Before I get too much further, some thoughts on the two single player games I mentioned:
On Dragon Age: Origins - Great game for all the reasons you may have read. Gearing is super confusing, IMO, but the game play and story is top notch. DA:O was actually my first Bioware experience outside of their Star Wars (The Old Republic) game. It made me give some serious thought about going back to play the Mass Effect series. Bioware does make a helluva game. Sometimes the choices can be daunting though, in good ways and bad. It makes me excited for their Star Wars MMO. Bioware has some mad street cred right now.
On FFXIII - I'm pleasantly surprised. Final Fantasies have always been hit or miss for me. They're so long and involved that it's hard for me to commit to one; I don't always finish them. I really love what they've done as far as the battle system and pacing of game play in 13. Yeah, it's pretty much "on rails", especially when you're jumping from DA to FF, but it was sort of a relief for me. There is so much to do in Dragon Age that it can be daunting and hard to focus on the main plot line. Some people really enjoy that depth, and I do on some days. On others, I want a more mindless ride. I want to be led down that single, winding path that lead inexorably to a boss. Maybe there's a few little treasures hidden to the left or to the right, but I'm not really required to make face any major moral dilemmas. It's relaxing. There's something to be said for that, even though it seems a lot of critics today paint the "on rails" thing in a bad light. I think they're just different games, but that's totally a personal opinion. Love the game, love the story, nostalgic over the art style/world. It reeks Final Fantasy, yet feels newer, and I'm not even talking about the ridiculously pretty graphics.
Back to live action - The route I've decided to go with Aion is to "play it by ear". That is to say, as time permits. If I get a weekend of time, feel the urge, or get coerced by a friend, I have no qualms about shelling out $15 for another month of game time. I just didn't want to pay month to month since I definitely can't commit that time. It's just too up in the air. Maybe I'm only able to make good usage of one monthly subscription game in my life. Since de-activating and re-activating is so easy, it's really a non-issue. Still, since I won't necessarily be "keeping up" with the game or any sort of community, I decided to remove all my links and such. WoW is the only gaming commitment I have time for, and really it's because I'm well-established at this point. I don't need to devote a whole lot of play time to continue to progress, especially since we only raid once a week for two hours.
Is there anyone out there upset by this direction? I think it's really only an admission of what my writing pattern has already shown. I'm always one to just try to write what's on my mind. I don't have a whole bunch of queued up topics. In fact, I rarely ever have more than one, if that, in backlog at a time. When they're there, they scream at me for completion. It's really annoying and loud. In my head, at least. The point, however, is that it's pretty easy to look at my own writings and see the truth of the situation. I'm just owning up to it today.
In any case, I'd still love to receive questions in comments or via email regarding any of the games I mentioned. They may even spawn posts. Left alone, I try to stay on the topic of WoW (being as this is a WoW blog), but I'm not opposed to taking short vacations in other strange lands. After all, I figure most of you out there are like me, and enjoy the occasional dip in other waters. Time permitting, of course.
Oh, and I don't care how much you ask about Home Improvements. I'm no Tim Allen, so I'm not even going to try to make that topic entertaining. Then again, I may have to chat about the new Fu-cave when we get it set up. So, I guess no promises?
So TL;DR - Aion is on a leave of absence, to be played and paid-for sporadically (which I think is cool that it's totally a viable option. I wish magazine subscriptions could work like this). DA:O is done, but I may have to pick up the x-pac or even another Bioware title soon. I may have to write about the headache of complex choices. A lot of people seem all for this direction, but maybe I like rails too? FFXII is where the bulk of my game time is, love it. There is a good "story elements" post in there somewhere if I can dig it out. And there's always WoW. ICC raid tonight. If we don't progress, maybe you'll be graced with another awfully funny MS Paint "wall breaker" attempt. Last time that worked out hella-well.
I also wanted to pass on some good links about those single player games that you may or may not be aware of:
- Samodean of Massive Nerd fame has been doing a great job with both DA:O and Final Fantasy. He's been covering the basics in each rather well. Here's the link to his latest on FF.
- Abi snuck back on the wagon and pushed out a pretty good post concerning the DA x-pac. It's good to see him back writing even if he won't be devoting as much time to WoW. Here's the link to his latest on DA:A.