh.)

It’ll be interesting because starting tomorrow, I’ll have to juggle playing the DLC and writing for NaNoWriMo.

A Writing Stream?

Speaking of writing, many weeks ago, I saw on Twitch that there were “creative” channels dedicated to writing. At first I thought the idea was laughable, because how is a slowly expanding text document fun to watch? In fact, the only two people streaming were basically just sitting around with an open document staring at the Twitch chat and not writing.

Anyway, for weeks now, I’ve been thinking about what a “good” writing stream would look like, and how it might actually be more useful to me as the writer than to the viewer. So I might do a writing stream in November, say from 7-9 on weeknights. The only thing stopping me is that I don’t want to monitor a chat channel, because that would be incredibly distracting and defeat the whole purpose of it for me.

P. S. Eventually I’m going to finish a post about Battlefield 1’s historical accuracy. TL;DR – It’s not very accurate.

Dark Souls Character Loss

You might be wondering why I’ve been playing WoW and/or LotRO instead of continuing my re-plays and re-re-plays and re-re-re-plays of Dark Souls 1, 2, and 3, the greatest three games in the history of the universe. (Not to be hyperbolic or anything.)

It’s because I setup and moved to a new gaming PC. Guess what? You can’t move your characters from one installation to another with the PC version of Dark Souls 2 and 3. So all my plentiful characters remained on my old PC, which is kind of a bummer. (I was able to copy my Dark Souls 1 characters though.)

In truth, it won’t take that long to run through the games again, but it’s something I wasn’t counting on. I was planning to record blind playthroughs of Dark Souls 3 DLC when they come out (allegedly the first, Ashes of Ariandel, is coming in October), but before I can do that, I need to build up some new characters.

And before I do that, I need to setup my microphone and audio gear in the new house. I tried to record some Doom with my old USB headset but it sounds too awful to meet my rigorous audio quality standards.

Dark Souls III First Playthrough Complete

image

I finished my first playthrough of Dark Souls III Sunday morning. I think it took around 84 hours and 87 levels, using a Knight build based mainly around strength and vitality. All bosses defeated solo, although I almost cracked and summoned help on the Twin Princes. (After the rather dismal experience I had with the Dancer of Boreal Valley, and when it looked like I might be heading in the same direction with the Twin Princes, I did summon help twice, but both times I died very quickly, which I took as a sign that I should stick with my original plan to get all the bosses solo on the first playthrough.)

If you’re interested I recorded the whole thing and I’m putting it on my YouTube channel, all 96 parts.

Dark Souls is a very alt-friendly kind of game (in the sense that the gameplay is completely different depending on which weapon you use and how you build your stats), so I plan to play through again with a sorcerer build and a dexterity build. (Or perhaps I might combine those two, since my sorcerer is currently tearing up the Undead Settlement with a rapier.) Naturally I missed a bunch of things the first time through, including about 5 optional bosses and a few areas, so I’ll be looking forward to uncovering those things.

It also makes me want to play Dark Souls 1 and 2 again, too. Have I mentioned how great these games are? They’re really great, if I haven’t mentioned it.

Okay, that’s the end of my Dark Souls evangelism.

But oh my god you guys Dark Souls is teh greatest!!!

That being said there are a few things that I found troublesome about Dark Souls III:

Disconnects. The absolute worst thing about Dark Souls III that I hadn’t seen in previous games is that when it disconnects from the network, it throws you out of what you’re doing and sends you back to the main menu. Yes, including in the middle of boss fights. Though it didn’t happen to me, it could have happened as I was swinging the final blow that would have otherwise ended the fight.

Crashes. It crashes a lot. I mean, not like ten times every play session but it crashes a good once or twice a week, which is a pretty bad track record in my opinion.

Lag. The network play is very laggy, far worse than previous games. I assume it’s because everybody in the world is playing now, but still. It sucks every bit of the fun out of the online play. The completely seamless online play was one of the best features of previous games.

UI. While the tool belt is a very nice addition in DS3, there are still some areas of the UI that are a bit clunky. For example, they still haven’t worked out how to let the player efficiently crush a lot of souls in your inventory at once.

Dark Souls III

Fantastic game and a worthy sequel. Nothing new or radically different, mind you (except a mana bar), just more of the same, excellent quality gameplay in different yet somehow familiar settings. Visually it resembles the first game more than the second one, in my opinion, but at the same time it’s got its own bleached-film style. My only complaints so far are that I seem to get stuck on terrain a lot and sometimes the camera is more wonky than I’d like.

The new FireLink Shrine.
The new FireLink Shrine.

If you’re someone who hasn’t played any Souls games before and you’re wanting to start with III, be aware that this game does not pull any punches. It is much more like I than II, in other words. I encountered the first boss about 25 minutes into the game, at the end of an extremely sparse tutorial area, leaving you very little space to practice before getting thrown right into the fire. There is also a very tough monster in the tutorial area. Practice your blocking, dodging, and stamina management. :)

Dark Souls II is a friendlier introduction to the series, in my opinion. It at least gives you some time to learn the controls before throwing you up against the bosses. (I can’t really recommend the PC version of the original Dark Souls because it’s a pain to get it running. Whereas you can install and play II right out of the box.)

P.S. The Knight starts with a 100% physical block shield!!! That’s a huge improvement over DS2. :)

Games Of My Year 2015

Here’s my year end “Best Of” list, because if you’re on the Internet, you have to do a year-end list of some kind. It’s the law.

2015 Contenders

After studying my Steam purchase history and searching my memory, I’ve come up with the following list of new games that I purchased and played in 2015. These are only games that were released in 2015, not every single game that I purchased or played in 2015. In other words, this is the pool from which I’m going to pick my games of the year.

  • ARK: Survival Evolved
  • Besiege
  • Fallout 4
  • FFXIV: Heavensward
  • Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns
  • GRAV
  • The Park
  • Rocket League
  • Savage Lands
  • Shelter 2
  • Skyforge
  • TOXIKK
  • The Witcher 3

Not a huge list, very few AAA titles, and of course they are all PC games. I should also say that my controversial definition for the “release date” of a game is the time at which anyone can purchase or download a playable game. So, for example, Trove, which “launched” in 2015, does not appear on the above list because I purchased and played a substantially similar version before 2015. And Prison Architect, which I bought in 2015 and Steam lists with a launch date in 2015, does not appear because its Early Access release was before 2015. (Steam overwrites the Early Access launch date with the Release launch date, but the Internet remembers.) Similarly the Early Access titles ARK, GRAV, and Savage Lands appear on the above list because they became available to buy in Early Access in 2015.

So yes, in a way, I’m punishing developers for releasing games too early.

Game of the Year

The Witcher 3. Not much of a contest, really.

witcher3 2015-06-28 07-09-32-09

Biggest Disappointment Of The Year

ARK: Survival Evolved. Why do people buy this broken piece of unplayable crap? Why don’t the developers fix it instead of putting out new dinosaurs and holiday events? Do they not have any programmers working there? Are they all artists and modelers? I simply cannot understand why the Internet hasn’t lost their minds with rage over this game.

Standing on a turtle, the most fun thing I did in ShooterGame. I mean ARK.

Most Emotionally Devastating Game Of The Year

Shelter 2. A unique, beautifully atmospheric game, but if you fail at this game, it feels like your heart is torn out and stomped on. You must be an unfeeling robot to actually play this game more than once.

And because this is mostly an MMORPG blog…

New MMORPG Of The Year

Skyforge … but only because there is literally no other choice.

Polo shirt dude is going to defeat the world.

MMORPG Expansion Of The Year

FFXIV: Heavensward, because even though it’s a bit of a slog, I keep going back to it, whereas I have no desire to go back to the new zones in Heart of Thorns. I didn’t include Knights of the Fallen Empire here because, while I technically “bought” it (having a subscription) and have access to it, I don’t have any characters high enough in level to actually see it yet.

Heavensward

Now for some other categories.

Best Game That I Played in 2015

Dark Souls. Along with Dark Souls II, it completely took over my summer.

The Depths

Most Consistently Played MMORPG In 2015

I’m going to have to go with Star Wars: The Old Republic. I’ve played it a decent amount in six of the twelve months in 2015, and leveled a Jedi Knight from around level 13 in January up to (as of this writing) level 56.

SWTOR Screenshot_2015-12-18_15_33_11_000300

Best Game With Art From People I Used To Play Quake With

GRAV. A nifty survival/building game, check it out. Or not, because I’m totally biased.

 

The Light, It Burns

Now that I’ve finished Dark Souls 1 & 2 I’m slowly emerging from the rabbit hole back into the sunlight. Mostly to read about Dark Souls 3, but still, it’s something.

I managed to gain a handful of levels in SWTOR, but not nearly as many as I wanted. At the risk of sounding like a fanboy, every RPG now seems like a kid’s game compared to the Dark Souls experience. It’s like I’ve been through a religious rite and seen the Face of God. I’ve climbed to the mountaintop and seen the vast expanse of the universe laid before me. How could anything ever be as good?

Helix Nebula

I checked out the Primalist in Rift, but due to my complete lack of perspective, I can’t even begin to rate it. I’ve been staring into the sun for too long, and now my eyes are burned out, and everything looks pretty gray and lifeless. On a purely capitalist level I found it a bit pricey though. I had to buy $49 worth of credits to get it. And I can’t say I’m thrilled about being greeted with a Neverwinter-style “buy more stuff” screen when I log into Rift now.

I have a few other Dark Souls posts to get out of my system, and then maybe I can get back to normal.