Games I’ve Played
Here is the list of games I’ve played (reverse chronological order):
- January 2022 – now: Elder Scrolls Online on NA/PC server as @taugrim
- January 2022 – February 2022: World of Tanks on NA server as taugrim (stats)
- October 2021 – January 2022: New World on US East server Pyrallis as Taugrim
- July 2020 – October 2021: Elder Scrolls Online on NA/PC server as @taugrim
- January 2017 – May 2021: World of Tanks on NA server as taugrim (stats)
- May 2016 – July 2016: Overwatch
- October 2015 – January 2017: Armored Warfare on NA server as taugrim
- April 2015 – October 2015: World of Tanks on NA server as taugrim (stats)
- February 2015 – April 2015: Guild Wars 2 on Blackgate as “Taugrim the Ele” the Elementalist and “Taugrim Guardian” the Guardian
- October 2014 – February 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)
- August 2012 – November 2013: Guild Wars 2 on Blackgate as “Taugrim the Ele” the Elementalist and “Taugrim” the Warrior
- December 2011 – August 2012: SWTOR as Taugrim the Trooper Vanguard and Taugrymm the Smuggler Gunslinger on Ajunta Pall (US RP-PVP)
- February 2011 – January 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)
- March 2010 – February 2011: World of Warcraft as Taugrimm the Paladin (L85, 2k in 2v2 and 3v3 Arena) and Taugrim the Balance Druid (L80) on Wildhammer
- February – March 2010: Allods Online as Taugrim the Melee Healer on Tensess
- September 2009 – January 2010: Aion as Taugrum the Chanter and Taugrim the Sorcerer on Lumiel
- September 2008 – September 2009: Warhammer Online as Taugram the Swordmaster (RR65 L40) and Taugrim the Bright Wizard (RR41 L40) on Phoenix Throne
- November 2007 – September 2008: The Lord of the Rings Online as Taugrim the Captain (R6 L50) and Taugrem the Orc Reaver (R6) on Landroval
- May 2006 – November 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. Another huge factor in my quitting WAR had to do with the dying population — the majority of my guildees and the community had already stopped playing, and eventually I came to grips with the realization that they weren’t coming back. This phenomenon of a relatively new MMORPG suffering from a dying population became a theme over the next 5 years, and I tended to be one of the players who stuck around after 80% of the community had quit. Games that become ghost towns are super depressing.
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, and as with WAR, many of my guildees had already quit the game and the game’s community had cratered.
Star Wars: The Old Republic (SWTOR) was the next big hope for a great MMORPG, and I got full Beta access from BioWare in December 2011 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. SWTOR had great storylines for each class and the combat graphics and sound felt epic.
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 modes 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.
I also found GW2’s fixed skillbars for weapons to be enormously rigid. That is, I couldn’t customize the order of abilities in a way that made sense to me. I want to customize skills so that they suit me, rather than having to adopt what the game restricts me with.
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-for-advantage 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’d played in an MMORPG up to that point.
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, 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 again.
I played Overwatch for several months after it’s launch in May 2016. It’s an excellent game, but my aim is very mediocre. I have gradually decreased my mouse sensitivity and bought a large gaming mousepad, but I believe that I’ll never develop good FPS aim skills, so my performance ceiling in games such as Overwatch is pretty limited.
I tried the Beta of Gloria Victus but the combat just didn’t pull me in, so I haven’t played since.
In July 2020 during the pandemic, I watched a PVP player stream battlegrounds in Elder Scrolls Online (ESO). Based on the answers I received from the streamer and his viewers, I decided to give ESO a try. ESO had multiple things going for it:
- An incredibly customizable build system for all 6 classes
- The combat is action-based and very skill-based. There are no cooldowns; you decide what abilities to use and how to manage your resources
- There are 2 contexts for PVP: battlegrounds and world PVP in Cyrodiil. I’ve mostly spent my time in BGs and they are super fun
- There is meaningfully challenging solo and group dungeon content
- You can play solo or with others
- Horizontal gear progression at endgame, so it’s about acquiring different sets, not replacing all your gear every time the level cap is raised (e.g. WoW)
- The player population has sufficient critical mass
I stopped playing WoT in May 2021 and focused my time on ESO, as I grew increasingly frustrated with Wargaming’s continued addition of overpowered premium tanks that are straight up better than normal tanks and their reluctance to balance gold ammo. Wargaming doesn’t care about creating a good experience for all players, free or paying. Rather, the game is intentionally designed to heavily favor players who pay. Pay-for-advantage mechanics create a context where a game has difficulty acquiring new players (due to the reputation) and retaining existing free players (due to their losing to paying players).
I thoroughly enjoyed my PVP experience in ESO until late August 2021, at which time ZeniMax Online Studios (ZOS) released 2 extremely overpowered PVP sets — Hrothgar’s Chill (HC) and Dark Convergence (DC) — that created a miserable experience for opponents. I posted about DC on the official forums because the 5-piece set bonus did the following:
- created an AOE that pulled players into the middle, multiple times
- stunned players after pulling them
- slowed players after pulling them
- applied damage to players based on how close to the center of the AOE when it expired
DC was the most faceroll PVP gear I’ve ever seen across any MMORPG. I refused to use HC and DC out of principle. While HC was nerfed after 3 weeks, DC was not nerfed until October, at which point New World (NW) had already launched. Many PVP diehards including me completely lost confidence in ZOS’s ability to balance their own game. and a substantial number of PVP players ditched ESO to play NW.
I had little interest in playing NW as I’ve been burned by too many hype trains. That said, my disgust with ZOS’s itemization motivated me to check out streams of NW in the first half of October, and streamers whose judgment I respect raved about how skill-based the combat was. I found a Discord for a company (NW parlance for guild) on the server Pyrallis (US East) and talked to the players about the game. They said positive things about NW, and based on my disgust with ZOS over HC and DC, I decided to purchase NW. I ended up rolling on Folkvangr (US East) after watching a stream for an ESO content creator named Dottzgaming.
NW’s leveling experience was extraordinarily tedious, so I leveled gradually to 60 over a month. This was intentional for several reasons: I didn’t want to burn out, I was unsure whether it’d be worth it, and I wanted to give Amazon Games Studio (AGS) time to fix the many shitshow exploits (e.g. duping) that dramatically impacted non-cheating players.
I really enjoyed NW’s combat system, as it was very skill-based. I transferred from Folkvangr to Pyrallis, as the former’s population at prime times was barely over 200 players, and the queue for the 20v20 PVP battleground Outpost Rush (OPR) at level 60 didn’t even pop most days, so I transferred over to Pyrallis. Playing on a medium-pop server (~500 players during prime time) was a revelation: the economy was robust (i.e. I could buy the specific gear I needed instead of farming it) and OPR popped throughout the day and night. I stuck around NW until AGS announced the Umbrals gear progression system, which looked unnecessarily tedious and grindy, so once the Umbrals patch launched I never logged in again.
I went back to WoT but realized after NW that I really missed playing in an MMORPG, so I picked ESO back up and have been enjoying it since.