The “Gaming is in a great spot right now” trend continues, at least outside the MMO space (and in that too, if you happen to be flying a spaceship), so lets talk about a few of the items.
Overall if you care about this hobby, you have to be happy with the top games and what they represent. For a moment a few years back it looked like all of gaming was going to be overtaken by ultra-casual gaming garbage, be it mobile titles like Farmville or post-Cata ‘pug raiding’ WoW. In recent years however higher quality, more ‘core gamer’ titles have taken over, games where if you put in the time, and have the ability, you will progress, but it isn’t simply handed to you for showing up.
League of Legends sits at the top, and not only is it a competitive PvP title, but it also has one of the best implementations of the F2P model, one where only fluff can be bought, and whether you spend or not has zero impact on what happens in-game. It caters to very casual players down in Silver, while also showcasing masters of the game in the pro circuit, all while being managed by Riot, who have established themselves as some of the best and brightest devs in the industry.
DoTA 2 is also very popular, and has many similarities to LoL, both in-game and in who manages it (Valve). The whole MOBA genre is really in a good place, with other niche titles offering different takes or styles, but from the titles I’m aware of, they follow the F2P model Riot has set, which is excellent.
Looking at the top steam chart, you also see titles like CS:Go (another skill-based, competitive PvP title) GTA V, (open-world, adult-focused game with decent complexity), Team Fortress 2 (hats!), and ARK/Rust (open-world PvP). I don’t understand why H1Z1 is also near the top, but not everything can be positive I guess?
And outside of the most popular titles, more niche stuff like Darkest Dungeon or Battle Brothers are able to succeed because of Steam, which even just 10 years ago wasn’t the case.
In the mobile space both Clash of Clans and Clash Royale are always near the top, if not at the top spot itself. Again these are two PvP-based games with depth, longevity, and managed by a solid development team in SuperCell.
CR had a rough start in spots, but has really hit its stride with the last update that finally brought purpose to ranking higher than simply the highest arena. Now winning above 4k trophies has value because you earn higher monthly rewards. With special events being more frequent, cards coming out in a more logical way, and the clan chest, there is a lot to do in CR beyond just playing ladder games. The upcoming 2v2 mode should also be very interesting. The CR clan I run does a purge of inactives after every clan chest, though right after a purge we get bombarded with applications so the spots tend to fill quickly (its almost like being in an active clan that always hits 10/10 for the clan chest is something people want, go figure).
CoC is also going strong, and our clan is currently on a nice 6 win streak. We seem to have hit our stride with our top players all being very solid, and our newer recruits coming along nicely as well. The recent addition of cheaper event troops has mixed farming up a little, and a big update is expected to be announced soonish. There are a couple spots in that clan still open, so if you are interested in joining us there (or coming back), apply mentioning the blog.
In the MMO space EVE of course is still the same game it has been for over a decade, and it looks like Crowfall might finally make it out of alpha, and I should be able to test the housing aspect with my kickstarter pledge stuff. I also know Camelot Unchained is moving along, with a few people keeping me updated on that, so maybe 2017 might also finally be a recovery year for the MMO genre. If not, we have the rest of gaming being pretty awesome right now to keep us challenged and entertained.