Games I’ve Played
Here is the list of games I’ve played (reverse chronological order):
- January 2017 – now: World of Tanks on NA server as taugrim (stats)
- October 2015 – January 2017: Armored Warfare on NA server as taugrim
- April 2015 – October 2015: World of Tanks on NA server as taugrim (stats)
- Feb 2015 – April 2015: Guild Wars 2 on Blackgate as “Taugrim the Ele” the Elementalist and “Taugrim Guardian” the Guardian
- October 2014 – Feb 2015: World of Tanks on NA server as taugrim (stats)
- June 2014 – October 2014: WildStar on
PagoPergo (US PVP) as Taugrim the Melee Mage DPS Esper (1885 2v2 Arena, solo RBG 1789)
- April 2013 – June 2014: World of Tanks on NA server as taugrim (stats)
- Aug 2012 – November 2013: Guild Wars 2 on Blackgate as “Taugrim the Ele” the Elementalist and “Taugrim” the Warrior
- Dec 2011 – August 2012: SWTOR as Taugrim the Trooper Vanguard and Taugrymm the Smuggler Gunslinger on Ajunta Pall (US RP-PVP)
- Feb 2011 – Jan 2012: RIFT as Taugrim the M*A*S*H Cleric on Sunrest (US RP-PVP). I shelved Taugrim the Rank 4 Riftblade/Champion/Paladin Warrior on Harrow (US RP-PVP)
- Mar 2010 – Feb 2011: World of Warcraft as Taugrimm the Paladin (L85, 2k in 2v2 and 3v3 Arena) and Taugrim the Balance Druid (L80) on Wildhammer
- Feb – Mar 2010: Allods Online as Taugrim the Melee Healer on Tensess
- Sep 2009 – Jan 2010: Aion as Taugrum the Chanter and Taugrim the Sorcerer on Lumiel
- Sep 2008 – Sep 2009: Warhammer Online as Taugram the Swordmaster (RR65 L40) and Taugrim the Bright Wizard (RR41 L40) on Phoenix Throne
- Nov 2007 – Sep 2008: The Lord of the Rings Online as Taugrim the Captain (R6 L50) and Taugrem the Orc Reaver (R6) on Landroval
- May 2006 – Nov 2007: World of Warcraft as Maeglor the Feral Druid (L70) on Agamaggan
- 2005 – May 2006: Knight Online as Taugrim the Archer (L61) on Beramus
- 1998: Meridian 59 as Helm on Server 200 and Taugrim on another server I can’t remember
My History with MMOs
My first MMORPG was Meridian 59, which I played back in 1998. My job was very demanding so it was 7 years before I played another game.
In 2005, I searched for a F2P (Free to Play) MMORPG and landed on Knight Online (KO) on the server Beramus, where I played an Archer named Taugrim. For the Rogue class, Assassin was much more popular than Archer. I wrote my first gaming guide, Guide to Rogue-Archer, to answer questions that kept coming up on the forums and to address the widely-held perception that Archers sucked. Archer’s mechanics suited me well: the class had excellent mobility, solid DPS, and enough spot-healing and cleansing to bail friendlies out of trouble.
KO was fun, but the game was very hackable, and I grew tired of PVP’ing against players who cheated. So I switched over to World of Warcraft (WoW) with a few friends from KO during the summer of 2006.
My first endgame WoW character was a Druid named Maeglor on Agamaggan. I fell in love with feral gameplay while leveling and tanking in particular, even though veteran Druids warned that Feral gearing options were limited at endgame and the community despised them. At level 60, I played the 11/33/7 Bear tank spec and rocked a Warden staff. WoW was the first game I played that had serious class balance issues, and because of Vanilla WoW’s gear progression design, very narrow spec options. The community was likewise very narrow minded about classes and roles.
When The Burning Crusade (TBC) expansion launched, Feral became a viable option in raids, and I was one of our guilds main raid tanks. Eventually I got burned out of the raiding gear grind, so I quit WoW cold turkey in November 2007.
I still wanted to play an MMORPG, but I didn’t want to deal with a grindfest. At the suggestion of a friend, who I’d been playing online with since KO, I tried The Lord of the Rings Online (LOTRO). LOTRO’s community was stellar, the game was immersive, and there were no issues of different classes playing the same role (e.g. main tank, main healer, etc), as there had been with WoW.
In LOTRO I played on Landroval, first as a Captain and later as various Creep classes. Our kin raided in partnership with another and we eventually downed the Balrog, which was a fun achievement. I wrote several LOTRO class guides: 2 for Captain, 1 for Orc Reaver, 1 for Uruk Blackarrow. Some players gave feedback that tips in my Guides didn’t work, even though I knew from personal experience that they did. So I bought FRAPS to record footage and started publishing narrated PVP videos on YouTube in the summer of 2008, and the videos generated a lot of positive feedback and community engagement.
In late Spring of 2008, I started following Warhammer Online (WAR) with keen interest. WAR was incredibly attractive to me, because it treated PVP as core game content. The concept of leveling up via RVR (Realm-Versus-Realm, which is another acronym for mass PVP) sounded awesome, and I was intrigued by the mechanics of classes such as the Warrior Priest, which used melee abilities to generate “mana” (called Righteous Fury) for healing. When WAR launched in September 2008, I switched from LOTRO to WAR.
In WAR, I initially played a Bright Wizard to 40, published a bunch of narrated BW videos, and wrote my Bright Wizard Class Mechanics Guide. Due to a shortage of Order tanks on my server, I rolled a Swordmaster as my main character in November and continued cranking out narrated videos and wrote my Swordmaster Class Mechanics Guide. I intentionally chose Swordmaster because of the widely-held belief that SMs were useless (they weren’t), even though objectively I knew the Ironbreaker was the more powerful class.
I played WAR until April 2009, at which point I unsubscribed because I was frustrated with the lack of server and mass PVP stability in Patch 1.2. In early July, I decided to check out WAR in Patch 1.3 on a free trial basis. The game’s stability had improved, so I re-subbed and played until mid September 2009, at which time I unsubbed because I wanted to try Aion, and WAR had gone from being fairly stable with the great Patch 1.3b to being very unstable and buggy in Patch 1.3.1.
In September 2009, the North America version of Aion launched. There was a lot of hoopla about the game in terms of its polish and PVP potential. My initial impression was that the game was tedious but I leveled a Chanter to 40, by which point the grindy nature of the game just killed my interest to continue leveling to 50 so I unsubbed in early February 2010.
I started playing the F2P game Allods Online in February 2010 but by the end of March decided to stop playing AO due to concerns about the game. In the meanwhile, I’d heard that there were several changes to WoW in Wrath of the Lich King (WotLK) that removed a lot of the grind that I’d detested back in TBC.
So I decided to give WoW another try. This time around, I chose Balance as my main spec for my Druid and eventually decided to level a Paladin to play as Retribution in PVE and Protection in PVP.
Prior to WoW Patch 4.0, my Protection Paladin hit level cap and became my main PVP character. When 4.0 launched, there were significant class changes that were introduced for the Paladin (and other) classes. There was a dearth of information for how to play the Prot spec in 4.0 in PVP and many veteran Paladins declared that Prot PVP would be dead in Cataclysm. I believed Prot would be viable, so I published my Prot Pally PVP Guide, and a copy of it was stickied on the WoW Paladin US forum. I reached 2k Arena rating in the 2v2 and 3v3 brackets as Prot in Cataclysm, and I was the only person to do so as Prot in those brackets in the Shadowburn battlegroup during the time I played.
In February 2011, I started feeling restless with WoW, and I heard some very compelling things about RIFT, so I pre-ordered the game. RIFT had a terrific launch and was up to that point the most enjoyable game for PVP that I had ever played. I wanted to play a heavy melee class so I rolled a Warrior and published my Riftblade Warrior PVP Guide. In early June I switched servers to Sunrest and rolled a Cleric, because our new guild needed healers.
The RIFT Cleric community widely believed that “melee healer” Clerics were not viable, but my gut feeling was that the mechanics existed to support melee-healing, it was just a matter of sorting them out. After hitting level 50, I wrote my M*A*S*H Melee Healer Cleric Guide, and to my pleasant surprise many Clerics overcame their skepticism, tried out the spec, and raved about it. I began to lose interest in RIFT with Patches 1.5 and 1.6 due to the overbalancing of classes.
Star Wars: The Old Republic (SWTOR) was the next big hope for a great MMORPG, and I got full Beta access from BioWare and published introduction PVP videos for various classes. During the 1st week of launch, my guild rolled on Ajunta-Pall (US RP-PVP) as Republic, because we wanted to be on a server with reasonable faction balance, or at least to be on the side that was outnumbered, which is much more interesting than running with the zerg.
In August 2012 I decided to stop playing SWTOR, as the vast majority of my guildees had moved on from the game, the game became more grindy in 1.3 which did not align with my limited free time per my new job, and I wanted to see how F2P was implemented before committing further to the game.
Around that time, Guild Wars 2 (GW2) was in Beta, and its pseudo-action combat appealed to me. I played GW2 at launch on Blackgate. GW2 provided all the systems for PVP that I care about: battleground, tournament / ranked battleground, and World PVP. I appreciated the horizontal scaling system, especially in 5v5 tournaments, as gear was strictly cosmetic so therefore PVP was a level playing field. I also loved that you could play in endgame battlegrounds within literally a half hour of rolling a new character – this allowed players to experiment with new classes with minimal time investment.
Over time I realized that with my focus on sPVP, I would never level my characters to endgame so that I could WvW with my guild, because in the first year of GW2, sPVP was completely disconnected from the rest of the game. I transitioned over to WvW full-time and played a Warrior and an Elementalist. The introduction of Ascended gear was a big turnoff to me, because it was a grindy system and you have to commit to particular gear stats, and therefore specs, as you buy Ascended gear pieces.
In April 2013, on a whim I picked up World of Tanks (WoT) and it was the most pleasant surprise of any PC game I’ve ever played. WoT was easy-to-learn but hard-to-master, which really appealed to me. Skill was a huge determinant in PVP outcomes in WoT, which was how it should be. My only concern about WoT was the continued existence of gold ammo (aka premium ammo), which created a pay-to-win environment as the extent to which players can afford to buy and use gold ammo was correlated to how much money they were spending on the game (i.e. subscriptions, premium tanks, etc).
In February 2014, I played about 5 hours in WildStar Beta and was on the fence. The game’s combat system seemed great but the game was buggy and had low framerate. I decided to give WildStar a go at launch and their implementation of action combat with telegraphs was the most engaging and highest skill cap combat system I’ve ever played in an MMORPG.
I loved WildStar, but the endgame PVP system was horrific, which had gear tier gaps and gear rating requirements, and this created an environment where gear was more important than skill in PVP. I reached 1885 rating in 2v2 Arena and 1791 solo queuing for Rated BGs, so I was able to acquire my full 1800 PVP gear. However, the runes on gear were RNG, which created an awful experience whenever you acquired an epic gear item and the runes sucked. Due to the RNG grind and increasing PVP queue times due to the declining playerbase, I unsubbed in early October.
After I quit WildStar, I went back to WoT. Questions about improving one’s gameplay in WoT come up every day on the WoT sub-Reddit and on various forums, so I started a video series called “Road to Unicum” to share what I learned as I progressed towards purple stats for my account.
In February 2015, I picked up GW2 after over a year away, and the game had noticeably improved. That said, the game failed to maintain my interest, and I went back to WoT and reached Unicum rating for my account.
In October 2015, a competitor to WoT called Armored Warfare (AW) launched in Open Beta. AW was a fantastic game, and the PVP in tiers 4-6 was arguably the most competitive and skill-based context I’ve played in any MMO. That said, from tiers 7-10 the game suffered from very poor class balance as Main Battle Tanks (MBTs) were extremely difficult to penetrate frontally. Fights between high-tier MBTs devolved into “pixel hunting” of very small weak spots. These two dynamics created a frustrating experience for many players. The PVP population quickly shrank – many players went back to WoT and other AW players focused their time in PVE – and by mid-2016 PVP queue times were unacceptably long (5+ minutes). Obsidian undertook a large class re-design effort with “Balance 2.0”, but unfortunately in February 2017 Mail.Ru fired Obsidian as the developer and took the development in-house.
As it turned out, before that news broke I had already gone back to WoT in January 2017, not because I believed WoT was the superior game, but simply because it had a large active population. I was reluctant to go back to WoT as I was a huge fan of AW’s game design, but to my pleasant surprise I found myself enjoying WoT and have continued to play it.
Upcoming Games I’m Excited About
I backed Camelot Unchained for $60 USD back in 2012 (good grief it’s been 5 years already?) and am keeping an eye on Gloria Victus.